Wrongful death trial against Ford continues, delays KCS hearing on docket

David Yates Apr. 15, 2009, 9:46am

A wrongful death trial over a Ford Bronco blowout in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court has run longer than expected, forcing a crop of slated hearings to be reset for a later harvest.

One of those hearings, Michael Scott Smith vs. Kansas City Southern Railroad, has been reset for sometime in for August 2009.

When the hearing takes place, KCS is expected to argue for summary judgment.

As reported by the Record in August 2007, railroad worker Smith says he received a back injury while on the job for Kansas City Southern, but was told by his boss that his injury claim was bogus.

In turn, Smith sued his employer not only for the personal injury, but also for the slanderous comments made in front of his co-workers.
Smith filed a Federal Employer Liability Act suit against his supervisor Gary Adcock and KCS Railway in Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 23, 2007. (Case No. E179-872)

Smith claims he injured his back while using "a bar to open the door of a rail car." Then when he reported his injury, Smith further claims his supervisor scoffed and scorned him, purposely humiliating him in front of his fellow railway workers, which spoiled his work relationships.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on June 22, 2007, while working as a tamper operator, Smith was instructed to unload ballast out of a rail car. While using a bar to open the rail-car door to release the ballast, Smith suffered a back injury.

He is represented by attorney John D. Sloan Jr. of the Sloan, Bagley, Hatcher & Perry Law Firm in Longview.

The Bronco trial

After having his pre-owned 1994 Ford Bronco for only two months, one of the tires broke off Eric Carlsen's truck while he was driving on a highway and Carlsen was killed when the Bronco wrecked.

More than two years later, Carlsen's surviving wife and children are asking jurors to punish the companies they allege are responsible for causing his death.

The trial of Donna Carlsen et al vs. Calvin Ford et al began Tuesday, April 7, and was expected to wrap up on April 13, court officials told the Record.

In early 2007, Donna filed the suit individually and on behalf of her two minor children in Jefferson County District Court, naming Kolander Corp. doing business as Calvin Ford, Jackie Baxter Tire Co. and Keating Motors as defendants.

Now, the suit's sole remaining defendant, Calvin Ford, is trying to convince a jury that it was not responsible for the incident.

The rest of the suit's defendants settled prior to the trial, a court official told the Record.

Court documents show that on Dec. 28, 2006, Carlsen was traveling west on Texas Highway 73 when the left rear tire "suddenly and unexpectedly came off the Ford Bronco … causing him to lose control."

According to Automobilemag.com, the 1994 Bronco was recalled in May 2001 for faulty tires.

However, prior to Carlsen's purchase of the vehicle, court papers show that Calvin Ford accepted the Bronco as a trade in, and then hired Baxter Tire to install new tires.

Soon after, the Bronco was transferred to Keating, who then sold the vehicle to Carlsen on Oct. 30, 2006.

In the suit, the plaintiffs allege the defendants negligently installed the tires and failed to properly inspect the vehicle.

They are asking jurors to award them damages for Carlsen's past and future lost wages and mental anguish, plus loss of love damages.

Tim Ferguson and the Ferguson Firm are representing the plaintiffs.

More News