Harley-Davidson Dealership In Texas Not Negligent In Test Drive Crash

Justices with the 13th Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Euton Harley-Davidson Inc. of Victoria, Texas was not negligent when an employee crashed while test driving one of its motorcycles. Robert Zissa Jr. ran a stop sign on July 5, 2006, while test driving a motorcycle for the dealership. He collided with a 2002 GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle, lost part of his right leg and incurred $600,000 in medical costs, according to court documents.

Cindy Sheppard, who represented the Harley-Davidson dealership successfully argued 1- that Zissa’s 16-year motorcycle riding career proved he was neither inexperienced nor ignorant about the dangers that come with his line of work. 2- that by Zissa’s own admission, he test-drove motorcycles seven to 10 times a week for three years without incident. Therefore, the dealership’s duty to give test drive instructions did not apply to Zissa 3- that laws of Texas doesn’t require an employer to provide a test driving track to test motorcycles. 4- that the dealership indicates employees two routes to test drive the motorcycles that they felt were the most safe but that for unknown reason Zissa chose to take a different route that day. Robert Zissa’s attorney doesn’t not know whether his client would file a motion for rehearing by the Dec. 28 deadline.

21 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Dealership In Texas Not Negligent In Test Drive Crash”

  1. 1 BobS Dec 22nd, 2012 at 11:07 am

    So just how was this dealership allegedly negligent? Did they take the brakes off the bike and forget to put them back on? Did they cover the stop sign with a bar and shield poster? The frivolous cases that get through the system are usually the ones to get all the news. Thanks Cyril for letting us know about when the system works, a little good news from time to time doesn’t suck.

  2. 2 Boots Dec 22nd, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Personal responsibility! He failed to stop for a stop sign and hit another vehicle.
    Open and shut case. I’m glad there was a judge that also agrees with this philosophy!

  3. 3 1951vbs Dec 22nd, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Justice is served. However, this trial was in Texas. I wonder what the outcome would have been if it was heard in San Fransisco?

  4. 4 Rod Bradner Dec 22nd, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    And Zissa’s lawyer convinced him he had a case! Shame.

  5. 5 666 Dec 22nd, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    If he would have just had a cup of hot coffee between his legs when he crashed he could be rich now!!!

  6. 6 BobS Dec 22nd, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Since the McDonalds incident most restaurants now serve coffee at…serving temps! Which don’t leave third degree burns when spilled.

  7. 7 Will Dec 22nd, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    So far the proper side has won. The sad thing is what it cost the dealership to defend itself in what I would consider a frivolous lawsuit. Hopefully the dealership can recoup some of it.

  8. 8 Smittydog Dec 23rd, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Does’t the dealership have to carry insurance on its employees? $600,000 in medical cost, I would sue to recover that myself.

  9. 9 burnout Dec 23rd, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    None of us want to be disabled from a bike crash HOWEVER there is some argument because he was performing a duty for his employer. I would try to recover some medical expense if I was in the same situation. peace

  10. 10 rebel Dec 23rd, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    another prime example of people not taking responsibility for their own actions, and looking for the deepest pockets around, sure he was working for someone else but they can’t be holding his hand every minute, take it like the man you thought you were. unfortunate situation all around but come on.

  11. 11 Health Insurance Dec 23rd, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Why sue for Medical Expenses? It’s not the dealer’s fault the dumb ass crashed. He should of had health insurance.

  12. 12 hpierce Dec 23rd, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    so, is he trying to get the dealership to cover for workmans comp? if he’s at work, and it’s part of his job to test drive the bike after repairs, then surely the dealership has workmans comp insurance that would cover this. And “he should have had health insurance”, he probably does, through his employer.

    Now i can also see the other side, that he ran a stop sign and hit a SUV. so that driver’s not paying anything. He can’t afford the medical bill, which will lead us back to the dealership.

    And i really can’t defend anyone suing just to get rich. That’s crap and we all know it.

    A lot of people bring up the McDonalds case when arguing about “frivilous” lawsuits. That paticular restaurant had been complained to, and warned that their coffee was scalding hot. So when this woman was burned by a lid that was improperly fastened to the cup, she won the amount of money Mickey D’s makes in coffee for ONE day. MCD is not losing sleep about that lawsuit.

