Honda wins ATV Crash Suit when Expert testimony ruled inadmissable

A US federal judge on Thursday, 31 January tossed a suit against American Honda Motor Co. Inc. after the jury hung, finding the plaintiff’s expert testimony about an allegedly defective all-terrain vehicle that caused an injury wasn’t admissible.

A jury failed to reach a verdict in an October trial in the matter on the one claim in plaintiff Zane Johnson’s suit that wasn’t trimmed by the judge, a manufacturing defect claim, and Honda asked the judge when the trial was over to decide the case in its favor.

It is understandable that the jury could not reach a verdict since the judge refused to allow expert testimony. I always thought the role of a judge was more like a ‘traffic cop’ that whose function was to interpret the law and be a referee between the two parties. However it seems this judge failed at his job, since he refused to allow an expert’s testimony to have bearing on the lawsuit.

Wonder how much it cost Honda for this totally UNBIASED ruling by the judge, especially since the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has mandated a recall of these 4 wheel ATVs as being unsafe.

From the press release by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:

About 19,500 (about 2,900 were recalled in February 2012) were recalled on December 26, 2012.

Distributor: American Honda Motor Co. Inc., of Torrance, Calif. distributed the Honda ATVs.

Hazard: A weld on the ATV’s front right and left upper suspension arms can separate, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle, posing a crash hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: Honda is aware of 10 incidents of suspension arm weld failures, including one in which a rider suffered a sprained wrist.

Description: The recalled vehicles are two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive 2012 Honda FourTrax Rancher ATV TRX420 FA, FE, FM, FPA, FPE, FPM, TE and TM models. The ATVs are red, green or camouflage and have the word “Honda” and the Honda wing logo on both sides of the fuel tank. The word “Rancher” is on the front cowl below the handlebars and on the left rear fender. Rancher models in the following Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) ranges are being recalled:

Model VIN Ranges
TRX420FA 1HFTE370*C4300541 thru C4301380
TRX420FA Camo 1HFTE374*C4300121 thru C4300240
TRX420FE 1HFTE354*C4501741 thru C4504380
TRX420FE Camo 1HFTE357*C4500301 thru C4500720
TRX420FM 1HFTE350*C4502342 thru C4506061
TRX420FM Camo 1HFTE359*C4500317 thru C4500840
TRX420FPA 1HFTE372*C4300482 thru C4302461
TRX420FPA Camo 1HFTE375*C4300061 thru C4300420
TRX420FPE 1HFTE35K*C4501202 thru C4502881
TRX420FPE Camo 1HFTE35M*C4500241 thru C4500360
TRX420FPM 1HFTE35F*C4501441 thru C4502760
TRX420FPM Camo 1HFTE35H*C4500301 thru C4500420
TRX420TE 1HFTE344* C4500841 thru C4504020
TRX420TM 1HFTE340* C4500542 thru C4503001

*Denotes a random alphanumeric identifier: “0-9? or “X”

The model number is visible on the right front frame down pipe above the driver’s right-hand side front wheel. The VIN is located on the top center front of the frame and is visible looking down between the bars of the gear rack and through the middle opening of the front fairing.

Sold at: Honda sold the ATVs through dealers nationwide from September 2011 to November 2012 for between $5,100 and $7,600.

Manufactured in: The recalled Honda ATVs were manufactured in the United States.