Lawsuit claims dealers didn't warn owner of safety recall

Publish Date: 
Aug 31, 2012

CHATHAM, Va. - A man is seeking $20 million in damages from Kawasaki Heavy Industries and two Danville ATV dealerships because of injuries he sustained in a 2009 ATV accident.

Robert “Robbie” Guthrie’s lawsuit in Pittsylvania County Circuit Court alleges the OEM and dealers failed to warn him that his 2003 Kawasaki Prairie 650 V-Twin was subject to a recall by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., before he had his accident April 25, 2009.

The dealers named as defendants are Harville Ltd., formerly Harville Motor Co. Inc., and Reynolds Motorsports Inc. are listed as defendants in the case.

The complaint, quoted in the Danville Register & Bee, states that the recall was due to a defect in which “a significant impact to the front wheel of the ATV while the steering is fully turned to either side can result in suspension damage, wear and an eventual loss of steering control that could result in injury or death.”

In Guthrie’s accident, the ball joint separated and he lost control of the vehicle. The ATV “experienced a sudden and drastic deceleration throwing the plaintiff from the vehicle, all of which was foreseeable to the defendants, and each of them,” according to the lawsuit, which claims he suffered “severe and permanent injuries.”

The defendants knew of at least 42 reports of ball joint separation leading to loss of control, including at least three personal injuries, the lawsuit states. They did not notify Guthrie of the reports, he said in the document.

Guthrie’s complaint alleges negligent design against Kawasaki and failure to warn.

Posted by Holly Wagner