TX Jury Awards Paralyzed Teen $12M In Defective Goodrich Tire Lawsuit
A jury awarded a Texas teenager $12 million after a Goodrich tire on his family's Ford F-250 pickup truck separated from its tread and caused the truck to swerve into oncoming traffic where it collided with an SUV – killing all six passengers and leaving the teen with permanent paralysis.
Texas products liability
This Texas products liability lawsuit involves much more than a defective tire. According to a report in Texas's Brownsville Herald, the Guzman family's 2002 Ford F-250 pickup truck was equipped with Goodrich tires made by the South Carolina based Michelin North America Company. The tread on one of the tires separated causing the truck to swerve into oncoming traffic just outside of Matamoros, Texas. It collided with a Chevrolet Suburban SUV (sport utility vehicle) – killing all the SUV's passengers and leaving then 12 year old Jesus Guzman paralyzed.
The family sued Michelin alleging that the tire defect caused the truck accident and Jesus's injuries. A jury agreed and awarded him $12 million in damages. Discovering what caused the tire defect in the first place cast the tire manufacturer in a very bad light and likely paved the way to the substantial verdict.
The real reason the tire was defective
The Guzman's definitely chose a tire defect attorney who knew what he was doing as he was able to prove that the tire defect was caused by Michelin’s negligence in failing to fix a leaky roof at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama manufacturing plant. Leaking water damaged machinery used to make the tires – one of which was placed on the Guzman's truck – and the company simply allowed the defective tires to be sold in the marketplace.
If that wasn't bad enough, the judge in the case reprimanded Michelin for urging its employees not to discuss the leaky roof with plaintiffs' attorneys from the Guzman family or those who were killed in the SUV who also sued the company. Unfortunately, that kind of behavior is not just limited to manufacturers.
Defective & outdated tires: A big issue
The use of defective and outdated tires on American cars is a bigger issue than most of us realize. In fact, an ABC news story reported that many of the U.S.'s largest tire retailers are selling older tires as new – even though consumer advocate groups and manufacturers say that tires more than six years old become brittle and may cause severe injury. To view the ABC video, please click here.