Record Wrongful Death Verdict Changes Tire Training And Repair

Tire Separation Causes Van Rollover And Wrongful Death

January 11, 2011, a San Diego County, California jury returned a record verdict, against Mossy Ford. The verdict — $14,465,864, and the pre-trial settlement of $8.3 million for a total of $22,765,864 — is the largest wrongful death compensatory damage verdict and settlement in the history of San Diego County, California. The Barber family was represented by lawyers Robert A. Buccola and Jason Sigel of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP, and Adam Shea and Spencer Lucas of Panish Shea & Boyle.

In August 2005, defendant Mossy Ford performed a faulty tire repair. Plaintiffs' counsel proved at trial that Mossy Ford negligently failed to take the tire out of service and that this conduct caused the tire tread separation and led to the fatal rollover accident.

As a condition of the post-verdict settlement, Mossy Ford agreed to implement a comprehensive training program to better train its technicians about safe tire repair practices for purposes of consumer safety.

During his closing argument, Robert Buccola argued that the jury's verdict needed to send a message to all tire repair facilities that they must comply with industry tire repair safety standards and take the utmost care in their training and repair procedures so that a tragedy like this will never happen again.

Buccola said, "The jury system works. It protects all of us and here compelled Mossy Ford to recognize the need to implement an ongoing training program for tire repairs. This agreement by Mossy Ford to make these changes was critical to reaching a settlement after the verdict."

Plaintiffs' counsel Jason Sigel said, "Our goal was more than just obtaining a monetary recovery. Here, we were able to evoke real change and get the word out to other tire repair facilities of the importance of following tire repair rules to a tee."

The case was tried in front of Judge Luis Vargas in Department 63 of the Superior Court in San Diego, California.