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ARTICLE ID 195707

$________ – Products Liability – Manufacturing defect – Man killed after axle fails on three-wheel trike – Wrongful death.

Fulton County, OH

This suit involved a man who killed in a three-wheel trike incident. The suit was resolved with a jury verdict.

On May 8, ________, the 63-year-old decedent, James W., and his 45-year-old wife, Pamela, were riding his three-wheel ________ Honda Trike on Route 18 outside Defiance, Ohio. The decedent’s right rear axle broke, resulting in the vehicle careening off the road and violently striking a ditch. The couple was catapulted into the air and suffered extensive injuries. The decedent was left paralyzed from the chest down and died 40 days later. The plaintiff suffered multiple fractures to her legs, arms, and ribs, and needed five surgeries.

In ________, the estate of the deceased and his surviving spouse filed suit in the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas, naming as defendant, Hart’s Machine Services, Inc. – the business where the decedent purchased the axle – as well as Michael J. – the man who made the part. The defendant was accused of selling a substandard part that was unsafe for its intended use, causing the accident. The plaintiffs sought damages for survivorship and wrongful death, as well as compensatory damages for Pamela W.

At trial, the plaintiffs showed that decedent purchased the axle for his three-wheel trike from Hart’s Machine Service, Inc., and that defendant had stated that they did not have the part, but would make it for him. However, instead of contracting a reputable manufacturer, the defendant contracted with co-defendant, Michael J., an individual who owed money to the company, worked out of his garage, and did not have insurance. The plaintiffs presented evidence that the axle was not heat-treated or induction-hardened, which is in violation of industry standards.After 8 days of trial, the jury returned a $________ verdict against Hart. The jury awarded $________ in compensatory damages to Pamela, $________ for survivorship to the decedent for his 40 days and wrongful death claims.

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