Mississippi Families Sue Yamaha Over Girls’ ATV Deaths

April 5, 2010

The families of two north Mississippi girls killed in a 2008 accident have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of an all-terrain vehicle.

Melissa and Richard Lee Bates of Southaven and Aundria and Thomas Dilworth of Olive Branch filed the suit in Gwinnett County, Ga., against Yamaha Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. of America.

The lawsuit claims multiple design and engineering flaws contributed to the deaths of the two 11-year-old girls.

Emily Bates and Lauren Dilworth were riding a Yamaha Rhino ATV when it flipped as it went off the pavement in a subdivision near Olive Branch.

The lawsuit does not seek a specific dollar amount.

Yamaha released a statement saying the company is saddened whenever anyone is injured in a product-related accident and urged riders to operate in a safe manner. A spokesman said Rhinos are designed for off-road use only, and are recommended for operators aged 16 or older with a driver’s license.

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