Product Liability | Experience
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Product Liability

  • In re Grenfell Tower Litigation

    Jordan Tank was retained by an insurer to help it resolve worldwide litigation arising out of the June 2017 high-rise fire in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in London. The fire caused 72 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and allegedly up to £1 billion in property damage. A public inquiry has been underway in London since September 2017. Some claimants filed suit in Pennsylvania, but the court transferred the cases to England under forum non conveniens, and now all cases are pending in London under English law.

  • LeDuc v Peddinghaus Corporation

    Lipe Lyons obtained a very favorable result following a nearly three-week trial in a product liability lawsuit involving an industrial drilling machine. The plaintiff’s leg was traumatically amputated below the knee and she asked the jury to award her over $31 million in damages. Peddinghaus Corporation, the only defendant, was assessed damages totaling just $267,774.25.
    Peddinghaus designed and installed an industrial drilling machine at PKM Steel in Salina, Kansas. Plaintiff was operating the machine when her lower left leg was crushed and traumatically amputated by a 27-foot steel angle that exited the machine. She argued the machine was unreasonably dangerous because its safety devices were not installed where they were shown on the installation plans, leaving the area where she was standing at the time of the accident unguarded. After the accident her employer, PKM Steel, moved the safety devices to that location. She further argued Peddinghaus knew she had to work in the area where steel exited the machine because its design required her to walk through the area to perform daily maintenance. She claimed Peddinghaus employees had expressed concern about work in that area yet failed to guard it. She also argued Peddinghaus failed to provide adequate warnings because the machine did not have a flashing light or audible signal that indicated steel was about to exit the machine.
    We argued the machine was appropriately guarded and Plaintiff did not need to stand where she was at the time of the accident to do her job. It could not install the safety devices where they were shown on the installation plans because an electric box was in the way. To the extent that additional guarding was needed, PKM Steel had to provide the guarding as the integrator of the manufacturing system. We further argued that Plaintiff was the only person to be injured by the machine during its 11 years of operation. She was a trained operator and knew or should have known not to stand where steel exited the machine while it was running. The warnings on the machine and in the instruction manual told Plaintiff not to stand where she was at the time of the accident. Lastly, we argued that PKM Steel pressured Plaintiff to work unsafely in order to meet production goals.
    The jury returned a gross verdict of $5,355,485 but allocated just 5% of the fault to Peddinghaus. It allocated 45% of the fault to Plaintiff and the remaining 50% to PKM Steel.

  • Meyer et al. v Currie Tech Corp., et al.
    April 8, 2019

    Lipe Lyons attorneys settled a complex product liability case pending in Omaha, Nebraska days before trial for a small percentage of the plaintiffs’ initial $29 million demand. One of the plaintiffs had purchased an e-bike conversion kit that added a 500-watt motor to his 30-year-old bicycle. He installed the kit himself. Shortly after the installation he was thrown from the bicycle and onto his head in an unwitnessed accident. He alleged the accident caused a traumatic brain injury that prevented him from continuing his successful practice as a psychiatrist. His wife also sought damages for loss of consortium. The plaintiffs alleged strict liability, negligence, res ipsa loquitur, and breach of warranties. Defendants argued that the conversion kit was properly designed, manufactured, and accompanied by sufficient documentation, and that the plaintiff negligently installed the kit on his bicycle.

  • In re Walters Bus accident

    Defended a repair shop against numerous consolidated lawsuits that arose out of a motor coach rollover accident in Arkansas that killed or seriously injured the bus’s driver and 28 passengers. The bus veered off of the highway while traveling between 60 and 70 miles per hour, fishtailed, and then rolled over one and a half times. The bus's roof ripped off and multiple passengers were ejected. The driver and 14 passengers died in the accident, and the other 14 remaining passengers were seriously injured. Several years before the accident, the bus had been stored in a warehouse that caught fire. The plaintiffs alleged the bus' structural integrity was weakened in the fire, and the repair shop failed to remedy the issue. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that the repair shop welded steel panels to the top of the bus that made it top-heavy and more prone to roll over. The repair shop argued that it repaired the bus in accordance with the instructions it was given by the insurance company that funded the repairs, and that the panels welded to the top of the bus did not weigh enough to raise its center of gravity. Before trial, the repair shop settled for a small fraction of the total amount paid by the other 12 defendants 

  • In re Blitz USA Gas Can litigation

    Acted as local counsel for an international retailer in product liability lawsuits that arose out of its sale of gas cans which were allegedly prone to catching fire and exploding because they lacked flame arresters.

