Newsome Law Firm has gained national recognition for many of the cases we have litigated. Highlighted in this section are some of the notable cases we have handled.
Chattelle v. Tampa Auto
After two weeks in trial, Newsome Melton received a jury verdict in Tampa, Florida in the amount of $13,602,345.35 in a case involving a tire tread separation. The case involved a Ford SUV that rolled over after its right rear tire failed. Despite being seat belted, Gwen Chattelle suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury. Continental Tire, who manufactured the tire, and Ford Motor Company, who manufacturer the vehicle, both settled for confidential amounts. The case went to trial against Tampa Auto, an auto repair facility in Tampa where the Chattelle family had had their vehicle serviced and the right rear tire inspected and repaired three months before the crash.
Monk v. Dill Air Control
Newsome Melton represented the Estate of Robert Monk after he was killed when a tire failure caused him to lose control of his vehicle. While on the road, the “snap-in” valve stem of the rear right tire catastrophically failed, causing an immediate loss of air pressure that made the vehicle Mr. Monk was driving uncontrollable and sent it into a rollover crash, killing him. After filing suit against the manufacturer of the valve stems, Dill Air Control, the case settled for $5,000,000.
Taylor v. Continental and Revels
On May 29, 2009, the left-rear tire on a vehicle driven by Johnnie Lee Taylor separated, causing him to lose control and strike a guardrail. Taylor sustained fatal injuries even though he was wearing his seatbelt and we filed suit on behalf of his Estate. Judy Taylor, his passenger, was also properly restrained and sustained serious injuries. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Kanz V. Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., Takata Corporation, and D.D.A. Corporation
On April 6, 2009, Tamela A. Kanz sustained permanent and severe injuries after the vehicle she was driving crashed and the safety system failed to protect her. Newsome Melton filed suit on behalf of Kanz’s guardian after the occupant protection system and seatbelt failed in the vehicle she was driving when she struck another vehicle and rolled over. As a result, Ms. Kanz was rendered a quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator to breath. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Wiberg v. Bridgestone and Isuzu
Newsome Melton represented the Estate of James Wiberg, who lost his life after he was hit and killed by another driver. A rear-left tire tread separation caused the driver of the other vehicle to lose control and crash into Wiberg. Our client was the belted driver of the vehicle that was hit. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Ballard v. TWC Eighty Eight, Ltd. And Nova Security Agency Inc.
Newsome Melton represented the Estate of Marcus A. Ballard, who was attacked outside of his apartment complex by the facility’s armed security guards. The guards used excessive and deadly force, stabbing this man repeatedly and causing his death a short time later. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Velez v. The Wackenhut Corporation and Duc D. Ha
On October 28, 2008, Evan J. Velez was traveling in his lane when a vehicle being operated by the defendant collided with him. When this collision occurred, the defendant was traveling in Mr. Velez’s lane. Newsome Melton filed suit on Mr. Velez’s behalf. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Stout v. Martin, Mahoney, Chipola Ford, Road Mart and Continental
On August 13, 2008, the left-rear tire tread on a vehicle driven by Norman Mahoney separated, causing him to lose control. The vehicle then rotated counter clockwise, left the roadway, hit two sign posts, and flipped at least once, killing the back seat passenger, Donna Stout. Newsome Melton represented the Estate of Stout. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Tong v. Kumho
On July 1, 2008, the right-front tire tread belt separated on a Freightliner tractor driven by Phong T. Tong, causing his vehicle to veer out of control and collide with a tree. The gas tank then ruptured and Tong died after the vehicle became engulfed in flames. Newsome Melton filed suit on behalf of his Estate. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Pinero v. General Motors, Michelin and Tire Kingdom
On April 17, 2008, Elizabeth Pinero was driving a GMC Envoy with Joel Pinero and Beth Marie Isaac as her passengers when a tire failure caused a loss of control in the vehicle that resulted in its crash. The tread on the left-rear tire partially separated, causing the vehicle to strike a guardrail before rolling over three times and coming to rest over Isaac, who was ejected from the vehicle. Elizabeth and Joel Pinero sustained severe injuries and Isaac died as a result of her injuries. Newsome Melton represented Elizabeth Pinero and the Estate of Beth Marie Isaac. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Elliott v. Cooper Tire and BFS Retail
On December 13, 2007, the right-rear tire tread separated on a vehicle driven by Luke P. Elliott, resulting in a crash. During this crash, Elliot’s vehicle overturned and he sustained severe injuries. Newsome Melton represented Mr. Elliott and the case settled for a confidential amount.
