LOS ANGELES (Jan. 25, 2001)—Opening statements began today in Los Angeles County Superior Court in a product liability lawsuit which accuses Continental General Tire Inc. (now known as Continental Tire North America Inc.) of knowingly manufacturing defective tires and of knowingly manufacturing defective tires and covering up that knowledge.
Cynthia Lampe, 30, was rendered quadriplegic in June 1996 when a General Ameri*Tech steel-belted radial on her Ford Taurus allegedly came apart, causing her to lose control and the vehicle to flip over.
Brian Panish, Ms. Lampe´s attorney, said in a press release that he has testimony from Conti General workers saying there were "routine failures to follow quality control procedures" at the Mt. Vernon, Ill. plant where the tire was made.
Mr. Panish also claimed Conti General "delayed in implementing low-cost design changes that they knew would save lives" and pressured managers "to falsify inspection records and operate the plant at 103 percent above capability." Ms. Lampe seeks unspecified damages. Conti General spokespersons could not be reached for comment.