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Chrysler loses appeal in Walden Jeep case

The Georgia Supreme Court denied Fiat Chrysler its appeal on Thursday in a $40 million case involving the death of 4-year-old Remington Walden, who died in a Jeep accident in 2012.

The justices unanimously upheld the original ruling from the Court of Appeals in 2016, rejecting FCA’s arguments that irrelevant evidence had been introduced during the trial to sway the jury.

The parents of 4-year-old Remington Walden claimed that an exposed gas tank on the Jeep he was riding in back in 2012 led to the wrongful death of their son when a car collided with it, bursting it into flames. Walden was unable to escape and died inside.

“FCA US is disappointed in this decision,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We are considering our legal options. The Company continues to extend sympathies to the family of Remi Walden for their loss. This tragic crash was caused by a reckless pick-up truck driver who slammed into the rear of a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee at highway speed.”

The nine-day trial in March and April 2015 was held at the Decatur County Courthouse. The $150 million verdict consisted of $30 million for Walden’s pain and suffering and $120 million for the full value of Walden’s life.

Judge Chason lowered the damages to be paid to the Waldens to $40 million, but Chrysler filed for an appeal in August 2015. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment in November 2016. The case continued before the Georgia Supreme Court in October 2017 on the University of Georgia campus.

“Remi died by fire 6 years ago this month,” said Jim Butler, of Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, who represented the Waldens. “Remi’s parents and their legal team hope this is the end of it. We thank all the judges who devoted such time and effort to this case.”