Yamaha Rhino Wrongful Death Lawsuit Will Proceed to Trial in Texas

A lawsuit involving the death of a 13 year old boy in a Yamaha Rhino accident will proceed to trial after a Texas appeals court denied a petition filed by Yamaha to force the case to go to arbitration.

The Yamaha Rhino wrongful death lawsuit was filed in November 2007 by the parents of Forest “Eddie” Ray, alleging that design defects and insufficient safety features caused their son to suffer fatal injuries when the four-wheel ATV rolled over.

According to a report by the Southeast Texas Record, Yamaha has been trying to force the parents to arbitrate the case based on an agreement signed with the dealer when the Rhino was first purchased. However, a motion to compel arbitration was not filed until June 1, and the parents argued that Yamaha had waived their right by not asserting the provision earlier in the litigation.

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The trial court denied Yamaha’s motion on June 30, and the Ninth Court of Appeals of Texas rejected Yamaha’s appeal on July 16, sending the case back for a trial that is currently scheduled for August 17, 2009 in the 163rd Judicial Court in Orange County, Texas.

The Yamaha Rhino arbitration agreement was contained in a clause in the financing agreement signed when the vehicle was first purchased.

Since it was first introduced in 2003, Yamaha Rhino design problems have been linked to hundreds of ATV rollover accidents throughout the United States involving serious or fatal injuries. With a high center of gravity, narrow wheelbase and a powerful engine, the Rhino has been found prone to rollover, even when operated at slow speeds on relatively flat surfaces.

On March 31, 2009, a Yamaha Rhino recall was issued and sales were temporarily halted so that additional safety repairs and modifications could be done for approximately 145,000 Rhino 450, 600 and 700 model ATVs already on the market.

An estimated 200 Yamaha Rhino lawsuits are currently pending in various courts throughout the United States involving allegations that the vehicles were defectively designed. All federal cases involved in the Yamaha Rhino litigation have been consolidated in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, before U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman in the Western District of Kentucky. The first trial in the Rhino MDL not expected to start until June 2010.


  • Texas Yamaha Rhino Lawsuit Results in Defense Verdict - AboutLawsuits.comAugust 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    [...] Texas jury has found that Yamaha Motor Corp. is not liable for the death of a 13-year-old boy in a Yamaha Rhino wrongful death lawsuit filed over fatal injuries suffered in a rollover accident, which the plaintiffs had contended were [...]

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