2010 Sharp Award Recipients

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2010 Sharp Award Recipients 

Victim and Lawyer Advocate for Those Injured by Defective Vehicles; Father Lobbies Congress Over Inadequate Victim Compensation
Attorney: Larry Coben
Client: Jeremy Warriner
Attorney: Keith Jones

On October 22, 2005, Jeremy Warriner was driving home from work in his 2005 Jeep Wrangler when a 16-year-old motorist drove through a stop sign and struck his vehicle. The Jeep slid off the road and hit a pole; the impact caused the cheap plastic brake fluid container in the Jeep to break apart. A fire erupted and Mr. Warriner was rescued, but only after he had suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns to his legs. 

Mr. Warriner awoke from a medically induced coma two months later to find that both legs had been amputated. He had 38 surgeries after the accident, resulting in over $1 million in medical bills. Mr. Warriner sued Chrysler and his case was scheduled for mediation, but was canceled after Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

Chrysler, and later GM, indicated their intention to use the bankruptcy process in a radical way. Chrysler and GM would attempt to escape responsibility for all pending product liability claims as well as any product liability claims that would arise in the future for cars sold prior to the conclusion of the bankruptcy. That means that an estimated 90 million vehicles on the road today, many of which have known defects, would not have been subject to any product defect claims. 

Along with his attorney, Larry Coben, Mr. Warriner and several other Chrysler and GM accident victims traveled to Washington to directly advocate for help from Congress or the Administration. Mr. Warriner and Mr. Coben traveled the country revealing the fundamental unfairness of Chrysler attempting to avoid its liability leaving current and future victims without any recovery. Even though Mr. Warriner has yet to receive any compensation for his accident, he remains a strong advocate for all people injured by defective vehicles.

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Keith Jones is a lawyer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, whose son, Gordon Jones, was killed on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon, the drilling rig that exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and causing one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history.

On May 27, 2010, Mr. Jones testified before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives during a hearing on legal liability issues surrounding the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and subsequent oil spill. Other witnesses include an engineer who suffered a head injury but survived the explosion, and a rig worker who refused to sign a liability waiver offered by BP.

The Jones’ and the families of the 10 other workers killed in the explosion faced severe limitations on what they could recover because of a law called the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). The law was amended in 2000 so victims of TWA Flight 800 could recover full damages after perishing on the “high seas,” but the same protections were not extended to those killed on vessels like the Transocean rig. Mr. Jones was recognized with the Sharp Award for his efforts in lobbying congress about the inadequate remedies provided by the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) and advocating for proper compensation for victims of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig explosion


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