A series of legal settlements with tire companies Bridgestone, Bridgestone Bandag and additional corporate defendants, plus a combined $11.7 million verdict for compensatory damages and interest, add up to a record recovery for a New Jersey woman and her infant daughter who suffered horrific injuries in a crash caused by a defective truck tire retread.
The most recent settlement on Tuesday with Pennsylvania-based Silvi Concrete Products came after a Philadelphia jury reached a combined $11.7 million verdict days earlier. Silvi was the last of four corporate defendants to settle; the others were tiremaker Bridgestone Americas and tire retread companies Bridgestone-Bandag and McCarthy Tire Service. The jury verdict alone is one of the largest tire-tread defect verdicts of 2018, and the confidential settlements place the total recovery significantly higher.
All figures in U.S. dollars.
The Silvi settlement closes the book on a lengthy and contentious legal fight by lawyers with Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball on behalf of Shanika Lakiya Brown and her daughter.
Ms. Brown’s arm and her baby daughter’s leg were severed when they were ejected from their vehicle during a multivehicle crash caused by a tire tread failure on a Silvi-owned concrete mixer in West Deptford Township, New Jersey. According to the lawsuit, the truck’s Bridgestone L315 tire had been retreaded by Bridgestone-Bandag and McCarthy Tire Service.
The trial team led by Wes Ball and Kyle Farrar navigated numerous appellate roadblocks mounted by the tire companies, including jurisdictional appeals that stretched out over a two-year period and a barrage of appeals filed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the eve of trial. The plaintiffs’ legal team prevailed on all issues. Philadelphia-based attorney Daniel Sherry Jr. served as local counsel.
The corporate defendants began to settle separately once appellate issues were resolved in the plaintiffs’ favor at the beginning of the trial. Bridgestone and Bridgestone-Bandag settled with Ms. Brown, her minor daughter and a third passenger during jury selection. McCarthy Tire settled with the three during trial testimony. Silvi Concrete Products settled with the minor child plaintiff and the third plaintiff during trial, but not with Ms. Brown.
“This final settlement has been a long time coming for our clients. The defendants tried to appeal and delay for two solid years, but ultimately they could not dispute the facts of this case,” said trial lawyer Wes Ball. “Our investigation uncovered a dangerous combination of defective tires and a failure by the truck’s owners to inspect and maintain the truck. That resonated with the jury and brought the last defendant to the settlement table.”
The case is Shanika Lakiya Brown et al. v Silvi Concrete Products et al. in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 151000925.