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Defective Auto Parts Cases

Hill v. Titan Tire

Confidential multi-million dollar settlement for a 42 year old man who sustained brain injuries following a tire failure on his vehicle.

The right rear tire on the plaintiff’s vehicle sustained a tread and belt separation, causing the vehicle to become uncontrollable, leave the highway, and roll over. The plaintiff was ejected from the vehicle despite wearing his seat belt. The plaintiff had purchased the tire used about one month prior to the incident. The plaintiff alleged the tire was defectively manufactured, and also brought claims against the used tire distributor and the retailer that sold the used tire.

Plaintiff gathered evidence during discovery that showed Titan Tire had consistently poor performance evaluations at its manufacturing plant in Des Moines, Iowa. The subject tire was designed by Pirelli and sold originally by Sears. The poor performance evaluations were conducted during audits of Titan’s manufacturing plant by Pirelli. Approximately three months before trial, the trial court imposed evidence sanctions and issue sanctions against Titan Tire for abuse of the discovery process. The sanctions in effect established that the subject failed tire had a manufacturing defect, that the manufacturing defect was a cause of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages, and that Titan Tire’s conduct was done in conscious disregard of the rights of plaintiff thereby subjecting the Titan Tire to punitive damages. Titan Tire appealed, and the Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s ruling. All defendants settled with the plaintiff on the eve of jury selection following the trial court’s rulings on motions in limine.

Does v. Van Manufacturer and Rental Company

Confidential multi-million dollar settlement on behalf of the survivors and family members of 14 church group members involved in a fifteen passenger van rollover.

The church group was on a trip from northern California to a monastery in southern California where they planned to attend a weekend retreat. The van rolled over and several of the occupants were ejected. Five of the van occupants were killed, and several others sustained serious injuries. The plaintiffs reached a confidential settlement with the van manufacturer prior to the disclosure of expert witnesses. The plaintiffs went to trial against the rental company, alleging that the rental company failed to follow its internal rules for the rental of fifteen passenger vans to non-profit groups. After seven weeks of trial, the rental company reached a confidential settlement with the plaintiffs.

Doe v. Japanese Auto Manufacturer

Confidential multi-million dollar settlement on behalf of a 37 year old man and his wife for burn injuries sustained when the fuel tank was punctured in two locations.

The plaintiff’s vehicle was slowing to a stop on the freeway when a drunk driver traveling nearly 70 mph slammed into the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing the fuel tank to be punctured and a fuel fed fire to engulf the vehicle. The plaintiff alleged the fuel system was defectively designed because the manufacturer failed to fully and adequately protect the fuel tank from obvious sharp edges that posed hazards to the tank in the event of a rear end collision.

Doe v. Auto Manufacturer

Confidential multi-million dollar settlement on behalf of quadriplegic woman who was injured when her Ford Explorer rolled over and crushed down causing her spinal cord injuries. Brian Panish and Adam Shea were co-counsel on behalf of the plaintiff.

Frankl and Sitze v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Confidential multi-million dollar settlement on behalf of U.S. military personnel involved in a rollover in Saudi Arabia.

The military personnel were driving in a GMC Suburban when one of the rear Goodyear Load Range E tires sustained a tread and belt separation, causing the vehicle to become uncontrollable and roll over. The rollover caused the death of Captain Frankl and severe injuries to Lt. Colonel Garry Sitze. The evidence showed that the U.S. military had encountered nearly twenty failures of Goodyear Load Range E tires in Saudi Arabia, but none of the prior incidents resulted in serious injuries or death. The military did not know that Goodyear had a history of tire failures involving the Load Range E tires. The case was filed in New Jersey state court, and settled prior to trial. Adam Shea was co-counsel for the team representing the plaintiffs.

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