And The Defense Wins

Published 8-23-17 by DRI

 

Michael Wiggins, Michael Correnti, Roger Perkins, and Tammara Bokmuller

 

On Thursday, August 10, 2017, a federal court jury in San Diego, California unanimously rejected plaintiffs' claims in a product liability suit against Crown Equipment Corporation (Crown), a forklift manufacturer based in New Bremen, Ohio. The jury voted 8–0 in favor of Crown and against plaintiff Nathan Eisenbise and his wife Jeniffer Eisenbise. The lawsuit was based on an accident that occurred in February 2013 at Costco in La Mesa, California. On that day, a Costco employee drove a Crown standup rider forklift and struck Mr. Eisenbise, also a Costco employee and supervisor. Mr. Eisenbise suffered a below the knee amputation as a result of the accident.

 

Crown Equipment Corporation was represented by DRI member Michael Wiggins and Michael Correnti from McDonald Toole Wiggins PA in Orlando, Florida, and Roger Perkins and Tammara Bokmuller from Clark Hill/Morris Polich & Purdy in San Diego, California.

 

[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 8-16-17 by DRI

 

Francis M. McDonald, Jr., Courtney M. King, and Alina Rodriguez

 

McDonald Toole Wiggins attorneys and DRI members Francis M. McDonald, Jr. and Courtney M. King, and Bowman and Brooke attorney and DRI member Alina Rodriguez, obtained a defense verdict for Ford Motor Company on July 18, 2017, in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, Florida.

 

This wrongful death lawsuit involved a single vehicle accident that occurred at approximately 4:00 a.m. during Spring Break 2003, when plaintiff’s 20-year-old decedent, Anthony Llera, crashed plaintiff’s 2003 Ford Mustang convertible into the median of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard at approximately 40 mph before ramping up a tree and flipping over. Toxicology tests established that the blood alcohol level for Mr. Llera, who had spent the evening drinking with friends at Ohm Lounge in West Palm Beach, was more than twice the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in Florida. Mr. Llera and one of his three passengers were killed in the crash. Mr. Llera’s official cause of death was positional asphyxiation.

 

[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 7-26-17 by DRI

 

Constantine J. Themelis, Kamil Ismail, Paul Rouhana, and Michael Correnti

 

DRI members Constantine J. Themelis and Kamil Ismail of Goodell, Devries, Leech & Dann, LLP, Paul Rouhana of the Law Offices of Seigel, Tully, Rouhana & Tully, LLC and Michael Correnti of McDonald Toole Wiggins, P.A., representing Cluck-U Corporation, a restaurant franchise headquartered in Maryland and owned by Jean-Pierre Haddad, prevailed on all claims related to a Franchise Agreement that it entered into with a North Port, Florida franchisee owned and operated by Anthony L. Tartaglia.

 

In Cluck-U Chicken, Inc. v. Cluck-U Corporation, et al., pending before Magistrate Mark A. Pizzo in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, the Florida franchisee asserted various claims against Cluck-U Corporation and Mr. Haddad for fraud, violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and breach of the Franchise Agreement. Cluck-U Corporation denied all claims in their entirety and asserted breach of contract claims against the Florida franchisee for closing the Cluck-U store in 2015 and opening a competing restaurant in the same location.

 

[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 5-24-17 by DRI

 

Francis M. McDonald, Jr., Courtney M. King, and Wendy F. Lumish

 

McDonald Toole Wiggins attorneys and DRI members Francis M. McDonald, Jr., and Courtney M. King, and Bowman and Brooke attorney and DRI member Wendy F. Lumish obtained a defense verdict for Ford Motor Company on March 28, 2017, in the Orlando division of the United States District Court of the Middle District of Florida.

 

This case stemmed from a single vehicle crash that occurred in May 2012, involving the 14-year-old plaintiff and two other teenage boys. After spending the day drinking rum on a porch, the boys decided to take a 2003 Lincoln Town Car belonging to the mother of one of the boys to a nearby convenience store. None of the boys were licensed drivers. After leaving the store, the 16-year-old driver lost control of the vehicle while traveling at an excessive rate of speed in a 25 mph zone. The vehicle slid sideways off the street, where it collided with a tree, resulting in a significant impact to the passenger side. The plaintiff was the front seat passenger. He was not wearing his seat belt, and incurred neck and pelvic fractures as a result of the crash...

 

[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 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.