BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Pirelli S.p.A. and its Pirelli Tire North America unit have joined the ranks of tire makers facing legal action due to an accidental death allegedly caused by a tread separation.
A lawsuit filed on Dec. 21 in a state court in Kings County, N.Y., seeks $75 million in damages for the wife and two children of Neville Norville of Brooklyn. An auto service shop, C and F Auto Repair in Brooklyn, also was named as a defendant.
The suit alleges that on July 23, 2000, the tread separated from a two-year-old Pirelli tire on Mr. Norville's 1989 Volvo. He lost control of the car and crashed into a barrier wall on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
The injuries left Mr. Norville quadriplegic. He died in early October, about 10 weeks after the accident.
A Pirelli Tire North America spokesman said the company could not comment on the lawsuit because it hadn't received it yet.
"Obviously we're concerned and feel sorry for the family," he said.
Howard Hershenhorn, an attorney with Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman and Mackauf in New York, said the tread separated completely from the tire. The car belonged to Mrs. Norville, and she regularly took the car to C and F Auto for maintenance.
The family's personal attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, of the Brooklyn law firm of Rubenstein and Rynecki, issued a statement calling for the federal government to "require tire manufacturers to more accurately monitor the safety of their products and report defects in them to the government."