Be Interactive Pty Head to New Zealand For Annual R&R

    BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/Be Interactive Pty is an ambitious face to face marketing firm based in Melbourne. The company works on behalf of some of Australia’s most exciting brands, organising and running engaging in person campaigns designed to boost sales and improve customer relationships. To maintain growth and continue to deliver exceptional results to clients, the firm is always developing new ways to personalise their customer service. The company’s face to face promotions allows them to directly tailor the service they deliver to each consumer’s needs, which drives their clients’ brand loyalty, market reach and overall ROI.

About Be Interactive Pty: http://www.beinteractivepty.com/aboutus/

Due to the hands-on marketing solutions, Be Interactive’s contractors work incredibly hard to secure stronger consumer relationships and consistent sales results for the firm’s clients. As such Be Interactive has made it a priority to give back to these dedicated individuals, organising a companywide getaway every year so that their contractors have the opportunity to refresh and unwind.

This year the firm will embark on a four-day R&R trip to Queenstown, New Zealand on November 25th. Be Interactive Pty chose Queenstown as the destination for this year’s R&R due to its reputation for being the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four season lake and alpine resort. An area of outstanding beauty, Queenstown is a natural playground for those seeking adventure and is home to a wide range of adrenaline-fuelled activities from jet boating and white water rafting to skiing and bungee jumping. However, Queenstown also caters for those looking for a something a little more relaxed, there are also some picturesque hiking and biking trails, as well as award-winning spa and wellness centres – ideal for relaxing after a hard day’s exploring.

On arrival in New Zealand Be interactive will be treating their contractors and administrators to a VIP dinner where they were able to socialise and have fun away from the fast paced sales and marketing environment. Over the next two days, the firm will be kicking back and enjoying the region’s popular activities and attractions, before closing the trip with a boat cruise – taking in the spectacular scenery of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding snow-topped mountains.

Be Interactive Pty have always believed in the importance of giving back, and are adamant that the annual R&R is a fun way of showing their contractors and administrators that their hard work is truly appreciated. Taking time away from the office is always incredibly important in building and maintaining the community spirit within the company, and allows professionals to have fun and get to know each other better. This helps to boost workplace performance, increases engagement, and helps encourage greater collaboration within the business.

For more information Follow @BeInteractiveAU on Twitter and ‘Like’ them on Facebook.


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ChatEbooks Breaks New Ground with E-Marketplace

    WALNUT, CA, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — It is no surprise that downloadable ebooks have revolutionized the publishing industry over the past several years. As electronic book sales have grown, smart companies have taken advantage of opportunities presented by the technology. ChatEbooks is one of those companies, developing an innovative social media e-marketplace that brings book readers and authors together. The company’s platform is designed to offer authors and readers a way to interact and to make real connections through live chat, polls, and user comments on topics related to each book. “Ebook sales and social media go hand in hand,” says Tanisha Williams, founder of the company that is based in Walnut, California. “Bringing authors and their readers together to chat and interact is a perfect blending of prevailing technologies.” To learn more about the groundbreaking platform the company has developed, visit www.ChatEbooks.com.

Even in a crowded, fast-growing industry, the company has found ways to differentiate itself in all aspects of its business model. Authors, for example, enjoy several important benefits not available to them on other ebook selling platforms. The authors retain full control over pricing and distribution of their works as well as keeping 100% of revenues from book sales. Revenues are instantly transferred to the authors’ PayPal accounts, ensuring immediate access. Of course, readers haven’t been left out, and they enjoy several benefits as well. First, they are able to purchase ebooks in several formats such as EPUB, MOBI, and PDF. They may download their purchases to their favorite device or read them directly on the ChatEbooks website. More importantly, they are able to chat with book authors either through scheduled live chat features or by creating their own topics and chapter discussions on the platform. The social media aspects of the site lets users invite their own family and friends to join in on the conversations taking place between authors and readers. The goal, says Tanisha, is to provide the ultimate ebook experience for readers and authors. “Our marketplace is the ideal way to purchase popular titles as well as to engage with authors in a fun-filled, user-friendly platform,” she says. “We hope to transform the industry by providing valuable benefits to our authors and our readers benefits they can’t get elsewhere.” For more information on the company and to view their many features, visit www.ChatEbooks.com.

