Beasley Allen lawyer W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud section, was appointed co-lead counsel in the class action litigation involving off-road vehicle manufacturer and distributors Polaris Industries, Inc. and Polaris Sales Inc. The complaint is filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota with U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright presiding.
The lawsuit alleges Polaris has sold multiple models in its Ranger and RZR recreational off-road vehicle (ROV) lines that suffer from a defect in the engine’s design, creating a significant and unreasonable risk of the vehicles overheating and catching fire. The defectively designed engine has caused more than 250 fires, more than 30 severe injuries and at least three deaths.
“We are honored to have been appointed interim co-lead counsel of this important class action case against Polaris,” Miles said. “We look forward to pursuing the discovery, class certification, possible resolution and/ or trial with our very distinguished co-counsel and liaison counsel. This case involves very serious safety issues with these Polaris recreational vehicles that appear to be the result of the same scheme we see all too often in mass production vehicles, sacrificing safety for greater profits to the company owners. We have a plan to expose these issues.”
Polaris began incorporating a new engine design in its RZRs and Rangers in 2011. From the beginning, Polaris sacrificed consumer safety to save money and increase profits by revamping the engine inhouse and refusing to hire experts. The defective design rerouted the exhaust gas pipes to travel toward the ROV rider and fails to provide proper ventilation and heat shielding. The Minnesota-based company has issued several recalls, yet the ROVs continue to pose a serious safety risk to drivers and passengers. Earlier this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) even fined Polaris $27.25 million for failing to properly report the defect and the unreasonable risk of serious injury or death the defect can cause.
The lawsuit will include approximately 300,000 consumers that say they would not have purchased the ROVs if they knew about the defect before their purchase. The case is Bruner et al v. Polaris Industries, Inc. et al, 0:18-cv-00939-WMW-DTS.