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Arkansas Court of Appeals Upholds $1.2M Verdict for Driver Injured Because of Hankook Tire Tread Defect

Win is latest by Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball trial team in large commercial tire cases

HOUSTON and OCALA, Florida – Trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball (KLF&B) won an important Arkansas Court of Appeals ruling, upholding a $1.2 million product defect verdict against Hankook Tire Company and its U.S. subsidiary, as well as sanctions against Hankook and an awarding of attorney fees. The May 20 decision involved an Arkansas truck driver seriously injured in a crash caused by a defective Hankook tire.

The case shines a light on defective commercial truck tires used on dump trucks, RVs and a wide variety of fleet vehicles. The KLF&B trial team has extensive experience working on behalf of individuals who have been injured in accidents caused by truck tires including the Hankook 385/65R 22.5, Goodyear G670 Load Range H 295/80R22.5, Sailun S825 425/65R22.5, and the Hercules H402 425/65R22.5.

In addition to the KLF&B team, the plaintiff was also represented by trial lawyers Jerry Kelly of Carlisle, Arkansas-based Kelly Law Firm and Ben Caruth of Morrilton, Arkansas-based Caruth & Virden.

“This case underscores how Hankook and other tire manufacturers must do a better job spotting defective tires before they enter the marketplace,” said trial lawyer Skip Lynch. “These companies need to take responsibility rather than use the courts to stall and delay. And when manufacturers fail to take these matters seriously, they need to know that courts will uphold sanctions and award attorney fees.”

Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball has a national reputation for holding tire manufacturers accountable and raising awareness about the dangers of defective tires. The firm is the only one in the U.S. to obtain a court order to inspect Hankook manufacturing facilities in South Korea. The team recently obtained a similar order allowing inspections of Sailun manufacturing facilities in China.

In the Arkansas ruling, the court found that a 2016 verdict against Hankook was proper. Jurors had found that Hankook and subsidiary Hankook Tire America were separately liable for the defective tire that caused the 2010 crash injuring Elmer Philpot. He was ejected through the windshield of the dump truck he was driving after a tread separation on a Hankook 385/65R 22.5 tire. In addition, the appellate court upheld sanctions and an award of attorney fees based on what the opinion described as Hankook’s “obtuse and unnecessary abuse of the discovery process.”

“This jury spoke loud and clear,” said trial lawyer Bruce Kaster. “We are grateful that the Arkansas Court of Appeals agreed, and Mr. Philpot can finally move on with his life.”

The ruling means Hankook must respect the jury’s $1.2 million damages verdict and attorney fees of $43,025. The case is Hankook Tire Co. et al. v. Elmer Philpot, Case No. 2020 Ark. App. 316, in the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

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.

Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball trial lawyers: Case has broad consumer safety implications

HOUSTON – A COVID-19-related delay in the U.S. Supreme Court’s spring docket includes an important automotive defect case in which Ford Motor Co. is attempting to limit the ability of injured individuals to hold manufacturers accountable for defective products.

Trial lawyers from Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball were preparing for scheduled April 27 oral arguments in Bandemer v. Ford when the Supreme Court’s spring docket was postponed. The case has generated high-profile support, including an amicus brief filed by prominent law professors from New York University Law School and George Washington University Law School.

“This is a critically important issue for the future safety of consumers,” said trial lawyer Kyle Farrar. “By restricting the ability for individuals to file lawsuits in their home states and the states of their injuries, automakers and other manufacturers will be less accountable for injuries caused by their defective products.”

In Bandemer v Ford, Minnesota resident Adam Bandemer alleges that a defective passenger-side airbag in a Ford Crown Victoria that he was riding in was responsible for a severe brain injury he suffered in a 2015 crash.

The issue before the Supreme Court hinges on Ford’s claims that since the Crown Victoria in the Bandemer lawsuit and a Ford Explorer in a companion lawsuit were originally purchased outside the states where the accidents occurred, the plaintiffs cannot file their cases in their home states because those states lack jurisdiction over Ford. Under such circumstances, the Michigan-based automaker claims the plaintiffs should be required to file the lawsuits in the state where the vehicles were designed or manufactured. Ford appealed to the Supreme Court after state supreme courts in Minnesota and Montana rejected the automaker’s arguments.

Bandemer is represented by Kyle W. Farrar, Wesley Todd Ball and Mark Bankston of Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP.

