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Major Materials-Handling Company Wins Unanimous Jury Verdict in $1.2 Million Product Liability Action

Case Study

Major Materials-Handling Company Wins Unanimous Jury Verdict in $1.2 Million Product Liability Action

December 14, 2017
John P. Freedenberg

Goldberg Segalla’s John P. Freedenberg, a founding partner of the firm and member of the Product Liability Practice Group, secured a unanimous jury verdict for our client, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, in a million-dollar product liability action following a severe chemical fire.

Hyster-Yale, a major lift truck and materials-handling machinery manufacturer, faced a suit from a plaintiff who was operating an internal combustion lift truck and caused a collision with a pallet storing chemical byproducts. The resulting propane explosion and chemical fire left the plaintiff with severe burn injuries. Alleging our client’s machine was defectively designed, lacking sufficient protection for its fuel system fittings, the plaintiff’s counsel requested a $1.2 million recovery.

Jack tapped a company engineer and a consulting expert as witnesses, who conveyed to the court the safe design features of the lift truck, its development and testing, its compliance with industry and government standards, and its certification by the pertinent standards organizations. In addition, Jack established that a certified lift truck operator is obligated under OSHA regulations to maintain a clear view of his path of travel and avoid collision. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of our client, finding the lift truck was not defectively designed.

Maintaining a focus on product liability and catastrophic personal injury litigation, Jack has handled over 150 trials. He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, and has participated in dozens of fire scene inspections and more than 100 laboratory inspections of fire scene artifacts. Jack is a recognized leader in the field of product liability defense: He has served as Steering Committee national chair of the Defense Research Institute’s Products Liability Committee, and has been recognized as a top-rated litigator and trial attorney across multiple categories by organizations including Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America.