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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:08 a.m., Thursday, April 20, 2006

Big Island man wins $17 million judgment against seat belt maker

Associated Press

HILO — A Big Island man who was paralyzed from the waist down in a 2000 car accident has won a $17 million judgment against his sports utility vehicle's seat-belt maker, Takata Corp.

Dason Udac, 26, of Na'alehu, was injured when his 1987 Nissan Pathfinder overturned on Hawai'i Belt Highway. His elderly father, Alberto Udac, was not injured.

The Udacs sued Japan-based Takata, alleging that the seat belts were negligently designed.

A jury in December found that Udac was 35 percent responsible and Takata was 65 percent responsible.

Udac was awarded $16.53 million in damages, including $12.5 million in punitive damages. Alberto Udac was awarded $422,500 for emotional distress and the loss of care from his son.

Circuit Judge Glen Hara entered the judgment in the case yesterday.