Product Liability

When a person uses a product, he expects that the product has been designed and manufactured in a reasonably safe manner. Unfortunately, numerous products are released on the market, which have hidden dangers or defects that injure or maim the person using them. In product liability cases the focus is whether a product was designed applying industry standards, including safety devices to protect against hazards or warnings to alert the user of danger.

Our Law Firm has challenged the safety of a number of products over the years, like many other lawyers of distinction.

In the early l993, Kurt Stoid represented a young boy who lost his leg when a riding lawnmower rolled over his leg after his mother had got off the seat with the blade engaged to work in the yard. Using patent research and comparative product testing, Mr. Stoid was able to show that the defendant International Harvester (“Navastar”) knew when it designed its riding lawnmower product line that everyday consumers would inadvertently leave the engine running with blade engaged and dismount from the seat so that they could pick up debris in the yard. After hiring expert engineers who redesigned the defendant’s product with an automatic safety kill switch, Mr. Stoid reached a confidential settlement with the defendant in which it agreed to pay the largest amount ever paid in a riding lawnmower accident case.

In l996, Straight Line Water Sports began manufacturing a new ski rope device called the “Woggle” which was made in Hong Kong with an injection mold plastic process. The woggle was intended as a quick release device to connect and disconnect tow ropes to water ski handles and inner tubes. The plaintiff, a sixteen-year-old woman, was being towed behind her father’s boat on an inner tube when the woggle device shattered blinding her in one eye and sank to the bottom of the Illinois River. After hiring a plastics engineer who tested dozens of facsimile woggles, plaintiff’s counsel Kurt Stoid proved that the injected mold had been designed improper and likely produced air bubbles in the woggle, which broke. The case then settled for a value in excess of 1.1 million dollars.

In l997, the Victoria Secret Stores manufactured its own line of scented body splashes for retail sale to the female public. Its number one selling product ” Pear Glace” was labeled and marketed as a “moisturizing body splash,” but failed to warn women that it was highly flammable due to the alcohol content when it was being applied. Having misbranded the product, the defendant agreed to settle a case involving second and third degree burns to a young woman’s arms and neck in excess of $400,000.

Attorneys at Our Law Firm have also handled a number of drug product cases, such as the recall of asthma drugs, defective warnings for steroid drugs, and mislabeled anesthetics.

Motor Vehicle Liability

In l996, partner Tim Rivernaught obtained a 5.75 million dollar arbitration award for a young female police officer who lost her right leg after exiting her squad car in the line of duty. This recovery is the largest uninsured motorist award in Illinois history.

In l997, a seventeen-year-old high school honor student was killed in a one-vehicle crash in McHenry County, Illinois. On behalf of the family, Tim Rivernaught settled the case for 1.2 million dollars, representing the full amount of the insurance policies available on the vehicle, after State Farm Automobile Insurance Company was sued for spoliation of evidence.

In l997, partner Kurt Stoid obtained a 1.1 million dollar underinsured motorist settlement against a driver for the wrongful death of a fourteen-year-old girl who was a passenger in a one-car crash. The death occurred after the Illinois Legislature had passed into law a new wrongful death limit on awards for $500,000. This is the only reported case to settle in excess of limit before Illinois Supreme Court struck down the limit as unconstitutional.

In 1995, Tim Rivernaught again obtained a 586,000 thousand dollar wrongful death jury verdict for the family of a man who had only months to live before he died as the result of an automobile collision caused by a taxi driver.

In 1990, Kurt Stoid was the plaintiff’s trial attorney marketing and procured a 310,000 thousand dollar verdict from a Milwaukee, Wisconsin jury for a woman who was knocked down in a crosswalk by a left turning school bus. The plaintiff, a 37 year old insurance claims adjustor, had suffered a bulging disc in her lower back which she claimed was inoperable and caused chronic depression and pain. The defense argued that the plaintiff was a former drug abuser and alcoholic who was already depressed and had psychosomatic pain.