The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit involving an exploding tire sold at a Les Schwab Tire Center store should move forward, the Oregonian reported this week.
In the lawsuit, Scott Wilcox, a Les Schwab customer, sued Toyo Tire Holdings of America and Les Schwab Tire Centers of Oregon in 2014 after the Toyo tire he bought at the store exploded in his wife’s lap, leading to multiple injuries and her death.
The appeals court said a County Circuit Court judge in Oregon erroneously dismissed the case initially over a faulty interpretation of a federal law that gives leeway to people on active duty in the military in meeting statutes of limitation, the Oregonian reported.
Wilcox, who was stationed in the United Kingdom on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, had his BMW shipped to Suffolk, England with the Toyo tires he bought at the Les Schwab store about two years earlier, court records say.
Scott and his wife, Jenna, left Suffolk in the car to go on vacation in Scotland, and as they approached the country’s border, Wilcox noticed the car was producing a vibration sound and stopped to check the tires, according to court documents.
After receiving advice from a mechanic, Wilcox removed the rear-side passenger tire and attached a spare. Rather than leaving the defected tire on the side of the road, it was placed on Jenna’s lap. Shortly after, the tire exploded in Jenna’s lap, which caused a significant head injury, a back fracture, a “probable ruptured spleen” and a laceration in her liver, court records say. A few days later, Jenna died as a result of the injuries.
In the lawsuit, Wilcox alleges that the tire was manufactured and sold with the defect and is seeking over $500,000 in damages.
Toyo Tires did not immediately respond when asked to comment about the lawsuit. Les Schwab Chief Marketing Officer, Dale Thompson said, “We recognize the tragic nature of this incident and our hearts go out to this family. We cannot comment on details of pending litigation, especially in this situation where the manufacturer has been the primary respondent in this case. We’ve made safety a core part of our culture and over the course of more than 65 years have established a strong reputation of putting our customers first as a result.”
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