Project Description

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OHIO –  After a two week trial, a jury found Custom Assembly, Inc. responsible for failing to properly assemble a motorcycle, which caused the handlebars to become loose and caused the operator, Dr. Rhonda Company, to crash the motorcycle. The jury found that Dr. Company should be compensated $2,448,189.29 for her injuries, which included severe injuries and work limitations resulting from a fractured knee and ankle.

Custom Assembly assembles powersports for dealers around the country with its headquarters in Haviland, Ohio. It assembles approximately 100,000 powersports each year, 25,000 of which are motorcycles. During the course of the litigation, it was discovered that Custom Assembly did not require its assemblers to use torque wrenches when assembling motorcycles, and that, in fact, a torque wrench was not used to assemble Dr. Company’s motorcycle.

Dr. Company and her husband purchased the new motorcycle from Apex Powersports on April 28, 2012. Dr. Company went on a motorcycle ride the next day with her husband and adult children. After the motorcycle was ridden a total of sixty miles, the handlebars became loose and shifted, which caused Dr. Company to lose control of and crash the motorcycle. Expert testimony established that because the handlebar bolts were not sufficiently torqued, material loss occurred within the handlebar clamps as the motorcycle was being ridden, which eventually caused the handlebars to move and Dr. Company to lose control.

Attorneys Megan Frantz Oldham, of the law firm of Tzangas Plakas Mannos, Ltd., represented Dr. Company in this multi-week trial and commented on the significance of the verdict in the expanding recreational motorcycle market.

Attorney Megan Frantz Oldham stated:

“The verdict will send reverberations throughout the growing motorcycle industry, signaling that product safety cannot be an afterthought for any vehicle that travels the public highways.
The jury verdict reinforces that businesses must take responsibility for electing safety shortcuts. There are consequences when companies take shortcuts at the expense of people’s safety.

We are proud that the Company family persevered in this challenging case. When any consumer fights to hold a business responsible for unsafe practices, it benefits all consumers who use – or who are in the vicinity of – products that can have dangerous consequences.”

For more information, contact TPM at (330) 455-6112, or visit

Rhonda Company, DDS, et al. v. Custom Assembly, Inc., et al., Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2014 CL 04 0255

Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos

CONTACT: Megan J. Frantz Oldham, Partner Attorney – Canton (330) 455-6112