Last week, the Federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Panel ruled in favor of creating an MDL for cases involving Yamaha Rhino all-terrain vehicles, to consolidate pretrial proceedings for more than 50 separate injury cases currently pending against Yamaha. The product and alleged defect are the same in every case, with Rhino drivers who had rollover accidents sustaining serious crushing injuries due to the design of the vehicle’s roll bar.
The Yamaha Rhino, introduced in 2003, is still sold today without any changes to its design despite its propensity for crushing occupants in a rollover accident, though Yamaha has made available the option of having doors installed. The first case against Yamaha was filed in August 2007; about 40 were filed in 2008. Still more are expected to surface in 2009.
The MDL Panel is planning to consolidate the pretrial proceedings for all but two cases (Clark in Northern District of Alabama and White in the Northern District of Texas), which it deemed far enough along to proceed to trial individually.