— In a unanimous jury verdict Mitsubishi calls "shocking," Pennsylvania resident Francis Amagasu, 58, was awarded $977 million over an alleged seat belt problem in his 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT.
According to the lawsuit regarding the November 2017 crash, Mr. Amagasu was driving in Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania, when he lost control of the car while trying to pass another vehicle. His Mitsubishi left the roadway and rolled over.
Amagasu was wearing a seat belt, but the lawsuit alleges it was made with a so-called "rip-stitch" design in which the belt rips apart to better manage the forces in a crash.
However, the lawsuit alleges the design doesn't work because the seat belt intentionally tears apart and becomes four inches longer. This allegedly makes it easier for the person to move around. The plaintiff's neck was broken when his head was forced into the car's roof, alleges the lawsuit.
Mitsubishi allegedly failed to properly test the 1992 3000GT and was reckless when it designed the car, especially when testing the seat belts in rollover crashes.
Lawyers for Mr. Amagasu say he now lives in a rehab facility as a quadriplegic, "but it may as well just be a prison cell."
Mitsubishi argued there was nothing defective about the 3000GT seat belt or the car, which complied with all industry and government safety standards.
The original version of the lawsuit also included the dealership which sold the car, but the only defendant at trial was Mitsubishi.
Mitsubishi says it will appeal.
The Mitsubishi seat belt lawsuit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: Soomi Amagasu, et al., v. Mitsubishi Motors North America.