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Limo dealer wins lawsuit filed by former Red Wings defenceman

DETROIT - A federal jury on Friday rejected a request to award former Detroit Red Wings defenceman Vladimir Konstantinov and a former team masseur nearly US$300 million for a 1997 limo crash that left them with disabling brain injuries.

The jury deliberated for 90 minutes before deciding that Findlay Ford Lincoln Mercury, the Ohio dealership that sold the limo, was not responsible for the injuries the two sustained.

James Feeney, an attorney representing the dealership, told the Detroit Free Press that the seven-person jury returned a "common sense verdict."

Richard Goodman, a lawyer representing Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov, had asked for $75 million to $100 million for each man's pain and suffering. He also asked for lost wages of $88.8 million for Konstantinov and $2.29 million for Mnatsakanov.

Goodman blamed the injuries on the dealership's failure to ensure that a limousine conversion company left the seat belts visible so passengers could use them. Feeney countered that responsibility for the crash lay not with the dealership but with limo driver Richard Gnida, who had a poor driving record.

The crash on June 13, 1997, occurred six days after Konstantinov helped the Red Wings win their first Stanley Cup in 42 years.

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