Quadriplegic sues ATV maker for his injuries
BY JAMES HAGGERTY STAFF WRITER
John F. Ogozaly, 46, of 114 Plank Road, is suing the manufacturer for an ATV accident that happened June 15, 1996, in Archbald. Mr. Ogozaly, who is a quadriplegic, is seeking in excess of $50,000 plus punitive damages for negligence, liability and breach of warranty. His complaint alleges the three-wheeled vehicle was defective.
Honda argues that Mr. Ogozaly was drunk at the time of the accident, did not wear a helmet and was responsible for his injuries.
Mr. Ogozaly was injured as he was operating a 1986 ATV on a road next to The Lackawanna River Basin Sewer Authority treatment plant. His attorney, Daniel Munley, said Mr. Ogozaly was driving about 20 mph when the right rear tire of the ATV hit a bump in the road and as he turned to avoid tipping, the vehicle ran off the road and down a six-foot embankment. Mr. Ogozaly sustained a broken neck in the crash.
Experts will testify that the single rear axle design of the vehicle was defective and caused the accident, Mr. Munley said.
“He sits in front of you a broken man,” Mr. Munley told the jury. “They marketed and sold a three-legged horse.”
Court papers indicate Mr. Ogozaly’s blood-alcohol content when he arrived at Community Medical Center after the accident was equivalent to .189. A driver with a level of .08 is considered legally drunk in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Ogozaly drank for several hours before going on the ATV ride and admitted he consumed about 12 beers, said attorney Paul Cereghini of Phoenix, who represents Honda, which is based in Torrance, Calif.
“He was intoxicated, heavily intoxicated,” Mr. Cereghini told the jury.
Mr. Ogozaly did not drive a car and had very little experience operating ATVs, Mr. Cereghini said. He said Mr. Ogozaly’s injuries could have been limited if he was wearing a helmet.
“We’re going to prove that Mr. Ogozaly was solely responsible for his accident,” Mr. Cereghini said.
Testimony in the case started Tuesday afternoon before Judge Terrence Nealon.