Bill Simpson, co-owner and founder of Simpson Performance Products, filed a lawsuit today in Indianapolis against NASCAR. The suit has been expected since the sanctioning body gave statements against Simpson Safety after the death of Dale ...
Bill Simpson, co-owner and founder of Simpson Performance Products, filed a lawsuit today in Indianapolis against NASCAR. The suit has been expected since the sanctioning body gave statements against Simpson Safety after the death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. during the Daytona 500 in February last year.
The lawsuit filed by Simpson's attorneys, James Voyles and Robert Horn, allege defamation of character, defamation by implication, and reckless disregard for the truth. He is seeking $8.5 million in actual damages plus an unspecified amount for damage to his reputation, according to attorney Robert Horn
"Our contention is that if Simpson belts are properly mounted, they won't fail. The truth in this case is that that belt did not fail because of any defect in the belt, that the belt failed because it was improperly mounted in Dale Earnhardt's car," said Horn.
The lawsuit refers to the comments made by NASCAR during their first investigation into Earnhardt's accident when they [NASCAR] alleged that the left-side lap belt was torn during the accident and that the failure of the Simpson lap belt lead directly to Earnhardt's death.
At that time, Dr. Steve Bohannon, head of emergency medical services at Daytona International Speedway stated that: "Mr. Earnhardt more than likely contacted the steering wheel with his face." Bohannon speculated that with the broken belt, Earnhardt's body could have been thrown forward and to the right, thrusting him into the steering wheel.
The NASCAR official investigation analysts', Dean Sicking and Dr. James Raddin also concluded that had Earnhardt's belt not "separated", he would have likely survived the crash.
One independent analyst, Dr. Barry Myers stated that Earnhadt's death was not directly due to the seatbelt failure. Other experts also commented on the lap belt. See: Earnhardt's lap belt failure irrelevant?
Simpson has never denied that the belt broke and he has Simpson maintained all along that his belts would not fail if properly installed. See: NASCAR madates new belt rule
Simpson resigned from his position with the company in August at last
year for personal reasons. He commented on the effect of the death of
Dale Earnhardt in his decision, Simpson said "Dale was my pal. I need to
just take some time to get my creative juices flowing again."
Simpson Performance Products is not party to the suit filed today, according to a statement released yesterday.
See: NASCAR statement..