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Personal Injury Legal Cases

1991 Ford Ranger Rollover Results In Wrongful Death

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE

GWENDOLYN SCOTT and PAMELA PERRY, individually and as successors in interest to the Estate of MILTON PERRY, JR., Deceased,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, fka BRIDGESTONE FIRESTONE NORTH AMERICAN TIRE, LLC, successor in interest to BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE, INC.; BRIDGESTONE RETAIL OPERATIONS, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; FORD MOTOR COMPANY; TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP; TRW VEHICLE SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC. and DOES 1 through 25, inclusive.,

Defendants.

CASE NO. EDCV09-1830 VAP (VBKx)

[UNLIMITED CIVIL]

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH, SURVIVAL ACTION; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

  1. Strict Product Liability
  2. Negligence (Product Liability)
  3. Breach of Express and Implied Warranties

Complaint filed:
Trial date: None

Come now Plaintiffs, GWENDOLYN SCOTT and PAMELA PERRY, individually and as successors in interest to the Estate of of MILTON PERRY, JR., Deceased; and for causes of action against Defendants,; BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, fka BRIDGESTONE FIRESTONE NORTH AMERICAN TIRE, LLC, successor in interest to BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE, INC.; BRIDGESTONE RETAIL OPERATIONS, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; FORD MOTOR COMPANY and DOES 1-100, and each of them, allege as follows.

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

  1. At all times herein mentioned in this complaint, Plaintiffs GWENDOLYN SCOTT and PAMELA PERRY were and are individuals and residents of the city of Los Angles, county of Los Angeles, state of California.
  2. At all times herein mentioned, Plaintiffs, GWENDOLYN SCOTT and PAMELA PERRY, were and are the natural adult children of MILTON PERRY, JR., and his sole surviving heirs. At all times herein mentioned, plaintiffs are the successors in interest to the estate of MILTON PERRY, JR., deceased, and bring this action on behalf of the Estate of MILTON PERRY, JR. deceased, as survival actions, pursuant to C.C.P. § 377.32.Plaintiffs, GWENDOLYN SCOTT and PAMELA PERRY, also bring this action as a wrongful death action, pursuant to C.C.P. §377.60.
  3. Defendant BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC is a Delaware limited liability company, formerly known as BRIDGESTONE FIRESTONE NORTH AMERICAN TIRE, LLC which was the successor in interest to BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE, INC., an Ohio corporation, and, on information and belief, was the manufacturer and/or seller of the SUBJECT TIRE described below.
  4. Defendant BRIDGESTONE RETAIL OPERATIONS, LLC is a Delaware limited liability company formerly known as BFS RETAIL & COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS, LLC, and, on information and belief, was the manufacturer and/or seller of the SUBJECT TIRE described below.
  5. Defendant FORD MOTOR COMPANY is a Delaware corporation, and, on information and belief, was the manufacturer and/or seller of the SUBJECT VEHICLE described below.
  6. Defendant TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP., is and was, at all relevant times, the parent corporation for the coordination of TRW subsidiaries, including but not limited to Defendant, TRW VEHICLE SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC., its vehicle occupant restraint systems subsidiary. Defendant TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP. is and was a corporation, organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, with its principal place of business in Livonia, Michigan. Defendant TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP. is and was a citizen of the States of Delaware and Michigan.
  7. Defendant TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP. is and was engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing, researching, testing, distributing, advertising, constructing, and selling integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, including but not limited to braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems, electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services. Defendant, TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP. supplied those safety systems installed in the SUBJECT VEHICLE, including but not limited to the seat belt buckles and restraints systems, as well as others used in automobiles and trucks sold by FORD MOTOR COMPANY and used by the general public for business and recreation, and all times knew or reasonably should have known that such seat belt buckles and restraints in such vehicles would be used by the public at large without inspection for defects. At all times relevant herein, TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP. (and its subsidiaries) designed, manufactured, researched, tested, distributed, advertised, constructed, and sold the seat belt buckles, tongues and restraints systems installed by FORD MOTOR COMPANY in the SUBJECT VEHICLE.
  8. Defendant TRW VEHICLE SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC. ("TRW VSSI"), is and was, at all times relevant herein, engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing, researching, testing, distributing, advertising, constructing, and selling vehicle safety systems, including but not limited to those safety systems installed in the SUBJECT VEHICLE, including but not limited to the seat belt buckles and restraints systems for use in automobiles and trucks sold by FORD MOTOR COMPANY and used by the general public for business and recreation, and all times knew or reasonably should have known that such buckles and restraint systems in such vehicles would be used by the public at large without inspection for defects. At all times relevant herein, TRW VSSI designed, manufactured, researched, tested, distributed, advertised, constructed, and sold the seat belt buckles, tongues and restraints systems installed by Defendant FORD MOTOR COMPANY in the SUBJECT VEHICLE.
  9. Plaintiffs on information and belief allege that each defendant designated herein as DOE 1 through 10, inclusive, is directly and/or vicariously liable for the events and happenings which proximately caused the injuries and damages to plaintiff alleged herein, either through said defendant's own conduct (or failure to act) or through the conduct (or failure to act) of its agents, servants, employees, contractors, or representatives in some other manner. The true identities and capacities of said defendants are presently unknown and will be alleged by amendment when ascertained.
  10. Plaintiffs on information and belief allege that at all pertinent times each defendant was the agent, servant, employee, representative and/or joint venturer, or other status which gives rise to vicarious liability, in relation to one or more co-defendants who at all times acted within the course, scope and authority of said relationship.
  11. On April 25, 2009 about 11:15 a.m., Milton Perry Jr. was driving at legal speed on eastbound Interstate 10 near its intersection with Corn Springs Road in Riverside County, in clear weather and with dry road conditions. The vehicle he was driving was his 1991 Ford Ranger (VIN 1FTCR10X3MUD91388) (the "SUBJECT VEHICLE"), which was equipped with four Bridgestone/Firestone "Firehawk ATX 27X8.50R14LT" tires. As Mr. Perry was so driving, one of the tires (the "SUBJECT TIRE") experienced severe tread separation and as a result suddenly failed and partially disintegrated, causing it to blow out which in turn caused the SUBJECT VEHICLE to lose control and roll over one or more times before coming to rest and bursting into flames. Mr. Perry was ejected from the vehicle at some point in this sequence, and died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the rollover and ejection sequence.
  12. As a proximate result of the death of Mr. Perry, each plaintiff has sustained damages in amounts to be determined at trial.
  13. Each allegation in each of these general allegation paragraphs (Nos. 1 through 13, inclusive) is incorporated by reference into each of the causes of action stated below.
  14. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

    (Strict Product Liability: Defective Tire)

  15. Defendants BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC and BRIDGESTONE RETAIL OPERATIONS, LLC each knew that the SUBJECT TIRE was to be purchased and used without inspection for defects by consumers including plaintiff.
  16. The SUBJECT TIRE and each of its component parts was manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, inspected, merchandised, marketed, distributed, labeled, advertised, promoted, sold, supplied, leased, rented, repaired, adjusted, selected and used with inherent vices and defects in design and/or manufacturing and/or by failure to warn of the defect or potential thereof, which made it dangerous, hazardous and unsafe for its intended use or for reasonably foreseeable misuses.
  17. The existence of the defect in the SUBJECT TIRE caused it to experience severe tread separation and thus fail and partially disintegrate under normal usage by plaintiff.
  18. But for such failure and disintegration, the injuries to decedent Milton Perry Jr. which resulted in his death would not have occurred.
  19. Said defendants were aware of design and manufacturing defects in tires similar to the SUBJECT TIRE and issued a recall for some similar tires and implemented design and manufacturing changes in some sizes and models of similar tires, but consciously, in disregard of consumer safety, decided not to recall all relevant tires or implement those same design fixes in all relevant tires. The officers, directors and managing agent of said defendants also knew the ordinary and expected uses of the SUBJECT TIRE, and similar tires manufactured under the same or similar condition, and/or utilizing the same or similar components or design features, including being driven on highways or freeways at freeway speeds, and under conditions that would impose high lateral accelerations, loading and heat, which could and would cause premature, sudden, and catastrophic tread separations in these tires and which would be extremely difficult to detect by ordinary consumers and users. The officers, directors and managing agent of said defendants also knew or should have known that tread separations, particularly on rear tires, could and would lead to sudden and unexpected loss of control and loss of directional stability in vehicles. Further, the officers, directors and managing agent of said defendants acted in conscious disregard of consumer safety by first conceding from the public and then publically disavowing any design defects in such tires, while simultaneously conducting a partial recall of substantially similar tires. By failing to recall all relevant tires that had been manufactured without the design fixes, defendant continued to knowingly expose consumers, such as the decedent to an unreasonable risk of injury or death.
  20. Said defendants, and each of them, in an effort to mislead the public, and thereby increase profits at the expense of human safety, summarily disregarded and failed to disclose to the public this high risk of tread separations leading to sudden and unexpected loss of control in vehicle on which the relevant tires were installed, including the SUBJECT VEHICLE, because such information was unfavorable to their companies and might lead consumers and users to refrain from purchasing or using the tires.
  21. The above described acts and omission of said defendants by and through their officers, directors, employees and/or managing agents, were carried out with a conscious disregard of the rights and safety of consumers and, therefore, plaintiffs are entitled to an award of punitive damages pursuant to California Civil Code § 3294 in an amount sufficient to punish said defendants in light of their financial condition, and to make an example of them.
  22. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

