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CARRASQUILLA v. MAZDA MOTOR CORP.

September 25, 2001

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 DEFEIDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. McCLURE, Jr., Judge

M E M 0 R A N D U M (#2)

BACKGROUND:

Plaintiffs initiated this diversity action pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1332 with he filing of a complaint alleging various state-law claims arising from a motor vehicle accident. Succinctly stated, plaintiffs allege that the Mazda Protégé manufactured and/or marketed by defendants was not designed to protect sufficiently the passengers should an accident occur.

Defendants have filed a motion in limine to permit evidence related to the availability and lack of use of manual safety belts.

For he reasons that follow, defendants' motion will be denied.

DISCUSSION:

I. BRIEF STATEMENT OF RELEVANT FACTS

The facts pertinent to the instant motion and recited herein have been adopted from Defendants' Brief in Support of Motion to Permit Evidence Related to the Availability and Lack of Use of Manual Safety Belts.

Plaintif allege that he 1994 Mazda Protégé at issue was not crashworthy, thereby causing or enhancing their injuries in a two-vehicle collision that occurred on December 31, 1994. Plaintiffs contend that numerous components in the 1994 Protégé were defective. In particular, plaintiffs allege that the front seat restraint system, consisting of a two-point passive shoulder belt and manual lap belt, was defective.*fn1

At the time of the accident, the front seat occupants of the Protégé, plaintiffs Marco Carrasquilla and Argenix Suarez, were not wearing their manual lap belts. The rear-seat occupant, Ana Carrasquilla, was not wearing the available manual lap and shoulder belt.

II. DEFENDANT'S MOTION

Plaintiffs, on the other hand, argue that application of Pennsylvania's Occupant Protection Act requires the exclusion of evidence related to plaintiffs' and decedent's failure to use the manual lap belts and or seat belt system for the rear seat passenger. Additionally, plaintiffs contend that the court "should also exclude references to the existence of a manual lap belt because allowing such evidence will only ...


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