FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2022
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB DEFENDS NATIONAL TIRE RETAILER ON $20 MILLION
NEGLIGENCE CLAIM – GETS MOTION FOR DIRECTED VERDICT
FORT LAUDERDALE ─ David M. Tarlow, Managing Partner of the Fort Lauderdale office at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., received a defense verdict on behalf of his client, the largest independent tire and wheel retailer in the world. The company’s Best Practices call for employees to write down the DOT (tire code) number of all tires on a vehicle serviced. The DOT number has a 4-digit code disclosing the week and year a tire was manufactured. The tire company recommends to its customers to replace tires when tires are six years of age or older and that it will not service a tire older than 10 years.
The decedent, then 63 years old, went to the tire store the morning of February 13, 2017 and purchased two new tires. The new tires were installed on the rear axle and the existing rear tires were rotated to the front axle. Later that same day, the decedent returned to the tire store and exchanged the tires purchased earlier that day for more expensive tires. A total of six different people from the tire store were involved in the two services. None of the DOT numbers were recorded by any of the six employees.
On June 1, 2017, the decedent and his only child – his 26-year-old son who was a United States Marine who had served in Afghanistan – were driving on I -95 when the front left tire sustained a partial tread and belt separation causing the vehicle to leave the roadway. The vehicle struck a culvert launching the vehicle airborne where it struck a group of trees and coming to rest on its roof. Father and son died at the scene. The tire that failed was 14 years old.
The tire company was sued by the surviving wife for monetary damages for the death of her husband and only child. Plaintiff alleged the tire company was negligent in the training of its employees regarding not recording DOT numbers and for failing to take the 14-year-old tire out of service.
In plaintiff’s opening statement, counsel stated he would be asking for a verdict in the amount of $20 million. After four days of jury trial, the trial court granted the tire company’s Motion for Directed Verdict finding it had met industry standards as it had a poster displayed in its store that advised its customers, including the decedent, to replace tires older than six years old. As to the tire company’s policy of not servicing tires older than 10 years, the court held that practice was not an industry standard and therefore, as a matter of law, it could not be held legally responsible if it had, in fact, serviced the subject tire.
The tire company believes the subject tire was not on the decedent’s vehicle at the time of its February 13th service as it always checks DOT numbers. The Court did not rule on the issue of whether there was enough circumstantial evidence for the jury to consider whether the subject tire was serviced by the tire company since the Court ruled the tire company had not violated any industry standard.
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David M. Tarlow is the managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale office. He is an expert in civil litigation and is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Education and Specialization and by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the area of Civil Trials. His practice includes all aspects of insurance and general liability defense, product liability, wrongful death, personal injury defense, premise liability, automobile liability, negligent security, legal malpractice, and insurance coverage disputes and bad faith litigation. Tarlow received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1991. He is admitted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
QPWB is the largest minority and woman owned law firm in the nation.