Published : 2014-05-15 10:30
Updated : 2014-05-15 10:30
Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest car producer, said Wednesday it would seek an immediate appeal against a U.S. court verdict ordering it to pay $248 million in punitive damages for a 2011 accident.
The parents of Missoula's Tanner and Trevor Olson filed a lawsuit against Hyundai for the crash of a Hyundai car that killed the teenagers aboard. They claimed the 2005 Hyundai Tiburon lost control due to a steering defect, leading it to collide head-on with a vehicle driving in the opposite lane.
After a two-week trial, jurors in Lake County, Montana, concluded Hyundai should pay the boys' families about $8 million.
They also ordered Hyundai and its U.S. subsidiary to pay the boys' parents an additional $240 million in punitive damages.
Hyundai argued that the accident, which occurred just two days before Independence Day, was attributable to exploding fireworks.
Hyundai called the verdict "outrageous" and said it should be overturned.
"Hyundai believes the jury's view of the evidence was distorted by a series of erroneous rulings by the Court," Jim Trainor, a company spokesman said in an emailed statement. "Eyewitness testimony established - and experts for both sides agree - that fireworks exploded in the unbelted teenagers' vehicle immediately before the July 2, 2011 accident, which involved the driver losing control, crossing the median and crashing head-on into an oncoming Pontiac at a closing speed of approximately 140 miles per hour - a speed confirmed by experts for both sides."