The Georgia Court of Appeals has reversed a jury verdict awarding more than $300,000 for injuries sustained when Yamaha’s Rhino, a “four-wheeled, open-air, off-road vehicle,” rolled over on the driver. Yamaha Motor Corp. v. McTaggart, No. A11A1022 (Ga. Ct. App., decided November 15, 2011). The plaintiffs claimed that the Rhino was defective because it lacked a door; Yamaha argued on appeal of the trial court’s denial of its motions for a directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict that “the undisputed evidence at trial demanded a finding that [plaintiff] assumed the risk of his injuries.”
Reviewing the plaintiff’s trial testimony, the appeals court concluded that the defendant demonstrated that the plaintiff “had actual and subjective knowledge of the specific danger associated with the doorless design of the Rhino, that he fully appreciated the risks associated therewith, and that he voluntarily exposed himself to those risks.” According to a news source, the court thus reversed the only decision favoring a plaintiff of the nine cases involving Yamaha’s Rhino that have gone to trial. The company indicated that it will continue to vigorously defend the product and claims that “[t]he Rhino is a safe and useful off-road vehicle when driven responsibly.” See Law360, November 16, 2011.