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    1. #1
      Join Date
      Jun 2001
      Location
      Orlando, FL
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      10,918
      Country Flag: United States

      Kevin Hart case: do custom builders have liability?

      https://amp.tmz.com/2019/09/21/kevin...scle-injuries/

      There are lawsuits pending, and the reporting here may or may not have the factual standards of actual news organizations, but it could have wide implications to our hobby.

      Summary: Kevin Hart's 70 'Cuda (most definitely a Pro-Touring car) was in a horrific crash, and injuries were sustained by the passengers, who are considering lawsuits alleging negligence on the part of the owner and car builder for not upgrading the safety systems.

      There are still facts to be gathered (were the original safety systems still in the car? were they in use when the crash occurred? was the car being being driven safely and within the law? etc.).



      This one bears watching, I think.
      John Parsons

      UnRivaled Rides -- Modern upgrades for your ride.

      UnRivaled Rides recent project -- LS9-powered 69 Camaro


    2. #2
      Join Date
      Aug 2004
      Location
      San Antonio, Tx
      Posts
      1,185
      I'm wondering if the passenger in the back filed a lawsuit against Kevin and he followed suit to get that problem off himself.
      Instagram: CamaroAJ

    3. #3
      Join Date
      Aug 2004
      Location
      NJ
      Posts
      1,241
      Country Flag: United States
      It'll be interesting to see this unfold. I bet all the shops will just have you sign a waiver when you pick up your car that will protect them from lawsuits. Kind of like when you drop your kids off at one of those bounce house type places.

      The other question I have is would we even be talking about this if it didn't happen to a celebrity? How many people are hurt or even worse killed from their modified car, whether at the track or street racing. There's cars running around with easily twice the power of his car and with no more than a factory seatbelt.

      Thankfully the three of them are still alive. Car was beautiful, can be replaced.

    4. #4
      Join Date
      Mar 2014
      Location
      Yuma, AZ
      Posts
      635
      Country Flag: United States
      This is very similar to the Paul Walker & Porsche case from several years ago (minus the fatalities of course).

      My opinion is the same as that case, at some point the DRIVER of the car has to accept responsibility for what happens. Paul Walker's daughter trying to sue Porsche because the car had "design flaws" was a cash grab, nothing more. In the end, the cars tires were old and the driver was going too fast for the road and they crashed. Not Porsche's fault in any way. Sad that we lost Paul, but not Porsche's fault, it was the drivers.

      In this case, Kevin let a friend who clearly could not handle a high HP vehicle into the driver seat and proceeds to crash the car. Maybe Kevin thought his friend was a better driver, hard to say. Now the passengers are suing Kevin because he owns the car & didn't upgrade safety equipment. I'm sure the car had at a minimum all the required safety belts for a 70 Cuda, I can't imagine any big shop building a car for a celebrity would skip those. They claim the car should have had harnesses for safety, but without a cage and based on the way the car look when it was pulled out that probably would have killed them rather than helped them. https://www.tmz.com/photos/image_jpe...7b9d5f4a5f34b/

      The other pictures show what happened very clearly. Driver probably had his foot on the floor, wheels were spinning, car started going left and the guy could not recover it. Off the cliff it went.
      https://www.tmz.com/photos/image_jpg...0d41e0c6c595f/

      Reason for Crash: Driver Error
      Person at Fault: Driver
      Case Closed.

      The people looking to sue Kevin just see the deep pockets and want a nice payout.
      Nelson
      1969 Chevelle "Cone Smasher" Family Project
      https://www.pro-touring.com/threads/...uot?highlight=

      1984 "Rustang" GT, 5.0, 5 Speed Project
      https://www.pro-touring.com/threads/...T-(Slow-Build)

    5. #5
      Join Date
      Jun 2001
      Location
      Orlando, FL
      Posts
      10,918
      Country Flag: United States
      John, I hear ya about a waiver, but even if the owner signs it and it holds up in court, it won't protect the builder from passengers or (gulp) guest drivers, which is what happened in this case.

