Fri 17th Mar | 2023

Partner Julie H. Littky-Rubin Applauds Court’s Decision to Hold Global Corporations Accountable in Landmark Mazda Case

Accidents Appeals Appellate Litigation Auto Defect Car Accidents BY

March 16, 2023 – Palm Beach Gardens, FLA – Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman is pleased to announce that the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision finding that it had personal jurisdiction over Mazda Motor Corp., a Japanese Corporation. The case arose out of a products liability wrongful death case involving Mazda Motor Corp. The Court issued its opinion on March 15, 2023.

Mrs. Lourdes Triche, the mother and personal representative of the estate of her son, Alexandre Arrata Acevedo, sued Mazda (and other entities), after her son died when his 2016 Mazda3 Sport caught fire after a rear-end collision in Florida. The plaintiff argued that Mazda Japan, the defendant in the case, had sufficient minimum contacts with Florida for the state to assert personal jurisdiction consistent with federal due process.

In support of its motion to dismiss, Mazda Japan argued that it lacked sufficient minimum contacts because it did not manufacture, design, or service vehicles in Florida, and did not distribute or sell vehicles in Florida. However, the court found that the evidence submitted by the plaintiff showed that Mazda Japan did more than simply place its vehicles in the global stream of commerce.

Instead, it engaged in “additional contact” that made it fair for Mazda to stand trial here. “After a lot of detailed analysis and painstaking consideration, this court got it right,” said Julie H. Littky-Rubin, Board Certified Attorney and Partner of Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman. The law should not allow global corporations to hide behind their corporate forms while they profit all over the world. As the Third district found, Mazda Japan has engaged in activities and cultivated business in Florida, giving it every expectation that it will be haled into Court here.”

The case is Mazda Motor Corp. et al. v. Lourdes Triche, as the personal representative of the estate of Alexandre Arrata Acevedo et al., case number 3D21-803, in the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida.