THE ESTATE OF SCOTT W. THOMPSON,
by the Personal Representatives, RANDY W. THOMPSON and VICKY J. THOMPSON,
and RANDY W. THOMPSON and VICKY J. THOMPSON, Individually, Plaintiffs,
vs.
KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD.,
KAWASAKI MOTORS CORP., U.S.A., and OHLINS RACING AB, Defendants.

No. C 11-4026-MWB

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA, WESTERN DIVISION

Decided February 11, 2013, opinion by District Judge Mark W. Bennett:

At about sunset on March 21, 2009, Scott Thompson was riding his 2007 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R motorcycle in a convoy with two friends on county road K-22 in Plymouth County, Iowa. One of Thompson’s friends, Dave Lachioma, who was also riding a motorcycle, led the convoy, the other friend, Michael Welter, followed in his car, and Thompson brought up the rear on his motorcycle. While driving northbound on K-22, Thompson passed Welter, who was driving at 60 to 65 mph. A few seconds after Thompson passed him, Welter observed the taillight of Thompson’s motorcycle wobble from side to side. Although Welter observed that it looked like Thompson was regaining control of his motorcycle, Thompson was tossed from the motorcycle, slid on his back, feet first, across the highway, and landed in a ditch on the west side of the highway. The motorcycle continued upright in the northbound lane for another several hundred feet, before exiting the highway on the east side. As a result of the accident, Thompson suffered a burst fracture at the T3-T4 vertebrae, causing paralysis below that level. Thompson died on December 25, 2011.

In complaint,

plaintiffs allege that Thompson’s motorcycle accident was the result of the defective design and/or manufacture of his 2007 Ninja ZX-10R motorcycle, because the steering damper on the motorcycle was insufficient and the motorcycle was not reasonably stable.

and

The parties requested oral arguments on the summary judgment motions. My crowded schedule has not permitted the timely scheduling of such oral arguments, and I find that the parties’ written submissions on the issues presented are sufficient to resolve the pending motions without oral arguments. Therefore, I will resolve the motions based on the parties’ written submissions.

Concluding:

Upon the foregoing,

1. KHI’s and KMC’s November 5, 2012, joint Motion For Partial Summary Judgment (docket no. 64) is granted in part and denied in part, as follows:

a. The Motion is granted as to the “manufacturing defect” claim in Count I, the “breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose” claim in Count II, and the “negligence” claim in Count III, but

b. The motion is denied as to the “design defect” claim in Count I, and the prayer of “punitive damages” on that underlying cause of action in Count VIII.

2. Ohlins’s November 27, 2011, Supplemental (Amended And Substituted) Motion For Summary Judgment (docket no. 71) is granted in its entirety, and Ohlins is dismissed from this action.

3. This action will proceed to trial only on the “design defect” claim against KHI and KMC in Count I and the prayer for “punitive damages” on that underlying cause of action in Count VIII.

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