Only days after Harley-Davidson Motor Co. announced a motorcycle recall, due to potentially defective brakes, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Texas rider against Harley in the wake of an accident that resulted in 11 surgeries — “with more to come.”
The man’s Corpus Christi attorney alleges that Harley was informed six months before the December 2016 motorcycle accident “that there were failures occurring in this braking system at abnormally high rates.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had been investigating complaints about the problem since summer 2016, attorney Bob Hilliard said.
According to the attorney, John Alexander Gifford was riding home from work in Austin in 2016 when he applied the brakes on his Harley-Davidson Night Rod motorcycle, lost control and slammed into trees near the road. As a result of the accident, Gifford has undergone at least 11 surgeries and suffers through “immeasurable pain,” according to the suit.
“Instead of immediately contacting its customers, including my client, Harley-Davidson … went into a C.Y.A. mode,” Hilliard said in a statement. “It did all it could to avoid a recall, to blame its own customers, and to drag its feet on providing potentially lifesaving information to the owners. As a result, Mr. Gifford literally suffered the almost complete ripping off of his entire lower torso, requiring 11 surgeries to date, with more to come. His daily level of pain is excruciating.”
The suit contends that Gifford’s motorcycle has since been recalled because of defective brakes.
A spokesman for Milwaukee-based Harley said Monday, “We do not comment on pending legislation.”
Citing problems with anti-lock brakes, Harley last week announced a voluntary recall of more than 251,000 motorcycles worldwide, with nearly 175,000 in the United States.
In July 2016, U.S. transportation authorities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating problems with the brakes after getting 43 complaints, including reports of three crashes and two injuries.
The problem is linked to a part in the brake system that can corrode and fail without warning. According to the attorney, “deposits” can form on components within the brake system if the brake fluid is not replaced for prolonged periods beyond the two-year maintenance schedule.