De Los Santos v. Sutong
On October 4, 2007, Ramon De Los Santos sustained catastrophic and incapacitating injuries while preparing a new tire to be mounted on his trailer. While inflating one of the two tires he had just mounted on a rim, the tire’s bead failed and exploded into him. Newsome Melton represented Mr. De Los Santos and the case settled for a confidential amount.
Laidley/Kaiser v. Isuzu Motors America, Inc.
On August 29, 2007, Matthew C. Laidley was killed and Katelin Kaiser sustained severe and permanent injuries when the vehicle they were passengers in rolled over. We filed suit on behalf of Laidley’s Estate and Kaiser. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Garmon and Freeman v. Gaston, Nance, Bowman and Kauffman Tire
On July 27, 2007, Xavier K. Gaston and Rolanda Nance took the vehicle they jointly owned to Kauffman Tire. The mechanic they visited for an oil and lube change failed to warn of the vehicle’s worn tires. Despite noting tread depths of 7/32 of an inch on each tire, and well below that on the left-rear one, no recommendation for replacement was made. Newsome Melton represented the natural parent and guardian of Brianna Freeman, a minor who was riding in the vehicle. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Perrino v. General Motors Corporation and Saturn of Sarasota, Inc.
On February 16, 2007, Alyssa Perrino sustained catastrophic injuries after the vehicle she was restrained in was rear ended while stopped. She was properly belted in a booster seat behind the driver when this accident occurred. During the impact, her head hit the back of the driver’s seat, which failed rearward. Newsome Melton filed suit on behalf of her parents after this vehicle failure. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Crosby/Buchanan v. General Motors Corporation
On January 15, 2007, Brooke O. Buchanan, Amber V. Crosby, and Crosby’s unborn child were killed when their occupant protection systems failed during a crash. During this single-vehicle accident, the pregnant driver, Crosby, was ejected, killing both her and the infant. The passenger, Buchanan, was also partially ejected and killed when her seat occupant protection system failed. We filed suit on behalf of both their Estates. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Raeman v. Chrysler
While riding in the car her daughter was driving on October 29, 2006, Susan Raeman was killed when they were struck from behind by another vehicle which had just run a red light and was traveling at a high rate of speed. Their vehicle flipped several times and partially ejected Susan Raeman. Newsome Melton filed suit on behalf of the Estate of Susan Raeman. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Barthelemy v. New Tokyo Auto Service and Bridgestone Firestone
On October 2, 2006, Rosana Barthelemy was severely injured in a crash after the tread on her right rear tire separated. The tread separation resulted in a loss of vehicle control and crash. The vehicle had been inspected and serviced by an auto service company four days beforehand. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Bejarano v. West Valley Nissan and Michelin
On August 13, 2006, a sudden, catastrophic tire failure left Roberto Bejarano, Sr., Silvestre Bejarano, and Rudy Bejarano, Sr., dead when the SUV they were traveling in crashed. Anita Ramirez was also in this vehicle and sustained serious and permanent injuries. The vehicle's tire failure resulted in a loss of control that sent the SUV off the roadway where it overturned. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Masse v. Bridgestone
On August 13, 2006, the left front tire tread on a truck headed in the same direction as Craig and Donna Masse’s vehicle separated, causing it to swerve into the side of them. Newsome Melton represented the Masses, who were injured when this vehicle struck them, causing them to lose control of their vehicle and go into the median. Their vehicle then overturned, severely injuring our clients. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Hart v. Chrysler, Autoteam, Inc., Cooper Tire and Phoenix USA
On July 31, 2006, a catastrophic tread separation on the left-rear tire of a conversion van driven by Daniel Gasserhart caused a loss of vehicle control and crash that killed his wife, Stephanie G. Hart. Newsome Melton represented the Estate of Mrs. Hart, who was killed when the vehicle overturned and ejected her. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Miller v. Cooper Tire
On July 17, 2006, the left-rear tire tread on the vehicle driven by Bridgett Werry separated, causing her to lose control. She was then struck by a semi-truck, causing her vehicle to roll over. Newsome Melton filed suit on behalf of Werry and the Estate of Kyle Miller. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Benton v. Michelin and Big 10
On July 11, 2006, Joshua Benton, Jordyn Hache, John T. Joyner, and Naomi M. Dubose were involved in a serious accident when the vehicle they were traveling in hit a tree after one of its tires failed. Dubose, who was operating the vehicle, died in the crash. Benton, Hache, and Joyner were her passengers and suffered severe injuries when the right-rear tire tread on this vehicle separated, causing Dubose to lose control and leave the roadway. The vehicle then began to overturn and collided with a tree. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Lorraine v. Michelin, Roman Van Lines and Crawford Tire Service
On June 11, 2006, Robert Lorraine lost control of the vehicle he was driving and swerved onto the road shoulder after the tread of the right-front tire separated. Newsome Melton represented the Estate of Mr. Lorraine, who was killed when this loss of vehicle control caused him to strike a tree. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Blanchard v. Michelin, Ferman Automotive and Tire Kingdom
On May 29, 2006, Fertune Blanchard was driving her vehicle when a tire failed, triggering a vehicle crash that took her life. While operating her vehicle on the highway, the tread on her right-rear tire separated, sending the vehicle rotating clockwise and then airborne. After being sent airborne, the vehicle struck a tree and killed Blanchard. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Denning v. Continental Tire, Ford Motor Co. and Radcliff Lube and Wash
On August 14, 2005, Paul Denning was killed and Deborah Jensen was severely injured when the vehicle they were traveling in overturned. The vehicle’s left-rear tire separated, causing Jensen, the driver, to lose control. The vehicle then overturned and partially ejected Denning, leading to his death. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Bonneau v. Larin Corp.
