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CARRASQUILLA v. MAZDA MOTOR CORP.

May 9, 1997

ANA ILSEN CARRASQUILLA and OLGA LUCIA LAPRADE, as Co-Administratrices of the ESTATE OF ARGENIX SUAREZ, deceased; MARCO CARRASQUILLA; and ANA ILSEN CARRASQUILLA, Plaintiffs
v.
MAZDA MOTOR CORP., a/k/a MAZDA MOTORS CORP., MAZDA (NORTH AMERICA), INC.; and MAZDA MOTOR OF AMERICA, INC., Defendants v. MARK THOMPSON, Third-Party Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCCLURE

 May 9, 1997

 BACKGROUND :

 On December 31, 1996, plaintiffs initiated this action with the filing of a complaint alleging various state-law claims arising from a motor vehicle accident which occurred within the Middle District of Pennsylvania on December 31, 1994. Succinctly stated, plaintiffs allege that an automobile manufactured and/or marketed by defendants was not designed to protect sufficiently the passengers should an accident occur.

 On February 18, 1997, defendant Mazda Motors of America ("MMA") filed a third-party complaint against Mark Thompson, the driver of a vehicle which in fact was involved in an accident with plaintiffs' vehicle.

 Before the court is a motion by Thompson to strike the third-party complaint.

 DISCUSSION :

 I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

 The applicable Federal Rule of Civil Procedure provides in relevant part:

 
At any time after commencement of the action a defending party, as a third-party plaintiff, may cause a summons and complaint to be served upon a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to the third-party plaintiff for all or part of the plaintiff's claim against the third-party plaintiff....

 Fed. R. Civ. P. 14(a). Rule 14(a) also permits any party to move to strike the third-party complaint.

 II. STATEMENT OF FACTS/CLAIMS ALLEGED

 As recited in the complaint, the following facts and claims are applicable to the instant motion.

 Plaintiff Ana Carrasquilla was the owner of a 1994 Mazda Protege ("the car"), which was equipped with a motorized front passive restraint system and manual lapbelts.

 On December 31, 1994, plaintiff Marco Carrasquilla was operating the car in the northbound lane of State Route 15 in Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff Argenix Suarez was in the front passenger seat and Ana Carrasquilla was in the right rear seat. Third-party defendant Mark Thompson was operating a 1994 Nissan SE Extra Cab pickup truck in the southbound passing lane of Route 15. Thompson lost control of his vehicle and crossed the center line. The left front of Thompson's vehicle struck the car on the left front. The accident occurred at approximately 3:44 p.m.

 Suarez was transported to the Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center. Resuscitation efforts there were unsuccessful, and Suarez was pronounced dead at 4:34 p.m. Marco Carrasquilla also suffered serious injuries and was transported to the Hospital, where emergency surgery was performed. He remained in the Hospital until March 21, 1995. Ana Carrasquilla witnessed the injuries to Suarez and Marco Carrasquilla, and suffered emotional distress and physical injuries.

 Defendants are Mazda Motor Corp., Mazda (North America), Inc., and Mazda Motor of America, Inc. They are alleged to have manufactured and/or marketed the car.


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