      Nelson, no doubt this was driver error. But auto manufacturers have been successfully sued for negligence over the years. (Audi, VW, Ford to name three quick examples). I'm interested in how this turns out as I've got several customers on the road with high horsepower cars. At least I've always gotten them to upgrade to 3 point harnesses.
      John Parsons

      UnRivaled Rides -- Modern upgrades for your ride.

      UnRivaled Rides recent project -- LS9-powered 69 Camaro

    6. #6
      Join Date
      Nov 2006
      Location
      Mountain Springs, Texas
      Posts
      3,802
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      I think this is a concern for anyone who has built a car and sold it whether they are a pro or not.

      I always put three point belts in any car I build.

      Don
      1969 Camaro - LSA 6L90E AME sub/IRS
      1957 Buick Estate Wagon
      1959 El Camino - Ironworks frame
      1956 Cameo - full C5 suspension/drivetrain

    7. #7
      Join Date
      Aug 2012
      Location
      Peoria, AZ
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      1,727
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      If a factory restoration 70 'cuda with a 426 Hemi and G15 steel belted radial tires was involved in the exact same accident, would they be suing Plymouth?


      If the car did not have OEM seat belts, that is one thing. If the OEM seat belts were installed, I have a hard time believing any court will find fault with the restoration shop. The things they seem to say the shop "should" have installed are way more dangerous than stock OEM restraints and in fact, in most cases not DOT legal.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    8. #8
      Join Date
      Apr 2012
      Location
      Woodstock, IL
      Posts
      2,411
      Country Flag: United States
      Quote Originally Posted by SSLance View Post
      If a factory restoration 70 'cuda with a 426 Hemi and G15 steel belted radial tires was involved in the exact same accident, would they be suing Plymouth?


      If the car did not have OEM seat belts, that is one thing. If the OEM seat belts were installed, I have a hard time believing any court will find fault with the restoration shop. The things they seem to say the shop "should" have installed are way more dangerous than stock OEM restraints and in fact, in most cases not DOT legal.
      I agree, Lance!

      Although regardless, this definitely makes us builders think about additional ways to protect to help in court.

      A roll cage may have helped them, sure. But it also may have made things worse with no helmet. That's where you can't argue [in court] if a "safety device" helps or hurts...

      There are plenty of drunk drivers who were not wearing seat belts that have been ejected and lived after an accident, too.

      I really think they'll have a hard time going anywhere with this case. Just a waste of time & money especially on Speedkore's side.

      -Dale
      SchwartzPerformance
      The leader in bolt-in muscle car chassis
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      Dealer for: Forgeline, RideTech, Tremec, American Powertrain, Silver Sport Transmissions, GM Performance Parts, RECARO, Cerullo Seats, TMI Products, Vintage Air, Baer Brakes, Wilwood, BeCool, AFCO, Tanks Inc, Holley / Hooker, Ultimate Headers, Rick's Tanks, Moser Engineering, Currie, TechAFX, Stainless Works, II Much Fabrication, and many more

    9. #9
      Join Date
      Dec 2008
      Location
      Detroit
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      2,458
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      This the problem with our society today, anyone can sue anybody over anything. I would gather if this is true, Kevin is suing to cover himself if the passengers are suing him. The driver is the one negligent, not the vehicle owner IMO. The female passenger is the fiance to the driver and should not have been in the car in the first place. The car has no back seat, so she could not have been secured in any safe manner.

      Also I have to ask, was the car built for Kevin or did he just purchase a build they had available?
      Big dreams, small pockets....

