Our firm settled a case last month involving an overturn of a Bad Boy Buggy. We had the pleasure of representing Elle Silver, a very athletic, intelligent and beautiful young lady. Elle was a 13-year-old cheerleader at Drake Middle School in Auburn when she was injured. She was also involved in a competitive cheerleading squad. Elle, one of her friends and her little sister, were riding the Bad Boy Buggy in their driveway when it suddenly accelerated while making a turn. The Bad Boy rolled one-half turn at only 10 miles an hour. Elle did the natural thing and put her foot out to try to stop the rollover. Unfortunately, she suffered a below the knee amputation of her left leg.
Before the accident, Elle was involved heavily in activities in her school and her church. She continues to be very active and has participated in three triathlons. She has worked hard to overcome her injury. In fact, Elle has learned to do a back flip with a prosthesis. Her parents, Laura and Mark Silver have done a great job of encouraging Elle to make the most of her injury.
After the accident, our lawyers investigated the case and learned there had been three recalls for sudden unintended acceleration on these vehicles. While the first recall took place before the original sale, it was ineffective. The next two recall notices were not sent to the owner of the Bad Boy Buggy. Therefore, these recall notices were not transferred to the Silver family. Most folks would be shocked to learn that these vehicles were designed with no engineering input and no testing of any kind. The electronic system was designed with no redundancy. We discovered many incidents of sudden acceleration and unintended runaway of these vehicles. In addition, the vehicle is very top heavy and prone to rollover. The buggy has a bad suspension; it oversteers and it has a defective braking system.
The original Bad Boy was essentially a golf cart converted to 4-wheel drive for hunting. We filed suit against Bad Boy Enterprises of Natchez, Mississippi, the company that designed and manufactured the vehicle. We also sued BB Buggies, Inc. and Textron, which purchased the business from Bad Boy Enterprises. The claims against Textron and BB Buggies, Inc. were for failing to carry out the third recall. The claim against Bad Boy Enterprises was for poor design and failure to warn and recall.
The vehicles were designed without doors. Few people realize that the doors on most side-by-side ATVs, such as the Yamaha Rhino, are to prevent foot-out injuries. The foot-out injury is the most common injury that occurs with these vehicles. When the passenger plants his or her foot outside the vehicle while the vehicle is still overturning, the forward motion causes the foot to get pulled in under the machine. This will usually result in a most serious injury. Had the case been tried, our lawyers had numerous other similar incidents prepared to be presented to the jury.
Incredibly, Textron has not completed the recall on these vehicles. Instead of notifying the owners directly, Textron received permission from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to allow the dealers to perform the recall. Unfortunately, many of the dealers are no longer in business. The vehicle in our case was purchased directly at the Natchez factory. Since it appears these vehicles will never be recalled, unfortunately, there will be many more serious injuries.
This case was handled by Greg Allen, Chris Glover and Kendall Dunson from our firm. They worked on this case with Matt White of the Adams, Umbach, Davidson & White firm in Opelika, Alabama; Ben Finley and Walker Garrett from The Finley Firm, which has offices in Atlanta and Columbus; and Houser Pugh, a Columbus lawyer. The case was settled on the eve of trial with the amount being confidential. The case was before U.S. District Judge Clay Land, an excellent Jurist. Greg and his team did a tremendous job, especially in pretrial discovery, in this case.
For more information about Bad Boy Buggies visit our Bad Boy Buggies website at badboybuggieslawyer.com.
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