On August 9, 2005, Eugene W. Bonneau sustained severe and permanent injuries when the 2-Ton Cable Puller he was using in an intended and foreseeable manner failed. While using this construction product to straighten a gable wall, the rubber handle cover split and slid off, sending the metal handle flying back. Bonneau was struck in the left eye, causing severe and permanent injuries that included the complete loss of vision in that eye. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Shick v. Nissan North America, Inc. and Cathy Bishop Patrick
On July 15, 2005, Joseph W. Shick, a minor who was seated and belted in the rear driver’s side seat, was killed when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended. We filed suit on behalf of his Estate. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Jupp v. Keystone RV Company, Dean Family RV Center, and Progress Manufacturing
On April 19, 2005, Jeffrey Jupp and his son David were killed after they crashed while pulling a trailer. “Trailer sway” caused the crash, which occurred as they were pulling the 30-foot travel trailer. We filed suit on behalf of Mary Beth Jupp, Jeffrey’s wife and David’s mother. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Clore v. Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company, LLC, Reese Products, Inc., and Travel Country RV Center, Inc.
On January 14, 2005, a trailer driven by David A. Clore began to sway and ultimately rolled over, despite being equipped with friction sway control device. Mr. Clore later passed away from his injuries and we filed suit on behalf of his Estate. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Sanders v. Isuzu, Lipton Toyota and Michelin
On August 29, 2004, Quentin Sanders was killed when the failure of a tire on his vehicle caused him to lose control and crash. The vehicle’s rear-right tire tread separated, causing the vehicle to roll over one or more times. We represented his Estate. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Martin v. A.O.K. Tire, PPG Industries, Perez and Chrysler
On June 24, 2004, Roosevelt Martin, Jr., was killed when he lost control of his vehicle after the tread of a tractor trailer’s tire flew off into his path. The right-front tire tread on the negligently owned and operated tractor trailer separated and landed in the path of Mr. Martin, who lost control of his vehicle and died when it rolled over and the roof collapsed. Newsome Melton represented Mr. Martin’s Estate. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Guzman v. General Motors Corporation
On June 13, 2004, Ricky Guzman sustained severe injuries after the vehicle he was in was struck by another driver. The impact of this collision caused the vehicle he was restrained in to roll, causing him to sustain, among other injuries, a catastrophic brain injury that rendered him a hemiplegic. We filed suit on behalf of his parents. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Bainter v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. and Sears, Roebuck And Co.
On April 9, 2004, the son of Jodi and Brett Bainter, Jacob, sustained catastrophic injuries after being injured by a lawn mower driven by his father. While being used in a manner intended and foreseen by the manufacturer and vendor, the mower backed over Jacob, causing catastrophic injuries. We filed suit on behalf of the child’s parents. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Acosta v. Sumitomo, Leal Tire and Cypress Trucking
Newsome Melton represented the Estate of Elio Acosta, who was killed while operating a 1988 International Dump Truck. While driving, the truck's left front tire failed catastrophically. As a result of the tire failure, the dump truck lost control, crossed the center line of the road, and swerved into the path of a tractor trailer. Mr. Acosta died in the crash. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Proctor v. Kumho
On August 11, 2001, the right-rear tire tread separated on a vehicle being driven by Jennifer Sweeney, causing her to lose control and crash. One of Sweeney’s passengers, Leanne Michele Proctor, died as a result of the crash, and we filed suit on behalf of her Estate. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Giannini v. Kumho
On June 25, 2001, Albert and Mario Giannini were traveling in their Chevy pickup truck when a tire failure caused it to veer off the highway and roll over. The rear-left tire in their truck instantly deflated, resulting in their loss of vehicle control and subsequent crash. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Finley v. SPX Corp.
