http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-harley13.html Man suing Harley-Davidson over 'wobble' April 13, 2006 BY STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter Advertisement For years, Tom Hawkinson loved nothing more than to hit the open road on his Harley-Davidson. But as the Oak Lawn man cruised down Archer Avenue near Lemont in 2004, the front end of his motorcycle began to wobble. Seconds later, the 44-year-old was thrown from his bike and left with life-changing brain injuries. Wednesday, Hawkinson filed suit against Harley-Davidson, claiming the company knew years earlier that there was a defect in the bike. Before the crash, he was a vice-president at his family's Hawkinson Ford in Oak Lawn, but today "he can't work and is unable to maintain the life he had before," said his attorney, Max Maccoby. "He was a successful businessman," he said. "Now he's incapacitated and has gone through a number of brain surgeries." The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages, but claims that users have filed multiple complaints with federal safety agencies and multiple negligence lawsuits because of defects on the Dyna Wide Glide and other bikes in the company's FLH series. One suit filed in Chicago in 2004 made claims similar to Hawkinson's. Said to begin at 50 mph A Harley-Davidson spokesman declined comment. Maccoby said the wobble when the motorcycle exceeds 50 mph is so widely known that repair shops advertise repairs specific to the problem on these models. Those "design or manufacturing defects," the lawsuit says, caused the crash and Hawkinson's injury. "A driver coming toward him saw his front light wobble back and forth for about 10 seconds before he was thrown," Maccoby said. "Now, he suffers from disorientation, he fatigues easily, and he can't multitask. He tried going back to work, but he couldn't." Earlier suits filed against Harley-Davidson claim the shaking and instability come from the front end of the motorcycle, as if it is off-balance from the rear tires.