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$________ CONFIDENTIAL Products liability - Defective design - Defective manufacture - Improper service and inflation - Left rear tire delaminated while the vehicle was moving 70 miles per hour causing the vehicle to flip over resulting in the death of two passengers and serious injuries to remaining passengers.

Los Angeles County, California

The plaintiffs brought suit under a products liability theory of defective design and defective manufacture, negligent service and inspection and improper design and/or manufacture. The plaintiff alleged that the tire became delaminated at highway speeds which caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, flipping it and causing the death of two passengers and serious injury to the remaining passengers. The plaintiffs were passengers in an employer-owned 15 passenger van. While the van was operating at highway speed of 70 miles per hour the left rear tire delaminated and caused the van to pull suddenly to the left. The driver counter-steered to the right and lost control of the van. The van rolled over 33/4 times before coming to rest. Two of the passengers were killed and the remaining passengers were seriously injured in the incident. The plaintiffs brought suit against the manufacturer of the tires under a theory of products liability maintaining that the tire was improperly designed and/or manufactured without a nylon cap ply. The lack of this nylon cap ply was determined to be the cause of the delamination. The plaintiffs brought suit against the vehicle manufacturer alleging that the vehicle was defective due to: (1) its short wheel base; having two bench seats behind the rear axle and unequal weight distribution; (2) poor handling, instability and propensity to rollover due to a high center of gravity that increased as the number of passengers increased; and (3) a weak roof which collapsed on the trailing edge where both deaths and all serious injuries occurred. The plaintiffs also brought suit against the service company alleging that the tire was improperly serviced and inspected prior to the incident. The defendants jointly defended the action by maintaining that not all the passengers were properly restrained in the vehicle and that the vehicle was not properly maintained and serviced by the passengers’ employer who owned the vehicle. The defendants also jointly contended that the rollover was caused by the error of the driver in over-steering. The defendant vehicle manufacturer maintained that the van was safe and it was not defective. The defendant tire manufacturer contended that the tire was poorly maintained by the vehicle owner alleging that there were five prior punctures in the tire which had not been properly repaired. The defendant service company alleged that it never inspected, serviced or repaired the left rear tire. It further alleged that it never adjusted the inflation of the left rear tire. The matter settled for the sum of $________ to be paid by the defendant tire and vehicle manufacturers. The defendant service company was dismissed as party to the litigation.

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