On August 3, 2000, John Finley sustained serious injuries when the 3-ton ratchet style jack stands he was using failed. Newsome Melton represented Mr. Finley, who was underneath the tractor trailer cab making repairs when the stands holding up the truck failed. The tractor trailer collapse crushed and pinned our client beneath, resulting in permanent and severe injuries. The case settled for a confidential amount.
The Estate of Mayling Semidey v. Ford Motor Company
On March 11, 2000, Mayling Semidey was killed in a low-speed accident in her 1996 Ford Taurus. We filed suit on behalf of the Estate for the benefit of her 3 year old son. It was alleged that the airbag killed Ms. Semidey when it deployed, and that the airbag should not have been designed to deploy in such a low-speed accident where it was not needed. This matter was tried to verdict on November 12, 2003, with the jury finding Ford liable for the death of Mayling Semidey.
The Estate of Doroteo Ortiz et. al. v. John Deere Company
On February 17, 2000, Mr. Doroteo Ortiz and Mr. Jose Rivas were killed when a John Deere 310E Backhoe Loader lurched forward into a hole they were working in crushing them. We filed suit against John Deere alleging that the accident could have been prevented if a safety device had been installed to prevent the tractor from moving unintentionally.
Charles Eric Dudley v. Ford Motor Company, Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. et. al.
On June 15, 2000, Eric Dudley, 8 years of age, received a traumatic brain injury when the 1997 Ford Explorer in which he was riding rolled over after the right rear tire’s tread separated. We filed suit and alleged that the Firestone Wilderness AT tire on the vehicle was defective and that its failure contributed to the crash injuring Eric Dudley. It was also alleged that the Ford Explorer itself was inherently unstable, and uncontrollable when the tire failed.
The Estate of Alexander Sagrista et. al. v. Ford Motor Company, Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. et. al.
On November 23, 1999, Alexander Sagrista, age 2, was killed, and his twin brother, Christopher, and mother, Christina, injured, when the 1997 Ford Explorer they were driving in experienced a tread separation and rolled over. We filed suit on behalf of the family and Estate alleging that the Firestone Wilderness AT tire on the vehicle was defective. It was also alleged that the Ford Explorer was unstable and that such instability contributed to the crash.
Estate of Scott Bowden v. Michelin North America, Rahal Chevrolet-Buick, Inc. et.al.
On July 5, 2001, Scott Bowden was killed after the left-rear tire on the 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe in which he was riding failed causing the vehicle to rollover. We filed suit alleging that the tire was defective in its design, and that it should have been removed by Rahal when they inspected the tires in weeks before the accident.
Steve Holliman v. Southern Agcom, Inc.
On November 7, 1996, Mr. Steve Holliman was severely injured when his right leg was sucked into an open pit with an auger inside. After an exhaustive investigation, it was learned that a third-party contractor, Southern Agcom, Inc., had undertaken to repair the safety grating over the pit, and failed to warn of the open pit exposing same. It was alleged that the failures to do so were negligent, and this matter was tried to verdict on February 14, 2003, with the jury finding Southern Agcom, Inc. liable.
James Hemphill v. Helmtec Inc.
On April 22, 1997, James Hemphill was involved in a motorcycle accident after he was cut-off by another vehicle. During the crash, Mr. Hemphill’s helmet cracked and he received a severe brain injury. We filed suit against the helmet manufacturer alleging the helmet was defectively designed, and that as-built would not protect consumers like Mr. Hemphill in foreseeable accidents.
Anita Bushong v. Nissan Motor Company, LTD.
On March 8, 1999, Anita Bushong was rendered a quadriplegic when her 1993 Nisan Pathfinder rolled over on an icy road in Wisconsin. We filed suit against Nissan alleging the vehicle’s roof and restraint systems failed to protect her during the rollover, and that Nissan failed to test the occupant protection systems.
Sandra Sigourney v. Honda Motor Company, LTD., Isuzu Motors Limited et. al.
On April 28, 2002, Sandra Sigourney was rendered a quadriplegic when her 1996 Honda Passport left the road and rolled over. We filed suit, alleging the Honda Passport was defective because its roof crushed down in the rollover causing Mrs. Sigourney’s injury. It was alleged that alternatives designs for the roof and restraint systems would have protected Mrs. Sigourney, but were not used in the vehicle.
