Lawsuit claims rollover wreck caused by defective tire tread

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 15, 2011, 10:32am

MARSHALL - The family of a deceased Texas resident is suing a tire manufacturer after their vehicle's tire came apart and allegedly caused a fatal wreck.

Imelda Garza, individually and as representative of the estate of Ruben Garza Sr., Ruben Garza Jr., Ivette Garza and Jesus Garza filed suit against Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. on April 5 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The accident occurred on Oct. 9, 2010, as the Garza family was traveling westbound on Interstate 20 in a 2002 Dodge Ram. According to court documents, the left rear tire failed, causing a tire de-tread.

The plaintiffs allege that due to the tire failure, the vehicle skidded sideways and rolled over. Ruben Garza Sr. received fatal injuries and Ruben Garza Jr., Imelda Garza and Ivette Garza received serious injuries.

The defendant is accused of negligence and strict product liability for the manufacture of a defective and unreasonably dangerous tire. The plaintiffs argue the tire is defective due to a propensity to de-tread or come apart, not having adequate instructions or warnings on the proper and safe use of the tire and a lack of warnings regarding the risks, nature and extent of danger associated with a tire de-treading.

The family is seeking damages for pecuniary loss, loss of companionship and society, mental anguish, loss of inheritance, loss of consortium, loss of services, physical pain, impairment and disfigurement, damages for Ruben Garza Sr.'s conscious pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, funeral and burial expenses and damages for interest and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Andrew L. Payne of Payne Mitchell Law Group in Dallas and Daryl L. Derryberry of Derryberry & Zips in Tyler. A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 2:11-cv-00204

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