Quilez-Velar v. Ox Bodies, Inc., No. 15-1466 (1st Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Maribel Quilez-Bonelli died from injuries she received in an automobile accident with a truck used by employees of the Municipality of San Juan. The truck had fitted onto its trash body an underride guard designed by Ox Bodies, Inc. Maribel’s family members (collectively, Quilez) brought suit in federal district court against Ox Bodies, seeking damages for negligence and defective design of the under ride guard. A jury found Ox Bodies strictly liable for defective design and awarded Plaintiffs $6 million in damages. The jury assigned twenty percent of responsibility for the damages to Ox Bodies and eighty percent to the Municipality of San Juan, which was not a party in the suit. The magistrate judge ruled that Ox Bodies should be held responsible for only twenty percent of the damages award. Both parties appealed. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the magistrate judge’s decision to admit the testimony of Quilez’s expert regarding an alternative underride guard design; and (2) as to Quilez’s appeal, certified to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico the question of the extent of Ox Bodies’ liability for the damages award.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on May 11, 2016.