Shirley Sullivan v. General Motors Corporation
On March 25, 2002, Shirley Sullivan was severely injured when she was ejected out the rear of her 2002 Buick Rendezvous after a side-impact collision. We filed suit alleging that the vehicle was defective because the seatback of her seat broke rearward allowing her to be thrown into the back of the vehicle. It was also alleged that the rear liftgate was defective because it failed to remain closed preventing her ejection. Ultimately, General Motors voluntarily recalled over 100,000 Buick Rendezvous vehicles to reinforce the rear liftgate to prevent unwanted openings in accidents.
Edward J. Luke, II vs. General Motors Corporation
On February 1, 2004, E.J. Luke was rendered a paraplegic when he was ejected from his 1995 Chevy Camero after it was first struck in the rear and then forced into oncoming traffic where it was hit a second time. As a result, E.J. Luke's seat failed rearward and the rear liftgate came open upon impact. We filed suit and alleged that the driver's seat and seat belt utilized by E.J. Luke were defective. It was also alleged that the liftgate was defective and created an open portal which allowed him to be thrown from the vehicle and suffer injury.
The Estate of Carolina Caltabiano v. Suzuki Motor Corporation
On July 19, 2000, Carolina Caltabiano was ejected from the rear seat of a 1992 Suzuki Sidekick when it rolled over after the driver lost control. We filed suit on behalf of the Estate alleging that the accident was a result of the design of the vehicle which resulted in it being inherently unstable and prone to rolling over during normal use.
Dorothy Barnett v. Sunnybrook, et al
On November 24, 2002, Dr. John Barnett was killed when his Ford Excursion, towing a 31' Sunnybrook Travel Trailer, experienced a sudden gust of wind that caused his tow vehicle/travel trailer to sway. We filed suit against Ford Motor Company, Sunnybrook RV, Inc., and Eaz-Lift Spring Corporation, alleging that the vehicle-trailer-hitch combination was defective in that it did not prevent the trailer from swaying during a foreseeable situation.
Mostafa Howeedy, et al vs. Bridgestone/Firestone, et al
On March 21, 2004, the Howeedy family was traveling in their minivan when the right-rear tire separated, causing the vehicle to spin across the median of the Florida Turnpike and into the oncoming traffic of the southbound lanes. The Howeedy vehicle was struck by two southbound vehicles. As a result, 4 year old Kareem Howeedy and 14 year old Lila Howeedy were killed. 8 year old Ranya Howeedy suffered a severe brain injury, and their mother, Amany I. Abou-El-Eila was rendered a paraplegic. We filed suit and alleged that the Firestone FR 410 P205/70R15 radial tire was defective in design and manufacture.
Joseph Viel, et al vs. Kumho Tire Co., et al
On August 29, 1999, Donna Viel and her fiancé, Palmer Lasala were killed, and Joseph Viel sustained a severe brain injury, when the tread from the vehicle's left rear tire partially separated. As a result, the vehicle spun across the median of Interstate 4 into the westbound lanes, where it was stuck in the passenger side by a vehicle traveling at highway speed. We filed suit and alleged that the P175/80R13 tire manufactured by Defendant, KUMHO was defective in design.
Estate of Melveenia Lewis v. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company & Pam's Quality Tires, Inc.
On the night of the crash, Sunday, August 8, 2004, Melveenia Lewis was driving her 1993 Mercury Villager on Interstate 10. She and her family were returning from a family reunion in Marianna, FL. Her husband, Desmond Lewis (front passenger), her mother, Marchelle Robinson (left middle bench seat), her father-in-law, Kenneth Jones (right middle bench) and her three sons (all in the rear bench) were in her vehicle. The left rear tire, a Star Fire Flightline IV manufactured by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, separated, causing Mrs. Lewis to lose control of her vehicle. The van swerved to the right traveling partially into the eastbound outside lane of Interstate 10. The vehicle then began to rotate counterclockwise traveling back across the inside eastbound lane and into the median. The van rolled twice and collided with a tree. Mrs. Lewis sustained massive injuries and died at the scene, despite wearing her seatbelt. Her husband, her mother and her father-in-law suffered injuries. Miraculously, none of her three sons sustained any permanent physical injuries.
Mr. Lewis had purchased the subject tire on Thursday, August 5, 2004 at Pam's Quality Used Tires in Orlando for this specific trip. The tire appeared to have less than 1000 miles of wear on it at the time of the crash. Mr. Lewis testified that the tire was purchased used, but that it appeared to be brand new at the time of purchase. The tire separated less than three (3) days after being placed on the vehicle and took the life of Melveenia Lewis.