A class action lawsuit has been filed against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles after the tragic death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin.
Yelchin was discovered pinned between his San Fernando home's security gate (attached to his brick mailbox) and his own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee at around 1 a.m. on Sunday. The vehicle's engine was still running when he was found, and was set in neutral.
According to Variety, Yelchin's Jeep had been recalled recently due to "rollaway risk." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said there was a common occurrence of drivers "erroneously concluding that their vehicle’s transmission is in the park position," leading to the possibility that they "may be struck by the vehicle and injured if they attempt to get out of the vehicle while the engine is running and the parking brake is not engaged." Over 1 million vehicles are included in the recall.
On Thursday, Yelchin's cause of death was revealed as blunt traumatic asphyxia, which means he experienced a very "rapid" passing, likely within one minute. Traumatic asphyxia is defined as an injury "produced by a sudden increase in venous pressure, common in those who have been hanged and occurring occasionally in crush injuries." His death certificate, obtained by TMZ Wednesday, confirms there were no other maladies that could have contributed to the Russian's death.
The class action suit, which was also filed on Thursday, accuses the manufacturer of "intentionally covering up fatal design flaws and deaths from the defects." At the helm of the suit is Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman Sobol, who wrote the complaint:
"The safety issue is real. Well over 300 accidents have already been reported, causing dozens of serious injuries, and potentially the death of Anton Yelchin, a young Hollywood actor who was crushed to death when his own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his drive and pinned him against his brick mailbox."
The lawsuit seeks damages of $5 million and would force Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to replace the troublesome gearshift.