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ASCARI v. BENTLEY MOTORS, INC.

Craig L. Winterman and Gary S. Yates, along with Les Williams of Herzfeld & Rubin PC, successfully defended a products liability suit brought against Bentley Motors, Inc. and Bentley Motors, Ltd.  Plaintiff, Fredric Ascari, a 40-year old attorney who was rendered a quadriplegic, contended that the seat in the 1990 Bentley Turbo R that he was driving was defectively and negligently designed.  Mr. Ascari lost control of the Bentley as he was driving on the McArthur Blvd. on-ramp for the northbound SR 73 freeway.  The Bentley collided with the metal guardrail that was adjacent to the on-ramp.  Mr. Ascari argued that his seat collapsed when the rear of the Bentley struck the guardrail.  As a result, Mr. Ascari ramped up the seat back striking his head into the rear window.   Mr. Ascari sustained fractures to his C -5 and C-6 vertebral bodies and a 50 cm scalp avulsion.  Plaintiff was represented by Gerry Spence’s former partners, Ed Moriarty, Brad Booke and Shandor Badaruddian, and San Diego attorney, Mary Downey.   They asked the jury to return a $70,000,000 verdict.  After a five-week trial, an Orange County Superior Court jury rendered a unanimous defense verdict after only 2 hours of deliberations.  This was the first products liability trial in the United States involving a Bentley automobile.