It's important to note that three-point seatbelts didn't become a legal requirement in all seating positions until 2007. Before that time, regulations established in 1989 said that three-point belts were only required in outboard seats, so Mazda built the MPV to conform to the laws in place when the vehicle was built and sold.
The lawsuit was originally rejected after Mazda pointed to a 2000 Supreme Court case in which Honda was unsuccessfully sued after injuries occurred in a 1987 Honda Accord. In that case, the plaintiff said that Honda was responsible because it did not install airbags in the vehicle.
The Supreme Court will hear the case in the 2010-2011 term starting in October.
[Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg | Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty]