Nissan Motor Co. v. MaddoxAnnotate this Case
Amanda Maddox and her then-husband, Dwyane Maddox, where traveling in their 2001 Nissan Pathfinder when their vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. Amanda sustained serious injuries in the accident. Amanda filed suit against the drunk driver’s estate, Nissan Motor Company, Ltd and Nissan North American, Inc. (collectively, Nissan) alleging that her injuries were caused by Nissan’s defectively designed restraint system and failure to warn her about the system’s limitations. A jury ruled in favor of Amanda and assessed thirty percent of the fault to the drunk driver and seventy percent of the fault to Nissan. The jury found Nissan responsible for $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. The court of appeals affirmed. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether a punitive damages jury instruction was proper. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals on that issue and vacated the trial court’s judgment assessing punitive damages against Nissan, holding that an instruction authorizing punitive damages against Nissan was inappropriate.