News & Insights

Chrysler Wins Trial On Breach Of Contract

Dykema Team Prevails with Largest Plaintiff Verdict in Oakland County History; Jury Awards $47.7 Million in Lawsuit Against Tier-One Supplier

April 14, 2009


Members of Dykema’s elite Automotive Industry Team won a $47.7M verdict for Chrysler LLC in a breach of contract action against Hutchinson FTS, a designer and manufacturer of liquid heating and cooling lines for motor vehicles. Chrysler sued the Troy-based supplier to recover damages related to warranty costs and two separate recalls on parts Hutchinson provided.

"This is an extremely important decision as it comes during a crucial period for automakers and the industry’s supply-chain," said Jim Feeney a member of Dykema’s Automotive Industry Team and leader of the team that represented Chrysler. "In what may be the largest verdict in Oakland County history, we are very pleased that the jury ruled in our favor and found the defendant to be responsible for these damages."

Hutchinson provided hoses and cooling lines used in 2005 RS minivans that were recalled due to leaks in those parts. The problems surfaced in the first-model year of the van's fold-in-floor seat arrangement and was corrected by Chrysler in 2005-2006.

Chrysler and Dykema argued that Hutchinson had provided the defective parts, and thus became the cause of the recalls. Hutchinson countered, denying that the parts they provided were defective.

Citing the reasonableness of Chrysler’s actions, an Oakland County jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff and awarded them nearly $47.7 million. Chrysler had sought reimbursement for all recalls and repairs made on defective parts supplied by Hutchinson.

Feeney tried this case with Dykema attorneys, Tom Murray and Jeffrey Miller. All three are members of Dykema’s Automotive Industry Team which consists of a highly specialized group of trial and transactional specialists who devote a substantial amount of time to representing clients involved in the automotive industry.