  • Farley v. Pat Mooney, Inc.

    Defended a North American distributor of industrial machinery against a product liability lawsuit that arose out of amputation injury to the operator of a production saw system. Plaintiff's primary theory of liability against the distributor was that it failed to properly train Plaintiff how to operate the saw system. The court granted several successive motions to dismiss arguing that Plaintiff's theory was educational malpractice and therefore barred under Illinois law before ultimately dismissing the claims against the distributor with prejudice.

  • Max Wotnoske, et al. v. Ficthel & Sachs Industries, Inc. et al.

    Circuit Court of Madison County, IL.: Obtained reasonable settlement on behalf of product manufacturer in personal injury lawsuit alleging exposure to asbestos-containing automotive products.

  • Anita Rinaldi v. Otis Elevator Company

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.: Obtained a reasonable settlement on behalf of product manufacturer in personal injury lawsuit alleging exposure to asbestos-containing elevator products. 

  • Barber v. Kansas Propane of Topeka, Inc., et al

    Tribal District Court of the Potawatomi Nation, Mayetta, Kansas. Products liability/propane explosion. Represented Kansas Propane of Topeka, a retailer distributor of LPG gas. Plaintiffs were seriously burned in a residential home propane gas explosion on the Potawatomi reservation. The suit sought special, general, and punitive damages based on theories of negligence, strict liability, and breach of implied warranty. Case involved significant choice of law issues. Case was settled at mediation.

  • Debra Dowe, et al. v. National Passenger Railroad Corp., et al.

    U.S.D.C., Northern District of Illinois. Represented General Signal Corporation, manufacturer of a railroad crossing signal device at a crossing at which a train collided with a truck in Bourbannis, IL, resulting in 61 lawsuits alleging multiple deaths and injuries. The case against General Signal was voluntarily dismissed.

  • Estate of Walter Fisher v. Manchester Tank & Equipment Company and McWane, Inc.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Obtained dismissal of product liability/wrongful death lawsuit against Manchester Tank and McWane. Plaintiff alleged product defect in Manchester pressure container exposing plaintiff to Freon gas and resulting in his death.

  • Foley v. White Metal Rolling & Stamping Corp.

    Cook County, Illinois. Client: defendant Louis Vacarella. Products liability/ladder. Verdict for defendant.

  • Genetically Altered Corn Cases

    U.S.D.C., Northern District of Illinois. Multiple consumers filed class actions alleging that they were injured after consuming taco products allegedly contaminated with genetically altered corn (Starlink). Defended the seller of the corn flour and was successful in having another defendant assume the defense (upon reimbursement for our defense costs).

  • Leroy Latos v. Manchester Tank & Equipment Company

    Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Achieved defense verdict in favor of Manchester Tank after seven-week trial of product liability lawsuit seeking $32 million in damages. Plaintiff alleged that defective Manchester 20 lb. propane cylinder was overfilled, resulting in fire that caused plaintiff to suffer burns over 97 percent of his body, incur more than $6.6 million in medical expenses and die from his injuries 6½ years later.

  • Baron Legue v. Manchester Tank & Equipment Company

    Circuit Court of Winnebago County, IL. Successfully resolved product liability and breach of warranty lawsuit with no payment of damages by client Manchester Tank. Plaintiff was severely burned in propane fire/explosion allegedly caused by a defective propane cylinder manufactured by Manchester Tank.

  • McCaffery v. General Electric, et al.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The plaintiff claimed that he developed Parkinson’s disease as a result of exposure to manganese contained in the fumes given off during the welding process. Plaintiff sued GE as a manufacturer and consumer of welding rods. Plaintiff’s complaint was dismissed by the court for failure to state a cause of action.

  • Mesman v. Crane Pro Services

    U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana. Achieved a complete defense verdict for international crane manufacturer in product liability lawsuit alleging defective design of an overhead crane. Plaintiff’s left leg was traumatically amputated and his right leg was crushed when a 20,000 pound load of steel fell from the crane. The case originally was tried in 2003 by another defense firm, and plaintiff obtained a verdict of $16 million. The case   was reversed on appeal and sent back to the trial court for retrial. We were then retained to represent the defendant in the second trial. In that trial,  jury rendered a complete defense verdict, which was affirmed on appeal.

  • Quinones v. Prater Industries

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The plaintiff, Joe Quinones, in an attempt to stop a large rotary grinding machine manufactured by the defendant, stuck his foot inside the grinding chamber. His foot was nearly amputated. The plaintiff filed suit against the manufacturer alleging a variety of design and manufacturing defects. On the second day of trial the case settled for $25,000.

