BY Stephen Nartey, 2:05pm July 01, 2024,

68-year-old awarded nearly $2 million after BMW’s ‘soft close’ door severed his thumb

Godwin Boateng/Photo credit: YouTube/Eyewitness News ABC7NY

A Long Island man, Godwin Boateng, has been awarded $1.9 million in damages after the “soft close” door of his BMW severed his right thumb in 2016. The 68-year-old software engineer from Valley Stream expressed joy over the verdict delivered by a Brooklyn federal court jury on Thursday nearly a decade after the incident.

“We’re very happy with the award,” said Boateng’s lawyer, Avi Cohen. Cohen added he and Boateng were happy they held out on BMW’s last settlement offer weeks before trial, which amounted to “peanuts.”

Boateng’s dream of owning a $70,000 BMW X5 turned into a nightmare in 2016 when the vehicle’s self-closing door severed a chunk of his right thumb. Despite rushing to the hospital with the severed thumb, surgeons deemed the injury too severe for reattachment.

“The doctor came in and looked at it and said, ‘I’m sorry.’ He said he couldn’t. The way it got severed, it couldn’t be saved,’’ Boateng told The New York Post in 2018.

Since the accident, the now-68-year-old software engineer from Valley Stream has had to give up his weekly tennis games and adapt to using utensils and writing differently. He also often hides his disfigured hand in his pocket out of shame and embarrassment.

“He has a loss of daily function,” said Cohen, who noted that the software engineer can’t even use his thumb to type on a computer keyboard because of how sensitive it is now, even after nearly a decade and several surgeries.

The jury dismissed three other claims against BMW, including allegations of dangerous design, but believed the company was not fully transparent about the number of injuries caused by the “soft close” doors.

Evidence revealed that BMW had acknowledged at least 44 injuries from the mechanism worldwide in a 2016 investigation by a German car regulator, despite initially claiming only a couple of incidents.

Jurors, Cohen said, “got a very clear idea that [BMW] is being deceptive in [their] practices.”

“You’re not being truthful, you’re not being forthright and you’re not protecting your very own consumers,” Cohen said of BMW.

Despite the debilitating injury caused by the door, Boateng still owns his BMW X5 and regards it as a fine car. He expressed surprise to his lawyer that BMW fought the case so vigorously, likely incurring higher costs than a settlement would have.

“I cannot believe them,” Boateng said after the verdict, according to Cohen. “They had an opportunity to not go through this trouble, and they just didn’t take it seriously.”

BMW lawyer Phil Dilanni said the carmaker “stands by our products and refutes any suggestion that the vehicle in question was to blame for Mr. Boateng’s injury,” citing the fact that the jury did not find in favor of any claims of a defect.

The jury’s verdict rejected BMW’s claims that Boateng was partially responsible for his injury, placing full blame on the car company for the disfigurement.

“We will appeal, if necessary,” Dilanni said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 1, 2024


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