Mexican national seeks $30M from tire companies over fatal rollover in Texas

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 20, 2009, 8:28am

While traveling on the interstate outside of the community of Hooks, Jose R. Esquivel lost control of his vehicle when a tire failed.

The vehicle rolled, injuring five passengers. Another passenger, Raul Esquivel Navarrete, was fatally injured in the incident six years ago.

Navarrete's heir claims the accident was a result of a defective tire and is suing the tire manufacturer for up to $30 million in damages from the tire makers.

Esther Chavez, on behalf of Navarrete's minor son Jose Carlos Esquivel Chavez, filed suit against Dunlop Ltd. and Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America on Aug. 17 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The complaint states that both Esther Chavez and Jose Carlos Esquival Chavez are residents of Mexico.

The plaintiff alleges the Aug. 23, 2003, accident was caused by the defendants' liability, breach of express and implied warranties, failure to warn, failure to recall, negligence, gross negligence, and fraudulent concealment.

According to the lawsuit, the tire was in a defective condition that made it unreasonably dangerous.

The plaintiff states that the "lack of warning added to the tire's defective condition and was an additional factor in the death and injuries sustained in this accident."

Specifically, Chavez states that the tire was defective due to the lack of adequate warnings of the propensity and dangers of tread separation and the lack of warnings that a tread separation would dramatically alter the handling and stability capabilities of the vehicle.

The lawsuit states the tire was designed and manufactured without a nylon cap to reduce the degrading heat effect along the belt edge and sold after contaminated from foreign substances.

The plaintiff believes the defendants are negligent for "failing to design and build a tire that would not catastrophically fail," failed to inspect and test the tire, failed to maintain adequate quality controls to ensure the tire met internal design and manufacturing standards, failed to warn that the components of the tire might prematurely fail and failed to use materials that would maintain adhesive qualities.

The lawsuit argues the defendants are liable for gross negligence and fraudulent concealment stating, "it is believed and conceivable that testing to discover this defect was available, it is also believed and conceivable that the results of such testing was readily available at the time the tire in question was designed, manufactured, distributed, and/or purchased."

The plaintiff is seeking $6 million in damages for emotional pain, torment and mental anguish of the child, pain and suffering of the deceased, pecuniary loss to an heir, and loss of consortium.

The plaintiff is also seeking up to $24 million in exemplary damages.

Houston attorney Savvas H. Stefanides and Marilyn V. Stefanides of the law firm Stefanides and Associates LLP and attorney Ike Exezidis of the law firm Ike Exezidis and Associates PC are representing the plaintiff.

Jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone will preside over the litigation.

Case No 1:09cv00798

More News