Florida Jury Unanimously Rules No Design Defect in $7 Million Yamaha Motorcycle Trial
CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE.
On Thursday, March 24, at the conclusion of a two-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, a jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. finding the Road Star Silverado motorcycle was not defectively designed or unreasonably dangerous. Injured plaintiff Troy Walker brought his conspicuity claim following a 2010 crash that resulted in a catastrophic brain injury. Plaintiff contended that the Yamaha motorcycle did not have sufficient lighting and as a result that adverse driver could not sufficiently judge its speed, distance or location on the roadway. Plaintiff asserted that if the 2004 model Road Star Silverado had passing lamps that the crash would not have occurred and pointed to Yamaha's addition of the passing lamps as standard equipment for the 2005 model.
Yamaha refuted these claims by proving the 2004 Yamaha Road Star Silverado met all applicable safety standards including FMVSS 108 and that it provided equal or better lighting than other available motorcycles in compliance with industry standards. Further Yamaha proved this motorcycle was extensively tested, and provided excellent visibility and conspicuity. Yamaha showed that passing lamps were an available option for all cruiser style motorcycles in 2004 and were added as standard to only one model in 2005 to provide different styling. The crash and Mr. Walker's tragic injuries were the fault of the adverse driver alone and not any problem or defect in the motorcycle.
In closing arguments, Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury for over $7 million in economic damages plus non-economic damages for pain and suffering, etc., he also asked for damages for loss of spousal consortium and parental consortium. The jury deliberated for only 1.5 hours finding for Yamaha and completely rejecting plaintiffs' claims.
Yamaha was represented by Frank Hosley and John Seipp of Bowman & Brooke LLP. Plaintiff was represented by Larry Coben of Anapol Weiss.
Walker et al v. Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. et al., No.6:13-cv-01546, Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr., presiding.