Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 72° Clear
News >  Nation/World

Woman Wins Lawsuit Against Suzuki

Compiled From Wire Services

A jury awarded $90 million to a woman who was paralyzed from the neck down when her friend’s Suzuki Samurai rolled over on a highway.

Katie Rodriguez’s lawyer said the award Friday, which included $60 million in punitive damages, is the largest yet in a Samurai rollover case.

American Suzuki Motor Corp. said it will appeal.

Rodriguez, 30, was a passenger in a friend’s Samurai when it flipped onto its side on a Missouri highway on Feb. 11, 1990.

Suzuki contended the driver went off the road and hit the edge of a driveway. But Rodriguez’s lawyer, James E. Butler Jr., said the small four-wheel-drive car was too difficult to control.

More than 7,000 people were injured and 147 killed in rollover accidents involving Samurais between 1985 and 1992, Butler said.

Suzuki sold more than 80,000 Samurais a year in the United States until 1988, when Consumer Reports magazine reported that the car’s low weight and high center of gravity made it prone to roll over in driving tests.

U.S. Samurai sales dropped to 1,300 last year, according to Automotive News.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.