Our firm tried a most significant lawsuit in Montgomery County last year dealing with a defective cab guard on a log truck. The company that manufactured the cab guard admitted during the trial that it knew the cab guard it was selling was unsafe. However, the company had failed to warn purchasers and users of the hazardous condition created by the unsafe cab guards. In fact, it was marketed by the manufacturer as being protective. We proved at trial that the manufacturer’s management knew that the cab guard was unreasonably dangerous and that it should not have been used on the log truck involved in the case.
I wrote last month about the importance of the civil justice system and how lawsuits have brought about needed design changes. The cab guards case is a prime example of how the system works to make products safer. We recently received the new warning label that is now being used by this company. The new label reads as follows:
Read and heed all safety information with this product. Failure to follow safety instructions can result in serious injury or death.
Forward-shifting cargo can cause serious injury or death to cab occupants in a sudden or hard braking or stopping situation and in accidents. This product will not provide protection from forward-shifting cargo under any circumstances.
This change in the warning label by the manufacturer is proof that litigation serves a useful purpose in the design of products and in bringing about needed product changes. I am convinced that had we not tried this case the new warning would never have been put on the company’s cab guards. Lives will be saved and that’s a result worth all the effort that went into this case. The civil justice system has been under constant attack by tort-reform groups whose mission is to protect wrongdoers at the expense of the public interest. Hopefully the American people realize that their constitutionally protected right to a trial by jury in civil lawsuits is worth fighting for. The cab guard case is a prime example of how important that right is and why the system must be saved.
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