Warren County jury sides with Yamaha in multi-million dollar lawsuit

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - A Warren County jury reached a verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit against Yamaha, the maker of an ATV a 10-year-old girl was riding on when she died.

Ellie Sand of Lebanon died in 2007. She was a passenger on a Yamaha Rhino 660 ATV that rolled and pinned her to the ground.

The lawsuit, filed by Ellie's parents John and Tammie Sand, calls the Rhino an inherently unstable and defective vehicle. They also state that it is more prone to roll over, even on low speeds and even terrain.

According to a statement from Yamaha Motor Corp, the Warren County jury rejected the plaintiffs' claims and returned a defense verdict in the $20 million wrongful death lawsuit. The Yamaha Company released the following statement:

This verdict in favor of Yamaha marks the sixth time overall that a jury has rejected plaintiffs' claims regarding the Rhino.

Yamaha is saddened whenever anyone is injured in a Yamaha product-related accident and we strongly urge all our customers to always operate the products in a safe and responsible manner. The testimony and evidence during the trial showed that this tragic incident had nothing to do with the design of the product, and underscores the importance of following the safety recommendations on our products and in the owner's manual. The Rhino is a two-person vehicle, and drivers should be at least 16-years-old with a valid driver's license, while passengers must be tall enough to place both feet flat on the floorboard with his or her back against the seat back and be able to reach the passenger hand holds. Drivers and passengers should at all times wear helmets, protective gear and the vehicle's three-point seat belts.

The Rhino is a safe and useful off-road vehicle when driven responsibly, and has won virtually every "first in class" award and top safety ratings in independent reviews since its introduction.

Yamaha stands firmly behind the Rhino and will continue to vigorously defend the product.

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