TORONTO, April 1 /CNW/ - A proposed national class action claim has been
issued with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of all persons in
Canada who suffered personal injury following tip-over accidents involving
Yamaha Rhino Recreational Utility Vehicles ("Rhinos"), and family members of
those injured Canadians.
The claim was issued as a result of the death of thirteen year old Wyatt
Bauer, who died when the Rhino he was driving flipped over, causing multiple
injuries, including fatal head trauma. The claim will be amended to include
the allegations of Colin Baker, whose foot was trapped by the unpadded roll
cage of a door-less Rhino that tipped over, resulting in multiple corrective
The class action alleges that the Rhino is prone to tip over because of
its narrow track-width, high platform, high center of gravity and top-heavy
design, all of which lead the vehicle to easily tip over under normal and
foreseeable driving conditions, including at low speeds on even terrain.
Since the introduction of these vehicles in 2003, Rhino accidents have
caused at least 46 deaths in the United States alone, and have injured and
maimed literally hundreds of consumers, often causing severe crush injuries
requiring surgery or amputation. The majority of the fatal accidents in the
U.S. involved tip-overs which were allegedly caused by the Rhino's
extraordinary stability and passenger containment defects.
On March 31, 2009, after investigating more than 50 incidents involving
46 driver and passenger deaths in two Rhino models, the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission ("CPSC"), announced a repair program for all Rhino 450, 660,
and 700 models, in cooperation with Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A., to address
rollover safety defects. The CPSC found that "...of the rollover-related
deaths and hundreds of reported injuries, some of which were serious, many
appear to involve turns at relatively low speeds and on level terrain". It is
unclear whether any of these recommendations will be implemented for the
benefit of Canadian consumers.
"These vehicles have been inherently dangerous since they were first
marketed by Yamaha", said Joel P. Rochon, a partner at Rochon Genova LLP. "No
parent should have to experience the Bauers' unbearable loss and no person
should have to undergo the medical complications that Mr. Baker is continuing
to face. These outcomes would have been avoidable had Yamaha met the minimum
safety standards. We urge Yamaha to take immediate responsibility by recalling
the vehicles and extending compensation to victims".
The allegations raised in the claim have not yet been proven in court.
For further information:
For further information: Rochon Genova LLP, 121 Richmond St. W, Suite
900, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2K1, Telephone: (416) 363-1867, Website address: