The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that one of China’s largest tire manufacturers can be sued in that state for injuries suffered by a teenager when a tire exploded at his father’s repair shop.
According to a report in the Press-Citizen, the unanimous ruling stated that Iowa courts have jurisdiction over Doublestar Dongfent Tyre Company because it has shipped thousands of tires into the state.
The court rejected Doublestar’s argument that it could not be sued in Iowa because the tire that exploded had been shipped through a Tennessee distributor.
Teen Suffered Catastrophic Injuries
A judge had previously ruled that the Chinese company did not have sufficient contact with Iowa in order to come under its jurisdiction.
The State Supreme Court justices overturned that decision noting that the Chinese tire manufacturer had shipped its products directly to an Iowa retailer and many others through a distributor.
The ruling therefore reinstates a product liability lawsuit filed on behalf of 17-year-old Dylan Book who suffered severe injuries when a tire exploded at his father’s repair shop in 2009.
According to the complaint, Book began to put air into the tire and inflated it past the recommended level when his father was talking over the phone.
Book was blinded in one eye, lost part of his jaw, most of his sense of taste and smell as well as partial use of his left arm and hand.
The lawsuit alleged that the company’s tires were prone to explode when people made the common mistake of overinflating them.
Hope for Victims of Defective Products
This decision by the Iowa Supreme Court offers new hope for victims of defective products, especially when the products were manufactured abroad. The U.S Supreme Court has not issued clear guidance on when foreign manufacturers can be sued for injury or death caused by defective products.
The justices said not allowing the case to go ahead would restrict these Iowans access to justice. They did, after all, purchase the tires in Iowa.
The judges were absolutely correct in determining that these product liability lawsuits are meant to ensure that the cost of injuries resulting from defective products are paid for by companies that put them on the market.