MIAMI – April 19, 2013 – Holland & Knight's product liability team, together with Pirelli's national trial counsel, successfully defended Pirelli Tire, LLC and Pirelli North America Inc. in the U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale against claims brought by a couple who suffered multiple injuries in a 2010 motorcycle crash in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The plaintiffs alleged that the rear tire mounted on their Harley Davidson motorcycle was defectively designed and manufactured, which allegedly caused the tire to blow out and the motorcycle to crash.
In their suit, the plaintiffs claimed that Pirelli Tire, LLC and Pirelli North America, Inc. negligently and defectively designed, manufactured, warned, distributed and sold the subject tire. The defense team, however, was able to obtain a dismissal for Pirelli North America, Inc. for all claims based on its limited role as a holding company. The defense team also was able to obtain a dismissal of the negligence, defective design and failure to warn claims against Pirelli Tire, LLC.
The lone remaining claim presented to the jury against Pirelli Tire, LLC was for an alleged manufacturing defect. The defense team argued that the tire failed due to prior impact damage from a road hazard encountered during its service history. The defense also presented evidence that the owner was negligent in failing to properly maintain and inspect the motorcycle and its tires. After approximately an hour and a half of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict finding that the tire did not have a manufacturing defect and agreed with the defense that the tire failed due to a prior road hazard impact injury.
Pirelli was represented at trial by Holland & Knight products liability litigation partner Lee Teichner and associate Eleni Kastrenakes, along with Pirelli trial counsel Peter Ezzell. Additional pre-trial assistance was provided by Holland & Knight partners Lyndall Lambert and Min Cho, and associate Cary Aronovitz.
The Pirelli trial team obtained significant victories during the pre-trial stages of the litigation which proved instrumental in the trial success, including thwarting the plaintiffs' efforts to perform destructive testing on the subject tire, which the defense showed was not reasonable or necessary, and would have been prejudicial to the defense of the plaintiffs' defect claims. The defense team also successfully challenged the plaintiffs' expert's defect opinions via a Daubert motion.
This was the second defense verdict obtained for Pirelli defendants in a three-month period by Holland & Knight's product liability lawyers. In February, Holland & Knight associate Anna Krasinski obtained a defense verdict for Pirelli with Mr. Ezzell in a case tried in the U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Missouri.
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