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Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball Wins Key Minn. Supreme Court Ruling in Closely Watched Ford Airbag Lawsuit

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.

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.

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.

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.

HOUSTON – After building one of the region’s hottest trial law firms and earning a string of record verdicts against tire, automotive and product manufacturers, Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP, founders Kyle Farrarand Wesley Todd Ball have been singled out for a rare combination of professional honors.

Mr. Farrar and Mr. Ball are joining a select group of lawyers who earned selection to the National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 (2015-2016), which recognizes the country’s leading attorneys age 40 and younger. The two courtroom litigators also previously have been named to the exclusive Thomson Reuters’ Texas Super Lawyers list (2014-2016), an honor seldom extended to practitioners under age 40, and the Thomson Reuters’ Texas Rising Stars list (Ball, 2010-2014, Farrar, 2009-2014)which specifically recognizes top lawyers under age 40. The three individual honors are awarded by invitation only based on peer nominations and comprehensive editorial reviews.

These recent professional honors speak to the maturity and leadership of Mr. Farrar and Mr. Ball, who founded Farrar & Ball in 2005 and have distinguished themselves as leaders of a growing and successful law firm. In 2014, they created a partnership with respected Florida attorneys Bruce Kaster and Skip Lynch to form Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball focusing on tire tread defect litigation. The two attorneys have earned substantial verdicts and settlements during the past year in cases filed against major automobile and tire manufacturers.

The Farrar & Ball trial team earned one of the largest verdicts in the nation against Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. related to a deadly rollover crash involving an SUV that was carrying six passengers. The verdict ranked among the largest in the U.S. by VerdictSearch in 2010 has since been upheld on appeal.

Farrar & Ball also has prevailed against numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Michelin North America Inc., Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Sumitomo, Hankook Tire, Honda Motors, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire and numerous other corporate defendants.

Farrar & Ball, LLP, is dedicated to helping those injured due to corporate neglect. The firm has developed extensive knowledge of tire and vehicle failures, and also represents clients in pharmaceutical tort litigation, product liability claims, personal injury cases and business disputes. To learn more, visit the firm’s website at http://thetirelawyers.com//.

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.