A judge in New Orleans has ordered tire manufacturer Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co to pay out more than $6.7 million after the death of a garbage truck driver.
On September 10, 2019, Judge Michael Clement awarded $6.73 million to the family of deceased garbage truck driver Elwood Breaux Jr. An additional $481,075 was awarded to Plaquemines Parish.
In February 2015, Breaux and a fellow employee of the Solid Waste North Department of the Plaquemines Parish Government were inflating a G182 tire after noticing that the tire pressure was low. Breaux was holding the tire upright while inflating it when the tire’s sidewall ruptured. The force of the tire explosion threw Breaux backwards and caused him to sustain major internal injuries in his chest and abdomen.
Breaux was hospitalized for 28 days before he passed away from injuries sustained during the tire explosion. During his hospitalization, he was in such pain that he had to be “kept in restraints to keep him from pulling out the devices to which he had been hooked up,” Clement wrote.
The legal team representing Breaux argued that “the tire company’s warnings about zipper failure were misleading about the circumstances in which a tire could rupture. In addition, the warnings were never relayed to employees of the Solid Waste North Department of the Plaquemines Parish Government.”
Clement ruled that “Goodyear had not carried out its duty to warn Mr. Breaux and co-workers about the tires’ dangers and how to avoid being injured.”
“We are disappointed with the verdict and will appeal,” a representative from Goodyear stated.