    (Negligence: Defective Tire)

  23. At all pertinent times, defendants BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC and BRIDGESTONE RETAIL OPERATIONS, LLC each had a duty to properly manufacture, design, assemble, package, test, fabricate, analyze, and inspect the SUBJECT TIRE prior to placing it in the stream of commerce.
  24. Each said defendant knew or should have known that the SUBJECT TIRE and each of its component parts was not properly manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, or inspected for the use for which it was intended in that it was likely to injure the person who used it, in that it contained a serious defect that would lead to its failure under normal usage conditions.
  25. Each said defendant breached its duty of care by negligently designing, manufacturing, assembling, packaging, testing and/or inspecting it and each of its component parts, such that it was a defective and dangerous product, unsafe for the use for which it was intended by consumers including plaintiff, and as a result thereof the SUBJECT TIRE was placed into the stream of commerce.
  26. The injuries to and death of the decedent Milton Perry Jr. and the resulting damages to plaintiffs were the direct result of said negligence.
  27. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

    (Breach of Implied Warranty re: Defective Tire)

  28. At the time the SUBJECT TIRE was put into the stream of commerce, defendants BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC and BRIDGESTONE RETAIL OPERATIONS, LLC each impliedly warranted that the SUBJECT TIRE was safe for its intended use and was of merchantable quality.
  29. Each said defendant breached said warranty, because the SUBJECT TIRE was not safe for its intended use and of merchantable quality in that it was defective and dangerous to a consumer using it in the normal fashion.
  30. The injuries to and death of the decedent Milton Perry Jr. and the resulting damages to plaintiffs were the direct result of said negligence.
  31. FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

    (Strict Product Liability: Defective Vehicle)

  32. Defendants FORD MOTOR COMPANY; TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP, and TRW VEHICLE SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC. each knew that the SUBJECT VEHICLE was to be purchased and used without inspection for defects by consumers including plaintiff.
  33. The SUBJECT VEHICLE and each of its component parts was manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, inspected, merchandised, marketed, distributed, labeled, advertised, promoted, sold, supplied, leased, rented, repaired, adjusted, selected and used with inherent vices and defects in design and and/or manufacturing and/or by failure to warn of the defect or potential thereof (the "SUBJECT DEFECTS") which made it dangerous, hazardous and unsafe for its intended use or for reasonably foreseeable misuses.
  34. These SUBJECT DEFECTS included, but were not limited to the following:
    • Insufficient lateral and roll stability so as to keep the vehicle upright during cornering and handling by an ordinary driver during reasonably foreseeable roadway and traffic conditions;
    • Defective and unsafe restraint system, including but not limited to seat belt buckles, seat belts, shoulder belts, retractors, lack of pretensioners, and geometry of the restraint system, which said defendants knew or should have known would fail to restrain an occupant in the event of a rollover accident;
    • Defective and unsafe window system which did not comply with and failed to fulfill the purposes of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 205 in that the window system did not reduce or mitigate injuries resulting from impact to the glazing surfaces and did not minimize the possibility of occupants being thrown through the vehicle windows in collisions. Said defendants knew or should have known that the window system of the SUBJECT VEHICLE would fail and create openings for occupant ejection in the event of a rollover accident.
    • Lack of side curtain air bags to prevent partial ejection.
    • "A" and "B" pillars/windshield headers and roof rails fabricated without sufficient strength and structural integrity to withstand roof crushing forces without imparting injury-producing forces upon vehicle occupants during foreseeable accident rollovers of such vehicles.
    • Failure to warn regarding the above defects.
  35. The existence of the SUBJECT DEFECTS in the SUBJECT VEHICLE caused it, when it experienced the failure of the SUBJECT TIRE, to lose its lateral and roll stability and roll over, which caused the ejection and resulting injuries to and death of the decedent Milton Perry, Jr.
  36. But for such rollover and ejection, the injuries to decedent Milton Perry Jr. which resulted in his death would not have occurred.
  37. ALLEGATIONS SUPPORTING EXEMPLARY DAMAGES PRAYER
    AGAINST DEFENDANT FORD MOTOR COMPANY and
    DOES 1 through 25, Inclusive, ONLY

