Posted in Firm News on February 9, 2018
Butler Wooten & Peak is pleased to announce that attorneys Brandon Peak, David Rohwedder, Christopher McDaniel and Rory Weeks along with Ragan Dudley of Homesley Gaines Dudley & Clodfelter of Statesville NC settled five wrongful death cases and twelve personal injury cases against tire manufacturer Hankook Tire Co., Ltd. and its subsidiary, Hankook Tire America Corporation, for a confidential amount just before opening statements were made in the Superior Court of Iredell County, North Carolina. The case, Smith, et al. v. Hankook Tire Co. Ltd, et al., involved the catastrophic failure of a Hankook brand tire on the front left wheel of a large church bus owned by the Front Street Baptist Church returning to Statesville, North Carolina on October 2, 2013 from a Christian Jubilee in Gatlinburg TN. A total of eight people were killed and fourteen seriously injured as a result of the defective Hankook tire. The suit alleged that Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. defectively designed and manufactured the Hankook tire that catastrophically failed on October 2, 2013. For more than three years Hankook attempted to blame the driver of the church bus for the crash. Hankook finally relented, abandoning that defense the week before trial. Brandon Peak said, “It was one of the great honors of my life to represent the people injured and the families of those killed in this horrific crash. This case was a three-year battle, but in the end justice prevailed. My team and I had been preparing for this trial for months. We were locked and loaded and ready to go. Hankook–which made the tire that caused this crash–capitulated only after we had spent weeks in pretrial hearings and had the jury seated and were about to give opening statements. Hankook even tried to remove the case to federal court while we were in trial, something my lawyer friends will understand was frustrating. Settling this case was bittersweet for me personally, but the right thing to do for our clients. They are all wonderful folks who I will never forget.” The settlement ends a case that has been extensively litigated for more than three years. The settlement also secured closure for the surviving passengers and family members of those deceased in the October 2, 2013 bus crash.