Polaris to Pay $27 Million Civil Penalty Over Failures to Report Defective Recreational Off-Road Vehicles
Polaris Industries Inc. has agreed to pay a $27.25 million civil penalty to settle allegations that the company failed to immediately report defective models of certain recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs) to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). According to the CPSC, those alleged defects impacted Polaris’ RZR and Ranger ROVs, and posed hazards that created unreasonable risks of serious injuries and death to consumers.
The civil penalty stems from a number of reports involving the Polaris RZRs and Polaris Rangers:
- Polaris RZRs – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Polaris had information that certain models of RZRs manufactured and distributed by the company contained defects that posed risks of the ROVs catching fire while being driven, posing significant risks of fire and burn injuries to drivers and passengers. Despite having such information, the CPSC alleged, Polaris failed to immediately notify the agency as required by federal law. By the time the defect or risk was reported, Polaris had received over 150 reports of fires, including one that resulted in the death of a 15-year-old victim, 11 reported burn injuries, and a fire that scorched approximately 10 acres of land.
- Polaris Rangers – Regulators from the CPSC alleged that Polaris Rangers manufactured and distributed by the off-road vehicle company contained hazardous defects which made heat shields prone to loosening and falling off ROVs, posing risks of fires and burn injuries to consumers. After reporting the fires and announcing a recall of 2014 Rangers in 2016, Polaris received additional reports of heat shield becoming loose and falling off 2015 Rangers, but failed to disclose the defect or risk to CPSC officials per federal law. By the time issues were reported, Polaris had received multiple reports of incidents involving Ranger heat shields, as well as five reported fires, and announced a recall in 2017.
Although the settlement reached between Polaris and federal regulators with the Consumer Product Safety Commission do not constitute an admission of fault by Polaris, it does serve to highlight the legal obligations product manufacturers have in not only ensuring the safety of products made available to the public, but also adequately warning consumers about potential risks of injuries and deaths associated with their products.
The Rights of Injured Consumers: Do You Have a Case?
Eisenberg, Gilchrist & Cutt is a personal injury law firm that has cultivated a national reputation for protecting the rights of victims and families harmed as a result of unsafe and defective products. Our experience serving clients throughout Salt Lake City, Utah, and the U.S. in challenging and high-profile product liability cases position us to effectively advocate for victims who have suffered losses caused by Polaris ROVs and the failures of Polaris to properly and timely report potential defects and risks as required by law.
Attorneys Jeffrey D. Eisenberg and Eric S. Olsen and our firm are currently representing multiple victims of Polaris fire incidents, and have previously represented others. If you or someone you love has been harmed while using any Polaris ROV, we are available to review your case, discuss your rights, and determine whether you have grounds to pursue a product liability case against Polaris. This includes
Victims harmed by defective products have the right to seek justice and financial compensation for their losses in our civil justice system. Not only are these civil lawsuits a means to make victims’ voices heard, they are also critical to ensuring failures and negligence committed by product manufacturers will not be tolerated, and that safety changes are made to protect others from suffering similar and preventable harms. As Founding Partner Jeffrey Eisenberg notes:
“We wish we could conclude that the CPSC action has resulted in a comprehensive design solution that makes Polaris RZR and Ranger vehicles safe from sudden fires. However, we continue to receive calls from Polaris owners whose vehicles have suddenly caught fire and burned to the ground. What these events have in common is that the fires burn out of control within seconds, and the occupants have only moments to escape harm.
The CPSC announcement confirms that Polaris failed to follow the law and timely report 180 known fires to safety regulators. Although the CPSC fine is a step in the right direction, Polaris must also be held accountable for its actions and the harm done to the consumers personally affected by these incidents.
Most important, Polaris needs to be more transparent and explain to consumers why these vehicles have burned and describe what design changes it plans to assure safety. Band-aid fixes are not enough. We will continue to press Polaris for answers in civil litigation.”
Call (801) 901-3470 for a FREE Consultation
If a fire or accident involving a Polaris ROV, including the Polaris RZR and Polaris Ranger, you owned or used have caused injuries, death, or losses, our legal team at Eisenberg, Gilchrist & Cutt encourages you to reach out for the support and representation you deserve. Our legal team has extensive experience handling product liability cases involving major corporations, ensuring the rights of victims and families are not compromised due to their prioritization of profits over people, and holding manufacturers accountable for failures that harm innocent consumers. Each year our firm has recovers millions of dollars in compensation for the clients we serve.
To discuss a potential case with a member of our team, call (801) 901-3470 or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.