Complex Litigation

December 21, 2015

In Hulse v HJC Corp and Harley-Davidson, a Beaumont, TX, jury of 12 rendered a unanimous verdict in favor of a motorcycle helmet manufacturer, HJC Corp. on December 21, 2015. The trial commenced with jury selection on December 7th, and closing arguments were given on December 18th.   Defendant, Harley-Davidson was voluntarily dismissed from the case before summations were given to the jury. The trial, venue in the District Court of Jefferson County, Texas, 136th Judicial District, involved a claim that a Harley-Davidson Ultra Jet helmet was defective in design because the helmet allegedly failed to provide adequate impact protection to the plaintiff, a passenger on a motorcycle, when a pickup truck veered into the motorcycle she was riding.
 
HJC and Harley-Davidson were represented by James C. Ughetta and C. Scott Toomey of Littleton Joyce Ughetta Park & Kelly, LLP, and Chris Trent of  Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor, LLP in Houston, TX.

December 10, 2015

Ken Peterson and Jessica Diotalevi obtained a win for Schwing America, Inc. in a product liability case alleging that defects in a concrete placing boom caused major back and ankle injuries to Plaintiff. Plaintiff sought over $2 million in damages. The jury awarded total damages of less than $600,000 and apportioned only 25% of the liability to Schwing. Under a fee-shifting offer Schwing served before trial, Plaintiff will have to pay most of Schwing’s trial and expert costs.
 
Given a design issue, Schwing could not escape liability. Ken and Jessica were able to keep damages low by attacking Plaintiff’s damages claim and passing off most of the blame to the co-defendant, the owner and operator of the placing boom.
 
The case, heard in Los Angeles Superior Court, is captioned Ildefonso Vivanco and Gina Vivanco v. Merli Concrete Pumping and Schwing America, Inc., et al.

September 15, 2015

The Southern District of New York granted our pre-answer motion to dismiss an insurance coverage declaratory judgment action arising out of a catastrophic loss.  The court adopted our analysis of competing policy’s other insurance clauses based on our direct explanations of the policy language, and our arguments applying the policy language and challenging the adversary’s attempts to misdirect the analysis based on arbitrary labels.  As a result of the decision, our client was determined to have no responsibility to pay any portion of the loss.

June 09, 2015

The Queens County Supreme Court granted our order to show cause to stay the entry of judgment and accrual of interest against our clients in an action in which plaintiff prematurely threatened to pursue a proposed settlement payment and interest thereon prior to satisfying all material settlement terms.

April 30, 2015

The New York County Supreme Court granted summary judgment dismissing a suit sounding in violations of Labor Law 200, 240(1) and 241(6), negligence, contribution and indemnification in a Labor Law action. The plaintiff, an electrical subcontractor's employee, sought damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained when four glass partitions fell upon him at a work site.

April 08, 2015

In Lawson v. Bell Sports, a jury in Monmouth County, NJ Superior Court returned a unanimous defense verdict yesterday for Bell Helmets, finding no defect in the Bell bicycle helmet plaintiff was wearing when he landed on his head while riding his bicycle at Allaire State Park in Farmingdale, NJ. 

The plaintiffs alleged that the bicycle helmet's tapered rear design was dangerous because it could both constrain and create rotational forces when impacted. Plaintiffs claimed that the tapered design caused plaintiff's quadriplegic injury. Bell's experts, Dr. Roger Nightingale and David Halstead, testified that the helmet was not defective in design and that the shape of the helmet did not cause plaintiff's quadriplegic injury. Plaintiff, 44 years old at the time of the accident, sought damages for pain and suffering for 36 years, and his wife sought damages for loss of consortium. The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Bell Sports, finding no defect.

Bell Sports was represented at trial by Robert Kelly, James Ughetta, and Jason Schmitz.

February 17, 2015

On February 10, 2015, after a two week trial, a Chicago jury of 12 unanimously found in favor of HJC America and Castle Sales, concluding that the HJC motorcycle helmet worn by the plaintiff, Jennette Maxwell, was not defective.  Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury for $9.3 million for brain injuries and a comminuted depressed skull fracture plaintiff sustained in her motorcycle accident.  Jim Ughetta co-tried the case with Jeff Singer and Chad Layton of Segal McCambridge.  The Cook County jury deliberated 2 hours and 20 minutes before ruling in favor of the defendants.