Suit against Hyundai claims defective restraint system caused woman's death

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 11, 2011, 12:00pm

2009 Hyundai Elantra

MARSHALL - In a recently filed lawsuit, Hyundai is accused of manufacturing a defective vehicle after a Texas woman suffered fatal injuries when the restraint system allegedly failed to hold her in the vehicle during a collision.

James Edward Theken, individually and as representative of the estate of Ann Marie Theken, Nicklaus B. Fincher and William R. Fincher, filed suit against Hyundai Motor America Inc. on March 29 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The accident occurred on Aug. 7, 2010, as the plaintiffs were in a 2009 Hyundai Elantra traveling southbound in the outer lane on Highway 75. A vehicle traveling in the opposite direction lost control and crossed into the southbound lane, hitting Theken's vehicle.

According to the lawsuit, the restraint system in the Elantra failed to properly restrain Ann Theken and she received fatal injuries.

The defendant is accused of strict liability and negligence for the design and manufacture for the Hyundai Elantra. The family states the vehicle was unreasonably and dangerously defective due to the restraint systems' improper design.

According to the lawsuit, the restraint system was not properly designed to prevent spool out, slack and skip lock retractor failure and did not contain pretensioners, web grabbers and/or torsion bars to prevent unwanted spool out of the belt webbing.

The family is seeking damages for Theken's conscious pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, funeral and burial expenses and for the family's pecuniary losses, loss of companionship and society, mental anguish, loss of inheritance, loss of consortium, loss of services,

The plaintiffs are represented by Andrew L. Payne of Payne Mitchell Law Group in Dallas; Kevin Vice of Mayo, Mendolia Starr & Vice in Royce City and Paul Wickes of Wickes Law in Plano.

A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 2:11-cv-00197

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