ChatEbooks brings authors and readers together on an innovative social media platform and e-marketplace. The company’s goal is to provide the highest quality digital reading experience available. Authors and readers alike enjoy a variety of benefits on the platform and allows both groups to interact in meaningful ways. The company, based in Walnut, California, offers thousands of ebook titles and lively author/reader connections to choose from on its user-friendly site.


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Author Linda Maria Frank Chosen As Finalist In 2016 '50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading' Awards

    WILMINGTON, NC, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — Linda Maria Frank, author of ‘The Mystery of the Lost Avenger’, has been chosen as a finalist in the 2016 ’50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading’ Awards contest. Frank was chosen as the result of a public voting process.

“It’s a thrill to be chosen as a finalist,” Frank stated. “It’s what writers write for, the ability to say something or to tell a story that readers are inspired or entertained when they read your work. Stories help people to connect.”

Letters can really change a life. In Linda Maria Frank’s latest Annie Tiller Mystery, the teen detective and her boyfriend, Ty Egan, bump into the intrigue of a past time in American history. A letter from the United States Navy links Annie’s great grandmother with a plane crash from 1943.

A packet of letters between great grandmother, Charlotte Wheeler, and her Navy pilot finance, Frank Bradenton, hint at dangerous goings-on in the defense plant where Charlotte test and flies Avenger fighter planes to military bases on the West Coast.

Annie and Ty become code breakers, delving into the heart-stopping world of World War II to solve ‘The Mystery of the Lost Avenger’.

Other books in The Annie Tillery Mystery Series include ‘The Madonna Ghost’, ‘Girl with Pencil, Drawing’, and ‘Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys’.

Reviewers have high praise for Frank’s Annie Tillery Mystery Series. One reviewer stated, “Linda Frank might as well be the next Carolyn Keene with her new age mystery luring readers from every angle–suspense, romance, and modern forensics. This is a perfect book for all ages, particularly young readers who might find Nancy Drew a bit old-fashioned. Written in a way where every chapter leaves you with a crisp, familiar image of each character and location.”

Linda Marie Frank is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below, or by email at lmf217@hotmail.com. All of Linda Frank’s works are available at Amazon. Readers are encouraged to vote at The Authors Show site at http://www.theauthorsshow.com. More information is available at Frank’s website at http://www.lindamariafrank.com.

Linda Marie Frank is a native of New York City. Her life-long career has been in teaching. She taught in Seaford, in the Middle School when it was a Junior High, and in the High School. She taught science, ending her career in the high school as Department Chairperson, teaching biology, chemistry and forensic science. She went on to teach at Hofstra University, forensic science and biotechnology. She also supervised science student teachers at Adelphi University.

It was her forensic science courses coupled with her love of Nancy Drew and other mystery heroes that led her to write the Annie Tillery Mysteries, ‘The Madonna Ghost’ and ‘Girl With Pencil, Drawing’, ‘Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys’ and ‘The Mystery of the Lost Avenger’.

She was awarded the Seaford High School Teacher of the Year in 1989, and received an award from the American Association of University Women in 1995 for inspiring young women to pursue the field of science.

Frank also produces a TV show, The Writer’s Dream, on LTV-EH, a local access station in East Hampton, as well as Long Island Cablevision.


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Chicago's Parade, The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade, Returns to Downtown Chicago & Around The Country Thursday Morning, November 24!

    CHICAGO, IL, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, a high-quality, family event attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators, celebrates 83 years of Chicago holiday tradition. Loveable character balloons, top marching bands from across the country, festive floats, cultural groups, theatrical performances, equestrian groups, and celebrity guests, plus over a thousand dedicated volunteers, all marching through the Loop, make the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade an annual celebration for the whole family. For those not in Chicago, the parade is nationally broadcast, live, on WGN America. The 2016 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade takes place LIVE on State Street between Congress Parkway and Randolph Street in downtown Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24 from 8 to 11 a.m. (CST).

