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Owner Drops Off Jeep® For Oil Change And Gets Sued For A Deadly Accident!

Its A Sad Story, On Both Sides...

All of us who own an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, have taken our vehicle in for a routine oil change. When we hand over our keys to the dealer for any work, we are putting our trust that they will do a good job servicing and maintaining our vehicle.

But for one customer who handed over their keys to Rochester Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, they are getting sued after their vehicle was involved in a deadly accident killing a dealership employee.

Rochester Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Rochester Hills, Michigan. (MoparInsiders).

According to a filing from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 13th, 2020, a 19-year-old mechanic at the dealer was just finishing up an oil change on a manual transmission Jeep. Another mechanic, 42-year-old Jeffrey Hawkins was kneeling on the ground, removing gallon-sized containers of coolant from a cabinet in front of the vehicle.

At the same time, the mechanic who just finished the oil change put one foot inside the vehicle on the clutch pedal and started the vehicle. He did not realize that vehicle’s transmission was in 1st gear, nor was the parking brake set. When he released his foot from the clutch the Jeep “lurched forward” about four feet, striking the other mechanic who was removing the coolant containers, causing multiple blunt force injuries from the vehicle and toolbox, he was killed instantly.

2020 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon with 6-speed manual. (Jeep).

While it sounds like a freak accident, has now turned into a lawsuit where the vehicle’s owner is being sued by the family of the victim.

In an interview with FOX 2 Detroit (WJBK), attorney David Femminineo, explained that because of a “legal standard” he can’t sue the dealership. Because the accident happened at work and involved two employees, you can’t sue the employer for that situation.

FOX 2 reporter Charlie Langton asked Femminineo, “You’re suing the owner of the car who’s getting his oil changed who did nothing in this case?” “I have to do that,” Femminineo said.

Rochester Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Rochester Hills, Michigan. (MoparInsiders).

There is also the question of the mechanic who performed the oil change and started the vehicle. “He didn’t know how to drive a stick, and he had no license,” the attorney told Langton. Langston then asked, “Why did the dealer hire him?” “That’s what I’d like to know,” Femminineo responded.

FOX 2 reached out to the lawyer of the car owner, but he declined to comment on pending litigation. He did say that he planned on fighting the case in a trial, which is scheduled at the end of May.

A very interesting case, which will make you second guess the next time you hand off your keys when you are in for service.

Source: FOX 2 Detroit 

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only a Co-Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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Ok, I don't get it when the mechanic was negligent in this matter. In the end, for the owner, it will be best to countersue the dealership and the individual to make it a point.

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Ok, I don't get it when the mechanic was negligent in this matter. In the end, for the owner, it will be best to countersue the dealership and the individual to make it a point. Sad as it is, stop being a DEMOCRAT/LEFT and blaming others. No, I don't follow any political party but the pattern is the same.

I'm sorry but this has nothing to do with politics so let's keep that out of this site.

As for the situation at hand here, didn't the staff at the repair shop have to move the vehicle into the bay where it was being serviced? So how could the owner be accountable for "leaving it in gear" ? I'm sure this will get thrown out but at the heart ache of the owner and to no respite to the victim's family.

With all of this - the sad part is there is an employee who is no longer with us, and for no fault (assuming) of their own. It does seem like the dealership in question could be a good citizen and make sure that their "family" is taken care of in situations like this.

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I understand the situation now after reading more about this. It has nothing to do with politics so I'm going to leave that out of this site.

The suit is against the property - the Jeep - and that property has an owner who is liable for its actions by law. The 15 million is crazy, and is egregious but the victim's family needs some kind of solace, I can understand in this case. I feel like the dealership, insurance from the owner of the vehicle and the employee who left the vehicle in drive/or the one who mishandled the vehicle while on the lift is where the restitution lies.

The suit can not be against the owner for leaving the car in "drive". (not sure why it is being reporting all over that way) That makes no sense as the car had to be moved to the repair bay by an employee.

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I don't even understand how the owner is part of this case? For owning a manual vehicle.? This has to be on the Dealer for hiring a improperly trained employee, Having a car in 1st is SOP for a manual vehicle.

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I don't even understand how the owner is part of this case? For owning a manual vehicle.? This has to be on the Dealer for hiring a improperly trained employee, Having a car in 1st is SOP for a manual vehicle.

I've found out even more, the Dealer is taking accountability for this, but the laws on the books require the suit to be filed against the property owner. Details on this are at The owner of the Jeep who left his car at the dealer for an oil change is sued for $ 15 million by the mechanic family - American Car Brands that make the story seem more reasonable. This is a good example of how stories can be skewed horribly if simple details are left off to allow readers to draw their own conclusions.

The important quote from the link above "The dealer’s insurance will defend the owner and pay for any judgments and legal fees."

I'm just as guilty - I wrote a response before doing enough research on the situation to get the full story.

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