Two lawsuits arise from ATV wrecks

By Justin Anderson | Feb 24, 2009

CHARLESTON -- A pair of lawsuits pending in Kanawha Circuit Court seek damages over separate all-terrain vehicle wrecks that involved an allegedly faulty helmet at a machine too powerful for its rider.

Sherri Dellinger and her daughter Stephanie Dellinger are suing a Mineral Wells ATV dealer, a Taiwanese helmet manufacturer and three other companies –- TransNational Trading, K.K. Motorcycle Supply and Sunbeam Trading –- for head injuries Stephanie received from a 2007 ATV accident in Wood County.

The Dellingers, both from Mineral Wells, allege they bought a helmet made by Tong Ho Hsing Industrial from the Lemon & Barret's ATV and Cycle Specialists store after consulting with a sales associate there.

The helmet was a model TX-10, according to the Dellingers' complaint.
On March 3, 2007, Stephanie was the passenger on an ATV being driven by her boyfriend, the complaint says. They and another ATV had entered W.Va. 21 at the intersection of Lee Creek Road near Rockport. The complaint said the ATVs were going from one trail to another.

At some point, the ATV Stephanie was riding on swerved to miss oncoming traffic and the front left tire struck the other ATV. The collision threw both Stephanie and her boyfriend of the ATV. The complaint says Stephanie was thrown headlong into a guardrail and suffered severe head trauma.

The defendants in the lawsuit are described as being responsible for "designing, manufacturing, fabricating, packaging, shipping, servicing, distributing and selling" the helmet Stephanie was allegedly wearing at the time of the crash.

The plaintiffs argue that no one told them that the helmet wouldn't withstand the kind of impact Stephanie endured. They're seeking various compensatory and punitive damages and are represented by L. Lee Javins.

This case has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Charlie King.

In the other lawsuit, Lisa Workman and her 13-year-old daughter Megan McClanahan are suing Charleston resident George Lively over an accident that occurred during an ATV "safety ride" at Ivy Branch in Julian, Lincoln County.

Lively was one of the supervisors of the ride, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs allege it was Lively that took Megan and another person on a trail ride with him. Megan was assigned a 2006 Suzuki Eiger 400 4x4 ATV to ride, the complaint says. That ATV is big and powerful, according to the lawsuit.

During the ride, Megan allegedly lost control of the ATV and fell about 70 feet over an embankment, the complaint says. Her injuries included a lacerated liver, multiple fractured ribs, punctured lung, fractured pelvis and multiple bruises.

Lively "knew, or should have known, that Megan was inexperienced in driving and operating ATVs, and was incompetent to handle and operate an ATV of that size," says the complaint, filed by lawyer Damon L. Ellis.

Workman says she incurred medical bills because of her daughter's injuries and loss of consortium.

The case has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Irene Berger.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 09-C-179 (Dellinger) and 09-C-235 (Workman)

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