MARSHALL, Texas—A Texas family has sued Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in a federal court in Marshall, accusing the company of strict liability and negligence in an accident that killed five.
Federico Esquivel Acuna was driving an unspecified vehicle with 11 passengers down Interstate Highway 20 near Marshall on Aug. 20, 2012.
The vehicle's right rear tire—a Cooper Discoverer ATR, size 245/65R17—suffered a tread belt separation, causing the vehicle to roll over and hit a road sign, according to the suit filed Dec. 3, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.
Acuna and all 11 passengers were injured, five of them fatally, according to the suit.
“Technologically and economically feasible alternative designs existed that would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of injury without substantially impairing the utility of the product,” the complaint said.
Acuna and the other surviving passengers are entitled to wrongful death and personal injury damages, as well as bystander damages for witnessing the deaths of their children and siblings, according to the suit.
In its Dec. 23 reply brief, Cooper said that 10 of the 12 people in the vehicle, including nine children, were not wearing seat belts or any other restraints.
Cooper also said the failed tire on Acuna's vehicle complied with all federal safety standards. “The accident, the injuries and/or the harm made the basis of this civil action was caused by the negligence of a third party, or third parties, over whom Defendant Cooper had no control,” the reply brief said.