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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Marian Armstrong’s parents bought a 1986 Nissan 300ZX in January 1986, and transferred it to her five or six years later with more than 90,000 miles on the odometer. On a rainy day in October 1992, immediately after resigning from her job, Armstrong got into her car and shifted into reverse. After she “barely touched” the accelerator, the car “took off” backwards and hit a brick building, though she was pressing the brake pedal as hard as she could. When she shifted into drive and again “barely touched” the accelerator, the car “shot forward” and struck a telephone pole, again despite application of the brakes. These collisions resulted in two broken bones in her foot and nerve damage, injuries the jury assessed at $900,000. The jury returned a verdict favorable to Armstrong on each of her fifteen theories of liability. The trial court rendered judgment on the jury’s findings of design, manufacturing, and marketing defects; negligence; and gross negligence, but rendered judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the other theories. Although Armstrong and Nissan had stipulated to $2 million in punitive damages if the jury found gross negligence (which it did), the trial court remitted this amount to $1.2 million. HOLDING:The court reverses the judgment of the court of appeals, and remands the case for a new trial on Armstrong’s remaining claims in accordance with this opinion. The court affirms that the mere occurrence of an unintended acceleration incident is no evidence that a vehicle is defective. While it was up to the jury in this case to decide what caused Armstrong’s accident, she had to present evidence that her ZX car was defective, not just that other owners experienced unintended acceleration. This court has never held that mere claims of previous accidents can prove a product is defective, and the court declines to do so here. A number of complaints may require a prudent manufacturer to investigate and may presage liability if those complaints are substantiated and the manufacturer does nothing. But a large number of complaints cannot alone raise a fact question that a defect exists. Product defects must be proved; they cannot simply be inferred from a large number of complaints. If the rule were otherwise, product claims would become a self-fulfilling prophecy — the more that are made, the more likely all must be true. Without proof that a hearsay exception applied or that any of the reported incidents were due to a defect similar to those alleged by Armstrong, the trial court erred in admitting the database of complaints. The trial court also admitted approximately sixteen reports of incidents of unintended acceleration, three from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s files and the remainder apparently from Nissan’s. Nissan failed to object to six of the narrative reports; four others were properly admissible under the facts of this case. The trial court erred in admitting the remainder. None of the four lay witnesses could verify a defect as the cause of their acceleration incidents, much less a defect similar to that alleged by Armstrong. Other than having accidents they described as unintended acceleration, these owners could show no similarity between their experiences and those involved in Armstrong’s suit. As with documentary evidence, testimonial evidence of unintended acceleration is no evidence of a defect. Thus, the trial court erred in allowing these witnesses to testify. Erroneous admission of evidence requires reversal only if the error probably (though not necessarily) resulted in an improper judgment. The court holds that the evidence improperly admitted in this case probably resulted in an improper judgment. OPINION:: Brister, J.; Phillips, C.J., Hecht, Owen, Jefferson, Smith and Wainwright, JJ., join. O’Neill, J., concurs. Schneider, J., did not participate.

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