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Arkansas Court of Appeals Upholds $1.2M Verdict for Driver Injured Because of Hankook Tire Tread Defect

Win is latest by Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball trial team in large commercial tire cases

HOUSTON and OCALA, Florida – Trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball (KLF&B) won an important Arkansas Court of Appeals ruling, upholding a $1.2 million product defect verdict against Hankook Tire Company and its U.S. subsidiary, as well as sanctions against Hankook and an awarding of attorney fees. The May 20 decision involved an Arkansas truck driver seriously injured in a crash caused by a defective Hankook tire.

The case shines a light on defective commercial truck tires used on dump trucks, RVs and a wide variety of fleet vehicles. The KLF&B trial team has extensive experience working on behalf of individuals who have been injured in accidents caused by truck tires including the Hankook 385/65R 22.5, Goodyear G670 Load Range H 295/80R22.5, Sailun S825 425/65R22.5, and the Hercules H402 425/65R22.5.

In addition to the KLF&B team, the plaintiff was also represented by trial lawyers Jerry Kelly of Carlisle, Arkansas-based Kelly Law Firm and Ben Caruth of Morrilton, Arkansas-based Caruth & Virden.

“This case underscores how Hankook and other tire manufacturers must do a better job spotting defective tires before they enter the marketplace,” said trial lawyer Skip Lynch. “These companies need to take responsibility rather than use the courts to stall and delay. And when manufacturers fail to take these matters seriously, they need to know that courts will uphold sanctions and award attorney fees.”

Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball has a national reputation for holding tire manufacturers accountable and raising awareness about the dangers of defective tires. The firm is the only one in the U.S. to obtain a court order to inspect Hankook manufacturing facilities in South Korea. The team recently obtained a similar order allowing inspections of Sailun manufacturing facilities in China.

In the Arkansas ruling, the court found that a 2016 verdict against Hankook was proper. Jurors had found that Hankook and subsidiary Hankook Tire America were separately liable for the defective tire that caused the 2010 crash injuring Elmer Philpot. He was ejected through the windshield of the dump truck he was driving after a tread separation on a Hankook 385/65R 22.5 tire. In addition, the appellate court upheld sanctions and an award of attorney fees based on what the opinion described as Hankook’s “obtuse and unnecessary abuse of the discovery process.”

“This jury spoke loud and clear,” said trial lawyer Bruce Kaster. “We are grateful that the Arkansas Court of Appeals agreed, and Mr. Philpot can finally move on with his life.”

The ruling means Hankook must respect the jury’s $1.2 million damages verdict and attorney fees of $43,025. The case is Hankook Tire Co. et al. v. Elmer Philpot, Case No. 2020 Ark. App. 316, in the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

About Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, Texas, trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball have hard-earned expertise in cases against global vehicle and tire manufacturers over various defects that can cause significant injuries or deaths. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.