Although Firestone is one of the most notorious tire manufacturers when it comes to negative publicity, other companies – including General, Toyo, Cooper Tire, Sumitomo Rubber, and Dunlop Tire Company – also find themselves in the news due to complaints of defective tires, rollovers, tread separations, roof crushes and blowouts. Not to mention the resultant lawsuits.
Dunlop’s Axiom Tire Blamed for Van Rollover
A Los Angeles jury awarded $ 15 million to a local man named Joven Mapa, who was paralyzed after the Dunlop tire on his minivan disintegrated and caused a rollover in 1997. The crucial evidence in the trial was a 2-inch stack of documents containing adjustment data from Dunlop. The numbers told the tale. Two of every three Dunlop Axioms, the model in question, returned between 1996 and 1999 showed evidence of tread separation – the same defect that flipped Mapa’s Ford Aerostar. Dunlop ceased production of the model in 1995.
Dunlop Tire and Sumitomo Settle Products Liability Case
On October 28, 1999 a negotiated settlement of $4.9 million was issued on behalf of Jim McGuire, who suffered severe brain injuries in 1996 when a ten-year-old tire, manufactured by Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. and distributed by Dunlop Tire Corporation, blew out. This caused his car to collide with a semi-tractor/trailer. The accident occurred on March 16, 1996, as Mr. McGuire was driving a 1979 MG (which he had borrowed from his sister) southbound on I-95, near 45th Street in West Palm Beach. When the left rear tire of the car blew out, he briefly lost control of the vehicle before managing to pull off of the through lanes and onto the paved emergency lane at the side of the road. The MG was then struck by the semi-tractor/trailer. Because of the impact, McGuire, the father of six children, suffered permanent neurological injuries and remained in a coma for 42 days. He was hospitalized for a total of 150 days.
In its case against Sumitomo and Dunlop, the plaintiffs contended that internal defects in the tire ultimately caused the blowout. The wire cord construction of the Dunlop SP4N tire allowed moisture to migrate throughout the tire’s steel belts, which lead to internal rusting. Dunlop internal records indicated that they were aware of this design defect for a year and a half prior to the manufacture of this particular model. Investigations also revealed claims for blowouts caused by internal rusting of steel belts in similar tires. No consumer warnings were ever issued by Sumitomo or Dunlop to alert potential purchasers or tire owners of the possibility of internal rusting and subsequent rupturing of SP4N tires. “The tire company knew about the internal rust problems associated with this particular tire and made no effort to alert the consumer. Our client and his family have suffered severely and irreparably because of their negligence,” stated McGuire’s attorney once the settlement was reached.
The tire in question was also warranted for the useful life of the tread, irrespective of the chronological age of the tire itself. McGuire’s MG tires were examined following the accident and, while ten years old, were found to have legal and sufficient tread depth to remain under the company warranty.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. and its distributor Dunlop Tire Corporation agreed to pay $4.5 million, with the remainder of the $4.9 million settlement to be paid by the owners of the MG and the owner of the semi-tractor/trailer.
Defective Dunlop Tire Serious Injury Lawyer
Experienced personal injury attorneys, such as the Steven J. Sharp- and Martindale-Hubble-recognized Willis Law Firm, assist individuals and families suffering serious injuries or death as a direct result of defective Dunlop tire accidents. We offer 30 years of practice in everything from inspections to evidence gathering to tackling the case itself, and are here to help you recover the damages you deserve. For a consultation, we ask that you please call us at 1-800-883-9858 or send an email.