Case Studies – Catastrophic Personal Injury & Product Liability Litigation
Parton & Sell personal injury and product liability litigation attorneys have a rich history of representing manufacturers and distributors of automobiles and automotive products, home appliances and equipment, construction equipment and tools, chemical products, drugs and medical devices, toys, recreational equipment, and asbestos products, to name but a few. They also have over 100 years combined experience defending catastrophic personal injury claims involving quadriplegia, paraplegia, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, burns, other permanently disabling and disfiguring injuries, as well as wrongful death. We have represented property owners, commercial and personal vehicle drivers and owners, commercial establishments, construction companies, and many others.
Following are examples of our firm’s personal injury and product liability cases
- The plaintiff, a 62 year old married woman, reached into a descending dumbwaiter and had her upper arm caught by the top of the dumbwaiter car. She was alone in the house and not found until 20 hours later when concerned co-workers asked the local sheriff’s department to make a welfare check. The arm had to be amputated just below the shoulder. She and her husband sued our client, the manufacturer of the dumbwaiter, and the general contractor who had installed it. Their counsel was one of the top plaintiff’s firms in California. Total medical bills paid by insurance were over $600,000. Plaintiffs sought punitive damages based on a deleted page from the manufacturer’s website suggesting prior knowledge of a defect alleged to be the cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Our client was grossly underinsured and had substantial assets from which an excess verdict might be recovered. As a result of our work that refuted plaintiffs’ defect theory and uncovered substantial evidence that the accident was caused by wiring and other construction errors of the general contractor, we were able to reach a confidential settlement for our client within the limited policy limits.
- The plaintiff, a 35 year old Hispanic construction worker, alleged that he suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of our client dropping a hammer onto his head. His wife sued for loss of consortium. The worker’s compensation carrier filed a complaint in intervention to recover compensation payments. Liability was undisputed. Plaintiff, supported by independent evaluations done in the worker’s compensation arena and testimony of a treating neuropsychologist, claimed he was permanently disabled. His wife was appointed guardian ad litem based on his alleged incompetence. Past wage loss was $275,000 with more than $1 million future loss of earning capacity alleged. The initial settlement demand was more than $3,000,000. After an aggressive workup that discredited plaintiffs’ medical experts and the claimed injury, we were able to achieve a confidential settlement with plaintiffs for less than 5% of the initial demand and less than projected future costs of defense.
- Our client was a large general contractor of a major highway construction project. In the space of 6 months, two fatality accidents happened in the construction zone. Separate lawsuits were filed regarding each accident naming our client, the State of California, the company responsible for the construction design, and several subcontractors. Plaintiffs in each case were represented by well-financed and highly capable counsel. Economic damages in each case were in excess of $1 million. The initial demand in the “lead” case was $6,000,000. Efforts to resolve the case by settlement were stymied by the designer’s cross-complaint for indemnity based on a provision in the construction contract requiring our client to defend and indemnify the designer, as well as the State. We refused both indemnity and a defense based on a provision of the Civil Code making contracts for indemnity for defects in design void as against public policy. Relying on Crawford vs. Weather Shield Mfg, Inc. (2008) 44 Cal.4th 541, the designer refused to participate in settlement negotiations with plaintiffs and insisted on all of its defense costs being reimbursed. The designer argued that, despite its admission that all it did was design work, the complaint’s sweeping allegations that it also was negligent in “operation, maintenance, control, signing, striping, and work” on the highway mandated a defense under Crawford. After we defeated the designer’s motion for summary judgment on this issue, the parties were able to reach a confidential settlement in each case for less than the economic damages in each case.