Originally called the Christmas Caravan in the 1930s, the Parade was created in 1934 to help lift the spirits of residents suffering through the Great Depression. Since then, it has developed into a full-scale spectacle that celebrates the holiday season. What once started out as an attempt to boost Chicago’s economy has evolved into a cherished holiday tradition for Chicagoans and Americans alike. Over sixteen different countries will share their enriched traditions with Chicago’s Parade this Thanksgiving morning. The sights on State Street give the audience a chance to travel the world and embrace other traditions, all without leaving downtown Chicago.

Chicago-born Matt Walsh of HBO’s Veep will serve as the Grand Marshal of this year’s Parade. Walsh will be joined by comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco, Emma Kenney from Showtime’s Shameless and Dante Brown from Fox’s new Lethal Weapon. Returning to the parade will be Northbrook’s own Yuri Sardarov from the TV hit series Chicago Fire and chef, restauranteur, and Top Chef host/judge Graham Elliot.

This year’s lineup also includes over 100 diverse and remarkable groups plus Honorary Grand Marshal Ronald McDonald, Chicago’s favorite fun-loving bird and Parade mascot, Teddy Turkey, and an appearance by Santa Claus.

2016 Parade Participants

Performances
The Parade opens with a bang: the ever-popular Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey returns to present Out of this World, the 146th production of “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Other staged performances kicking off the Parade include Broadway in Chicago’s FINDING NEVERLAND and STOMP, NBC’s America’s Got Talent finalist, Laura Bretan and semi-finalist, Musicality. More performances include Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Black Ensemble Theater’s Jackie Taylor’s The Other Cinderella, country sensation, Craig Campbell, Apollo Chorus of Chicago, The Hiplet Ballerinas of CMDC, Lucid Dance Company , Nancy Chippendale’s American Tap Company, Ayodele Drum and Dance, Ballet Folklorico Sones Mexicanos, Chicago Korean Dance Company, Hromovytsia Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and Tsukasa Taiko.

Marching Bands
Each year, the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade features top marching bands from all over the country and this year 23 different bands are featured. Among the many 2016 newcomers are bands from as far away as Georgia (Lowndes High School Marching Band, Osborne High School Marching Band, Dade County High School Marching Band, and Sequoyah High School Marching Band), North Carolina (South Caldwell High School Marching Band), and Kansas (Abilene High School Marching Band). These and other featured musical marchers join Chicagoland favorites, including Waukegan High School Marching Band, Kelly High School Marching Band, Marist High School Marching Band, Lake Zurich High School Marching Band and Michigan City High School Marching Band.

Equestrian
This year the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade brings 12 different equestrian ensembles to State Street, including the Medieval Times Dinner &Tournament, Culver Friesian Mounted Color Guard, Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, American Sidesaddle Association, Red Hats & Purple Chaps, the adorable Bertrand’s Miniature Horses and more.

Floats
Thirteen colorful floats will delight spectators this Thanksgiving. Newcomers to the 2016 Parade lineup, Huaxing Arts Troupe of Chicago’s Kungfu Monkey King and E Dongfang Chinese Performing Arts Association will join familiar floats from WGN Television, Chicago Park District, Tatra Mountain Cultural Foundation, Garrett Popcorn Shops, and Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, among others.

Specialty Units
Specialty Units, which march alongside the floats, balloons, horses, and bands, are a huge part of the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade each year, representing a diverse, international cadre of cultural organizations. New units this year include The Pack Drumline, Lakeshore Recycling Systems, and Nancy Chippendale’s American Tap Company. These groups appear with returning favorites that include the Jesse White Tumbling Team, Mobile Azalea Trail Maids, The Midwest Ghostbuster Coalition, 501st and Rebel Legion, the Chicago Spirit Brigade, Windy City Ghostbusters, the fire-twirling Barefoot Hawaiian and more!

