Lawsuit filed over paralyzing SUV accident

posted on:
December 5, 2004

author:
Bob Lowery

A lawsuit has been filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court against Ford Motor Co. and Continental General Tire of North America in connection with an SUV accident earlier this year that left a Montgomery woman paralyzed.

The suit was filed on behalf of Carolyne Thorne, 54, the owner of a daycare center, who was severely injured in an accident in April on Interstate 85 near the Lee County and Macon County line.

“The 2000 (Ford) Expedition was unreasonably dangerous and defective by design,” said LaBarron Boone, her lawyer. “The vehicle has an unreasonably high center of gravity and narrow track width, which in combination, predispose the vehicle to instability and unreasonable risk of rollover.”

Boone is an attorney-engineer with Montogmery’s BeasleyAllen law firm, which has been famously successful in winning large jury awards in these type of consumer cases.

Ford was among the defendants that had not been served with the complaint as of late Friday, said spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes.

“I’m not familiar with this suit so I cannot comment on it,” she said. “What I can tell you is that the Expedition is a safe vehicle that performs comparably to or better than other vehicles in its class.”

The complaint says Thorne was driving her 2000 Ford Expedition north on I -85 when the left rear tire, which was in “excellent condition,” ruptured, causing her to lose control of the vehicle. The SUV rolled over, crossed the median and went into the southbound lanes of I-85.

As a result of the accident, Thorne suffered permanent injuries that left her paralyzed, the complaint said.

Boone, said Thorne was initially paralyzed from the neck down but has recently shown some improvement since the accident.

Ford Motor Co. was ames as a defendant because the Expedition’s roof, restraint system and windows all were defectively designed and manufactured, making the SUV uncrashworthy, said Boone.

Boone said the Continental-General “Grabber” tires that were on Thorne’s Expedition, unbeknownst to her had been recalled by the tire company.

Moody Tire Service Inc. of Montgomery was named as a defendant, said Boone, because it supplied the tires. Wal-Mart Associates Inc. is also a defendant because one of its stores serviced the SUV at one point.

“I haven’t seen it (the lawsuit) and I don’t know anything about it,” said Frank Moody, owner of Moody’s Tire Services, which operates two automotive service businesses in Montgomery. “We just want to know whether Moody was aware the tires had been recalled and what kind of service Wal-Mart might have done,” said Boone.

Continental-Tire, based in Denmark, could not be reached for comment.

A call to Wal-Mart spokesman Suzanne Haney was not returned.

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