I wish I'll have a jury of people as objective as you are.
Amazing how engineers have a matter-of-fact choice of words that aren't readily understood. "Stall" means "stopped vehicle" but "stop" means "stop".
What I'd give for timely deployed airbags on that night....
I'm for exotic power. Also for a vehicle designed around that exotic power.
Negligent design in terms of product liability is defined by a design fault that could have been easily foreseen and avoided. Given the fact that I never designed an airbag deployment system and managed to predict that the system may not function under full acceleration (a fact that saved my life, and cost the driver his life as he braced anticipating a functional airbag), it's clear the design fault was foreseeable and thus, preventable. Regardless of FMVSS and speed limits (since we weren't blazing down the road). The driver did let off after passing the witnesses and after the torque lunge. The CL55 AMG trannie breaks unmistakably when the throttle is chopped (holding the low gear for a bit). There was an engineer in AMG that foresaw this, and there was an attorney in Daimler AG that told that engineer not to worry for there is no law requiring Daimler AG to revisit their base-model's airbag and seatback systems. That doesn't mean Daimler AG gets to hide behind FMVSS either. For I'm not saying a system that wasn't required should have been there (i.e. lap belt in a center seat). I'm saying that the systems mandated to be in place didn't function, practically murdered the driver as he braced anticipating the function of those systems, and imposed additional injuries after not protecting us from critical injuries. We would have been safer if all we had were lap belts from the '60's.
What I can't believe is how I was so confused about reaching the dash so easily and couldn't understand the failed seatback until years later. That was the easy design fault that I somehow couldn't understand without a sprained shoulder. My should had a slight bruising because I was poking at it for minutes in the ICU while inspecting my bodily damage after a 30hr induced comma. Poking to feel that bruising which should have been much worse.
The automatic downshift issue is the hardest of the three design faults to demonstrate. At the end of the day it'll come down to the fact the airbags and seatback failed to operate.
With Mickey Thompson I-Comps on a '79 Z28 350/4spd/373 rear (back in '92 w/510lift cam, solid lifters, 1.6roller rockers, 10:1comp...) I used to hold the clutch down at 20mph, rev three times to initiate a race and on the third time I'd pop the clutch. That pre-spooled power always guarantied me a 1-1.5 car jump over just staying in 2nd gear and nailing it. That's the best way to describe what the CL55AMG automatic downshift does. The CL55AMG's super advanced traction control system acts as if the pair of Mickey Thompsons on the back. I say let the driver go to manual mode before being able to initiate a lunge like that. We would have been safer losing traction also as a side slide is a whole lot easier to recover from than a torque lunge.
We were never into going fast for thrills. It's a relaxation and only for choice spots. But there was no fast driving on that night. It was just freak.
Daimler AG will never give up their algorithms during discovery. I appreciate the offer though. Daimler AG has done nothing to cooperate during discovery. And they definitely stepped out of line claiming that acceleration has no affect on accelerometers' ability to deploy the airbags and a collision's pulse. This has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with an $80B/yr company operating in 200countries with 256,000 employees telling a sole survivor and Pro-Se Plaintiff to go screw himself while turning their backs to a public safety matter knowing they've reached new power levels that will not promote any chance of survival.
My latest Motion mentioned that Daimler AG either restore my life or finish their murder of two front seat occupants. So now Daimler AG is claiming I'm threatening them, seeking a Protection Order, seeking the 'striking' of my complaint (after 200+documents across 2-Fed jurisdictions, 6-opposing counsel and 4-motions seeking dismissal). Daimler AG has no desire to govern themselves. All while announcing their new "Ethics and Legal" boardmember position to "create a company culture promoting voices of whistleblowers from within and on the outside". Yeah, more like monitor any liabilities given how they have addressed my complaint.
Detectives' reports, photographs & video, AMT reports, Doctor's records and autopsy reports yet Daimler AG is insisting I haven't presented any evidence supporting my claim. Daimler AG even had a Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC employee comment on the outboard side of my seatback while their own counsel withheld a photo of the outboard side of my seatback from him (showing that it buckled at the bottom by the hinge point). It's like watching the biggest Neanderthal swing the smallest dick.
First, I have a question relative to your statement about the AMG Engineer. Was his position that the transmission fault was evident, and it was unacceptable and erratic? OR that with the power / performance levels the AMG line of cars is capable of, that safety features should be enhanced? Once again at least in my opinion, the it's faster so it NEEDS to be safer argument is a moot point. It needs to be as safe as the government dictates.
Like I said in my earlier commentary, you somehow need to prove that the airbag system did not function as intended, or that there was a foreseeable flaw i.e. the bags not deploying properly due to acceleration (which was not factored into the algorithm, something along those lines).
Could you not subpoena the airbag algorithm if you could in fact claim that it's material in proving your claims that the design of the airbag system is flawed?
As far as the seatback, are you saying it bent forward upon impact - therefore placing you closer to the airbag, and not restraining you properly therefore allowing you to so easily hit the dash. In the case of the driver, I suppose the argument could be made that he hit the bag quicker than expected because they were designed to work in parallel with the seat belt restraint, it's tensioner etc.
As for you, its possible that that right shoulder injury you sought out would in fact be avoided in this case. SINCE the seatbelt is mechanically coupled to the seat, and NOT to the B pillar etc. I think the "typical" seat belt induced shoulder injury isn't really possible in this type of seat / seatbelt combo.
Follow my logic here for a second. After looking at your pictures, I started to develop a theory of HOW the seat could bend in that manner, and allow you to so easily touch the dash.
The CLS has seats that recline forward to allow entry / exit to rear seat occupants right? So that seat is hinged. The hinge relies on an inertia lock to stop it from coming forward when the vehicle is rapidly decelerating right?
WHAT IF... the pretensioner did it's job and kept you tightly in the seat. Essentially mechanically coupling you to the seat, but with this design not to the chassis (as in the case of a conventional B pillar seatbelt setup). BUT the combined weight of your upper body, as well as the seatback multiplied by the G forces your body (and the seatback) was subjected to upon impact were enough to overcome the inertia lock. In that case the seat would in fact recline forwards (without that MUCH of the force focused directly on your shoulder). So you AND the seatback may have hit the dash, and the seatback may have hyperextended in that collision, and that's how the whole mess got tweaked. I don't think that you managed to get free of the belt. I think the belt worked, but the seat failed.
As far as the litigation process, of course you will expect them to deny deny deny. Their car is perfect, and everything was / is your fault. The burden of proof is on YOU, and they fully intend to keep it that way. Luckily you are only subject to a standard of a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt.
As much as you can, try to control your emotions in your statements and legal documents. Citing "murder" of your friend, or your own murder in process leads nowhere good. All it will do is serve to portray you as a lunatic, disturbed, or emotionally distraught over the loss of your friend and the situation you find yourself now in and simply seeking vengance. One more thing, and this is sometimes the most challenging for us engineers. If this ever does see a jury, try to keep the technical jargon to a minimum. I learned this when teaching. What is every day common sense to us, may be completely confusing or intimidating to someone without an engineering / technical background.
You have to make 12 people off the street understand that this didn't work the way it was designed. And that they either knew about it or should have.
You know my late father said something very profound to me once.
He told me, if I ever started a company, to make sure I incorporated in Delaware. I asked him why, assuming it was for tax purposes.
He proceeded to explain that You want to be in Delaware, because due to the small population, they do not have jury trials for civil cases. Therefore If I was to ever get sued, my fate would only be in the judges hands. He then proceeded to add, "Trust me, you do NOT want your case decided by 12 people not smart enough to get out of jury duty"...