And The Defense Wins

Published 12-7-16 by DRI

 

Tom Branigan, Jeffrey T. Gorcyca, Carmen Bickerdt, Brian Baggot, Samantha Culp, Michael O’Donnell, Edward Stewart, Theresa Wardon, Michael Wiggins, Michael Correnti and Sarah A. Long

 

A unanimous defense verdict was returned by a Florida jury in favor of Takata Corp., TK Holdings, Inc., and Michelin North America Inc. on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, after a two-month trial involving allegations of tire and seat belt defects.

 

In Dukes v. Michelin North America Inc. and Takata Corp., et al., the jury found that plaintiff and co-plaintiff were not wearing seat belts at the time of a 2009 rollover crash of a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer, which resulted in catastrophic injuries to both ejected plaintiffs, including brain injury and paralysis. In closing arguments, the plaintiffs’ lawyers asked the jury to award in excess of $80 million in damages, making this one of the largest product liability defense verdicts of the year. The jury also rejected all of plaintiffs' claims of defects related to the right rear tire...

 

[To Read the Complete Article Download the PDF]

 

To learn more about DRI, an international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation, visit www.dri.org.

Defending The Defense

Published 8-19-16 by DRI

 

Jessica M. Kennedy

 

The defense contracting industry is slated to grow by roughly 3% in 2016, and with a spending budget estimated at over $600 billion, that 3% is significant. Of course, whoever moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., later this year may play a role in causing that number to fluctuate one way or the other. Regardless, it is well settled that the defense industry is enormous. With the increase in outsourcing, and the downsizing of both active duty and reserve troops, many agree military contracting has become the juggernaut that keeps the world’s most powerful army primed and ready. With such vast funding, nationwide prevalence and inherently dangerous work, how do military contractors avoid the onslaught of personal injury and products liability lawsuits that plague other industries? Well, defending the defense industry has some unique and beneficial challenges primed at reconciling the application of a body of law drafted during peacetime, to torts that occur during a distinctively different time, war...

 

[To Read the Complete Article Download the PDF]

 

To learn more about DRI, an international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation, visit www.dri.org.

And The Defense Wins

Published 4-6-16 by DRI

 

Scott A. Richman and Michael Correnti

 

DRI members Scott A. Richman and Michael Correnti, both partners at McDonald Toole Wiggins, P.A. in Orlando, Florida, prevailed on final summary judgment in favor of their client, Ford Motor Company, before a U.S. District Court judge for the Middle District of Florida. The plaintiffs were the original owners of a 2003 Ford Escape that was alleged to have been equipped with a defective component that purportedly started a fire on February 22, 2011, that destroyed their house in Lake Mary, Florida, along with all of its contents. Plaintiffs sought to recover over $300,000 for property damages and alleged punitive damages as well.

 

After the close of discovery, Ford moved for final summary judgment based primarily on the plaintiffs’ lack of evidence and expert opinion to support that a defect existed in the vehicle, or that such defect proximately caused the fire. The plaintiffs responded, relying heavily on an argument that they were entitled to go to a jury based on an “inference of defect” permitted by Florida law, given that the product malfunctioned during normal operation and was so destroyed by this malfunction. The court rejected this argument and found that the “inference of defect” did not apply to this eight-year-old vehicle with 80,000 miles. The court further found that the plaintiffs were required to prove the existence of defect before the issue of causation could be considered, and that plaintiffs had failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact regarding the cause of the fire or any alleged defect. Notably, the court held that plaintiffs’ lone expert, fire cause and origin investigator David Cheers, was not qualified to offer an opinion regarding defect and that his opinion merely stating that the fire started at or near the location of the allegedly defect part was insufficient to establish defect. Moreover, the court stated that the mere fact that a product is subject to a recall does not establish that the product is defective. Based on plaintiffs’ failure to establish a genuine issue of material fact regarding defect or causation, the court determined that final summary judgment was appropriate in favor of Ford Motor Company. The plaintiffs’ case was dismissed in its entirety.

 

To learn more about DRI, an international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation, visit www.dri.org.

And The Defense Wins

Published 11-11-15 by DRI

 

Francis M. McDonald, Jr. and Jessica M. Kennedy

 

Attorneys Francis M. McDonald, Jr. and Jessica M. Kennedy at McDonald Toole Wiggins, P.A., in Orlando, Florida, representing Electrolux Home Products, Inc., obtained a defense verdict in a “failure to warn” or “inadequate warnings” case involving a Kenmore Elite double oven unit after a multi-day trial in St. Petersburg, Florida.

 

Plaintiff alleged that the installation instructions were insufficient in warning of the risks of putting one’s hands near the oven door’s hinges when attempting to remove the door. Counsel for Electrolux argued the instructions were more than clear and sufficient, and plaintiff’s injuries were caused by his failure to follow the instructions provided.

 

Plaintiff was installing the Kenmore Elite double oven unit in his kitchen, and incorrectly believed he needed to remove the oven’s doors to do so. He placed his hands at the junction of the oven door’s hinges to the unit and pulled the door from the rest of the unit. Plaintiff sustained severe lacerations to both of his thumbs. Plaintiff called his treating physician, Dr. Brian Williams, a hand specialist, who testified that plaintiff’s injuries were permanent in nature and there was little that could be done to alleviate his reduced range of motion and pain. Plaintiff asked the jury to return a verdict of $1 million dollars for past and future pain and suffering. Electrolux argued that none of its instructions required removing the oven door for installation; therefore, plaintiff’s actions were unwarranted and by his own accord. Further, Electrolux did provide instructions about how to remove the oven door, when necessary for cleaning or storing, which explicitly depicted where one is to place one’s hands. Therefore an instruction as to where not to gasp the door was not necessary. The jury deliberated for two hours and returned a verdict for Electrolux, finding that it was not negligent with respect to the oven’s instructions, and found plaintiff wholly liable for his injuries.

 

To learn more about DRI, an international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation, visit www.dri.org.

Tel: 407.246.1800

Fax: 407.246.1895

McDonald Toole Wiggins, P.A.

111 N. Magnolia Avenue

Suite 1200

Orlando, FL 32801

CORPORATE WEBMAIL

REMOTE LOGIN

© 2016 McDonald Toole Wiggins, P.A. All rights reserved.