Mendoza Case Background
In the vehicle were Martin Mendoza, 37, the driver, his wife, Denise, 34, and their children Daniel, 15, and Amy, 8; also Martin's brother, Jose, 40, his wife, Maria, 38, and their son, Hector, 16.
All had their seat belts buckled. However, all the belts except that of Jose, in the front passenger seat, unlatched. Martin was hurled into the windshield and fell between the two front seats. Denise and Maria, who were in the middle captain's chairs, and all three children, who were riding in the rear seat, were ejected from the vehicle.
The families filed a lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler in the 157th Judicial District, Harris County (Houston) Texas, on March 13, 2003. Also named as defendants were Honeywell International, Inc., Mirage Motors and Ken Malloy, doing business as Mirage Motors. Honeywell is the parent company of AlliedSignal, Inc., maker of the Gen3 buckle. Mirage Motors sold the minivan to Martin Mendoza.
The lawsuit accuses DaimlerChrysler of negligence in the manufacture of the defective Gen3 seatbelt, and seeks unspecified damages. A copy of the complaint is under legal documents.