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Global Tire Manufacturing Ramps Up Amid Concern About Quality Control, Dangerous Tread Defects

Tire defect experts call for product safety vigilance

HOUSTON and OCALA, Florida – As global tire manufacturing ramps back up after  COVID-19 pandemic closings, trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball (KLF&B) are calling on the industry to be vigilant about quality control and urging regulators and consumers to be on the lookout for defective tires entering the market.

Tire manufacturing depends on precise temperature and humidity settings that affect chemical reactions, as well as complex mechanical adjustments, and any changes in those variables can result in dangerous tread defects, said trial lawyer Wes Ball.

“Tire manufacturing is a complicated process with no room for error,” said Mr. Ball. “These companies have learned that government oversight only goes so far. We fight to hold them accountable when they fail to keep dangerous products out of the marketplace.”

KLF&B attorneys are authorities on litigation involving accidents caused by defective tire treads, including high-profile lawsuits against manufacturers in China, South Korea, Japan and other countries. That work includes obtaining closely guarded internal company documents that have revealed details about design and manufacturing defects. KLF&B is the only U.S. law firm to have secured court orders to inspect Asian tire manufacturing facilities and the only one to actually conduct an inspection of such tire-making plants.

“I am proud to be part of this team of talented lawyers and paralegals who continue to break new ground in uncovering tire defects and their causes,” said firm co-founder Skip Lynch.

In a recent lawsuit against China-based Sailun Jinyu Group, the firm represented the family of a Florida man who died in a truck crash caused by the catastrophic tread failure of a Hercules/Sailun tire. The KLF&B team obtained extensive internal documents and secured a court order allowing inspections of Sailun’s manufacturing facilities. The inspection order was on appeal by Sailun when the case settled.

Material obtained in that lawsuit is being used in litigation on behalf of others injured by defective Sailun tires, including a similar case in Philadelphia.

“These manufacturers operate under a lax regulatory environment that too often allows defective tires to enter the marketplace unnoticed,” said KLF&B trial lawyer Kyle Farrar. “Too often, consumers are left in the dark about product recalls. When these companies fail consumers, we make sure they’re held accountable.”

About Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, Texas, trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball have hard-earned expertise in cases against global vehicle and tire manufacturers over various defects that can cause significant injuries or deaths. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.

Firm achieves major verdicts, settlements in product defect lawsuits

HOUSTON AND OCALA, Florida – Trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball are named among the finalists for the National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers “Law Firm of the Year” for products liability litigation based on a string of recent legal victories that include large jury verdicts and numerous major settlements.

The firm as selected among more than 300 nominations for the honor, which highlights the team’s experience and active nationwide trial docket in more than two dozen states. Honorees will be announced Jan. 20 in Miami at the National Trial Lawyers Summit, a gathering of the nation’s outstanding civil plaintiff and criminal defense attorneys.

Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball has developed special expertise in tire defect litigation, including successfully mounting aggressive discovery battles with multinational tire and automotive corporations.

Firm successes within the last 18 months include:

  • A $6.7 million jury verdict for the family of a Louisiana man who was killed when a defective truck tire experienced sidewall zipper failure and exploded while he was inflating it.
  • An $11.7 million product defect verdict and four related confidential settlements for a New Jersey woman whose arm was severed after her car struck a large truck tire retread on the road.
  • Numerous tire defect settlements with significant confidential awards against some of the world’s largest tire and automotive companies, including Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Bridgestone Tire and Michelin.
  • A successful challenge at the Minnesota Supreme Court in a closely watched case, Bandemer v Ford Motor Company, that attracted amicus support. Ford has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the firm is working in tandem with Stanford Law School on this matter.
  • The firm has served as lead counsel in high-profile defamation litigation against Alex Jones and InfoWarson behalf of parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP  have hard-earned expertise in cases against global tire manufacturers over tire defects that can cause vehicles to lose control and roll over, often at highway speeds and without warning. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.

Tire company failed to warn of sidewall zipper explosions while inflating

PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. – The law firm of Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP, has again obtained a significant verdict against a multinational tire company, this one against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

A Louisiana district court has awarded a $7.2 million verdict for the tire explosion death of a Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, man. The jury found that Goodyear Tire & Rubber failed to provide adequate warning about both the existence and cause of sidewall zipper failures with its G182 tire.

Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball trial lawyers presented evidence showing that the tire company’s warnings about zipper failure were misleading about the circumstances in which a tire could rupture. In addition, the warnings were never relayed to employees of the Solid Waste North Department of the Plaquemines Parish Government. They were unaware of explosion risks for tires on the fleet of garbage trucks, according to court testimony.

On Feb. 5, 2014, Elwood Breaux Jr. and a co-worker were inflating a G182 tire after noticing that the tire pressure was low. Mr. Breaux was holding the tire upright when the sidewall ruptured. The force of the air escaping from the tire threw him backward, and he sustained serious internal injuries to his chest and abdomen. Mr. Breaux never left the hospital and died from his injuries 28 days later.

The January 2019 trial lasted two weeks. In his Sept. 10, 2019, ruling, Judge Michael Clement ruled that Goodyear had not carried out its duty to warn Mr. Breaux and co-workers about the tires’ dangers and how to avoid being injured. Judge Clement awarded $6.73 million for Mr. Breaux’s six children and his wife, with an additional $481,075 going to the parish, which had intervened in the lawsuit to recoup costs associated with the tragedy.

