Broken truck step leads woman to sue three companies

Kelly Holleran Nov. 5, 2008, 5:59am

A Beaumont woman and her husband have filed suit against three corporations, alleging her neck and back were severely and permanently injured after she fell through a step on the side of a truck that two of the companies manufactured and another company sold to her.

Nola and Henry Gaus claim Nola was riding in the backseat of a Dodge pick-up truck, which had Carr Inc. hoop steps installed, the complaint filed Oct. 28 in Jefferson County District Court states.

"Plaintiff, Nola Gaus was exiting the vehicle in Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas, using the hoop step for support when the step broke in half," the suit states. "When the step broke, Plaintiff crashed to the ground."

Because of Nola's injuries, Henry claims he has suffered a loss of her services and a loss of consortium, which includes loss of society, loss of assistance, loss of affection, loss of emotional support, loss of love, loss of felicity, loss of solace, loss of comfort, loss of companionship and loss of sexual relationship.

Carr Pattern Col Inc. and Jeff Carr, both manufacturers of the hoop steps, and Classic Tint, the seller of the hoop steps, were negligent because they failed to implement alternative designs in the step, failed to follow adequate quality control guidelines, failed to adequately test the step, failed to make the step of the correct materials, failed to provide ample warning that a person could be injured using the step and failed provide Nola with the step's risks, according to the complaint.

The companies also failed to provide adequate warnings with the hoop step, failed to notify customers of a defect and marketed the step when they should have known it was dangerous, the suit states.

Nola and Henry Gaus are seeking unspecified special, general and punitive damages, plus prejudgment and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

Clint W. Lewis of The Lewis Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B182601.

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