Product Liability Case Results

Young man suffered a complete loss of his right hand when an exploding target prematurely exploded - Calvin Howze v. Jerent Enterprises LLC d/b/a Sonic Boom Exploding Targets, LLC and Nichols Dry Goods of Many, Inc., Docket No. 99251, 30th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Vernon, Louisiana

Calvin Howze was a young man who purchased a binary exploding target from a local outdoors store in Leesville, Vernon Parish, Louisiana. The binary exploding target was made by Sonic Boom Exploding Targets and was known as a "Rimfire Target". A binary exploding target is a product that is created when the user mixes a provided catalyst powder with an oxidizer, also a powder. Once the two components are mixed, the material becomes an explosive and is intended to be exploded by a bullet from a rifle or shotgun. While Calvin was mixing and preparing the binary exploding target, it prematurely and inadvertently exploded causing the traumatic amputation of Mr. Howze's right hand.

Attorneys John Spade and Carter Clay pursued product liability and general negligence claims against both the manufacturer and retailer of the binary exploding target. At the time Mr. Howze purchased the Rimfire Target from Nichols, he was under twenty-one (21) years of age. Sonic Boom had prohibited the sale of the Rimfire Targets to anyone under twenty-one (21) years of age. However, Calvin was not asked for identification and he was unaware of the purchase age prohibition.

Further, it was uncovered during discovery that exploding targets were susceptible to explosion from static electricity. Through testing and an extensive analysis, it was contended that a human being was capable of generating sufficient static electricity to detonate and/or explode the mixed powders. Experts were retained on behalf of Calvin. One expert, a Ph.D. chemist specializing in explosives rendered an opinion that the likely cause of the explosion was due to static electricity from Calvin's body. Another expert testified that the warnings on the package and the instructions were inadequate in so far as the age prohibition was not conspicuous and there was no warning about the dangers of static electricity.

After significant discovery, including multiple depositions and expert testimony, a settlement was reached on all claims against Nichols and Sonic Boom.

ATV Rollover Causes Arm Amputation

Attorney Josh Wright filed an ATV rollover amputation case and argued the rollover was based on oversized tires causing a center of gravity and load rating alteration to the ATV. Mr. Wright also presented evidence with expert witnesses that did dynamic on-road testing show the rollover was not caused by the driver's actions. After meaningful discovery that consisted of 23 depositions and 6 experts, Mr. Wright was able to resolve the case for a substantial amount against a tire manufacturer and service provider. Moreover, because of litigation, the tire manufacturing company adjusted its warnings, helping prevent other rollovers.

A lady tragically died as a result of complications associated with a malfunctioning medical device during an iliac stent procedure - Estate of Renita Corbin v. Cook Medical, Inc., et al. Civil Action Number 2017-900327, Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama

Renita Corbin was experiencing blockages and/or occlusions in her lower extremities. The treating physician recommended a medical procedure where the physician would access the femoral artery and administer treatment, including the use of stent implants, in order to restore good blood flow to her lower extremities. However, during the procedure, the physician experienced a serious complication with one of the medical devices and the devices could not be removed from her femoral artery without major surgical intervention. Major surgery was performed but unfortunately Renita passed away.

Attorney Carter Clay filed a lawsuit against Cook Medical, the manufacturer of a medical device known as a Flexor Sheath. The sheath is designed to assist the physician in gaining access to the femoral artery so that the treatment can be administered and the stent can be implanted.

The claims against Cook Medical involved allegations that the Flexor Sheath was defectively designed and defectively manufactured and that the complications experienced during the procedure were the result of these defects.

Significant discovery was conducted in this litigation with Cook producing over 50,000 pages of documents and approximately fifteen depositions being taken, totaling approximately 5,000 pages of deposition of testimony. After a few years of litigation and as the parties got close to trial, a confidential settlement was reached.

A young lady lost complete vision in her left eye while using a TenPoint made Turbo XLT II crossbow with Acudraw technology - Tiffany Carpenter v. Hunter's Manufacturing dba TenPoint Crossbows et al. Civil Action Number 2020-900099, Circuit Court of Jackson County, Alabama

Tiffany and her husband became interested in shooting crossbows. While her husband had experience, Tiffany's experience was somewhat limited. Tiffany was unable to pull back or cock a traditional crossbow due to the amount of required force. Her husband found the TenPoint Turbo XLT II crossbow that came equipped with the Acudraw system. The Acudraw system featured a crank and winch type system very similar to a boat winch. The Acudraw system reduced the amount of required force to cock the bowstring by 95 percent.

Tifffany and her husband purchased the crossbow, familiarized themselves with the Acudraw system and watched a video on how to use it. They both used the crossbow without incident many times. At the time of the incident, however, Tiffany was cranking the Acudraw system to cock the bowstring. About halfway through the cocking process something happened and either the handle or the claw, used to pull the bow string back, came back on her and struck her in the left eye. The incident caused severe damage to her eye including the loss of any and all eyesight in the eye.

Attorney Carter Clay and his team of experts investigated the incident. After the investigation, a lawsuit was filed on Tiffany's behalf against Hunter's Manufacturing dba TenPoint Crossbows. The claims against TenPoint involved allegations that the crossbow was defectively designed because the Acudraw system was designed in a way that would allow the claw and handle to decouple or separate from the crossbow. It was further alleged that the decoupling and separation created an unreasonable risk of danger to the user and that safer alternative designs existed and should have been incorporated. There were also allegations involving the warnings and instructions being inadequate in so far as they failed to reasonably apprise the user that such an incident could occur.

The case was heavily litigated and significant discovery and depositions took place. As the parties approached a trial, the case was successfully mediated and resolved for a confidential amount in 2023.

