BUTTE, Mont. (March 8, 2010)—A tire and wheel importer has settled with a Montana couple in a product liability lawsuit involving the death of their son.
The details of the settlement are not public, according to Torger Oaas, the Lewistown, Mont., attorney who represented Ted and Sherri Nichols.
The Nicholses had sought $6.9 million in damages over the June 23, 2006 accident that killed Theodore “Ted” Nichols, 19, near Ramsay, Mont. The younger Nichols was riding in a pickup truck driven by his friend Casey Pesanti, who was 20 at the time of the accident. Pesanti missed a curve, lost control of his vehicle and struck a utility pole.
According to the suit, a wheel imported from South Korea by MKW Alloy Inc. failed on Pesanti's truck, and MKW was responsible for the allegedly defective wheel. MKW argued that driver impairment and negligence, not the wheel, caused the accident.
Pesanti's blood-alcohol concentration at the time of the accident was .11, over the legal limit of .08. He pleaded guilty in November 2006 to two felony counts of criminal endangerment and one misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated, and received a four-year deferred sentence.
The trial began March 2 in a state district court in Butte. The suit was settled on the third day of trial, Oaas said.