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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Lawsuit blames Polaris for UTV fatalities, says 150 deaths caused by rollovers

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Aug 19, 2019


SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) – Two Orange County California residents are claiming that Polaris utility terrain vehicles do not meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for rollover protection, which they allege has caused hundreds of injuries and fatalities. 

According to the Aug. 8 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Southern Division, Paul Guzman and Jeremy Albright, individually and on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, filed a lawsuit against the Polaris Industries Inc., Polaris Sales Inc. and Does 1 to 10 alleging violation of California's Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, fraudulent concealment and breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty.

The plaintiffs allege the defendants advertise on the vehicles that they meet applicable OSHA standards and regulations when they do not. The plaintiffs allege the defendants "cheat" and do not meet farm tractor standards.

"For every model of class vehicles, Polaris tested the vehicles by the gross vehicle weight. Polaris intentionally refused to test at 110 pounds times either the maximum power take off horsepower or 95 percent of the net engine flywheel horsepower," the suit states. "In fact, the gross vehicle weight, due the specifications of the class vehicles should never be used for the OSHA tests. One hundred ten pounds times the PTO horsepower (or 95 percent of the net fly wheel horsepower) of each class vehicle is substantially greater than the gross vehicle weights. Not a single class vehicle has been tested using the proper tractor weight pursuant to (federal law)."

According to the suit, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission knew of 231 deaths and 388 injuries related to Polaris vehicles, and 150 of those deaths were due to rollovers.  

The suit seeks restitution of funds, statutory enhanced damages, attorneys' fees and costs as well as equitable and injunctive relief. 

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are John Kristensen of Kristensen Weisberg LLP in Los Angeles; Todd Friedman of the Law Offices of Todd Friedman PC in Woodland Hills, California; and Christopher W. Wood of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora LLP in Sacramento, California.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division case number 8:19-cv-01543

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

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