Wrongful death lawsuit filed against John Deere

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Oct 19, 2010

MARSHALL-A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the John Deere and a seatbelt manufacturer after a student fell from a bulldozer and was run over.

Carol Ann Northcutt, mother of Kyle Douglas Northcutt, deceased; Lori Ann Scott, mother and natural guardian of Rocky Douglas Northcutt, a minor; and the Estate of Kyle Douglas Northcutt; filed suit against Indiana Mills & Manufacturing Inc. and Deere & Co. on Oct. 14 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

According to the original complaint, on July 30 Kyle Northcutt was operating a John Deere Dozer in the course of his training during heavy equipment operator school at Associated Training Services of Texas.

Northcutt traveled over a ridge of dirt and then on to a slope and was thrown from the bulldozer to the ground. The Dozer continued traveling and ran over Northcutt, causing fatal injuries.

Defendant Indiana Mills & Manufacturing is accused of negligence and strict liability for designing and manufacturing a seatbelt that gives the false impression that the seatbelt is latched when it is not latched, designing a seatbelt that can inadvertently unlatch, failing to use ordinary care and caution in the design of the seatbelt, failing to follow industry standards in the design and manufacture of the buckle, failing to recall the seatbelt and failing to warn Northcutt of the dangers of the false latching and inadvertent latching.

Defendant John Deere is accused of negligence and strict liability for failing to use reasonable care in the selection of a seatbelt, failing to adequately research and study seatbelt safety, failing to install a pressure sensitive switch or other device in the seat of the Dozer, in designing and manufacturing a seatbelt that does not latch properly or inadvertently unlatches and for failing to use due care and caution in the design and manufacture of the Dozer.

The Northcutt family is asking for wrongful death damages, survival damages, compensatory damages, interest and court costs.

The family is represented by J. Mark Mann of The Mann Firm in Henderson and Vincent J. Barbera of Barbera, Clapper, Beener, Rullo & Melvin in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge David Folsom is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-00433

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