Goodyear Wrongful Death Suit
A Louisiana District Court ordered Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to pay 6.7M in damages in a wrongful death suit involving a garbage truck driver.
The victim — Elwood Breaux Jr. was working for the Solid Waste North Department of the Plaquemines Parish Government when a tire he was inflating on his garbage truck exploded. The force of the air escaping the tire threw him backward causing severe injuries to his chest and abdomen. He spent 28 days in the hospital. He never recovered and eventually died.
Failure to Warn of Possibility of Serious Injury
Goodyear claimed that there was a written warning of possible injury located on the G182 tire as well as on invoices and brochures sent to the parish. However, the judge in the case found that these warnings were inadequate and failed to specify that an underpressurized tire might explode during inflation.
The court also determined that the tire manufacturer did not carry out its duty to inform Mr. Breaux and his co-workers of
- what a sidewall “zipper failure” was,
- what caused it,
- how to avoid it, or how to avoid being injured.
The following damages were calculated in the verdict:
- Breaux’s wife, Irene Breaux, was awarded $1.5 million for her husband’s pain and suffering and $1 million for her own mental anguish, grief and anxiety;
- Breaux’s six children were awarded $750,000 to $800,000 each, and Breaux’s adult daughters by his first wife $300,000 each.
- Breaux’s emplooyer, the parish was reimbursed $481,075 for workers’ compensation
- Louisiana state law will return a portion of this to the family’s share; judicial interest will add at least $1.4 million to the total
Goodyear plans on appealing the ruling.
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