      Chris--
      '72 Cutlass S LS2/T56 Magnum
      Bowler Performance, Rushforth Wheels, SC&C, ATS, Street Rod Designs, Speedhut, KORE3, Ridetech

      Project Motor City Madness

    10. #10
      Join Date
      May 2010
      Location
      kitchener,Ontario,Canada
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      2,164
      Country Flag: Canada
      The problem is one thing... nobody has the balls to stand up and say it was my fault ... I screwed up . Everyone want s to blame someone else . Grow a pair (no offense to the ladies ) but c'mon. The driver didnt respect nor know the car ... passenger in the backseat which wasnt a back seat , sorry ma'am, you're the fool .
      Spinnin'my tires in life's fast lane

      Ryan Austin
      On twitter @raustinss
      On Instagram austinss70

    11. #11
      Join Date
      Oct 2014
      Location
      DFW, Texas
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      422
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      Quote Originally Posted by csouth View Post
      Also I have to ask, was the car built for Kevin or did he just purchase a build they had available?
      The car was built a couple of years ago for SEMA, it was put up for sale by Speedkore and he bought it.
      1972 Plymouth 'Cuda - Not LS-swapped, 5.7L Hemi [MS3 Gold Box], T56 Magnum 6-speed - 'Cuda Build Page
      1976 Dodge D100 - Warlock
      2016 Subaru WRX - E30 Tune

    12. #12
      Join Date
      Sep 2016
      Location
      Bakersfield, CA
      Posts
      577
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      To some degree, I think Kevin is at fault. He should not have allowed someone else to drive his car in any manner which endangered the passengers in the first place.

      Obviously, the driver is most at fault. IMO, all the passengers should just grow a pair and accept it as an accident, unless they had asked him to slow down and he did not. I also think Kevin should be suing the friend he let drive it for the replacement price of the car (unless insurance covered it, then the driver should just pay the deductable and anyone's outstanding medical bills).

      I see absolutely ZERO liability for the shop that built it, UNLESS it can be proved that the crash was a direct result of a failure due to how the vehicle was assembled. Hell, maybe a part failed (that was installed correctly), are they going to sue that parts manufacturer?

      Just some food for thought.

      Has the police report made public so we know what law enforcements accident conclusion was as to the cause?
      http://www.TheFOAT.com/92GTA
      1969 Pontiac Firebird
      w/535ci IAII aluminum block, Dailey dry sump, Holley EFI (full road race build). Primer black w/black interior.
      1992 Pontiac Trans Am GTA w/SLP Performance Package. Dark Jade Grey Metallic, grey leather, T-Tops.

    13. #13
      Join Date
      Oct 2004
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      2,438
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      Airbags?! You don't simply add airbags. The level of effort an OEM has to go through to ensure they will work properly and improve safety is extensive. The custom builder would need access to (and knowledge to use) simulation hardware; plus hundreds of thousands in physical crash testing. Without this, there's no way to be sure it would go off at the right time, and/or it could cause injuries to be worse than without. Nelson already mentioned the issue with adding harnesses.

      Something like this could have an impact on the DIYer too if they allowed this to set a precedence. And then what constitutes "custom?" Convert from 2 to 4 barrel intake and suddenly you need airbags? Put a rear spoiler on and now you need harnesses? Shave the door handles, and you need to add a cage?

      The reality is, this car having upgraded suspension, wheels, tires, brakes, etc. was more safe than any Hemi that left a Plymouth plant back in the day. As long as it was equipped with factory belts (which met the safety criteria of the time period), that should be all that's required.

      And as far as the CHP, they should be reporting facts of the accidents, not editorials on legislative opinions.
      https://autoweek.com/article/car-new...r-rule-changes
      Red Forman: "The Mustang's front end is problematic; get yourself a Firebird."

    14. #14
      Join Date
      Aug 2015
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      charlotte
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      This story is blowing up the internet but at this point I've found zero evidence KH is actually suing speedkore, it's just a lot of rumour mill social media's and websites like TMZ. It appears to be a pretty typical internal snowball of a rumour since the driver is suing him.
      I also believe Kevin has another car being built by speedkore at the moment so that further confuses the story..