The trial team included co-lead counsel Kyle Farrar and Skip Lynch of Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball with assistance from Danny Meeks and Kristen Meeks of Metairie, La.-based Meeks and Associates. Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball paralegals Daneen Muscato and Malisa Uwagawa served as support.

Based in Ocala, Fla., and Houston, Texas, the trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP have hard-earned expertise in cases against global tire manufacturers over tire defects that can cause vehicles to lose control and roll over, often at highway speeds and without warning. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire manufacturers. This year alone, the firm has secured three 8-figure verdicts against three different tire companies and recovered confidential settlements totaling a multiple of those verdicts against other tire and vehicle manufacturers.  For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.

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 https://www.thetirelawyers.com.

As injuries and fatalities continue to rise in connection with defective ignition switches in millions of GM cars and trucks, General Motors has agreed to pay $900 million to settle criminal charges related to its poor response and botched handling of the grave product safety issue.

At least 124 people have died and many more have been injured in crashes caused by GM cars shutting off without notice, disabling the airbag, power steering and power brakes. GM executives have admitted that its employees were aware of the ignition switch flaw for nearly a decade before implementing a recall in 2014.

Although federal authorities have said that GM executives made misleading statements and concealed information about the faulty switch, the settlement does not hold individual decision makers at GM accountable and has drawn criticism relatives of those killed in crashes caused by the faulty ignition switches.

“While nothing can bring my daughter back, we need a system where auto executives are accountable to the public and not just corporate profits,” Laura Christian, whose 16-year-old daughter Amber Marie Rose was killed in 2005, told CNN.

The automotive product liability lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball have extensive experience representing individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of dangerous automotive products. The trial team has successfully represented individuals who have been injured by defective tires and automotive products, spurring automakers and product manufacturers to make safety improvements to their products.

Read more about the settlement here.

Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball successfully concluded litigation with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. The firm represented Maria and Jesus Rodriguez, age 11, in a tire failure incident wherein Maria was seriously injured and Jesus was rendered a paraplegic. The incident occurred and the case was filed in Harris County, Texas.

As a result of the catastrophic tire failure, Maria and Jesus were forever affected. Due to his paralysis, Jesus’s future medical needs were estimated by experts in excess of $8 million.

During the pendency of the case, Farrar & Ball successfully compelled the production of tens of thousands of pages of internal Cooper Tire documents. With the benefit of these documents, Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball were able to prove the tire was defectively manufactured and designed. However, at the insistence of Cooper Tire the information produced during the pendency of the case has been forever sealed by the District Court due to Cooper’s claim of confidentiality. Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball maintain the documents represent nothing presently confidential of any concern to Cooper Tire. Rather, the reason for Cooper’s insistence of confidentiality concerns the fact all information is simply “dirty laundry,” which could injure Cooper in future litigation.

Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP is dedicated to helping those injured due to corporate neglect. Our firm has developed specialized knowledge of tire and vehicle failures and each respective industry. If you have a case involving injury as the result of a tire or vehicle failure, please call us immediately. We aggressively work every case as though it were our only case. You too will receive specialized attention.

The case concluded two months before trial was to begin. At the urging of Cooper Tire, Plaintiffs are unable to disclose the terms.

Kyle Farrar and Wes Ball, founding partners of Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, once again have earned a spot on the annual Texas Rising Stars list.

This marks the third consecutive year that all three have been profiled in the annual Texas Rising Stars magazine. To earn the distinction, researchers with Thomas Reuters’ Legal division solicit nominations from attorneys across the state. The final list of honorees appears in the April 2012 editions of Texas Monthly and Texas Rising Stars magazine.

Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball founding partners Kyle Farrar and Wes Ball once again have been named to the Texas Rising Stars list, with 2011 marking the second consecutive year they have been highlighted among the state’s top litigators.

Both were nominated by fellow attorneys across the state, and the final selections are listed in the April 2011 editions of Texas Monthly and Texas Rising Stars magazine. These latest honors are further proof of the hard work and dedication Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball devotes to all its clients.

After a rollover crash in 2007 killed one passenger and severely injured the others, the accident victims sued in Iowa state court. As part of their case, the plaintiffs’ attorneys obtained key documents showing that Cooper was aware of dangerous defects in several of its tire lines. Although the parties had agreed to a protective order, these documents were then used as evidence during the trial, and several witnesses testified about them.

In March 2010, a jury found Cooper fully at fault for the crash. The next month, however, Cooper filed a “motion to maintain protective order,” which, if granted, would have required the sealing not only of the trial exhibits, but also portions of the trial transcript.

Public Justice moved to intervene on behalf of the Center for Auto Safety in order to oppose Cooper’s motion. In January 2012, the court denied Cooper’s motion as to the trial transcript, but granted it as to the documents that had been produced pursuant to the protective order on grounds that they are trade secrets.

Staff Attorney Leslie Bailey was lead counsel. Co-counsel were Stuart Ollanik of Boulder, Colo., and Emily Anderson of Riccolo & Semelroth, P.C. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Tire companies rarely have to answer in court for the harm caused by their defective products. Few law firms have taken manufacturers to trial in the last three years.

Only a handful of law firms focus on tire litigation against all manufacturers. Kaster Lynch Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP is an elite firm in this area.

Over the past few years, we’ve obtained significant verdicts and settlements in tire-related litigation across the country. Our success includes:

2012: Settlement reached after first day of trial
Defendant: Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
2010: Record setting verdict
Defendant: Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

We know tires. We know how to win. To discuss your tire case or product liability claim, contact us at 800-311-1747.