Judge reduces award amount in Walden case

Superior Court Judge Kevin Chason, South Georgia Judicial Circuit
Superior Court Judge Kevin Chason, South Georgia Judicial Circuit

A Decatur County judge has ordered the amount a jury awarded the parents of the late Remington Walden in a lawsuit they filed against Fiat Chrysler of America.

On July 24, Judge Kevin Chason of the Decatur County Superior Court issued two orders, one denying Fiat Chrysler’s motion for a new trial, and another order which reduced the total amount of the award from $150 million to $40 million.

Attorneys for Remington’s parents, James Bryan Walden and Lindsay Newsome Strickland, had previously indicated in a court filing that a lower award might be acceptable. Chrysler used that statement as part of its brief supporting its motion for a new trial, effectively arguing that it supported their contention that the original $150 million awarded by the jury was excessive.

The reduced award ordered by Judge Chason on July 24 sets the wrongful death verdict to $30 million and the pain and suffering verdict to $10 million.

Following a nearly two-week trial in Decatur County in April, jurors said Chrysler, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was liable for the death of Remington Walden and failed to warn customers that the tank’s position could increase the risk of fire in a rear-end crash.

The 11-woman, one-man jury ruled after a seven-day trial that Chrysler was 99 percent at fault for the crash and the pickup driver was 1 percent at fault. Jurors also determined that Chrysler failed to warn the family of the hazards of driving the Jeep. They ruled that the Waldens should get $30 million for Remi’s pain and suffering and $120 million for the full value of his life, according to a verdict form.

A two-hour hearing on the motion for a new trial and the award amount was held on July 17. You can read some of the related court documents as PDFs below:

Related: Judge Who Presided Over Trial With $150M Verdict Is a Fan of Open Courtrooms (Profile of Judge Chason)

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