  38. Plaintiffs are further informed and believe and thereon allege that Defendants FORD MOTOR COMPANY and DOES 1 through 25, and each of them intentionally engaged in conduct which, with respect to the SUBJECT DEFECTS which Plaintiffs allege above were a legal cause of their loss, damages, injuries and harm, exposed plaintiffs' decedent and other users of the SUBJECT VEHICLE to serious potential danger known to the Defendants in order to advance the Defendants' pecuniary interests and thus acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of the plaintiffs' decedent and other users of the SUBJECT VEHICLE, warranting an award of exemplary damages against Defendants FORD MOTOR COMPANY, and DOES 1 through 25 pursuant to California Civil Code § 3294, and the rule enunciated in Ford Motor Co. v. Home Ins. Co. (1981) 116 Cal.App.3d 374, 381-382 and PPG Industries, Inc v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1120. The facts supporting the Defendants' intentional conduct which exposed Plaintiffs' decedent and other users of the SUBJECT VEHICLE to serious potential danger known to the Defendants in order to advance the Defendants' pecuniary interests, are on information and belief, as follows.
  39. Since 1970, defendants and each of them have been aware that use of tempered side and rear window glass was contributing to serious occupant ejection problems in side impact and rollover accidents. In 1970, Roger P. Daniel, a Ford research engineer, published the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Technical Paper 700423, which defendants and each of them received and/or participated in, in which Mr. Daniel reported that "the increasing use of unsupported tempered side glass appears to have adversely influenced the frequency of partial and complete occupant ejection through the side glass areas." Mr. Daniel recommended that in order to better retain vehicle occupants completely within the passenger compartment during accidents, the use of a substantial metal framework along with the use of laminated glass, similar to that used in current American windshields, would achieve maximum durability and minimum laceration potential. In spite of the clear explanation of the problem and a feasible solution that would save lives, defendants and each of them ignored such data and have failed to take action to use appropriate materials to prevent vehicle occupant ejection by using laminated glass or ejection resistant glazing.
  40. In addition, in 1984, the U.S. Government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published SAE Technical Paper 840390; and in 1985, SAE Technical Paper 851203, and in 1989, SAE Technical Paper 890218, which set forth the analysis and testing by NHTSA Researchers Carl C. Clark and Peter Sursi, of alternative glazing opportunities to reduce or eliminate ejection and resulting injuries and fatalities. In the 1989 report, NHTSA advised defendants that ejection was involved in about 25% of all passenger car fatalities and 40% of light truck and van fatalities and that ejection through glass areas, in a specific passenger car study, accounted for about 60% of all ejections. NHTSA reported their own dynamic roll over tests demonstrating that either laminated windshield-type glass or other glass-plastic glazing could eliminate most ejections through glass openings. Defendants and each of them received and/or participated in, these NHSTA studies and SAE Technical Papers and in spite of this knowledge and awareness, defendants ignored and suppressed data, and further falsely mis-characterized adverse test data which the Defendants knew at the time tended to prove that the glass being used in the rear and side windows of their trucks, vans, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and Pick-Ups were defective and unsafe in real world rollover and/or side skid accidents, and would and did expose members of the public and users of said Defendants' trucks, SUVs and vans to death and serious head and spinal injuries due to the insufficient, defective and unsafe glass being used in such vehicles.
  41. Moreover, after defendants, in concert with other auto manufacturers, provided no constructive response to the NHTSA data on elimination of most ejections through glass openings, NHTSA convened a public meeting in Washington, D.C., in 1996, during which NHTSA presented detailed test data, cost analysis and manufacturing lead time data on several alternative glazing proposals, estimating the reduction in fatalities and incapacitating injuries, such as plaintiff's, that would result from improved glazing. For rollover accident fatalities, an 86% reduction was projected for the driver and a 90% reduction for passengers. For incapacitating injuries in rollovers, such as plaintiff's permanent paralysis, NHTSA projected a 68% reduction for drivers and a 63% reduction for passengers. Defendants' representatives were present at this meeting and simply responded that all drivers and passengers do not always use seat belts, flatly ignoring those statistics that evidence the drivers and passengers who do wear seat belts are injured or killed due to the defective restraint systems that are defective and fail, as set forth herein. In fact, many ejected and fatally or seriously injured occupants, such as plaintiffs' decedent MILTON PERRY, JR. are in fact belted, yet those restraint systems fail.
  42. In August 1999, NHTSA published a report entitled, Ejection Mitigation Using Advanced Glazing: Status Report II, which estimates that laminated glass or other advanced glazing systems would reduce annual fatalities by 500 to 1300 each year. Defendants, again, received and/or participated in this report, yet the only reason defendants have not used inherently safer laminated glass or other alternative glazing is and was to save money in an environment where they knew, through various questionable inter-manufacturer contacts, that their competition would similarly save money rather than use readily available technology to save lives and prevent injuries.
