WHEELING – The parents of a minor boy blame Walmart and a bicycle manufacturer for causing the front wheel of their son's bicycle to fall off as he rode the vehicle, causing him to face plant into the ground.
Stephanie and John Klug filed a complaint in Wetzel Circuit Court on behalf of their minor son, identified only as C.M.K. against Walmart and Pacific Cycle.
The Klugs claim the incident occurred on Oct. 4, 2008, when their son was riding his Mongoose XR-75 bike on a paved road in a city park in New Martinsville.
"That while the Plaintiff C.M.K. was operating the Mongoose XR-75 bicycle, and, as a direct and proximate result of the negligence of the Defendants, Walmart Stores East and Pacific Cycle, the front wheel of the bicycle suddenly broke free from the front bicycle fork," according to the complaint.
As a result, C.M.K. flew over the handle bars and hit the pavement face first, causing him to sustain severe and permanent injuries and to incur medical costs, the suit states. In addition, he experienced pain, suffering and mental anguish and lost his ability to enjoy life, the complaint says.
The Klugs name Walmart as a defendant, saying the store assembled the bicycle. The defective assembly of the bike resulted in C.M.K.'s injury, the Klugs claim.
They also name Pacific Cycle as a defendant, saying it allows Walmart to assemble and market its products.
"That by continuing to allow the Defendant, Walmart Stores East, to assemble and market their products, the Defendant, Pacific Cycle, implies that Walmart is an authorized dealer," the suit states. "That the Defendant, Pacific Cycle, knew or should have known that their product was being assembled by untrained personnel."
Walmart and Pacific Cycle deny the Klugs' allegations, saying the incident was the result of an accident and not of their negligence.
"These Defendants, not being fully advised of all the circumstances surrounding the allegations set forth in the Complaint, reserves unto themselves the affirmative defense that any injuries and damages that incurred to any party, if any, were the result of a superseding and/or intervening negligence or other acts or omissions of other individuals, corporations, or entities, for whose actions these Defendants bear no legal responsibility," the defendants' response states.
Walmart and Pacific Cycle want to see the complaint dismissed and want to be awarded costs, including attorney's fees.
In their two-count complaint, the Klugs seek a judgment to compensate them for their son's injuries, a reimbursement for medical costs they incurred for their son, interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.
The defendants removed the Klugs' case to U.S. District Court, saying a diversity of citizenship exists between the Delaware-based Walmart, the Wisconsin-based Pacific Cycle and the Klugs. In addition, the Klugs seek more than $75,000, the defendants say.
Rodney T. Berry of Berry, Kessler, Crutchfield and Taylor of Moundsville will be representing the Klugs.
Heather M. Noel of MacCorkle, Lavender and Sweeney in Morgantown will be representing the defendants.
Judge Frederick Stamp has been assigned to the case.
U.S. District Court case number: 5:10-cv-115