DeWaun King v. Alpine Engineered Products and Simonds International (Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama)

On November 24, 2004, DeWaun King went to work at Modern Homes (manufactured housing plant) in Mobile, Alabama. DeWaun was a saw operator responsible for operating the computer that would dictate how the wood was cut by the industrial saw. The saw was manufactured by Alpine Engineered Products (Defendant) and was installed at Modern Homes approximately two years prior to the incident. The saw was equipped with several 18-inch steel diameter blades that were manufactured by Simonds International (Defendant). At some point during the day, the bolts holding the blade to the mandrel broke off during operation of the saw thereby allowing the blade to come out of the saw and strike DeWaun in the leg. As a result of the incident, DeWaun sustained an open distal femur fracture that required surgery. He was left with a permanent impairment to his leg.

It was alleged in the lawsuit that the 18-inch steel diameter saw blade was defectively designed and manufactured in that the countersink holes (holes where the bolts feed through) were oversized thereby causing excessive vibration and pressure on the bolts, which ultimately led to the failure. The defendants countered and suggested that the bolt failure was due to over tightening of the bolts during the blade change process and was the fault of the workers at Modern Homes. The case was tried in April of 2008 and a Mobile County jury returned a verdict in favor of DeWaun King in the amount of $1.6 million against Simonds and Alpine.

1-Year-Old Suffocates to Death Due to Negligence of Medical Equipment Provider -- Circuit Court of Blount County, Alabama

The clients' child was born with, among other things, Tracheal and Bronchiomalacia. This condition prevented the child from inhaling like normal healthy children, although he could exhale breaths normally. With appropriate surgical intervention at age 4 or 5, the prognosis for the child was "good." During the child's first years of life, however, the child was required to breathe with use of a home ventilation system which was provided by a Birmingham, Alabama medical equipment provider.

On or about the child's first birthday, the child's equipment failed in the middle of the night, allowing the child to suffer massive brain injury which eventually required the parents to withdraw life support a few days later. Attorney Josh Wright brought suit against the equipment provider that was responsible for maintaining and servicing the ventilation system in a timely manner as it was the alleged failure of this company to properly maintain and service the ventilation system that caused the death of the child.

The case was set to be tried in Blount County, Alabama.

Wrongful death confidential settlement for the Plaintiffs.

Child Murders Parents and Attacks Siblings While on Medication

A 17 year old schizophrenic child murdered his parents and attacked 3 of his 4 minor siblings in a small community in Alabama. Filed in 2000, lawyers from the firm represented the siblings (through their guardians) and pursued a claim against the child's psychologist and multiple pharmaceutical companies.

Attorney Josh Wright asserted a negative connection between the child's underlying psychiatric condition and the drugs he ingested — arguing additional warnings should have been provided by the pharmaceutical companies. After extensive litigation, the case was resolved.

Settlement for Plaintiffs for a confidential amount.

Driver and Passengers Injured in Accident in Vehicle Equipped With Defective Tires Civil Action No. CV-02-N2063-S, United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama

Mary Knight was driving her grandchildren to Disney World, traveling on I-20 in Birmingham in her 1995 Ford Aerostar, which was equipped with tires produced by a popular manufacturer. The left front tire blew out, causing Ms. Knight to lose control of the vehicle, which struck the guardrail as it left the roadway and collided with a tree, causing serious injury to Ms. Knight and her grandchildren. In a similar case, after it was determined that the manufacturer allowed defective tires to leave its manufacturing plants for sale to the public, a repository of documents relating to the manufacturing process was established. Following an extensive exchange of motions designed to access the document repository, the case was mediated to a confidential settlement in August 2003.

Confidential Settlement for the Plaintiffs.

The defendants settled the matter, confidentially, at mediation prior to the trial of the case.

Product Liability/Automobile Crashworthiness - Kevin Kite v. Daimler Chrysler Corporation; Don Drennon Motors; Circuit Court of Talladega County, Alabama (CV-04-58)

Kevin Kite and a friend were traveling in a 1999 Jeep Wrangler at approximately 60 mph, when the vehicle lost control and rolled over, end over end. Mr. Kite was in the front passenger seat when the vehicle rolled. The seat back on the Wrangler collapsed due to a rear impact during the first roll. The roll bar, which held the attachment point for a portion of the seatbelt, shifted forward approximately 7 inches. The combination of the seat collapse and roll bar movement effectively removed the seatbelt from Mr. Kite, permitting him to be ejected. State Trooper photographs at the scene of the accident showed the buckle latched, but no one in the seat. The suit filed on behalf of Mr. Kite alleged that the seat back and roll bar system were defectively designed and not sufficiently crashworthy in a foreseeable rollover collision. Mr. Kite lost his left leg, and had multiple fractures throughout his body.

Daimler Chrysler and Don Drennon settled the matter, confidentially, at mediation prior to the trial of the case.

Minor Child Brain-Injured Due to Deploying Airbag Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama

A 15-year-old front seat passenger was brain injured in an automobile accident. As alleged, the 15-year-old female passenger was seat belted during the accident, but her seat belt did not properly restrain her allowing her head to come into contact with a deploying airbag.

Defendants disputed that the 15-year-old girl was seat belted at the time of the accident. Josh Wright presented testimony from multiple eyewitnesses that substantiated that the 15-year-old girl was seat belted. Additionally, Plaintiffs used downloaded vehicle "black box" information at trial to substantiate that the accident was of sufficient intensity to cause the seat belt retractor mechanism to "lock up," which would have prevented the child's head from being "out of position" and coming into contact with the deploying airbag.

Managing Partner Josh Wright also pursued a claim on behalf of the minor girl's parents for loss of consortium due to the brain injury. The case was tried before a Jefferson County jury.

During trial, the case resolved for a confidential amount.

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