Balloons
And what’s a parade without the fantastic balloons? Balloons in the Parade include Cookie Monster, Kung Fu Panda and our fun-loving Teddy Turkey. Make sure you watch out for these characters as they head down State Street.

Broadcast
WGN 9 Chicago airs the Parade live and in high definition from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (CST) Thursday, November 24. WGN America also broadcasts the Parade nationwide. CLTV will rebroadcast the parade from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (CST) on Thanksgiving.

The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade takes place rain or shine, Thursday, November 24, from 8 to 11 a.m., on State Street, in Chicago. For more information about the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, visit Chicago Festival Association online at www.chicagofestivals.org.

About MOCNI
McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Chicago and Northwest Indiana represent more than 100 franchisees and nearly 500 restaurants throughout the greater Chicagoland region, including stores as far north as Gurnee, west as Marengo, south as Watseka and east to Northwest Indiana. MOCNI manages and facilitates all marketing, sports, community relations, educational and philanthropic programs throughout the region, and is responsible for implementing and maintaining consistency at every Chicagoland restaurant.

Visit MOCNI on Instagram and Twitter – @McD_Chicago

About Chicago Festival Association
The Chicago Festival Association is a unique organization with the mission of producing community events that positively impact the people of the city of Chicago, its guests and visitors. Chicago Festival Association strives to ensure the best in high-quality family entertainment for the hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans on the Parade route and the millions viewing the national broadcast.


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Bella+Canvas Creates the Industry's First Black Heather

    LOS ANGELES, CA, November 16, 2016 /24-7PRESSRELEASE/ BELLA+CANVAS, premium blank apparel manufacturer, follows up the debut of their “Fast Fashion” collection with another launch of epic proportions. After 18 months of research and development they’ve engineered a fabric that is sure to be the most sought-after style of 2017. Combining the industry’s top selling color (black) with the fastest-growing fabrication (heather), they’ve done what no other supplier has been able to do in creating the first ever, black heather.

Black Heather will launch on November 1st in their top-selling 3001 Unisex Jersey Crew. The full
Black Heather collection includes ten styles in three fabrications, including Heather CVC, Triblend and Flowy Poly-Viscose. The collection will be available at bellacanvas.com, and starting in January will be available at all major distributors that stock BELLA+CANVAS.

Danny Harris, Co-Founder says, “Every year, we ask ourselves, how can we push the envelope in terms of innovation and, as we often find, sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. We looked at the competitive landscape and realized no one had a black heather. I don’t know if the industry lacks innovation or the concept proved to some too difficult to execute. But either way, after 18 months of being told it can’t be done, we nailed the perfect true black heather.”

At BELLA+CANVAS, it took an extremely talented technical team and a lot of trial and error
before landing on the perfect shade of black heather. It was important that this fabric was a
true black, but also that it featured the texture of a heather blend that customers love so much.

“We wanted to create something that would be a slam dunk”, Harris says, “Something that you can show your customers that is different from everything else out their but still feels familiar. Black Heather is the style that will win you that customer you’ve always wanted.”

ABOUT BELLA+CANVAS

Every day, since 1992, we’ve lived by the words BE DIFFERENT. We embrace the challenge of bringing retail-quality tees to the wholesale space, and have redefined the industry in the process. Promising, since day one, that we would only use 100% combed and ring-spun cotton, we design the composition of knit to be the best fitting, feeling and printing tee you’ve ever worn. Bellacanvas.com


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Own the Scene: Paramount Pictures and Ginder Factory Team Up to Offer New Movie Posters featuring Classic Scenes from Clueless, Mean Girls, Old School, and Tommy Boy

    CHICAGO, IL, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — Licensed merchandise company Ginder Factory, LLC (GF) and Paramount Pictures Corporation officially launched new movie posters, featuring iconic scenes from classic comedy titles CLUELESS, MEAN GIRLS, OLD SCHOOL, and TOMMY BOY.