  43. Despite the longstanding recommendations of knowledgeable and caring automotive engineers, and in spite of the known roll over propensity of Defendants' light trucks, vans and SUVs, defendants chose to ignore the inherent safety problem of roll over occupant ejection, and took no action to prevent such debilitating injuries and deaths, because of concern about cost penalties. Defendants' decision to save money at the expense of innocent human life and pain and suffering constitutes, despicable conduct and callous disregard for the safety of the motoring public, including plaintiffs. Defendants' failure to act is enhanced by the similar acts of their competitors, and is shameful and shocking that such a large, powerful and influential industry has for years conspired to resist obvious major opportunities to improve motor vehicle safety by improving glazing in automobiles, trucks, vans and SUVs, all to advance their own pecuniary interest.
  44. Defendants have also acted with a callous disregard for the safety of plaintiffs' decedent and the motoring public with respect to eliminating or reducing the injuries and deaths due to the defective roofs and roof designs of their vehicles' which have a greater propensity to roll, namely, Defendants' trucks, vans and SUVs. Since 1968, Defendants and each of them have known and been placed upon notice contemporaneously as a result of crash data, in-house testing, field-service reports, and published studies that actual users of and passengers carried within pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles ("SUVs") manufactured by said Defendants and each of them, including but not limited to, the SUBJECT VEHICLE were susceptible to accident forces exceeding 8,000 Newtons which forces were more than sufficient to cause and bring about, and which accident forces were and are causing and bringing about, serious and substantial head and neck injuries during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE were and are actually used by such users of these trucks and members of the public as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  45. Since 1968, Defendants and each of them have known and been placed upon notice contemporaneously as a result of the information described hereinabove, that the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails of such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE, must be manufactured and fabricated to withstand rollover crushing forces of at least 8,000 Newtons in order adequately to protect users of these trucks and members of the public from serious injuries and/or death from crushing of the roofs of such vehicles during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE were and are actually being used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  46. In or about 1983 and 1984, Chrysler and Anthony Sances of the Medical College of Wisconsin published industry studies of which Defendant and each of them were in receipt and on notice, which further established that the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails of such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE, must be manufactured and fabricated to withstand rollover crushing forces of at least 8,000 Newtons in order adequately to protect users of these trucks and members of the public from serious injuries and/or death from crushing of the roofs of such vehicles during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE were and are actually use of such vehicles as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  47. In or about 1984, Defendants and each of them, published and/or participated and/or received Hybrid III crash dummy specifications for a catastrophic compressive neck injury of 4,000 Newtons at the load cell (i.e., the base of the human head) when they knew at that time that such forces were approximately one-half of the crushing forces Defendants knew at the time from Cadaver and other studies in their possession, were minimally necessary to effect head and neck injuries, which actions were taken to establish a false set of rollover crush force minima which were not representative of actual rollover accident conditions, and which were intended by said Defendants to and which in fact did falsely lead the public and regulatory bodies of the U.S. Government to believe that the trucks, vans and SUVs manufactured by the Defendants and each of them had sufficiently fortified A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails within such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE so as to be able to withstand rollover crush forces of 4,000 Newtons.
  48. In fact this was half of the roof crush impact forces said Defendants and each of them knew were actually being sustained in such rollover accidents, and which rollover crush forces said Defendants, and each of them knew, were well beyond the actual structural prophylactic limitations of the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails said Defendants were using and continued to use within such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE, such that said Defendants knew and intended that members of the public and users of such vehicles were being exposed and would continue to be exposed to death and serious injuries from the crushing of the roofs of such vehicles during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT VEHICLE were and are actually being used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  49. In 1985, as a result of information which had come to light as a result of rollover crush accident data, in-house testing, field-service reports, and published studies, Defendants and each of them published and/or participated in and/or received position papers detailing rollover roof crush studies claimed to have performed in-house (during calendar years 1983 and 1984) (hereinafter "MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS"). Said Defendants and other automakers, and each of them knew, and intended that the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS falsely concluded and misrepresented, based upon the 1983 to 1984 testing performed by said Defendants and the data obtained therefrom, that:
    • 4,000 Newtons was the reasonable average rollover crush force delivered and extant in typical rollover crush accidents, when in fact defendants knew that the actual rollover impact forces were twice that number, i.e., at least 8,000 Newtons;
    • That a videotaped excerpt from the testing data which showed substantial injuries being delivered to the head of a test subject were merely a contact patch, and not an actual instance of a rollover crush injury, when in fact Defendants knew at the time that this was not the case;
    • That the roof strength of the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails which use half-sections of roll tubing ("OPEN SECTIONS") are just as secure and will prevent rollover crush injuries just as effectively as complete roll tubing ("CLOSED SECTIONS"), which said Defendants knew at the time was false;
    • That the roof strength of the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails were just as effective and secure and would and did prevent rollover crush injuries just as effectively in a production model trucks as in a roll-caged trucks, when in fact said Defendants knew this was false;
  50. Defendants and each of them, individually and in concert with other automakers, therein further knowingly falsified their test results, ignored and suppressed data, and further falsely mis-characterized adverse test data which said Defendants knew at the time tended to prove that their trucks, vans and SUVs were defective and unsafe in real world rollover accidents, and would and did expose members of the public and users of said Defendants' trucks, SUVs and vans to death and serious head and spinal injuries in the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS due to the insufficient strength of the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails in such vehicles.
  51. After demands were made by litigants and other members of the public following the 1985 publication of the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS, said Defendants and each of them, individually and in concert with other automakers, intentionally spoliated and destroyed critical test evidence and test documentation upon which the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS were allegedly based, so as to prevent discovery of the falsehoods and misrepresentations made by said Defendants in the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS, and to prevent disclosure of the fact that said Defendants knew that they were knowingly and intentionally exposing users of said Defendants' trucks, SUVs, vans and Pick-Up's, including plaintiffs' decedent, to death and serious head and spinal injuries in the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS due to the insufficient strength of the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails installed in such vehicles.
  52. In 1990, Defendants and each of them again published and/or participated in and/or received second positions paper detailing rollover roof crush studies said Defendants and other automakers claimed to have performed in-house (hereinafter "MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS"), in which results said Defendants knowingly and intentionally falsified test data: defendants and each of them knew and intended that the MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS falsely concluded and misrepresented, based upon the 1983 to 1984 testing performed by the said Defendants and the data obtained therefrom, that:
    • The test data conducted and upon which the MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS were based, supported the conclusion that 4,000 Newtons was the reasonable average rollover crush force delivered and extant in typical rollover crush accidents, when in fact said defendants knew that the actual rollover impact forces were twice that number, i.e., at least 8,000 Newtons;
    • That the restraint systems in said Defendants' trucks, vans, and SUVs were effective to prevent head contact with the roof structures during times when rolling vehicles were inverted, when in fact said Defendants and each of them had used and implemented standing pelvis dummies which did not engage or place any genuine "loads"upon the restraint systems involved to begin with, for the purposes of falsely leading the public and governmental regulators into believing that existing restraint systems were adequate to mitigate roof crushing rollover injuries, when in fact Defendants knew that this was false;
    • Centrifugal forces extant in the genuinely prototypical rollover crush accident were insignificant, unreasonably angles and vectors of impact forces were appropriate and proper when said Defendants and each of them in fact knew that such angles and vectors were not representative of real accident conditions and understated and/or outright misrepresented real accident conditions so as falsely to lead the public and government regulators to conclude the roof structures were of adequate strength, when said Defendants knew this to be false, that drop testing procedures were injury irrelevant (as they were knowingly performed by said Defendants from unrealistic heights), and that rolling "spit" test procedures proved that members of the public would sustain injury regardless of roof component strength, when in fact Defendants knew at that time that all such conclusions were false;
  53. Defendants and each of them, individually and in concert with other automakers, therein had actual or constructive knowledge of test results, and mis-characterized adverse test data which said Defendants knew at the time tended to prove that their trucks, vans, SUVs and Pick-Up's were defective and unsafe in real world rollover accidents, and would and did expose members of the public and users of said Defendants' trucks, SUVs and vans to death and serious head and spinal injuries in the MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS due to the insufficient strength of the A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails in such vehicles.