  13. 13 nicker Dec 24th, 2012 at 12:59 am

    “…he should have had health insurance…”
    “…{Mc Donald’s] was warned that their coffee was scalding hot…”
    “…lawyer convinced him [he could get financial aid]…”

    Yada, yada, yada…………

    This is EXACTLY the type of thinking that’s put the country in it’s current position….over spent.
    (no one is at fault and someone else, the proverbial “they,” will take care of everything)

    Look, this is a very simple proposition…. bad things happen to good people every day.
    Moreover… even worse things happen to the stupid or unlucky…… “Shit happens.”

    And so, any number of dealerships offer some form of group coverage.
    For employees who prefer to have coverage taken care of for them, they seek such employment.
    For those who work without it, they must seek their coverage under another group.
    Otherwise you take your chances with those who don’t think that fare ahead and are left to the public assistance safety net.

    Stop looking to Uncle Sugar to give you everything from “obama-phones” to Anty-skid brakes.
    Your supposed to be Bikers, not bed wetting, sniveling metro-sexuals.


  14. 14 BobS Dec 24th, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I bet nicker is the first one to change his tune when someone does something stupid that hurts one of his family members. Hey I was drinking and driving and ran over your kid, oh well, shit happens right? Everyone hates lawyers until they need one.

  15. 15 domino Dec 24th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    My buisness has work comp for anybody hurt on the job… Has anybody here heard of it?? I pay a lot for it….

    It’s not about how she was burned, but where… ha…

  16. 16 nicker Dec 25th, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Bob S.

    “… nicker is the first one to change his tune when someone does something stupid that hurts one of his family members….”

    -No- Bob…….. I’m ensured.

    Because “stupidity doesn’t happen,” morons actually work at it.
    A healthy judgement and fine are about the only cure for stupidity.
    So, you bet your ass, people who do stupid stuff are fair game in my book.

    But if you want $$ for running a red light, or holing hot coffee between your leg, i’m basically telling you to go pound sand. And by the way, anyone you hit while your running a red light or stop sign, should be able to claim everything you own.

    Do you get my drift now……..???


  17. 17 BobS Dec 25th, 2012 at 11:16 am

    nicker, yep! I get you now and agree. But if a restaurant decides they can get a marketing edge over the competition by jacking the heat up 40 degrees over serving temp (which is hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns) for the drive through, calculating that 10 minutes down the road their customers will associate them with hot coffee…I call that stupid. Furthermore if that restaurant hires idiots that can’t secure the lid increasing the likelihood that my balls will be destroyed if I hit a bump (I know that rarely happens)…I call that even more stupid. So if that did happen to me, yeah, Id claim everything they own too. Stupid deserves what it gets, but sometimes you have to go beyond the headline to find the real stupid.

  18. 18 Dan C Dec 26th, 2012 at 2:54 am

    I’m not sure about the law suit and Mickey D’s but did you see how badly that women was burned and at last count she’s had 3 or 4 corrective surgeries, why, so so old MacDonald could brag about coffee too frigging hot to drink.

    Dude ran a stop sign, his fault but I’ll bet workers comp is paying the bills for his medical and it was only the extra money that he thought he deserved for being stupid that he sued for and I agree that he didn’t have that coming…..

    Don’t let the corporate spin on the old lady and the coffee fool you……. They used that situation to get a whole lot of liability caps written into the law books all over the country. Corporate america are the biggest “you need to pay for our mistakes” group that has ever existed.

    A buddy of mine bought his ole’ lady a tummy tuck for her birthday and when the night nurse shot her up intravenously with an intermuscular pain killer and she died in less than 5 minutes they offered him $250K and a sympathy card because of a liability cap that had recently passed into law.

  19. 19 tholland Dec 26th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    A move in the right direction. This Good Ole USA needs to start raising individuals that are held accountable for their own errors. That would be a good start….Then maybe there would not be so many in line for their “entitlements”.

  20. 20 mike Dec 27th, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I would say that he had workmans comp at work and now is ineligable for that to because of this rulling.

  21. 21 Walt Lumpkin Dec 27th, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Good thing I’m not a judge. I’d put some of these SOB’s and their lawyers in jail for wasting the court’s time.

    The initial judgment in the Mickey D’s coffee was $105 Million. It pays to be stupid in Cali.
    BTW: I want my coffee to be hot. Unless you order ice coffee your dumbass should assume yours is too.

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Cyril Huze