GF’s tagline “Own the Scene” alludes to the company’s product offering: the ability for customers to select from an expanded variety of memorable scenes to own and display from these landmark titles as high-end movie posters. The concept reaches to fans who truly adore particular moments or characters from their favorite films, as they now have a new vehicle to display their love.

Unlike traditional movie posters that feature promotional imagery or a film’s theatrical one-sheet graphic, Ginder Factory has released never-before-sold on-set photography from Paramount Pictures archives now available for customers to order as official movie posters.

Poster prices range from $10 to $30, all dependent on size; accordingly, all poster sizes are printed for optimal framing options.

“We grew up obsessing over these films… I think we quote lines from these movies every day,” Virgil Bonifazi, Director of Operations for GF, said. “To now be able to release and print merchandise that die-hard fans like us can appreciate? It’s pretty special.”

Danny McKenzie, Creative Director for GF, is thrilled to continue developing ideas for new products.

“The sky is the limit with these movies,” he said, referring to the range of product concepts. “When you have so many memorable characters, styles, and scenes, it almost gets your head spinning with ideas–in a very good way.”

When entertainment is paramount, many people turn to Paramount Pictures Corporation. A subsidiary of media firm Viacom, the company produces and distributes films through Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies, and Paramount Vantage. It maintains the Paramount Pictures library of some 3,300 films, including classic hits from the Star Trek, Godfather, and Indiana Jones series, and releases about a dozen new titles annually. Paramount Pictures distributes movies on video and DVD through Paramount Home Entertainment.

Founded in 2013, Ginder Factory, LLC is currently licensed with PARAMOUNT PICTURES, CAPCOM, and The University of Iowa. On GinderFactory.com, fans can customize officially licensed apparel, posters, art prints, stickers, and more, featuring exclusive studio photography and original character designs from top artists. GF continues to explore new licensing IP to feature on its evolving customization experience for novelty print on-demand merchandise.


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Country Christmas at the Country Springs Hotel

    PEWAUKEE, WI, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Country Springs Hotel will celebrate the 21st anniversary of Country Christmas, Wisconsin’s Largest Drive-Through Christmas Lights Display. Country Christmas, presented by Town Bank, will open on Friday, November 25, 2016. The event is held on the grounds of the Country Springs Hotel, located at 2810 Golf Rd., Pewaukee, WI. Country Christmas dates of operation are: November 25-27 & December 2-31, 2016. Hours for the event are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Holidays and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Admission is $15 per carload Sunday – Thursday and $20 per carload Friday, Saturday and Holidays. Pricing for passenger vans and limos is $30 and minibus admission is $40.

In its 21st year, Country Christmas features:

• Over one million holiday lights – Festively displaying animated figures and holiday scenes on a mile-long trail that winds through the woods.
• “Bearville” with an animated church scene, general store, butcher shop, and sausage factory.
• Prarieville and Old Time Waukesha miniature cities.
• A captivating 200-foot tunnel of 30,000 computerized, pulsating lights.
• The Streets of Bethlehem is a collection of nearly life-size Fontanini nativity characters featuring shepherds, villagers, and the Christ child, in a peaceful, tranquil setting. Country Christmas has the only display of this magnitude in the area, a replica of the Pope’s personal collection.
• Christmas Village is a place where many can enjoy a hot cup of cocoa, or an evening treat while looking at animated scenes and a cuddly cast of holiday characters. Guests can enjoy an amazing working model train display that will delight everyone, especially train enthusiasts.

For more information, including special promotions and discounts available throughout the event, go to http://www.thecountrychristmas.com.

