Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 21, 2012, 2:51pm

SHERMAN - A recently filed lawsuit claims that a defective bolt in the steering system of a 1999 Honda Civic led to a motor vehicle crash and the death of a Wolfe City woman.

Julie Hilliard, individually and as representative of the estate of Alexandria Hilliard, deceased, filed suit against American Honda Motor Co. Inc., Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Honda Research and Development Co. Ltd. on Sept. 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

The incident occurred on July 21, 2011, as Alexandria Hilliard was traveling as a passenger in a 1999 Honda Civic in the northbound lane of FM 896 outside of Leonard.

According to the lawsuit, the vehicle began pulling towards the left, causing the vehicle to run off the road on the left hand side. The vehicle began a driver-side leading roll. Although Hilliard was restrained, she suffered fatal injuries in the accident, the suit states.

“Investigation after the accident revealed that a critical bolt in the steering system fractured, resulting in the vehicle going out of control,” the lawsuit states.

The defendants are accused of negligence; strict liability; and gross negligence for designing, manufacturing, distributing and promoting a vehicle with a defective bolt that was critical to the steering system and a vehicle with an inadequate rollover protection system; by failing to adequately test or inspect the design and manufacture of the roofs; and by failing to warn users of its products of the known dangers to an occupants of this and similar vehicles in a rollover accidents.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an award of damages for pecuniary loss, loss of companionship and society, mental anguish, pain and mental anguish, funeral and burial expenses, punitive damages, court costs, interest and other costs.

Hilliard is represented by J. Gregory Marks and Michael G. Guarjardo of Guarjardo & Marks in Dallas and Christopher Rehmet of Tate Rehmet Law Office P.C. in Sherman. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:12-cv-00602

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