“This is another attempt by powerful corporate interests to strip citizens of their constitutional right to access the civil justice system,” Mr. Farrar said. “Government oversight and regulations are toothless in holding manufacturers accountable. It’s vital that consumers have access to courts when dangerous products cause injuries.”

About Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, the trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP 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.

Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball attorneys recently won an important appellate ruling at the Minnesota Supreme Court in a product defect lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. for injuries caused by a defective airbag. In addition to earning a critical victory for a Minnesota resident who suffered serious injuries when his airbag failed to deploy, the closely watched case has broad implications for individuals seeking a level playing field in litigation against national and multinational corporations.

At a time when corporations are seeking to limit legal venues and make it harder for individuals to file product defect and personal injury lawsuits, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Ford’s venue challenge arguments seeking the lawsuit’s dismissal. A majority on the court ruled that the Minnesota court system is the proper venue for the case filed by Adam Bandemer because the vehicle involved in the wreck was purchased Minnesota, Mr. Bandemer is a Minnesota resident, and the wreck occurred in the state. Mr. Bandemer was a passenger in a Ford Crown Victoria and suffered a serious head injury when the vehicle’s airbag failed to deploy during a January 2015 collision.

“What’s important about the decision is it ensures Minnesotans have recourse against national and multinational corporations that put defective products in the stream of commerce,” said Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball attorney Kyle Farrar, who tried the case along with KLFB attorney Mark Bankston. “Mr. Bandemer was a passenger in a Ford vehicle that was purchased, registered and being driven in Minnesota. To require him to litigate in Ford’s backyard of Michigan would be a manifest injustice, and ultimately would lead to significantly fewer cases being filed, therefor less means by which to ensure the safety of the products we use every day.”

The Minnesota Supreme Court decision upholds earlier rulings from the trial court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals that the case was properly filed in Minnesota. Ford is expected to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is Bandemer v. Ford Motor Co.

The Legal Intelligencer newspaper interviewed Kyle Farrar following a record jury verdict and settlements in a Pennsylvania lawsuit in which a mother and her baby daughter were seriously injured in a crash caused by a defective Bridgestone truck tire.

Writes The Legal Intelligencer: “According to Houston attorney Kyle Farrar of Farrar & Ball, who was the lead plaintiffs attorney in the case, along with Wesley Ball, the trial centered around the trucking company’s failure to call 911. Farrar said he focused arguments on an internal document from the trucking company outlining that their policy instructed drivers not to accept responsibility for accidents.

“I think that caused the jury to think their conduct was outrageous,” he said.

Click here to read the article.

Law360 spoke with Wes Ball following the firm’s record verdict and related settlements for a mother and her infant daughter who were seriously injured in a crash caused by a defective Bridgestone truck tire.

Writes Law360: “Silvi Concrete has joined Bridgestone in settling a woman’s claims that the companies are responsible for the dismemberment she and her infant daughter suffered in a car crash, days after a Pennsylvania jury hit Silvi with a $11.7 million compensatory damages verdict in the case, the woman’s attorneys announced Tuesday.

“It is our understanding based on research … that this is the largest amputation settlement of any kind, period, in any state,” Mr. Ball said. “I think it was an incredible result for the client and I am incredibly proud of the work my entire team did.”

Click here to read the article.

Kyle Farrar and Wes Ball have both been named to Thomson Reuters’ list of Texas Super Lawyers for 2018. This is the fifth consecutive year each attorney has received the honor, having first been named in 2014. The Texas Super Lawyers list is published by the Thomas Reuters legal department, and is compiled from nominations submitted by attorneys from across the state. The final list comprises less than five percent of attorneys practicing in Texas. Once the list is complete, it’s published each year in Texas Monthly and Texas Super Lawyers magazine.

Farrar & Ball, LLP, has dedicated itself to helping individuals who have been hurt or killed through the recklessness and neglect of others. In addition to personal injury, the firm represents clients in a range of legal matters, including pharmaceutical tort litigation, product liability claims, and commercial disputes.

Farrar & Ball congratulates attorney David Romagosa for his repeat selection to the Rising Stars list of top young lawyers in Texas. This is the eighth consecutive year Mr. Romagosa has been named to the list, the first being 2010. Texas Rising Stars honors those attorneys under 40 years old, or who have been practicing the law less than 10 years. Of all the eligible attorneys practicing in Texas, only 2.5 percent are nominated each year.

Farrar & Ball, LLP, is dedicated to fighting for those who have been injured or killed through the carelessness of others. In addition, the firm takes on a range of other matters, including product liability claims and commercial litigation.