Media Contact:
Tiffany Woodward
Country Springs Hotel
262-547-0201
twoodward@countryspringshotel.com


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Aloha Window Tinting Opens on Maui

    LAHAINA, HI, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — This Fall, Jeffry Rezents, originally from the island of Oahu, decided to bring his Aloha Window Tinting business to Maui. Back on the mainland, Rezents has a successful window tinting company called All Weather Glass Tinting that is based in a small mountain town in Wyoming called Jackson Hole. After eight years of growth, he and his girlfriend Jennie have decided to recreate the business model right here in Hawaii. The new business is based in Lahaina and will focus on the high end residential market further north. However, they say that they are also committed to serving all of the island’s varied window film needs.

Jeffry has over 20 years of experience filming windows. His journey started in 1994 at Military Tinting, located in the town of Wahiawa, where he served soldiers of the Schofield Barracks. Speaking of his history, Rezents said that “The journey has been filled with great and valuable experiences!…I’ve tinted windows in Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Florida and maybe a few [states] that I’ve forgotten! I’m well versed in many of the various aspects of window film from the ultra rich residential market in Wyoming to the edgy and demanding commercial window film action in Portland Oregon to the high volume automotive film business here in Hawaii. It’s time to bring knowledge and experience home.”


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Red Dress Boutique Appoints Visiture as Search Agency

    CHARLESTON, SC, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — Red Dress Boutique, a leading women’s clothing online boutique, based in Athens, Ga, has partnered with Visiture, a premier search marketing agency, to manage the company’s search services. The company has selected Visiture as it’s agency of record for digital marketing.

While Red Dress Boutique started as a brick and mortar business, the company grew exponentially when they started their online business. Today, they are the fastest growing online women’s retailer in the nation. Their online boutique soared even higher after appearing on and winning an investment from Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Looking to further grow their online presence and search marketing efforts, Red Dress Boutique selected Visiture as their partner based on their experience, creativity, and past successes. The move comes as a part of Red Dress Boutique’s overall efforts to expand their advertising and marketing efforts in order to further reach and engage with their consumers.

Visiture will help develop a thorough search marketing strategy campaign through paid search and search optimization designed for Red Dress Boutique and their diverse audience. Visiture and Red Dress Boutique aim to leverage a diverse platform of tactics in order to further connect with consumers of the brand.

Visiture CEO Ronald Dod was excited about the opportunity to work with such a successful brand that has an amazing story. “As fans of Shark Tank, we were even bigger fans of Diana and Josh Harbour’s appearance on the show. Their success story was so compelling and we are pleased to be partnering with them to continue expanding their reach in the ecommerce space. Through creative search marketing strategies, we fully expect that Red Dress Boutique will continue to experience strong growth in the years to come.”

About Red Dress Boutique
Red Dress Boutique, an alumni of Shark Tank and one of their biggest success stories, is one of the fastest growing online junior and young contemporary retailers in the nation! They specialize in comfortable and trendy looks at prices customers will love. You won’t find boring or bland at Red Dress Boutique!

About Visiture
Visiture, for 10 plus years, has transformed online retail stores’ bottom lines through search engine optimization, paid search management, and Google Shopping. Through a deep understanding of consumer insights and media platforms, Visiture is able to help retailers realize and obtain a new level of search traffic and conversions. For more information, visit us on the web at Visiture.com.


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Georgia Court of Appeals affirms Walden v. Chrysler

    ATLANTA, GA, November 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ — Plaintiffs Lindsay Strickland and Bryan Walden Respond to Court of Appeals Decision

Today the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed Decatur County Superior Court Judge Kevin Chason’s rulings in Walden v. FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, formerly known as “Chrysler”). The Walden v. Chrysler case was tried last year, in Bainbridge, GA, resulting in a verdict on April 2, 2015. Four 1/2 year old Remington (“Remi”) Walden died in flames after the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee in which he was a passenger was rear-ended and the gas tank, which was located at the extreme rear of the car, burst. The ruptured tank caused a gas-fed fire that Remington could not escape. Remi’s parents filed suit in 2012.

The jury verdict was $120 million for the parents’ wrongful death claim and $30 million for Remi’s pain and suffering claim. Judge Chason granted FCA’s post-trial motion for remittitur, reducing the wrongful death verdict to $30 million and the pain and suffering verdict to $10 million.