  54. At all times mentioned herein, Defendants and each of them were aware that use of complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails was at all times mechanically feasible, posed no adverse consequences to consumers or to said Defendants' trucks, vans and SUVs, and were only marginally more expensive to implement, which use of complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails would withstand rollover impact forces of in excess of 8,000 Newtons and thus would prevent death and serious injuries in most actual rollover accident cases, including that accident which is the subject of this action.
  55. At all times herein mentioned, on information and belief, Defendants and each of them knew and were aware that members of the public were suffering from death and serious injuries in rollover accidents which involved roof crushing forces in said Defendants' trucks, vans, and SUVs as a result of said Defendants' failure to use complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails of said Defendants' vehicles.
  56. At all times mentioned herein, despite the fact that Defendants and each of them were aware that use of complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails was at all times mechanically feasible, posed no adverse consequences to consumers or to said Defendants' trucks, vans and SUVs, were only marginally more expensive to implement, and would have prevented deaths and serious injuries in most actual rollover accident cases, including that accident which is the subject of this action, said Defendants on information and belief intentionally refused to use complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails of their trucks, vans and SUVs: (1) to avoid the increased expense of using such improvements in their vehicles (including costs of redesign, more extensive materials, retooling, re-certification expenditures and other costs of implementation), so as to preserve and widen said Defendants' profit margin on the sales of such vehicles; (2) to avoid disclosure during re-certification and retooling processes of the fact that said Defendants knew their previously-manufactured trucks" vans" and SUVs A-Pillars/Windshield headers and roof rails were of insufficient strength to withstand even modest actual rollover accidents without the risks of serious injuries and death to users of such vehicles, which would greatly increase said Defendants' legal exposure in cases brought arising from rollovers of production vehicles already in use by the public; and (3) to avoid taking action which would result in disclosures leading to an expensive recall campaign by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
  57. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and further thereon allege that, from 1987 onward, Defendants conducted studies and analyses to determine the extent to which the use of laminated glass windshields could be used in the stead and in place of stronger materials resistant to foreseeable roof crush for the purposes of meeting other inadequate and insufficient FMVSS 216 testing not replicating real world roof crush events, all for the purposes of saving the Defendants money and advancing their pecuniary interests by reducing costs of production and increasing profits, despite knowing at all times relevant that during a real world roof crush event, the windshield will universally and always fracture instantaneously losing its structural strength and thus instantaneously depriving occupants of the SUBJECT VEHICLE of any genuine sufficient protection from catastrophic and/or fatal injuries as a result of the roof crush forces. At the same time Defendants thus were reducing the strength of the SUBJECT VEHICLE;s roof to be able to withstand foreseeable and statistically inevitable real world roof crush events, in order to effectuate cost saving and increase profits to the detriment of the safety of the public using such vehicles, thus exhibiting a willful and conscious disregard of such public's safety, as alleged above, Defendants and each of them advertised and marketed their vehicles as safe, rugged and "Ford Tough," which in fact Defendants knew at all times they were making such representations that their SUBJECT VEHICLE and other similar trucks and SUVs would be likely to leave occupants of the vehicle totally unprotected from catastrophic injuries and death from roof crushing forces during statistically inevitable and foreseeable rollover incidents.
  58. The actions of said Defendants and each of them, as hereinabove described, were thus undertaken with a willful and conscious disregard for the rights and safety of consumers and users of said Defendants trucks, vans and SUVs, including the SUBJECT VEHICLE, in order to advance the pecuniary gains of the Defendants and each of them, and we despicable because such aforesaid conduct would and does kill people, including but not limited to Plaintiff, during the course of the accident which is the subject of this lawsuit.
  59. Plaintiffs further allege that the conduct of the defendants was undertaken with the result that the SUBJECT VEHICLE's ultimate defects in its design and production were fully intended by the Defendants to reside therein such that they were and are the product of entire corporate management and corporate policy of the Defendants with respect to the conscious willful and disregard of public safety for Defendants' pecuniary gain with regard to the design, manufacture, production and marketing of the SUBJECT VEHICLE.
  60. As a direct and proximate result of the aforementioned conduct of Defendants and each of them, Plaintiffs submit that an award of exemplary and punitive damages against Defendants FORD MOTOR COMPANY; and DOES 1 through 25, and each of them is proper and appropriate to punish said Defendants and to deter such conduct in the future.
  61. FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION (Negligence: Defective Vehicle)

