Greg Allen reached a settlement recently in a case involving another tragic Bad Boy Buggy incident. Cody Pike was riding in a Bad Boy Buggy with his friend when it tipped over, resulting in his death. We have been warning about the dangers of these vehicles for a very long time. While Textron, the manufacturer, has made improvements in the design of these machines over the years, there still are serious safety problems. Sadly, we expect to see more cases involving Bad Boy buggies in the future.
Adam and Debra Pike, who are from Macon, Ga., lost their son, Cody, when a Bad Boy vehicle belonging to his best friend’s uncle turned over. Cody’s head was trapped between the roof structure and the ground. The 2012 Bad Boy XTO did not have seatbelts or any other occupant retention devices, including doors or netting. The cart ejected Cody as it turned over because of this lack of basic safety features.
Cody’s best friend was driving the Bad Boy when they turned a corner into some honeysuckles. There was a small hidden pile of dirt under the honeysuckles, which caused the vehicle to tip over. The cart was essentially stopped at the time that it turned over. According to our reconstruction expert, the cart was traveling slower than 5 miles an hour when the left wheel hit the bump hidden by the brush.
Remembering Cody Pike
Cody Pike was a remarkable young man. Cody’s father works on the Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and military aircraft fascinated him. Whenever the family would go on vacation, Cody would find the nearest war memorial or museum, and the family would have to stop and look. Farming was another particular interest of his. Cody was an avid seatbelt wearer. His family will miss him dearly. The early loss of this young man’s life is a tragic shame. He was only 14 years old when he lost his life, and it was his first and last experience with a Bad Boy Buggy.
Cody and his friend were not doing anything dangerous. The boys were operating the buggy as intended. They had no way of knowing about the buggy’s dangerous design. Cody’s parents were not present and knew nothing about the Bad Boy Buggy before this tragic day. The XTO is an extremely heavy vehicle, weighing more than 1,700 pounds. That’s because of the numerous batteries the vehicle uses as a source of power. The XTO is a derivative from the Bad Boy Classic, which we have written about before.
A Diligent Investigation
Greg, our leading product liability lawyer, did a tremendous job for his clients in the case. He discovered that Textron made videos advertising the XTO. In pre-trial discovery, Greg issued an out-of-state subpoena for the vehicle’s advertising videotapes. Greg, assisted by Carol Thompson, our most experienced paralegal, obtained the production outtakes and discovered that in one of the commercials, an XTO nearly tipped during filming. The momentum ejected the vehicle’s passenger onto the ground. Through additional discovery, Greg was able to determine that the ejected passenger was an executive assistant at Textron. The case settled before Greg had the opportunity to take the deposition of this Textron employee.
Greg was able to discover that Textron cut an ad for a new and improved XTO the very same month the company manufactured the vehicle involved in this incident. The voice-over for the ad for the new vehicle states:
And the new XTO’s Occupant Protection System provides a robust tubular steel frame, 3-point seatbelts, side safety nets, and headrests to keep you safe when the going gets rough.
Unfortunately, the design of the buggy that killed Cody had none of these safety features. That is totally inexcusable. Textron claimed that the vehicle met stability standard SAE-J-2258, but Greg tested the 2012 XTO, and it failed. This vehicle is unstable, and there were no restraints or other safety features provided that would prevent the tip over from causing this tragic incident.
Our firm, led by Greg Allen, was associated in this case with Jarome Gautreaux and Rick Sizemore of Gautreaux & Sizemore, a law firm located at 778 Mulberry Street, Macon, Ga., 31201. These men are excellent lawyers, and associating with them on this case was an honor for us.