Walden was the first case involving Chrysler’s rear gas tank cars to go to trial. Chrysler had managed to settle all others without trial.

The Grand Cherokee in which Remington was a passenger had a rear gas tank located only 11 inches from the back of the car and hanging 6 inches below the bottom of the car. Plaintiffs claimed that Chrysler had known for decades about the dangers of that gas tank design and that a “midships” gas tank location – forward of the rear axle – was much safer. Plaintiffs claimed that Chrysler had itself been warned repeatedly that its rear gas tank design was dangerous in rear impacts. Those warnings came from Chrysler customers who’d been in Jeeps with rear gas tanks that ruptured in rear impacts, from Chrysler’s own knowledge of real world collisions, and from Chrysler’s own engineers.

Chrysler admitted that the rupture of the gas tank caused the fire and that it could have put the gas tank on the 1999 Grand Cherokee in the “midships” position. Plaintiffs argued there was no evidence that a “midships” gas tank would have been punctured in this wreck.

Plaintiffs presented evidence that Chrysler knew about 17 other rear impact wrecks where Jeep rear gas tanks failed before Remington Walden died on March 6, 2012. One of them involved a crash in New Jersey in 1998, where a young lady managed to escape her burning Jeep. On February 26, 1998 her mother, Norma Jean Friend, who owned the Jeep, wrote to Chrysler to warn it:

“In thinking about this afterwards, I can only imagine how horrible a situation it would be if a driver had to remove a child from a car seat, or could not get out of the car within moments.”

Two years and eight days later, Remington Walden, belted and in a booster seat, died from fire because no one could get him out fast enough.

“Remi’s parents are very appreciative of the Court of Appeals’ decision,” Jeb Butler said. “They hope that someday this will all be over.”

“It is simply unbelievable that FCA continues to deny this design is defective – a design the industry has known for decades is vulnerable and can cause the most horrible kind of death and injury,” said Jim Butler.

“FCA’s briefs and oral argument were fundamentally dishonest,” Jim Butler continued. “We are glad that the court saw through them.”

Plaintiffs contended that the rear was a bad place to put something as dangerous as a gas tank, and that the gas tank on the Chrysler Jeeps was particularly vulnerable to rear impact because it was only 11 inches from the rear, hanging 6 inches below the bottom of the car.

Chrysler engineer Estes admitted at trial that the rear gas tank “is vulnerable to rear impact” and that in 1998, Chrysler knew that the rear gas tank on a 1999 Grand Cherokee would be crushed in rear impact. Estes admitted that for the 30 mph crash tests, Chrysler had a rule against putting any instruments in the back 24 inches of the Jeeps – where the gas tank was located – because Chrysler knew they would be crushed.

Chrysler itself injected into the trial the investigation of the rear gas tank Jeeps by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Plaintiffs argued to Judge Chason that he should exclude the NHTSA investigation altogether, or should allow all the facts about that investigation into evidence.

Judge Chason ruled before trial:
“Chrysler seeks to introduce the document by which NHTSA closed the investigation (labeled “ODI Resume” and dated 11/11/14) but simultaneously exclude the fact that an investigation ever occurred and the process that led to that closure of the investigation. It would be both inconsistent and misleading to admit evidence regarding the closure of the NHTSA investigation, but simultaneously exclude evidence that the investigation ever occurred. If Chrysler seeks to make arguments based on the closure of the investigation, then as a matter of fairness, Plaintiffs are entitled to introduce evidence about how that closure occurred, what that closure means, and what events led to the closure of the investigation.”

The Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND REGARDING THE NHTSA INVESTIGATION
On June 3, 2013, after a long investigation, that agency’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) notified Chrysler that it believed the Jeeps with rear gas tanks were defective because of the gas tank location. On June 7, 2013, Fiat-Chrysler Chairman Marchionne requested a private meeting with then-NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. That meeting was held in secret on June 10, 2013 at the FAA office at Chicago O’Hare airport. At Marchionne’s request, the meeting was limited to himself, Strickland, and then-Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. (NHTSA is an agency within the Department of Transportation.) The career professionals from ODI who had spent nearly three years investigating the jeeps were not invited. LaHood later told the press that the three men reached agreement at that meeting.

