Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Exercise equipment falls and paralyzes woman

A leading manufacturer of exercise equipment recently settled a multi-million dollar product defect lawsuit due to a severe injury allegedly caused by one of their products. A woman while doing stretching on a 25-year old piece of equipment was paralyzed when the piece of equipment fell down upon her.

A jury had earlier found the manufacturer to be 75 percent liable after bringing back a $66 million judgment. The verdict amount was later reduced by the court to $44 million. The manufacturer, who since that time has been attempting to appeal the verdict, finally decided to settle the case out for $19.5 million. A CEO of the company while denying liability stated that the settlement was in the best interest of the company. The company does business in Pennsylvania and across the country and internationally.

Product liability suits are often resolved in such matters as the attorneys and parties for each party haggle over what would be appropriate compensation. It generally takes attorneys adept at negotiating practices and who understand how much compensation would be required to meet the injured party's needs. Attorneys that represent injured parties often must make their case against corporations that have incredible financial resources at their disposal to fight any allegations.

Yet ultimately in circumstances like we have here where the injured party is now suffering from quadriplegia and when all of the back and forth of such negotiations is through, the injured party and their family will require the financial resources to meet what will likely be a lifetime of care. The injured party will require a lifetime of medical care and services. This individual will probably never be able to work again. And almost no one has the financial resources to begin with the face up to such a devastating injury.

Even a jury verdict as we have here would never make up for the pain and suffering that this individual will have to endure, but such an award will at least make the injury even less calamitous. It will provide a small amount of help for the injured party's family for caring for this person. And maybe it will force the manufacturer to change the design of their equipment so that such an injury will never occur again.

Source: ClubIndustry.com, "Cybex Settles Barnhard Product Liability Lawsuit for $19.5 Million," by Pamela Kufahl, Feb. 8, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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