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Suzuki faces $14m lawsuit for faulty motorcycle brakes

In October 2013, the Japanese manufacturer Suzuki Motor Corp. recalled over 200,000 of its motorcycles over a brake defect, but not before a Georgia man was severely injured while riding one. The motorcyclist was thrown from the bike when the motorcycle's brakes allegedly failed to activate while he was traveling 30 mph.

Faulty brakes?

The accident took place in August of 2013. The motorcyclist was riding his 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000 when he claims that his front brakes failed when he tried to activate them, throwing him from the bike and fracturing his back. As a result, he lost his job as a postal worker and his physical mobility is limited. The man filed a personal injury lawsuit and is seeking $14 million in damages from Suzuki.

Too little, too late

The cyclist's attorneys claim that Suzuki would have been able to prevent the man's injuries by issuing a recall or a consumer safety warning. According to several internal company documents that the plaintiff produced in court, Suzuki was aware of the defect at least six months before the accident, but did not immediately issue a recall for fear of hurting business. It had even ordered over 200,000 replacement parts in anticipation of the recall. The company finally issued a recall two months after the man suffered his accident.

Suzuki strikes back

Suzuki claims that it was the rider's error, not the motorcycle's brakes, that caused the accident. To support its claim, the company stated that the plaintiff did not tell anyone at the scene of the accident that brakes had failed. The defense also pointed out that there were no other witnesses to corroborate the cyclist's claims. Suzuki further counters that its recall addressed a different aspect of its brakes that did not pertain to the plaintiff's crash. In court, the plaintiff attempted demonstrated the default by spinning the motorcycles' wheels while holding down the frontal brake, indicating that the brakes did not halt the wheels. The trial is expected to continue into next week.

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