November 8, 2007, - 2:44 pm

Litigation Explosion: Injured Detroit Red Wings Repeatedly Soaking Auto Industry

By Debbie Schlussel
This story reminds me of those who repeatedly sue gun manufacturers when someone murders one of their relatives with a gun. Almost always–no, always–the gunmaker had nothing to do with it, but because it has “deep pockets” must settle with the plaintiffs and those who buy guns to protect their families pay the price in higher gun prices.
In this case, though, it’s not the gun industry, but the dying-on-the-vine American auto industry. More than 10 years ago, a Detroit Red Wing hockey player, Vladimir Konstantinov, and team masseur, Sergei Mnatsakanov, were in a limo when it crashed into a tree. The chauffeur’s license was suspended because of a previous drunk driving conviction. They were seriously injured. And I feel bad for them.
But they have been repeatedly suing Ford Motor Company and Ford dealerships–who’ve already paid them many thousands–for the accident. Um, sorry, but Ford and its dealerships have nothing to do with a drunk limo driver. Ford had no idea when it sold a limo to a limo company that it would someday be an unlicensed, negligent driver and that he would hit and injure two people. To hold them responsible is absurd.
But both Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov are still suing Ford and Findlay Ford Lincoln Mercury of Findlay, Ohio, where the vehicle was purchased. Ford already paid Konstantinov $163,000 and Mnatsakanov $64,614 in a settlement, according to a report.
And you wonder why car prices keep rising and Ford is on life support. Baseless lawsuits like this don’t help.

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5 Responses

Not to get into the particulars of the case since I don’t know them, but the situation was slightly different than described. They were in the limo that crashed, and I don’t think it was ever established that the driver was drunk. He was driving on a suspended license due to a drunk driving conviction, but that ended up being the only thing he did time for in regards to this particular accident.

stormhit on November 8, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Richard Gnida did in fact have blood tests that found evidence of marijuana in his blood; Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca said the level was too low to determine if the drug was a contributing factor in the accident with the Red Wings players. July 1999, Gnida was found to have a BAC level of 0.12, when he was pulled over for running a stop sign in Detroit. Previous to the Detroit crash that seriously injured Red wings defensemen Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov, Gnida had been ticketed twice for speeding and was convicted in 1994 of driving while impaired. In 1996, the Secretary of State’s Office revoked Gnida’s license for having more than 12 points on his driving record.
Please reference these articles.

LX on November 8, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Three times I got robbed in the taxi was in a Chevrolet, the fourth time I was in a Ford. Never knew I could sue Ford and GM for, I don’t know, I’ll think of something.

John Cunningham on November 9, 2007 at 3:26 am

Hearing about this makes me sad to be a hockey fan. Get over it already. Ford had nothing to do with this accident and they should give back the money they already received.

hockeykevin on November 9, 2007 at 11:18 am

I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

JM: Every Day. DS

jojo mair on April 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

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