+ Confidential Settlements with Bridgestone/Firestone
+ Confidential Settlements with Bridgestone/Firestone
COURT CASE NO.:
LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL, VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENT Friday November 6, 2009
TORTS PRODUCT LIABILITY: Design Defects
CASE/NUMBER: Biodin Ladunni, Oluwatoyin Ladunni, et al. v. BridgestonelFirestone Inc., El Amigo Tire Shop, Pedro Salgado, et al. / CV027291 consolidated with CV028264.
COURT/DATE: San Joaquin Superior / Aug. 7, 2009.
JUDGE: Hon. Carter P. Holly.
Plaintiff: Gary C. Eto – Law Offices of Gary C. Eto, Torrance. Richard Alexander, Jeffrey W . Rickard. Alexander Hawes, LLP, San Jose.
Defendant: David M. McLaughlin Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley, PC, Redwood City. Robert Tonn, Thomas Woodrow Holland and Knight LLP, Chicago, Ill. (for Bridgestone/Firestone) Joseph A Welch Hintz & Welch, Sacramento (for Pedro Salgado, E1 Amigo Tire Shop)
On Aug. 28, 2004, the Ladunni and Oladunni families were returning from Anaheim in their 1994 Nissan Quest Van. Biodin A Ladunni was driving the vehicle, with his spouse, Oluwatoyin Ladunni, their infant son, Ibukunoluwa Ladunni, and friends, Titilope Oladunni, and her three minor children, Anita Oladunni, Jennifer Oladunni and Edward Oladunni as passengers.
The plaintiffs were traveling north on Interstate-5 in Kern when the right rear Firestone FR 680 tire experienced a tread separation, which caused the vehicle to swerve out of control and to roll over into the dirt center median. During the rollover, four passengers, Oluwatoyin Ladunni, Edward Oladunni, Jennifer Oladunni and Anita Oladunni were fully ejected.
The tire was manufactured by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., and sold by Pedro Salgado and El Amigo Tire Shop.
Plaintiffs contended that the tire, a Firestone FR680 P215/70R15 made at Firestone’s Wilson, North Carolina plant in the seventh week of 1997, had manufacturing and design defects.
The subject tire was borne of Firestone’s infamous “C-95” cost cutting program, which led to the tire recall of millions of Firestone ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness AT tires in August 2000, and 2001 by both Firestone and Ford Motor Company. Around 1994, Firestone began its cost-cutting program known as C-95.
The C-95 program mandated and involved the reduction in size of tire components, the elimination of some tire components, and the use of less expensive compounds that were used in tire construction, and required individual plants to produce more tires per worker in less time. The tire involved in the Ladunni and Oladunni case was made in the seventh week of 1996, which was after modifications to all tire lines were made pursuant to the C-95 program ordered by Bridgestone Corporation.
As the subject FR 680 tire was a Firestone C-95 tire, plaintiffs contended that the FR 680 tire had the same manufacturing and design defects as the recalled ATX, ATX II and Wilderness Tires. The similarities across these tires included the absence of a cap ply )a cap ply is a band of nylon covering the two steel belts which acts like a tourniquet to prevent tread separations ( and the same “skim stock” ) the rubber mixture used to coat the brass plated steel cords that form the steel belts in the tire. It is vitally important that the properties of the skim rubber include good adhesion to the steel cords and good fatigue resistance to prevent the belts separating while the tire is in use. The plaintiffs maintained that the FR 680 tire also had the identical or similar inner liner gauge, interbelt gauge, belt wedge gauge, and W7 gauge as the recalled ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires.
The defendants contended the tire was not defective.
Edward Oladunni, 6, suffered massive head trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene. Jennifer Oladunni, 8, was in a coma for several days and suffered permanent brain injury, a right femoral neck hip fracture, left mid shaft femoral fracture, subdural hematoma, various abrasions/ contusions and traumatic right hemiplegia. Her surgeries included a craniotomy, repair of facial lacerations and open reduction internal fixation of the left hip. She also suffered orthopedic injuries and trauma to her face and head, significant facial scarring and surgical scarring. Her brain injury left her with right-sided incoordination and permanent cognitive deficits.
Anita Oladunni, 13, suffered a left hip dislocation, trauma to her left knee and left arm and was left with significant scarring. Titilope Oladunni suffered relatively minor injuries in the accident but witnessed the death of her son, Edward at the scene. Oluwatoyin Ladunni was five months pregnant at the time of the accident. She lost her fetus and sustained major fractures to her pelvis and femur both necessitating major reconstructive surgery to her pelvis and femur and extensive hospitalization and rehabilitation. Her scarring is extensive and permanent. Biodin Amos Ladunni and Ibukunoluwa Ladunni also suffered’ various injuries.
All plaintiffs claimed depression over the loss of Edward Oladunni.
Pedro Salgado and El Amigo Tire settled with plaintiffs for $2,000. Defendant Bridgestone/ Firestone settled with plaintiffs for a confidential amount.
MEDIATOR: John R Williams, Williams & Williams Mediation.
Counsel for Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. indicated they had some objections to the case report, but did not provide comments.
FILING DATE: Sept. 22, 2005