Donaldsonville, Louisiana - A Louisiana circuit court has ordered Michelin North America Inc. to pay a local woman $32.4 million (€23 million) in a case arising from a 2002 car accident that rendered her a paraplegic.
Drusilla Boudreaux, 54, of Gonzales, Louisiana, was a passenger in a vehicle that skidded off Interstate 10 near her home, crashed and caught fire. New BFGoodrich tyres-a Michelin associate brand-had recently been fitted on the vehicle's front axle.
Ms. Boudreaux's attorneys argued that Michelin had not informed Gonzales Tire and Rubber Co., which sold and installed the tyres, that it is safer to place new tyres on the rear axle, and that the car hydroplaned as a result.
A Michelin spokeswoman said it always advises all of its dealers to place new tyres on the rear axle in cases where four new tyres are not purchased. She also noted that a local weatherman testified the road wasn't wet enough that night to induce hydroplaning, and she said driver error was the main causative factor in the accident.
Michelin plans to appeal, the spokeswoman said.
Carey Wicker, the New Orleans attorney who represented Ms. Boudreaux, could not immediately be reached for comment.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)