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This product liability matter involved a 20-year-old woman who was driving a 1981 VW Rabbit northbound on the San Diego Freeway when the heater suddenly developed a leak. As a result, steam engulfed the interior of the vehicle fogging up the windshield. Believing the vehicle was on fire, Ms. Shohet panicked and jumped from the car. She sustained a basal skull fracture and brain injuries. The case was tried shortly before VW issued a recall of its heat exchangers.

The case was tried before a jury in Santa Monica. Judge Sara Radin presided over the matter. Plaintiff was represented by Robert F. Erwin. The jury returned a defense verdict for Volkswagen. Plaintiff was granted a new trial. The case ultimately settled.