Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a product liability case brought by a homeowner who sustained serious injuries after he fell while using the ladder manufactured by the defendant. The court hearing the case had to determine if the expert testimony provided by the plaintiff was properly admitted by the trial judge. Finding that it was, the court affirmed the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a homeowner who was using a ladder manufactured by the defendant to change a few rusty screws in the gutter above his garage. The homeowner climbed the ladder, but before he could complete the job, the ladder buckled under his weight. The homeowner struck his head on the pavement of his driveway, causing bleeding and bruising in his brain. As a result, the homeowner now suffers from seizures, dementia, and quadriplegia.
The homeowner filed a product liability lawsuit against the ladder’s manufacturer, claiming that the ladder was not designed to support a 200-pound person and that a safer and feasible alternative existed. In support of his claim, the homeowner provided two experts. One expert focused his testimony on the durability of the ladder and whether it could support a 200-pound person. This expert concluded that the ladder may not have been able to support a 200-pound person, depending on how the weight was distributed. The other expert testified that the way the homeowner had placed the ladder was proper and that more substantial support beams on the ladder could have prevented it from buckling under the homeowner’s weight.
The defendant provided an expert to counter the homeowner’s experts. Essentially, the defendant’s expert claimed that the ladder could withstand 200 pounds of pressure, no matter how the weight was distributed, and that the plaintiff was not using the ladder properly.
After the jury heard the evidence, it found in favor of the homeowner and awarded him $11 million for his injuries. The defendant appealed, arguing that the plaintiffs’ experts should not have been permitted to testify.
On appeal, the court upheld the jury’s verdict. The court discussed the experts’ respective methodologies and concluded that each was sufficient under the applicable law. As a result, the court held that the jury was properly presented with the experts’ testimony, and the jury’s verdict should stand.
Have You Been Injured While Using a Dangerous Product?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured by a defective or dangerous product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a product liability lawsuit. Manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their products are safe for their normal use, and when a product is unreasonably dangerous, the manufacturer may be liable for injuries caused as a result. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney to discuss your case and what you can do to pursue your claim for compensation.
More Blog Posts:
City Not Immune from Liability in Case Involving Stop Sign Obscured by Overgrown Foliage, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, January 17, 2017
Appellate Court Upholds $21 Million Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2017