On January 11, 2011, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Adam Shea and Spencer Lucas obtained a $14,465,864 jury verdict in San Diego County Superior Court for three young boys whose parents were both killed in a 2006 crash that result from a tire tread separation on their van.
Casey Barber was driving his Ford E350 Sportsmobile van near Page, Arizona with his wife Melanie when a right-rear tire tread separation caused the vehicle to lose control and roll over. The San Diego couple sustained fatal injuries and were survived by their three young sons who were also occupants of the vehicle that day. Before trial, a settlement of $8,300,000 was reached with all but one defendant, Mossy Ford, which had performed a faulty tire repair on the van rather than taking the damaged tire out of service. At trial, Plaintiffs were able to demonstrate that Mossy Ford’s faulty tire repair caused the tire tread separation and resulting crash.
The $22,765,864 combined verdict and settlement is believed to be the largest amount awarded in compensatory damages in a San Diego County wrongful death case. A damages verdict was not enough, however, for the plaintiffs or their counsel. A post-verdict settlement was quickly reached conditioned on the dealership agreeing to follow industry guidelines regarding tire repair practices and to implement a program to better train its technicians with regard to safe tire repairs. The Barber children were also represented at trial by Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood, LLP attorneys Robert Buccola and Jason Sigel who were involved in all aspects of the case.