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On Thursday, a Texas jury rejected product liability claims brought by the family of Forest “Eddie” Ray, against Yamaha Motor Corp. USA. Eddie Ray, 13, died in September 2007,while riding one of the company’s Rhino all-terrain vehicles.

One of the major facts that may have contributed to the verdict was testimony from Ray’s father that the child was driving without a helmet.

Yamaha argued that his death was caused by operator error.

The Plaintiff believed their evidence established that the Rhino was defectively designed. Yamaha maintains that the Rhino ATV is a safe and useful off-road vehicle and will continue to vigorously defend the product.

In April, after numerous product liability suits, Yamaha suspended sales of the vehicles and provided free repairs to customers.

On March 31, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall for the Yamaha’s Rhino 450 and 660 model vehicles and advised consumers to immediately stop using the ATVs until certain repairs were made.

120,000 Rhino models were subject to the recall throughout the U.S., according to the agency.

The first Rhino trial in federal court is set for June 2010.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer said it best, "[Thursday’s] defense verdict will not deter the prosecution of other pending Yamaha Rhino lawsuits."

Our firm has cases pending the the Multidistrict Litigation in Federal Court and we are continuing to zealously prosecuting these cases as well as other ATV cases such as Polaris and other products that have defective designs contributing to injury and death.

3 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Dennis

    When are people going to take responsibility for their own actions? The Yamaha Rhino is not dangerous, people who do stupid things like not wearing a heltmet or seatbelt are dangerous.

  2. Gravatar for Fred

    This is the first sensible noews I've heard since these lawsuits began. At least the court realized the ridiculousness of this suit. Especially, since the child was 13, it should have been a no-go from the start. It says right in the Rhino dashboard, "No children under 16." I don't care if the child was outfitted in full football pads and helmet, if he was under 16 and got injured while driving, it is the parents fault for letting him drive when he's not supposed to.

  3. Gravatar for Dave

    Hmmm, where to begin. I guess Greg is just another of those worthless lawyers that love morons that don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission DID NOT issue a recall for the Rhino, Yamaha VOLUNTARILY halted sales of the Rhino until upgrades, based on the CPSC recomendations were made.

    Cases like this should NEVER be allowed to waste our courts time based on the FACTS. The child was underage, not wearing a helmet or a seatbelt.

    Ther real question here should be why weren't his parents arrested and prosecuted for child endangerment and murder? It isn't Yamaha's fault the kid was born with stupid parents.

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