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Arkansas Jury Orders Hankook to Pay $1.2M for Tire Tread Defect Crash

Another win for Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball against a global tire manufacturer

MORRILTON, Ark. – An Arkansas jury late Thursday ordered South Korea-based Hankook Tire Co. LTD to pay $1.2 million to a severely injured dump truck driver over an accident caused by a tire tread defect.

The verdict is the latest significant win against a global tire manufacturer by the trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP, which maintains offices in Ocala, Florida, and Houston. The eight-day trial followed a multiyear legal battle on behalf of 76-year-old truck driver Elmer Philpot.

Mr. Philpot was driving a load of gravel in 2010 when a defective tread on his right front tire separated, causing him to lose control of his dump truck. In the resulting crash, Mr. Philpot suffered leg fractures that required hip replacement.

After hearing evidence about how the defect originated at a Hankook plant in Daejeon, South Korea, the jury found the company 100 percent responsible for the crash and for Mr. Philpot’s injuries. The jury award is the largest on record in Conway County, Arkansas. Earlier in the case, Hankook was sanctioned by the judge for discovery misconduct.

“We took an aggressive position in this lawsuit because we knew that the jury needed to see and hear all of the evidence about Hankook’s manufacturing processes,” says attorney Skip Lynch, who practices in Kaster Lynch’s Florida office.

Trial team member Bruce Kaster agreed: “We forced this company to turn over key documents, and that made a big difference during the trial.”

In addition to Mr. Lynch and Mr. Kaster, the winning trial team included Jerry Kelly of Carlisle, Arkansas-based The Kelly Law Firm PA, and Ben Caruth of Gordon, Caruth & Virden PLC in Morrilton, Arkansas.

The case is Elmer Philpot v. Hankook Tire Co. LTD, et al., No. CV-2012-114, in the Circuit Court of Conway County.

The trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball have hard-earned expertise in cases against global tire manufacturers over tire tread separation defects that can cause vehicles to lose control and roll over, often at highway speeds and without warning. The firm has secured verdicts and settlements against some of the largest tire manufacturers in the world, including Cooper, Goodyear and Hankook. To learn more about the firm, please visit http://www.thetirelawyers.com.