  62. At all pertinent times, defendants FORD MOTOR COMPANY ; TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP, and TRW VEHICLE SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC. had a duty to properly manufacture, design, assemble, package, test, fabricate, analyze, and inspect the SUBJECT VEHICLE prior to placing it in the stream of commerce.
  63. Each said defendant knew or should have known that the SUBJECT VEHICLE and each its pertinent component parts was not properly manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, or inspected for the use for which it was intended in that it was likely to injure the person who used it.
  64. Each said defendant breached its duty of care by negligently designing, manufacturing, assembling, packaging, testing and/or inspecting the SUBJECT VEHICLE and each of its pertinent component parts, such that it was a defective and dangerous product, unsafe for the use for which it was intended by consumers including plaintiff, and as a result thereof the SUBJECT VEHICLE was placed into the stream of commerce.
  65. The injuries to and death of the decedent Milton Perry Jr. and the resulting damages to plaintiffs were the direct result of said negligence.
  66. SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION (Breach of Implied Warranty re: Defective Vehicle)

  67. At the time the SUBJECT VEHICLE was put into the stream of commerce, defendants FORD MOTOR COMPANY; TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP and TRW VEHICLE SAFETY SYSTEMS, INC. each impliedly warranted that the SUBJECT VEHICLE was safe for its intended use and was of merchantable quality.
  68. Each said defendant breached said warranty, because the SUBJECT VEHICLE was not safe for its intended use and of merchantable quality in that it was defective and dangerous to a consumer using it in the normal fashion.
  69. The injuries to and death of the decedent Milton Perry Jr. and the resulting damages to plaintiffs were the direct result of said negligence.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs pray:

  1. For damages in amounts to be proved;
  2. For costs of suit; and
  3. For other proper relief. DATED: December 17, 2009 Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys

BY: ______________________________________________
BRIAN D. CHASE, Esq.
STEVEN MEEKS, Esq.
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiffs hereby demand a trial by a 12-person jury.

DATED: December 17, 2009. Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys

BY: ______________________________________________
BRIAN D. CHASE, Esq.
STEVEN MEEKS, Esq.
Attorneys for Plaintiffs.


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