SAN DIEGO -- A jury concluded that Honda Motor Co. was not responsible for an accident in which a young boy suffered brain damage and other injuries after falling from one of the company's three-wheeled all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
The San Diego County Superior Court jurors' 10-to-2 verdict, after 2 1/2 days of deliberations, means that Frank Cusimano Jr., 15, will receive no compensation for injuries he suffered when he tumbled from the back of a Honda 110 ATC in 1982. Cusimano, who was 9 at the time, was a passenger on the vehicle, driven by an 8-year-old neighbor boy.
During the six-month trial, Cusimano's attorneys alleged that the popular but controversial machines were inherently unstable and defective because of their three-wheel configuration, balloon tires and lack of a key to control their use.
The verdict comes just weeks after Honda and three other companies that manufacture the vehicles agreed to stop the sale of the machines, buy back all three-wheeled ATVs in dealer inventories, place warning labels on vehicles and launch a nationwide safety training campaign.
The agreement was negotiated in the wake of statistics showing that ATVs have caused 20 deaths and 7,000 injuries a month for the last two years. About half the victims since 1982 have been under 16.