Couple sue Harley-Davidson for allegedly defective motorcycle, broken leg

CHARLESTON - A Nicholas County couple are suing Harley-Davidson for injuries they sustained from an allegedly defective motorcycle.

New River Gorge Motorsports LLC, which is doing business as New River Gorge Harley-Davidson; Harley-Davidson of West Virginia Inc., which is doing business as New River Gorge Harley-Davidson Shop; and Harley-Davidson Motor Company Inc. were all named as defendants in the suit.

On July 16, 2011, Vinard J. Lawson and Lois A. Lawson purchased a 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle from the defendants, according to a complaint filed June 5 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The Lawsons claims on Aug. 20, 2011, they were riding the motorcycle on Highway 19 near Fayetteville when the motorcycle malfunctioned and caused them injuries.

While the Lawsons were riding the motorcycle, they began to hear a rattling noise from it, but when they slowed down the noise went away, according to the suit.

The Lawsons claim they stopped at the intersection of Highway 19 and Highway 60 and when they pulled out, they went through three gears and then felt no resistance in the clutch.

The couple then decided to try and make it to New River Gorge Harley-Davidson and use the parking lot to have sufficient room to stop and when they reached the Harley-Davidson parking lot, they tried to use the emergency kill switch and brake the motorcycle to a stop, according to the suit.

The Lawsons claim they ran out of room and turned into a bay door at New River Gorge Harley-Davidson and were finally able to kill the motorcycle, which then lurched and fell over.

When the motorcycle fell over, it caused personal injuries to both plaintiffs, including bumps, bruises and minor cuts to Vinard Lawson, and a broken leg to Lois Lawson, according to the suit.

The Lawsons claim an examination of the motorcycle found a separation of components associated with the clutch, as well as other defects.

The defendants breached their express and implied warranties by designing, manufacturing, assembling, testing, providing with warnings, marketing, distributing, selling, servicing, repairing, maintaining and/or otherwise placing the motorcycle into the stream of commerce in an unreasonably dangerous, defective and unfit condition for its ordinary and intended use, according to the suit.

The Lawsons are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Marvin W. Masters and Christopher L. Brinkley of the Masters Law Firm LC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1079

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