A Dallas court recently determined that U-Haul was negligent in the case of a 74-year old man who was severely injured when he was run over by a U-Haul truck with a defective parking brake. U-Haul’s shoddy history of vehicle maintenance was brought up in court, and the jury saw fit to award the victim $84 million, including $63 million in punitive damages.
U-Haul responded by claiming that the $84 million award was “particularly outrageous” and “another example of abuse of the legal system”. These statements were made despite the fact that six previous renters had experienced parking brake problems with the same truck. That’s right, this “outrageous” verdict was awarded to a man whose life was ruined when a company rented him a truck that it knew had problems – problems that it never bothered to fix.
Corporations who want to cry foul over large jury awards need to take a look at their own business practices first. If companies like U-Haul want to time and again put profits ahead of consumer safety, they are going to be made to pay the only way our justice system seems to be able to get their attention – with verdicts like this.
What do you think of the $84 award against U-Haul – is this an example of abuse in our legal system, or did the company get what they deserve? Leave us a comment and let us know.