In the News

Dykema Case Recognized as one of California’s Top Defense Verdicts for 2020

February 3, 2021

Dykema, a leading national law firm, is proud to announce that a case that the firm handled as defense counsel, Stroud et al. v. Kia Motors America Inc. et al., was named as one of the “Top Defense Verdicts of 2020” in California as recognized by the Daily Journal in its annual Top Verdicts feature. The “2020 Top Verdicts” special report highlights the largest and most significant verdicts in California from 2020.

In February 2020, a jury ruled in favor of Dykema’s automotive product liability defense team representing Kia Motors America, Kia Motors Corporation, and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (collectively, “KIA”) in a case seeking more than $87M in damages in the Superior Court of Los Angeles. Plaintiffs claimed that electronic faults in the Transmission Control Module of a 2016 KIA Optima caused the power steering assist to fail and malfunction, which contributed to or caused the vehicle to veer off a highway and crash. The Dykema team called a human factors expert and several technical experts to defend against these claims, including an electrical engineer and a power steering engineer to opine on the relevant systems called into question. Dykema demonstrated that the power steering system did not malfunction, and that driver distraction likely caused the crash. After deliberating for just 90 minutes the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of KIA, determining that the manufacturer was not responsible for any damages occurring in the accident.

The Dykema team representing KIA was led by James Feeney and included Dommond Lonnie, Mike Carey, James Azadian, and Cory Webster.

The Top Verdicts recognition is an affirmation of the capabilities of Dykema’s Automotive Industry Group. Last year, the Daily Journal recognized two other Dykema automotive cases in its “Top Verdicts of 2019,” feature. Furthermore, the firm’s Automotive Industry Group was recognized in 2020 by the Legal 500 as one of the strongest automotive practice in the nation—including ranking Dykema as one of the top four firms in the nation (Tier 1) for “Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action – Defense: Automotive/Transport” and one of the top six firms in the nation (Tier 2) for “Transport: Rail and Road – Litigation and Regulation.” Additionally, the same group was recognized by Law360 as a “Practice Group of the Year” in 2019.

Subscribers to the Daily Journal can read the publication’s Top Verdicts summary of the case here.