Truck driver alleges seat collapsed, sues three companies

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Mar. 28, 2011, 10:48am

M2 Freightliner interior

MARSHALL - A truck driver has filed a lawsuit asking for more than $75,000 in damages for injuries he allegedly sustained after the driver's seat of his leased freightliner unexpectedly dropped to the floor.

Eric Drake filed suit against Penske Truck Leasing Co., Navistar International Corp. and Gallagher Bassett Services Inc. on March 21 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

According to the lawsuit, Drake was injured after the driver's air suspension seat dropped violently in a downward motion when the truck hit a small bump in a paved residential street. Drake had leased the truck approximately 30 minutes before the incident.

He states the collapse of the seat caused him extreme physical pain and numbness in his lower back and legs.

Penske is accused of negligence for failing to properly maintain the driver's air suspension chair of a 24-foot M2 Freightliner truck. Defendant Navistar is accused of negligence for the improper design, development and manufacture of the air suspension driver's chair.

According to Drake's allegations, he submitted documentation of the injury to defendant Gallagher Bassett Services but they refused to compensate him. Drake argues that they acted in this manner because he is African American.

Causes of action filed against the defendants include strict products liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty and duty, deceptive/unfair trade practices and violations of the Texas Insurance Code.

Drake is seeking damages for mental anguish, physical injuries, hardship, pain and suffering, medical expenses, emotional distress, court costs, attorney fees and interest. He is representing himself in the litigation.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00183

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