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In Brief: A Digest of Product Liability Projects

Client Success
  • Obtained a defense verdict for a large healthcare industry supplier in a two-week jury trial in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Circuit Court. Plaintiff alleged a traumatic brain injury and was seeking $21 million in damages. The jury returned a defense verdict and found no negligence by our clients and found plaintiff negligent and assessed her 100 percent of the fault;
  • Defended a leading automation technology client in two product liability cases in Colorado state court. Plaintiffs alleged permanent injuries from a malfunction of a high-rise escalator at Coors Field when the escalator began speeding. The client supplied a component of the escalator, which the elevator inspector’s report concluded caused the malfunction. Developed testimony and other evidence that client’s component had nothing to do with the malfunction of the escalator. After depositions of plaintiffs’ expert and the elevator inspector, plaintiffs dismissed client from both cases with prejudice;
  • Defended a manufacturer when plaintiff allegedly suffered serious and permanent neurological damage to his left arm and shoulder while operating a motorized pipe threading machine. Plaintiff alleged the product was defectively designed because it failed to include a device to absorb torque generated by the pipe threading machine. The case was tried for a week before a jury which returned a defendant’s verdict. There was no appeal. In four subsequent actions involving allegations against various motors, plaintiffs dismissed their suits prior to trial (without any payment);
  • Represented a 500 multinational corporation when plaintiff alleged that a control valve affixed to a furnace resulted in a house fire and significant property damage. The case was voluntarily dismissed after the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. Defendant argued that plaintiff could not establish that the control valve was in a defective condition when it left the manufacturer’s control;
  • Defended airbag electronic component supplier in lawsuit in Minnesota state court. Plaintiffs alleged deployment of airbag rendered their son a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic and claimed various defects relating to airbag system. After deposing the plaintiffs’ primary liability expert, plaintiffs dismissed client;
  • Defended a product liability case in Madison County, Illinois involving allegations of a defective throttle control system in a truck. Our client designed and manufactured the powertrain control module and throttle body. We won a motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens, despite the fact that plaintiffs named a Madison County defendant;
  • Defended a product liability claim involving allegations that a light-rail vehicle was defective because of an insufficient horn and bell warning system; plaintiff was hit by light rail vehicle and was injured. Court granted motion for summary judgment because client complied with specifications provided by the local public transportation provider, a co-defendant;
  • Represented a transportation systems company in a case in which Texas Medical Center, four of its member institutions, and Thermal Energy Corporation, filed suit against the Metropolitan Transit Authority and our client, one of the contractors hired by METRO to construct the Houston METRO Light Rail Transit System. Plaintiffs alleged that stray electrical voltage leaked from the Houston METRO rail line. Summary judgment was granted in favor of our client;
  • Represented a valve manufacturer in a matter in which a maintenance mechanic claimed that he contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos, and alleged that our client's valves were defective in that they contained asbestos-containing components and had been insulated on the exterior with asbestos. The case was fully prepared for trial and we were granted summary judgment on the Friday before trial was to begin the following Monday. As a matter of first impression in Tennessee, we successfully argued that a product manufacturer cannot be liable for components added by another party after the product is manufactured, even if such a modification is foreseeable;
  • Defended a diversified global manufacturing firm in litigation involving a fatal accident captured on a surveillance video that was shown to the jury. Our defense verdict was identified as a Top 10 defense win in the Missouri Lawyers Weekly annual survey;
  • Represented the defendants in a product-defect case in which the plaintiff's cornea was perforated with an electric cautery unit during ophthalmic surgery. The plaintiff claimed that the cautery device was defective and arced spontaneously. Obtained a complete defense verdict.