April 24, 2019 – United States District Court, Los Angeles, CA
On April 24, 2019, following a six-day trial, it took a federal jury less than 25 minutes to render a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Ferrari North America, Inc. The case was tried in the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles), before U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte, Jr.
The case of Edmond Aslan and Eileen Michaelian v. Ferrari North America, Inc. arose out of a single-vehicle accident that occurred on the night of November 28, 2014, while Mr. Aslan was speeding in his 2002 Ferrari 360 Spider on Mureau Road near Calabasas, California. Mr. Aslan lost control of his Ferrari, impacted two trees planted in the center median, and came to rest 385 feet away in opposing traffic. Mr. Aslan sustained second and third degree burns to his head, hands, left arm, and right knee.
Mr. Aslan claimed that a defect in the occupant restraint system caused enhanced injury because his seatbelt did not unlatch after the accident. According to Mr. Aslan’s testimony, he was able to self-extricate himself by cutting the seatbelt with a knife he had placed in the center console of the vehicle. His injuries allegedly resulted in pain, diminished use of his hands, emotional distress, and loss of consortium with his wife, Eileen Michaelian.
Plaintiffs elected to pursue a design defect theory solely under the consumer expectation test. During the trial, Ferrari proved that the vehicle’s seatbelt was not defective in any respect and that it performed exactly as its ordinary consumers would expect. The defense proved that Mr. Aslan’s testimony was not credible, and that he was able to unlatch his seatbelt and exit the vehicle after the accident. Ferrari also established that Mr. Aslan caused the accident and his injuries by failing to maintain his rear tires, driving in excess of the posted speed limit, and failing to control his vehicle.
Other than Plaintiffs’ claim in this case, there has never been a single complaint that the 2002 Ferrari 360’s seatbelts would not unlatch before, during, or after an accident. Ferrari established that the seatbelt system was not subject to recalls and exceeded all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Ferrari North America, Inc. was represented at trial by James Yukevich, Cristina Ciminelli, Jeffrey Caligiuri, and Cameron Schlagel of Yukevich | Cavanaugh.