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Case No. BCVBS 07670
Superior Court of the State of California For the County of San Bernardino – Barstow District
Lucero et al. v. Ford Motor Co. and Continental Tire

Lucero v. Ford Motor Company and Continental Tire Corporation

PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Law Offices of Raymond Paul Johnson
2121 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 3400
South Bay Los Angeles
El Segundo, California 90245
Law Office of Terrance Ponchak
732 Ninth Street, Suite 101
San Pedro, California 90731
707 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 5000
Los Angeles, California 90017
Counsel for Continental Tire North America, Inc.

Crowe & Rogan, LLP
100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 200
Santa Monica, California 90401-1111
Counsel for Ford Motor Co. And ABC Group dba Ford West

Snell & Wilmer, LLP
1920 Main Street, Suite 1200
Irvine, California 92614-7060
Co-Counsel for Ford Motor Co.

PLAINTIFFS’ EXPERTS: Robert Lloyd Anderson
Accident reconstruction, stability, handling and control
Applied Research and Investigations Phoenix, Arizona

Mark W. Arndt
Stability, handling and control during tread detachment
Transportation Safety Technologies, Inc. Mesa, Arizona

William G. Broadhead
Occupant restraint systems
Automotive Safety Research, Inc. Santa Barbara, California

Dennis Carlson, P.E.
Tries, defects, history and testing
Carlson Engineering, Inc. Tucson, Arizona

Thomas J. Feaheny
Occupant protection systems, laminated/glazed glass
Automotive Consulting Rochester Hills, Michigan

Joyce Pickersgill, Ph.D.
Formuzis, Pickersgill & Hunt, Inc. Santa Ana, California

David A. Posey, M.D.
Glenoaks Pathology Medical Group, Inc. La Cañada, California

Anthony Sances, Jr., Ph.D.
Biomechanics and occupant kinematics
Biomechanics Institute, Ltd. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

DEFENSE EXPERTS: William L. Anderson
Accident scene investigation and documentation
Palm Desert, California

Thomas L. Bennett, M.D.
Pathology Consultants, P.C. Billings, Montana

Edward M. Caulfield, Ph.D., P.E.
Michael W. Rogers, P.E.
Door latches
Packer Engineering, Inc. Naperville, Illinois

John W. Daws, Ph.D., P.E.
Tires Exponent
Phoenix, Arizona

Stephen J. Fenton, P.E.
Engineering animation
Knott Laboratory, Inc. Englewood, Colorado

James D. Gardner
Failure analysis of automotive tires
Akron, Ohio

Geoffrey J. Germane, Ph.D.
Accident reconstruction
Germane Engineering Provo, Utah

Jon Landerville
Vehicle handling, accident reconstruction
Vector Scientific Los Angeles, California

Lawrence M. McKenna
Restraint systems
Body Systems Analysis, Inc. Algonac, Michigan

Jubin Merati, Ph.D.
Merati Economic Group, Inc. Los Angeles, California

Richard L. Morrison
Glass and glazing
Glass & Glazing Forensics LLC Southfield, Michigan

Larry F. Ragan
Roof crush
Ragan Research Corporation Livonia, Michigan

Dennis C. Schneider, Ph.D.
Biomechanical engineer
Biokinetic Engineering, Inc. Los Osos, California

Donald F. Tandy, Jr.
Stability and handling
Tandy Engineering & Associates, Inc. The Woodlands, Texas

Jeffrey B. Wheeler
Biomechanics, accident reconstruction, restraints
Vector Scientific Los Angeles, California

TYPE OF CASE: Ford Expedition Rollover/Tire Failure
LOCATION: Northbound on Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County, California
DECEDENTS’ AGES: Antonio Lucero (75)
Maria Lucero (68)
Eva Rodriguez (48)
Jose Rodriguez (47)
Yolanda Flores (45)
Ismael Flores (50)
PLAINTIFF’S OCCUPATIONS: Antonia Lucero (retried)
Maria Lucero (homemaker)
Eva Rodriguez (homemaker)
Jose Rodriguez (mechanic)
Yolanda Flores (Student Transportation)
Ismael Flores (Mobile Oil employee)
NATURE OF THE CASE: On May 18, 2002, three couples, Antonia and Maria Lucero, Jose and Evan Rodriguez and Ismael and Yolanda Flores were traveling in a 2000 Ford Expedition northbound on Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County, California. Suddenly and without warning, the tread detached on their rear Continental Grabber AW tire. The Expedition went out of control and immediately rolled over, killing all six (6) occupants. As a result of the rollover, bodies were ejected, crushed and mangled, including decapitation and dismemberment.

The Ford Expedition, a sister vehicle to the Ford Explorer, exhibits a dangerous oversteer defect in the event of a tire failure, particularly tread separation. When the tread on the left rear Continental tire detached, the Ford Expedition became inherently unstable, and as result rolled over. The Grabber AW tires were prone to tread separation because of manufacturing and design defects.

Prior to these deaths, Ford and Continental officials held discussions and meetings regarding the exceedingly high number of returned tires, claims and injuries related to use of Continental’s Grabber AW tires on the Ford Expedition and other Ford products. Yet, no warnings or recalls were initiated until August 2002, months after this particular rollover which spurred joint recalls by Ford and Continental. The Grabber AW tires were recalled for not having adequate rubber gauge along the belt edge which could lead to tread separation and loss of vehicle control. Ford conducted its own related recall of the Model Year 2000 Expedition due to tire placards on the vehicle that prescribed lower than recommended tire pressure.

DEFENDANTS’ CLAIMS: The subject Ford Expedition had Grabber AW tires whose condition were beyond serviceable life. The failed left tire was improperly repaired. The worn condition of the vehicle’s other tires should have given notice to the owner of the vehicle to replace the tires. The condition of the right front tire was worn beyond legal limits and the vehicle should not have been on the road. When the left rear tire failed, the driver of the Ford Expedition overcorrected and applied excessive braking input, contributing to the rollover. Each of the four ejected occupants were either wearing their seatbelts improperly or not at all.
TRIAL JUDGE: Hon. John P. Vander Feer
TRIAL DATE: May 17, 2005


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