Wal-Mart named as defendant after tire failed on van

By Kelly Holleran | Jun 4, 2013

The children and husband of two recently deceased women blame Wal-Mart for causing their deaths, saying it had recently installed two new tires on a van that subsequently failed.

Jose Dario Rios, Rodolfo Rios Castro, Maria Jaquelina Rios Martinez, Otilia Rodriguez, Maria Aguilar, Irene Aguilar Ortega, Juan Carlos Rojas Martinez, Angelica Villagomez and Rodolfo Villagomez filed a lawsuit May 28 in Jefferson County District Court against Wal-Mart Stores, Elizabeth Lampriez, Michael Roberts and Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. 

In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege Petra Rios and Maria Irene de Aguilar Ortega died in a collision on April 7 when the van in which they were riding rolled over.

The women were riding in a 2001 Chevy Astro van Rodolfo Villagomez was driving on April 7, 2012, in Yulee, Fla., on Interstate 95.

“While traveling north on the interstate, a Starfire tire that was on the right rear of the vehicle failed causing the driver to lose control and rollover occurred,” the suit states.

The day prior to the accident, the Wal-Mart in Orange, Texas, had sold the plaintiffs two new tires that were mounted by Roberts on the van’s front axle, the complaint says. Roberts and Lampriez were both working at Wal-Mart on the day the tires were installed, the plaintiffs say.

Because of Petra Rios’s and Maria Irene de Aguilar Ortega’s deaths, their children and spouses suffered grief, mental anguish, pain and sorrow and lost their mothers’ and wive’s affection, companionship, counsel, guidance, love and society, according to the complaint.

The other passengers in the vehicle – Rodolfo Villagomez, Angelica Villagomez and Juan Carlos Rojas Martinez – lost wages, experienced physical pain and suffering, endured mental anguish, incurred medical costs, suffered physical disfigurement and lost their physical capacity, the suit states.

Cooper, which had manufactured the Starfire tires, negligently designed the tire, failed to properly test the tire, failed to train, failed to disclose known defects, marketed the tire, failed to meet corporate guidelines, failed to comply with applicable standards of care, failed to comply with federal standards, failed to notify customers of a defect and failed to recall a defective tire, according to the complaint.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs are seeking actual, compensatory, special and additional damages, plus costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Steve T. Hastings and Henry M. Blackmon of Hastings Law Firm will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Case No. B194-385

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