Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

Colorado Widower Sues Chrysler for Alleged Transmission Defect in Dodge Ram Pickup That Took Wife’s Life

Gear Shift

The Denver Post today profiled the tragic death of Karen “Kari” Sanders from Arvada, Colorado. Her husband Gil Sanders is suing Chrysler alleging that the automaker put thousands of Dodge Ram pickups on the market even though it knew of a transmission defect that causes the vehicles to self-shift into power reverse. On March 13, 2013, the Sanders 2003 Dodge Ram self-shifted into powered reverse and killed Kari Sanders.

kari-sanders.pngThe truck is still parked in the garage where she died. Gil Sanders wants the pickup smashed, but needs to keep the 2003 Dodge Ram intact as evidence — proof of the alleged negligence of its builders, the Chrysler Group. “I’ve gone through anger, sadness, all these feelings you can have when something like this happens,” Sanders stated to the Denver Post. “This is a question of ethics. They should be held accountable all the way down the line.”

The complaint alleges that the 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and other Chrysler vehicles contain a park-to-reverse defect that has killed and maimed adults and children across the country. The park-to-reverse defect, also known as “false park,” is a flaw in the vehicle’s transmission that makes it appear to the driver that the vehicle is in park. However, the transmission is neither fully in park nor in reverse. Instead, it is in an unstable position between the two gears, Lieff Cabraser attorney Fabrice Vincent informed the Denver Post. The vehicle can then self-shift into reverse, and when it is running, the vehicle can move backward under power and without warning, Vincent added.

In March 2006, Chrysler recalled more than 250,000 model year 2003 through 2005 Dodge diesel and V10 pickup trucks to install “out-of-park” alarms, the suit said. The alarm sounds the vehicle’s horn and flashes all lights to warn the driver of a false-park situation. The 2003 Ram 2500 was not recalled.

Learn more about park to reverse defect lawsuits.

By Fabrice Vincent.