DONALDSONVILLE, La. (Oct. 17, 2007) — A Louisiana circuit court has ordered Michelin North America Inc. to pay a local woman $32.4 million in a case arising from the 2002 auto accident that rendered her a paraplegic.
Drusilla Boudreaux, 54, of Gonzales, La., was a passenger in a vehicle that skidded off Interstate 10 near her home, crashed and caught fire.
New BFGoodrich tires had recently been placed on the vehicle's front axle. Boudreaux's attorneys argued that Michelin had not informed Gonzales Tire and Rubber Co., which sold and installed the tires, that it is safer to place new tires on the rear axle and that the car hydroplaned as a result.
A Michelin spokeswoman said it always advises all its dealers to place new tires on the rear axle in cases where four new tires are not purchased.
She also said a local weatherman testified the road wasn't wet enough that night to induce hydroplaning and said driver error was the main causative factor in the accident.
Michelin plans to appeal, she said.
Carey Wicker, the New Orleans attorney who represented Boudreaux, could not immediately be reached for comment.