  • Rogers v. Material Handling Services, et al.

    Circuit Court of Lee County, Illinois. Products liability/forklift. Represented Material Handling Services, distributor of a forklift truck sold. The estate of the deceased forklift driver brought suit against Material Handling alleging negligence for failure to notify Rogers' employer, the owner of the forklift, of the availability of a universal safety seat developed 20 years after original sale. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant had assumed a post-sale duty to warn/retrofit. The defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted and affirmed on appeal. Rogers v. Clark Equipment Company, 318 Ill.App.3d 1128, 744 N.E.2d 364 (2nd Dist. 2001).

  • Sedler v. Hobart Corporation

    U.S.D.C., District of Maryland. Products liability/commercial meat saw. The plaintiff, a meat cutter, sustained finger amputations while operating a Hobart Model 5701 Slant Saw. The plaintiff brought an action against the manufacturer seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff could not prove a causal relationship between his injury and the alleged product design defect, a saw blade inclined at 15 degrees from the vertical. The defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted. No appeal was taken.

  • Estate of Smith v. Midco

    Shelby County, Illinois. Products liability/earth scraper. Client: Midco Sales & Service Co. Wrongful death of a 38 year old woman operating an earth scraper. Verdict for defendant.

  • Smith v. Titan Steel Wheels, Ltd. (UK), et al.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Obtained reasonable settlement in product liability lawsuit against Titan Steel Wheels involving five-piece rim assemblies manufactured by defendant. Plaintiff alleged defective assembly resulted in vehicular accident that caused serious brain damage requiring institutionalization of plaintiff.

  • Theuerkauf v. Hedlund Manufacturing Company

    Circuit Court of Menomonie County, MI. Favorably settled wrongful death lawsuit against client Hedlund Manufacturing. Plaintiffs alleged that improper warnings on Hedlund agitator pump in underground contained slurry storage system resulted in asphyxiation deaths of five members of dairy farming family.

  • Various plaintiffs v. Borg Warner Corporation, et al.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.: Represented product manufacturer in multiple personal injury lawsuits brought by plaintiffs claiming exposure to allegedly asbestos-containing automotive products. Plaintiffs suffer from conditions such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Lawsuits resolved through summary judgment, voluntary dismissals or reasonably negotiated settlements.

  • Wells-Keith v. Food Sciences Corp.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Represented manufacturer of low-calorie diet in wrongful death lawsuit brought by the decedent’s estate. Plaintiff alleged that manufacturer mislabeled the nutritional content of the diet, which led to electrolyte imbalance causing cardiac arrhythmia and death.

  • White v. Durr Environmental

    U.S.D.C., Southern District of Illinois. The plaintiff was severely injured in an explosion at a large printing facility. He claimed that the explosion occurred when volatile gases were allowed to build up in one of the printing presses. He blamed the gas build-up on a failure of the thermal oxidizer manufactured by the defendant to function properly. He alleged that the thermal oxidizer was improperly designed and installed. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment and plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case. After the case was refiled the defendant renewed the motion for summary judgment and plaintiff dismissed his claims, with prejudice.

  • Williams v. Rymer Foods, Inc.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Successfully resolved personal injury lawsuit against manufacturer of turnstile machine. Plaintiff, a three-year-old child, was pinned by the turnstile arm resulting in anoxic brain damage with permanent cognitive, speech and physical impairment. Case was settled for cost of defense while motion to dismiss on corporate succession issues was pending. Other defendants settled for more than $8 million.

  • Stone v. Clarklift of Chicago North, Inc.

    Cook County, Illinois. Products liability/forklift. Client: Clarklift of Chicago North, Inc. Verdict for defendant (reversed on appeal, remanded for new trial with another verdict for defendant after second trial).

  • Ross v. Konecranes, Inc., et al.

    Currently defending a case involving complex products liability claims.  Plaintiff brought a lawsuit against numerous defendants alleging a defect in an overhead crane, steel lifter and controller which resulted in a load of steel sheets being dropped on plaintiff.  The resulting injury included significant crush injuries to the plaintiff’s legs, resulting in an amputation of one of the plaintiff’s legs.

  • Estate of Shannon v. Shur Packaging Systems, Inc.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.  Achieved "cost of defense" settlement for defendant manufacturer of a vertical lift and conveyer system for newspapers at the Chicago Tribune.  Decedent was killed from severing injuries when he accidentally turned the system on when he climbed inside the system to clean.