Parents of Actor File Suit in California Against Car Company for Wrongful Death of Their Son Due to Defects

The parents of actor Anton Yelchin — who acts in “Star Trek Beyond” — have filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court against Fiat Chrysler “for the wrongful death of their son due to significant defects.” At a press conference, Yelchin’s attorney indicated that the lawsuit was filed to punish the car company for the defective manufacturing of a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that killed Anton.In mid-June of this year, Anton’s car, which was allegedly equipped with a defective electronic transmission shift, rolled out from the driveway of his home and pinned him between a brick pillar and a security fence. He was later found dead.

The plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages because they believe that Fiat Chrysler was aware the vehicle was defective yet failed to take appropriate steps to protect the people who entrusted them with making their cars safe. The lawsuit alleges that the company prioritized profits over product safety.

The Associated Press reported that Anton’s Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of over one million cars that were recalled by Fiat Chrysler because the gear shift did not properly reveal whether the parking brake was activated. A National Highway Safety Administration report recently indicated that as of the end of June, this defect caused 68 incidents of injuries, 700 complaints, and 266 crashes and fires. The plaintiffs’ attorney revealed a recall letter from Fiat Chrysler that was mailed to Anton just days after his death. Fiat Chrysler is expediting its recall of the car, according to the Associated Press. A five-million-dollar class action lawsuit was filed days after Yelchin’s death.

Anton is playing Pavel Chekov in “Star Trek Beyond” and had received several additional roles soon to be released. Anton’s father Victor told the press that his only son was a “remarkable human being.” He continued that Anton–who was 27 when he died–was loving, modest, and very generous. It’s “against nature” for parents to bury their own child, he explained, and he said his wife and he are suing to ensure that no other family experiences the “same hell” they are experiencing. Since Anton died without a will, reports indicate, the Yelchins have filed to control his estate.

Fiat Chrysler said in a statement that the company “extends its sympathies to the Yelchin family for their tragic loss.” It further urged its customers to read and comply with the materials sent with their recall notices. The instructions include advising customers to set their parking brakes before exiting their cars. The company declined to comment on the lawsuit. The Yelchins’ attorney said of Fiat Chrysler: “They cannot wait for someone to be hurt and someone be killed before they do the right thing.”

The plaintiffs are also suing the manufacturers of the gear shift, ZF North America, and the car dealership, AutoNation. However, a spokesman for AutoNation indicated that Yelchin did not purchase the Jeep from them but instead from California Superstores. ZF North America declined to comment.

The product liability lawyers at the Neumann Law Group represent victims of accidents throughout the Los Angeles area. Call us at (213) 227-0001 for a free consultation.

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