NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In a unanimous decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed Suzuki Motor Corporation’s December 2018 defense verdict in a product liability trial where Plaintiff, Bradley Stubblefield, claimed the front brake on his GSX-R1000 suddenly failed, causing him to crash and suffer serious injuries.
The case arose from a January 2012 motorcycle crash in Madison County, Mississippi, while Mr. Stubblefield was on his way to work. Witnesses said that upon entering the entrance ramp to an interstate highway, Mr. Stubblefield suddenly appeared on the left side of a car that was already in the one lane on-ramp. He encountered gravel, locked up his rear brake in the gravel, and ultimately went down a 20-foot deep ravine. At trial, Plaintiff’s team claimed corrosion and hydrogen gas were the cause of his brake failure. Suzuki proved that Mr. Stubblefield’s front brake was fully functional during the crash and that neither corrosion nor hydrogen gas contributed to the crash. The physical evidence proved that the motorcycle did not have a design defect. The jury deliberated for less than two hours and returned a unanimous defense verdict for Suzuki.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals rejected all of Mr. Stubblefield’s arguments. Of note, the Court upheld the exclusion of the Suzuki brake recall and purported other similar incidents (OSIs), which the Court found to be irrelevant. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial court’s award of all costs that Suzuki requested, and denied Plaintiffs’ petition for rehearing.
While we sympathize with Mr. Stubblefield and anyone involved in an accident, his claim was without merit; Suzuki proved it and the jury unanimously agreed. Suzuki stands by all of its products, is pleased with the outcome of this case, and we are grateful to our employees and outside counsel that contributed to this result.
Suzuki’s appellate lawyers were Wayne Drinkwater of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and Kat Carrington of Butler Snow LLP, and its trial lawyers were Randy Riggs and Jeff Mortier of Frost Brown Todd LLC and Bobby Miller, Will Thomas, and Kat Carrington of Butler Snow LLP.
Plaintiffs’ appellate lawyer was Todd B. Ott of Ott Law Firm, P.A., and their trial attorneys were Randy Edwards of Cochran & Edwards, LLC, and Mike Malouf Sr. and Mike Malouf Jr., of the Law Offices of Malouf & Malouf, PLLC.
SOURCE Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.