Kreindler Settles Case Involving West Point Cadet Paralyzed in UTV Accident
After five years of litigation, Kreindler successfully resolved a case involving a West Point Cadet who was rendered paraplegic when the seat base of the Polaris Industries side-by-side UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) off-road vehicle failed while crossing a rolling berm. The Polaris UTV was designated as an M-RZR, which is based in the popular civilian RZR model UTV. The seat base failed during training with an Army Special Forces unit at Fort Campbell in Tennessee.
The case not only involved establishing product defect, but also navigating the complicated process of obtaining evidence from the military, including the testimony of 15 different military witnesses, and opposing numerous motions on complex legal issues.
Kreindler also tracked down the former head of safety at Polaris and obtained testimony from him regarding the safety culture at Polaris.
Kreindler Overcomes Polaris’ Attempt to Have Case Dismissed
Polaris sought to dismiss the case on two different grounds. First, it claimed that the case had to be dismissed because Plaintiff’s claims raised a “political question” that could not be decided by the Courts because it involved consideration of whether the military properly trained the West Point Cadet to use the M-RZR, citing to other cases where consideration of military decision-making constituted a political question. Kreindler opposed this claim showing that the cases relied upon by defendant all involved military decisions in a combat zone, not military decisions in training taking place upon a base within the United States. Kreindler also argued that the military’s conduct should not be considered because under Tennesse law the conduct of a third-party that is immune from suit as the plaintiff’s employer is not considered at trial.
Second, Polaris argued that it was immune from suit under the government contractor defense because the military had approved the design of the M-RZR and extensively tested it and even requested changes to the seat. In response, Kreindler argued that not only did the military not specify with any particularity how the seat base, which was the specific part that failed, had to be designed, but it also never requested any change to the seat base as compared to other parts of the seat.
The Court agreed with Kreindler regarding both the political question doctrine and the government contractor defense, clearing the case to proceed to trial. Several months after the Court rendered its decision on the side of the plaintiffs, Kreindler was able to successfully settle the case on behalf of our clients. The amount of the settlement is confidential.
Kreindler Personal & Traumatic Injury Experience
Since 1950, Kreindler & Kreindler attorneys represent families following serious injuries and wrongful deaths and we seek to find the person or entity responsible for the victim’s death. Our investigations focus on finding the cause of the accident and identifying the responsible person or entity. We then seek the highest amount of compensation for our client and work to ensure that a similar accident never happens.