Suit alleges Yamaha 'Rhino' ATV unreasonably dangerous

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau May 28, 2008, 4:20pm

MARSHALL -- While riding as a passenger in a Yamaha Rhino on a relatively flat terrain, Bossier City resident Ryan Rogers was injured when the ATV rolled toward the passenger side.

Alleging the ATV was unreasonably dangerous, Ryan and Janison Rogers filed suit against Yamaha USA, Yamaha Manufacturing and Yamaha Motor on May 27 in the Marshall division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The suit alleges the ATV was "in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous" and "not fit for its intended use and reasonably foreseeable purposes." Causes of actions filed against the defendants include strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty.

Although the lawsuit does not detail the Rhino's alleged defects, recent lawsuits against Yamaha's Rhino allege that the ATV's center of gravity is too high, it is too top heavy and the tires too small. Further, the lawsuits state that the Rhino has a high rollover risk even while riding on flat surfaces while at low speeds.

In 2006, Yamaha sent letters to Rhino owners enclosing new warning labels and describing the rollover risks. Last August, in an effort to increase safety, Yamaha sent out notices that it would install doors and additional passenger handholds on its Rhino's manufactured in the last four years. The upgrades are available to new or used Rhinos and installed free of charge by a Yamaha dealer.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical disability and impairment, disfigurement, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, loss of household services, and other incidental and consequential damages.

Marshall attorneys Mike Miller and Lisa Andrews of the Law Office of Mike C. Miller PC, Shreveport attorney J. Patrick Hennessy of the Law Office of J. Patrick Hennessy and Austin attorney Price Ainsworth of the Law Office of Price Ainsworth are representing the plaintiffs.

Judge David Folsom is assigned to the litigation.

Case No. 2:08cv-00219

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