    15. #15
      Join Date
      Dec 2010
      Location
      Fredericksburg, VA.
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      3,125
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      I agree that installing air bags is not a viable option on on 50 year old car. In 1970 a 3 point seat belt was not a required device but they were available as an option, as I recall. In high school (1972) I had a friend who owned a new 70 Hemi Cuda and as I remember that car was equipped with only lap belts which was just the way is was back then. Remember the chase scene in Bullit where the wheel man in the Charger looks up, sees Frank's Mustang in the rear view mirror and then puts on his lap belt. Wearing seat belts was not mandatory back then and it was rare to find someone pay extra for a 3 point belt. Drivers routinely drove around without using the seat belts. How this will effect a lawsuit claiming no 3 point belts will be interesting to watch.

      Steve Hayes
      "Dust Off"
      68 Camaro

      Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that's what gets you!
      "Jeremy Clarkson"

    16. #16
      Join Date
      Oct 2014
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      DFW, Texas
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      Quote Originally Posted by slimjim View Post
      This story is blowing up the internet but at this point I've found zero evidence KH is actually suing speedkore, it's just a lot of rumour mill social media's and websites like TMZ. It appears to be a pretty typical internal snowball of a rumour since the driver is suing him.
      I also believe Kevin has another car being built by speedkore at the moment so that further confuses the story..
      I agree. I believe it's just typical internet hysteria taking over, as usual.
      1972 Plymouth 'Cuda - Not LS-swapped, 5.7L Hemi [MS3 Gold Box], T56 Magnum 6-speed - 'Cuda Build Page
      1976 Dodge D100 - Warlock
      2016 Subaru WRX - E30 Tune

    17. #17
      Join Date
      Feb 2019
      Location
      Kankakee IL
      Posts
      285
      Quote Originally Posted by GoodysGotaCuda View Post
      The car was built a couple of years ago for SEMA, it was put up for sale by Speedkore and he bought it.
      And he had them install a more powerful motor before he took delivery.

      There was already two safety features installed in the car.

      One gas pedal and one brake pedal.

      Not being smart enough to use them correctly is the cause of this crash.
      Tracey

    18. #18
      Join Date
      Dec 2005
      Location
      San Leandro, CA
      Posts
      990
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      often times what people think is one person suing another is actually on person's insurance carrier suing the other person's insurance carrier. So although it seems like Kevin's buddy is suing Kevin and Kevin is suing the builder, it's likely the buddy's insurance seeking damages from Kevin's insurance and Kevin's insurance is looking at all options available to recoup damages from "all" responsible parties, which could be the builder, especially if original safety systems were modified or there is found to be any negligence related to the build. Failed welds, poorly engineered parts etc.

      It's easy to say oh its all on the driver, but we've all seen bad execution on builds, regardless of how "high end" the builder is. (thinking of a certain yellow mustang, a blue car on here right now and many others).
      Steve
      '68 Camaro - SBC, TKO600, 3.73 Moser 12-bolt, Speedtech, ATS-AFX, Hotchkis, Forgeline, Ron Davis and C5 brakes (Kore3), Holley Terminator TBI.
      Check it Out Here

    19. #19
      Join Date
      Apr 2016
      Posts
      68
      When this originally happened, there was a report on it stating there was a question of where the rear passenger was sitting, as the rear seaat is not actually a seat, but a storage compartment. It was a yahoo news link...

    20. #20
      Join Date
      Sep 2014
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      Sun City West, AZ
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      670
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      The case will be in California so stand by to see how much is paid out on this, and to who, and from who. The aftermath will be silly legislation that will follow and get signed into law that will require car builders to not only add harness but, other safety related items like the Air Bags, etc.. I have a feeling there will be a HUGE amount of car builders that will leave the state after this is done and over with.

      Since, this event occurred in California, I wouldn't be surprised the government entity that is responsible for maintaining the road, the property owner that owned the fence, and the petroleum company for the gasoline being used in Kevin's car will named as the "Parties There Of" as co-defendants in this case.
      --
      Kenny Mitchell
      [email protected]

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