Tire dealer sued after technician fails to put lug nuts back onto wheel

Michelle Keahey May 16, 2012, 3:18am

NEW ORLEANS - A New Orleans woman is suing a Carrollton auto care company after one of its technicians failed to put lug nuts back onto a wheel of her vehicle and the tire abruptly came off causing her to suffer injuries.

Cynthia Long and Terry Lewis filed suit against Firestone Complete Auto Care Carrollton and Bridgestone Retail Operations on March 23 in Orleans Parish District Court. The case was removed to federal court in New Orleans on May 2.

The alleged incident occurred on Jan. 14 after Long brought Lewis' 1999 Chrysler Sebring convertible to Firestone-Carrollton for regular maintenance, including a balance recheck and tire rotation.

After about 30 minutes of work in the service bay, the vehicle was returned to Long. As she drove the vehicle from the parking lot and onto South Carrollton Avenue, she noticed an unusual vibration. Before she could return the vehicle to Firestone-Carrollton, the front left wheel fell off of the vehicle and caused the left end of the vehicle to drop and come to a sudden stop. Long hit the steering wheel and suffered injuries, which required surgery.

According to the lawsuit, Firestone-Carrollton representatives left their facility and, with a portable jack, lifted the vehicle and installed the wheel that had come off using lug nuts that were not installed prior to Long operating the vehicle.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to perform their work in a workman-like manner, failing to follow the standard of care applicable, failing to properly reinstall the left front wheel, failing to replace the lug nuts on the front left wheel, failing to ensure that the lug nuts were installed and tightened to an adequate level of torque, failing to provide quality assurance in connection with the work performed, and for failing to warn Long that they had not installed the wheel or had not properly installed the lug nuts, or properly replaced the lug nuts.

Long and Lewis are asking for an award of general damages, special damages, attorney's fees, court costs, and interest.

The plaintiffs are represented by Thomas E. Loehn of Boggs, Loehn & Rodrigue in Metairie and New Orleans attorney Brandy Gonzales Scurria.

U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01125

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