Sheehy Ford and Continental Tire Pay Family in Maryland

At a recent mediation, Rob Ammons and co-counsel Bob Michael resolved a products liability case against Continental and Ford. The case involved a 2004 Ford Expedition and its original equipment Contitrac SUV spare. Settlement was also reached with the Ford dealership which sold and serviced the Expedition.

The accident occurred when the tread on the 10-year-old spare, which had been placed into service at the Expedition’s right-rear position, came apart. The sudden tire disablement caused the vehicle to leave the road and rollover. Each of the SUV’s occupants was seriously injured, and two children lost their lives.

Serrano tire after fatal crash.

In the lawsuit Rob Ammons filed on behalf of the family, it was alleged that Continental designed the Contitrac SUV tire without a full nylon cap ply, a component proven to be most effective in reducing separations. Ammons also claimed that the tire had a number of manufacturing anomalies that seriously compromised its durability and that Continental’s extremely poor quality control at the plant in which this tire was built played a role in creating the defective conditions and in the failure to detect them before the tire left the plant. Additionally, it was alleged that Continental chose not to provide any meaningful information and warnings about the risk of using old tires, including spares, that may look pristine (the subject tire still had almost all of its original tread depth) but have degraded internally over time. Many tire companies recommend replacing tires, regardless of whether or not they have been in service, after six years.
Allegations against Ford included the automaker’s input into the design of the Contitrac SUV tire and its selection as original equipment for its Expeditions. Ammons also claimed Ford defectively and negligently designed the Expedition with a high roll propensity, with handling characteristics that make it prone to loss of directional control in the event of a rear tire disablement, and without electronic stability control to assist the driver in keeping the vehicle on its intended path in difficult handling situations.

The Ford dealership at which the family purchased the pre-owned Expedition with its original equipment spare (then 4 years old) was also a defendant in the lawsuit. According to Ammons, the family purchased a VIP service package with the Expedition and had the vehicle serviced pursuant to that premium service package (which included multi-point inspections and tire rotations) regularly at the dealership in the ensuing years. The lawsuit alleged that it was negligent for the dealership to have returned the Expedition with the original equipment spare numerous times to the family after that tire was over six years old. Ammons claimed that the family was not advised of a Ford recommendation that tires be replaced after reaching six years of age and that the dealership never warned about the dangerous effects of tire aging. It was alleged that the service technicians were poorly trained and that the dealership had no policies in place to ensure that vehicles with aged tires were not released back to customers absent information regarding the tires’ age and of Ford’s tire replacement recommendation.

The Ammons Law Firm handles cases nationwide, including cases involving tire defects, oil rig explosions, truck accidents, plant explosions, refinery accidents, wrongful death, post-collision fires, seat belt defects, seatback defects, airbag defects, SUV rollovers, and workplace negligence.

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