Driver claims Cavalier's braking, steering defective

By Ann Knef | Nov 14, 2006

Hebert L. Cline is suing General Motors Corp. and Steve Schmitt Motor Co. of Greenville claiming the steering and/or braking systems of Chevrolet Cavaliers are defectively designed.

Seeking in excess of $400,000 in damages, Cline claims that days after he purchased a new 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier the car's steering and/or braking system abruptly malfunctioned, causing the vehicle go out of control while he was traveling southbound on Interstate 255 near Mousette Lane in St. Clair County.

The vehicle was caused to travel "violently outside of its intended path of travel," according to the complaint filed Nov. 8 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Cline is represented by Callis, Papa, Hale, Szewczyk & Danzinger of Edwardsville.

He claims that when the incident took place Jan. 25, 2005, the front and sides of his vehicle violently struck the center cement median wall, "at which time the vehicle's air bag system deployed, obstructing and further complicating the efforts of of the plaintiff to regain control of the vehicle until the same had crossed all lanes of traffic and came to rest along and upon a grassy embankment, "the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the defendants are negligent for failing to adequately and properly design, manufacture, test and inspect its Chevrolet Cavaliers and specifically the Chevrolet Cavalier that is the subject of this suit, before placing the same on the market and into the general stream of commerce.

The complaint also states the defendants failed to include adequate warnings that would alert the plaintiff and others about the potential risks of operating a Chevrolet Cavalier.

Other allegations claim the defendants failed to:

  • Conduct sufficient testing which would have shown that the steering and/or braking mechanism were prone to abrupt failure and breakage and that such failure would increase the likelihood of serious bodily injury;

  • Warn plaintiffs and others that the normal and intended use of the vehicle carried a risk of temporary or permanent disfigurement, disability and other damage due to the propensity of the steering and/or braking mechanism to break or fail;

  • Provide adequate post-marketing warnings or instructions after the defendants knew or reasonably should have known of the significant risks associated with the normal and intended use of its Chevrolet Cavaliers and specifically the Chevrolet Cavalier that is the subject of this suit; and

  • Exercise reasonable care in the design, manufacture, processing, inspection, distribution, marketing, sale and/or supply of its Cavaliers to ensure they were free from defects.

    "Plaintiff has suffered severe and permanent injuries," the complaint states, "he has suffered and continues to suffer physical pain, mental and emotional distress; he has been disfigured; he has been made disabled and lost his normal enjoyment of life; and he has expended and will continue to expend great sums of money endeavoring to be cured of his said injuries..."

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