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Marion County, Florida

This products liability action was brought by the estate of a man in his mid-70s against the defendant tire manufacturer Dunlop Tire & Rubber Company, and a tire repair company, Tee Pee Tire, Inc. The plaintiff alleged that a defectively designed Dunlop tire caused a tire blow-out which resulted in the decedent’s death. The defendant Dunlop maintained that the tire was not defective and that the blow-out stemmed from the negligent repair of the tire on the part of the codefendant. The codefendant, Tee Pee Tire denied that its repair caused the tire failure.

The decedent’s wife was driving on the Florida Turnpike from Miami to their home in Dunnellon on October 4, ________, when a right rear tire on their minivan failed. The driver testified that she heard a loud "pop" prior to the tire failure. The decedent was a belted front seat passenger when the vehicle rolled over approximately 25 miles north of Fort Pierce. The plaintiff maintained that the minivan was driving at the legal speed limit of 65 mph at the time of the accident.

The decedent was transported to the hospital where he died the following day of massive head and internal injuries. The decedent was retired and survived by his wife of 50 years. The couple had several adult children.

The plaintiff claimed that the D65 touring model tire manufactured by the defendant Dunlop Tires in ________ was defective and was not properly tested by the defendant. The plaintiff’s expert testified that the tire exhibited inadequate wedge and poor skim stock adhesion. The plaintiff claimed that the defects caused the tire to lose tread and blow out. The tire itself was introduced during trial and the plaintiff argued that the damaged tire demonstrated tread separation. The plaintiff alleged that data indicated the defendant was aware of the tread problems prior to marketing the tire.

The defendant Dunlop maintained that the D65 touring tire was properly designed and tested and contained no defects. The defense argued that the blow out resulted from negligent repair of the tire. The defendant’s accident reconstruction expert also testified that the plaintiff wife negligently handled the blow- out by breaking and turning the wheel sharply, resulting in the roll over.

The codefendant Tee Pee Tires argued that the repair it had made to the tire, which consisted of plugging and patching a nail hole, could not have caused the blowout described by the plaintiff’s witnesses.

The jury found that the tire was defective and assessed ________% of the liability against the defendant Dunlop Tires. The plaintiff and the defendant tire repair company, Tee Pee Tire, entered into a high/low agreement of undisclosed parameters prior to verdict. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages against the defendant Dunlop Tires. Dunlop Tires has filed post-trial motions for remitter and new trial.

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