Both sides completed their closing arguments today in the Firestone tire defect trial of Moreno v. Ford, a case in which a tire seller, American Tire Depot, was alleged to have mounted on the plaintiff’s Ford Explorer a 12 year-old spare tire that had been recalled, and subsequently failed, resulting in a fatal injury.
Plaintiff attorney Roger Braugh argued, “This major tire retailer, with 30 stores in Southern California, selling 300,000 tires per year, put old tires, recalled tires on this car. And they don’t train their employees. If someone drove in today with a 12 year-old recalled tire, would they say something? Nothing…This tire was a bomb waiting to go off, and they lit the fuse…jerk their head out of the sand.”
Defense attorney William DelHagan argued that the failed tire was not mounted by the defendant. The wear on the failed tire and the wear on the tire that the defendant sold and mounted were different (0.5 32nds versus 2.0 32nds). “The Firestone tire was installed somewhere else, and some other time, or it would surely have the same amount of wear.” Further, DelHagen argued, “Whoever installed this tire, there was no standard or rule broken in mounting an otherwise serviceable tire.” DelHagen characterized the plaintiff’s story as “exceedingly unlikely, virtually impossible to be true.”