Yamaha Navigates Courtroom Battles over Off-Road Vehicle

Yamaha Rhino

Yamaha Rhino

A pair of courtroom victories in California and Alabama in August marked a winning streak for vehicle-manufacturer Yamaha against a series of injury and wrongful death suits.

The target of the claims is the company's Rhino, a so-called side-by-side off-road vehicle. As we reported a year ago, the top-selling Rhino is suspected of having design flaws that make it easy to rollover and more likely to maim or kill riders during accidents.

(Scroll down to watch the report from August 2009)

A piece out this week at FairWarning.org, the investigative journalism website, reports that of the five cases against the Rhino that have gone to court, four have been won by the defense. The initial results "demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the Rhino is a safe and defect-free vehicle," Paul Cereghini, a lawyer representing Yamaha, told FairWarning.

But Yamaha still faces an estimated 700 more injury and wrongful death cases. Attorneys of alleged victims point out that Yamaha has paid settlements in at least 40 Rhino cases, some on the eve of trial.

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  • Michael Rey

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