A Los Angeles judge has ordered automaker Jaguar Land Rover to pay $21.1 million to a Simi Valley man who was paralyzed in 2003 when his Land Rover Discovery sport utility vehicle rolled over several times after a collision on the 118 Freeway.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge Robert H. O’Brien cited two key reasons for his decision: The vehicle’s high center of gravity made it susceptible to rolling over, and its roof collapsed too easily, causing Sukhsagar Pannu to suffer a debilitating spinal cord injury.
O’Brien issued the judgment May 18 after a trial.
Pannu, 53, who had played competitive field hockey in Hong Kong, permanently lost the use of his arms and legs as a result of the injury. He lives with his parents and three children, who provide him around-the-clock care.
“This verdict is a wonderful decision for Mr. Pannu. It will give him that extra money he needs to have sufficient caregivers. The system worked for him,” said Pannu’s attorney, Garo Mardirossian. “Hopefully, other manufacturers will look at this case and say, ‘Let’s spend the money and make the cars safe.’ “
“The rollover, in our judgment, was not due to any problem with the vehicle. The roof was properly designed and the same result would have occurred with any other roof,” according to the company attorney. “There’s nothing wrong with this truck.”
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