$19.2 million verdict upheld in Chrysler minivan case


Wednesday, August 25th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


BOSTON (AP) -- The state's highest court this morning upheld a
ruling that Chrysler Corp. should pay $19.2 million to a man who
blamed a faulty brake system for a crash that killed his wife and
three children.

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a 1996 Suffolk Superior
Court jury verdict in the case of Paul J. Santos of Belmont.

In 1990, Santos was driving a 1986 Plymouth Voyager minivan on a
New Hampshire parkway when he braked to avoid rear-ending another
car. Santos said a design defect caused the rear brakes to lock,
sending his van out of control.

Chrysler blamed the accident on driver error in winter weather.

A spokesman for DaimlerChrysler Corp. insisted this morning that
the company's brake system was not at fault.

"There was nothing ever wrong with the braking system in this
vehicle," said spokesman Jay Cooney.

Peter Black, an attorney for Santos, said, "That's not what the
jury said and that's not what the SJC said."