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Jury awards $317K in Yamaha test case

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Plaintiff’s attorney C. Andrew Childers said his team chose a case where the injury was not “extreme” to see if a product liability claim against Yamaha was viable.

Per the Fulton Daily Report
June 2, 2010
Andy Peters

VERDICT is first in dozens of suits filed in Gwinnett against Rhino off-road vehicle.

In a test for similar cases pending in Gwinnett County, a State Court jury awarded $317,002 to a north Georgia couple last week to compensate them for injuries caused when the husband’s leg was trapped under his Yamaha off-road vehicle. An attorney for the plaintiffs, C. Andrew Childers of Childers, Schlueter & Smith, said the Gwinnett case is one of the first to reach a verdict among productliability cases against Yamaha in the U.S. and Canada alleging defects in its Rhinomodel recreational-utility vehicle. Childers and his colleagues pushed the case of Roger McTaggart of Blue Ridge, who was injured in a 2007 accident, to go first among  the dozens filed in Gwinnett because it was a “middle-of-the-road case.” “There was not an extreme, terrible injury,” Childers said, noting that he wanted to see if a  product-liability claim against Yamaha was viable. The plaintiff “didn’t have his leg severed or put into metal equipment,” Childers said. “He didn’t even break  it, but we still won the case.”

The plaintiffs filed many of the cases in Gwinnett because the registered agent for Yamaha Motor Corp. USA is located in Gwinnett County, Childers said. McTaggart was driving his Rhino and stopped the vehicle. He then starting going forward again and turned the steering wheel to the right, “and the Rhino tipped onto the driver’s side, trapping his leg under the vehicle,” according to McTaggart’s complaint.

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