Product Liability Appeal against Food Manufacturer Dismissed for Failure to Preserve Alleged Error

Earlier this month, a personal injury plaintiff’s appeal was thrown out for failing to object to the error he alleged occurred at trial. The court in Stults v. International Flavors held that the plaintiff’s failure to object to the curative jury instruction given by the trial judge in response to objectionable testimony by an expert prevented him from raising that issue on appeal. This case illustrates the importance of retaining an attentive and knowledgeable team of attorneys.

The Facts of the Case

This case arose after the plaintiff developed a lung disease. He claimed that he developed the disease because he consumed microwavable popcorn manufactured by the defendant every day for 20 years. He also submitted evidence that showed the chemical used to give the popcorn its buttery flavor can cause the very lung disease he was diagnosed with when people are exposed in high doses.

At trial, both plaintiff and defendant had expert witnesses testify to the cause of plaintiff’s lung disease. At some point in the trial, a defense expert made an improper comment on the evidence and the plaintiff objected. The court sustained the plaintiff’s objection and the jury was told to disregard the defense expert’s testimony on that issue. After the trial, the jury determined that the plaintiff did not prove his case.

The plaintiff, not satisfied with the result of the trial, appealed to a higher court, citing the judge’s failure to provide an adequate curative instruction after the expert’s objectionable testimony. However, on appeal, the court held that the plaintiff could not raise that issue because he did not object to the curative instruction when it was given. Thus, the issue was waived for appeal.

Generally speaking, when a judge or jury decides a case against a party, that party is stuck with the verdict. However, if a party can point to an error made by the judge, then they may be able to appeal the case to a higher court in hopes of obtaining a reversal. Common issues that can be successfully appealed are evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and the judge’s application of law to the facts of the case. Of course, not every case can be appealed, and some appeals could be avoided had adequate preparation and diligence been exercised at trial.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, DC Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Washington, DC personal injury accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Personal injury cases often result in large damages awards, and defendants will do everything they can to avoid being found liable. Make sure that you have a dedicated advocate in your corner. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a consultation with a dedicated and compassionate attorney. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you recover for your injuries.

More Blog Posts:

Lessor of Crane Involved in Serious Accident Found Not Liable for Plaintiff’s Injuries, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2016

Plaintiff’s Product Liability Case Against Rifle Manufacturer Revived on Appeal, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, March 2, 2016

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