New York plaintiff Godwin Boateng contends losing tip of his thumb will cost him $3 million.

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BMW Owner Awarded $1.9 Million After Door Closed on His Thumb
New York plaintiff Godwin Boateng contends losing tip of his thumb will cost him $3 million.

— A New York BMW owner has been awarded $1.9 million because he lost the tip of his thumb when the 2013 BMW X5 soft-close door closed on his thumb.

Plaintiff Godwin Boateng filed the lawsuit after he got out of his 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Sport in July 2016 and rested his right hand on the driver’s door column with his back facing the vehicle and the door about one-foot open.

The vehicle is equipped with BMW's soft-close door feature.

"In tight parking spaces or whenever a gentle closing of the door is appreciated, soft close automatic provides a helping hand: simply push the door until it is almost closed. When the door is within approximately 6 mm of the lock, a sensor activates an electric motor that pulls the door firmly and quietly closed and secures it. The components of the door locks are automatically returned to their original position." — BMW

The door closed shut on the plaintiff's thumb, but surgeons could not reattach the tip of his thumb.

When he filed the lawsuit, the self-employed software engineer estimated he would lose $3 million in wages.

Mr. Boateng contacted BMW about his "grave injuries," but BMW allegedly "masqueraded their complaint puppet responder, Jay Hanson," to arrange for the vehicle to be inspected on August 22, 2016.

In November 2017, BMW concluded there were no defects in the soft-close automatic door system and denied responsibility for any damage or injuries associated with the plaintiff.

BMW argued that within a certain distance of the door being closed, the soft-close feature automatically pulled the door securely closed and latched. Meaning, there were no defects and the soft-close feature worked exactly as it was designed to work.

BMW also said the plaintiff admitted it was "an accident, so my finger got in there and it just automatically closed over it."

BMW also referenced the owner's manual which provides warnings about the doors, and the automaker said anyone would know not to place their hand or anything else in the path of a closing door.

“Plaintiff understood since childhood, not to put a finger or body part in between a door and its door frame while it is closing.” — BMW

BMW Soft-Close Door Verdict

Though the jury awarded the plaintiff $1.9 million in damages, the jury did not find the BMW door had any defects.

The BMW soft-close door may have performed as designed and intended, but the jury still placed 100% of the blame on BMW for Boateng's thumb injury.

BMW continues to insist there is nothing defective about the vehicle or the soft-close doors, pointing to the fact the jury determined there were no defects.

The automaker didn't announce if it will appeal the $1.9 million verdict.

In 2016, BMW faced a class action that said the soft-close automatic doors were too dangerous. However, the judge dismissed the lawsuit by saying humans have been slamming their fingers in doors since doors were invented, and the doors on BMW's vehicles are no exception.

The BMW soft-close door lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York - Godwin Boateng v. BMW of North America, LLC, et al.

The plaintiff is represented by the A. Cohen Law Firm, PC.


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