NHTSA agreed to let Chrysler recall some of the Jeeps and add trailer hitches to them, for “incremental protection in certain low speed impacts.”

Strickland then left NHTSA and became a partner at the Venable law firm, which has for years represented and done lobbying work for Chrysler. Plaintiffs’ counsel in the Walden case sought to depose Strickland, who referred them to the NHTSA lawyers, who denied Plaintiffs’ request to depose Strickland. One of Chrysler’s lawyers in the Walden case was former NHTSA Chief Counsel Erika Z. Jones.

In the trial Chrysler contended that the ultimate NHTSA decision agreeing with Chrysler’s proposed recall meant those Jeeps were not defective. Plaintiffs responded by showing that ODI never retracted its finding of defect, but that the investigation was closed only when the top political officials, the Administrator Strickland and the Secretary LaHood, directed it be closed.

ODI had investigated four different Jeep models with rear gas tanks – the Cherokee, 1993-98 Grand Cherokee, 1999-2004 Grand Cherokee, and 2002-2007 Liberty. ODI found that the latter three were defective. After the private secret meeting in Chicago, NHTSA approved Chrysler’s proposed trailer hitch recall only for the 1993-1998 Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Liberty, but not for the 1999-2004 Grand Cherokee model that was at issue in the Walden case. The Walden case was then pending, having been filed on July 7, 2009.

NHTSA’s decision to let Chrysler recall two of the models ODI had concluded were defective came just two years after the former head of Engineering for Chrysler, Francois Castaing, testified under oath that the trailer hitch does not protect the tank. At trial Chrysler’s own expert witness Jon Olson, formerly a Ford fuel systems engineer testified that adding a trailer hitch “can be a detriment” in rear impacts except at low speeds, and “can become a puncture source.”

Chrysler sought to defend its rear gas tank design at trial by claiming that back in 1999 other automakers were still putting gas tanks at the rear on some of their vehicles. Plaintiffs showed, as ODI had found, that automakers had been abandoning the rear gas tank design for decades, that Chrysler well knew the safety benefits of a midship gas tank location, that Chrysler itself had moved gas tanks on many of its cars, pickups, and SUVs to the midship location before 1999, and that no automaker currently sells any passenger cars in this country with a rear gas tank. Plaintiffs presented multiple Chrysler documents from before 1999 where Chrysler itself wrote – including in advertising brochures for various Chrysler vehicles – that the gas tank was located midships “for protection in rear impacts.”

On appeal and at trial, Plaintiffs were represented by Jim Butler of Butler Wooten & Peak (Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia) and Jeb Butler of Butler Tobin (Atlanta, Georgia), George Floyd (Bainbridge, Georgia), Cathy Cox (formerly of Bainbridge and currently President of Young Harris College in Young Harris, Georgia), and David Rohwedder of Butler Wooten & Peak.
On appeal FCA was represented by Thomas H. Dupree, Jr. and Rajv Mohan of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher of Washington D.C. At trial FCA was represented by Brian Bell and Anthony Monaco of Swanson Martin & Bell (Chicago, Illinois); Diane Owens, Terry Brantley, and Alicia Timm of Swift Currie (Atlanta, Georgia); Sheila Jeffrey and Brian Westenberg of Miller Canfield (Detroit, Michigan); Erika Z. Jones of Mayer Brown (Washington, DC); Alan DeGraw of Chrysler (Auburn Hills, Michigan); and Bruce W. Kirbo Jr. (Bainbridge, Georgia).

MEDIA CONTACT – James E. (Jim) Butler, Jr. (jim@butlerwooten.com; office 706-322-1990; James E. (Jeb) Butler III (jeb@butlertobin.com; office 404-587-8423)


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