Federal jury clears Kawasaki in Mule rollover case, attorney says tween girls were out for a ‘spin’ without adult supervision

By David Yates | Oct 16, 2018

HOUSTON —A federal jury recently found a Kawasaki Motors Mule was not defective and responsible for the injuries a minor teen received when she and her friends took the off-road vehicle out for a “spin” without adult supervision.

In August of 2016, Doris Denise Norris, on behalf of her minor daughter, filed suit against Kawasaki in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, alleging negligence in designing a defective off-road vehicle.

Earlier this month, the case went to trial and jurors were asked if Norris and her daughter proved there were design defects in the 2013 Mule when it left Kawasaki’s possession.

On Oct. 10, jurors found that the absence of passenger-side doors and shoulder bolsters, nor the absence of netting, were not design defects, court records show.

The minor, who was 12 at the time, was severely injured on Aug. 12, 2014, in Conroe, when the off-road vehicle she was riding in rolled over, entrapping her right arm and leg.

Kawasaki’s attorney, Rick Mueller, told the Record two other 12-year-old girls accompanied the minor. All three girls were not wearing their seatbelts and had taken the Mule out without adult supervision.

“It was summer time so the adults were all off at work and the three of them decided to take (the Mule) out for a spin,” said Mueller, a partner at Thompson Coburn.

Mueller says the crash was “significantly violent” and all three girls were ejected from the vehicle.

He added that the jury was offered evidence showing the Mule complies with all applicable standards. 

On Oct. 12, a final judgment was entered, dismissing the case with prejudice.

Doris Norris is represented by attorney S. Scott West of The West Law Firm in Sugar Land.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case number 4:16-cv-02424

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Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Kawasaki Motors

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