Product Liability Trials

At Brock Person Guerra Reyna, we have tried hundreds of cases over the years, too many to include in this website. We have, however, chosen to include each of those cases governed by a jury verdict where the amount sought was in excess of $500,000. It is important to note that we have included every case tried under this broad category, not just select verdicts.

Kohutek v. General Motors Corporation (Bexar County) Plaintiff was driving a General Motors Tahoe which went off a state highway and rolled over three times. Plaintiff, who was wearing his seat belt, had swerved to avoid a piece of debris in the roadway and lost control of the vehicle. Plaintiff, a financial manager for a local grocery chain, was rendered a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. Plaintiff sued on a product liability theory alleging that the roof strength of the GM Tahoe was inadequate to protect occupants during rollovers and that other vehicles on the market had air bag systems and rollover activated seatbelt pre-tensioners that would have prevented the quadriplegia. Brock Person Guerra Reyna was hired less than 45 days before trial. The medical specials were $5,500,000 and the lost wages were $2,044,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $50,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $7,500,000. The pre-trial offer was $1,500,000. The jury, after a month long trial and after three days of deliberations, returned a zero verdict in favor of General Motors Corporation.

Valdez v. Ford Motor Company (Western District of Texas) Plaintiff was driving a Ford F-150 when he lost control on a highway, went off road, rolled over, and crashed. He was killed in the crash and his wife, his 3 children, and his parents sued Ford alleging he was fully belted but died because he was partially ejected and because the vehicle did not have rollover activated air bags. The family claimed that Ford knew for over 20 years that customers get killed in rollover crashes, that Ford knew there was rollover activated air bag technology available that would reduce the likelihood of fatalities, that Ford introduced rollover activated air bags into many vehicle lines, and that Ford deliberately ceased funding for its suppliers to develop rollover activated air bags into the F-150. Ford alleged that the decedent was unbelted, that he was fully ejected, and that he was solely responsible for his own fatal injuries, denying that there was any defect with the F-150. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $15,000,000. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Ford Motor Company, finding no product defect and finding that the decedent was 100% responsible for his own fatal injuries.

Zavala v. General Motors & Simpson Auto Sales (Hidalgo County) Plaintiff was killed when a GM vehicle allegedly shifted unassisted from park to reverse, crushing him between two vehicles as his two minor daughters watched. Plaintiff did not own the vehicle and tried to stop it after it ran over and injured the owner (who was warming it up). Plaintiff sued on a product defect theory, alleging that GM had received over 2000 complaints of similar problems with their vehicle transmissions. Plaintiff sued Simpson Auto Sales alleging that they contributed to the product defect by altering the vehicle's transmission before it was sold as used. The Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $15,000,000. The pre-trial demand to Simpson Auto Sales was $300,000. The pre-trial offer from Simpson Auto Sales was $0. The jury, after three days of deliberation, returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendants (Brock Person Guerra Reyna client was Simpson Auto Sales).

Cortez v. Valmont Industries and D&F Farms (Western District of Texas) Plaintiff, age 17, was working in the fields as a laborer when she tripped and fell adjacent to an irrigation system. Her clothing was caught by an unguarded drive line and she was pulled into the machine, causing multiple compound fractures of her arm along with a degloving of the skin from the muscle (nearly severing her arm in the process). The Plaintiff sued on a product liability theory alleging the irrigation system was defective because the safety guards fell off and because it did not have a safety switch that shut the system off if the guards were not on the drive lines. The owner of the farm testified that the safety guards did not last and came off the system soon after it was purchased. The Plaintiff was left with permanent injuries to her arm and had very little use of it after the accident. She was not able to return to work after the accident. Her medical specials were $50,000 and her lost wage earning capacity was $1,000,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $4,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $1,750,000. The pre-trial offer was $50,000. The jury returned a verdict of $1,563,916 in favor of the Plaintiff against D&F Farms. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of Valmont Industries (Brock Person Guerra Reyna client).

Fajardo v. Stevenson's Appliances, Inc. (Cameron County) Plaintiff purchased a new dryer from Defendant. After the installation, Plaintiff called Defendant to complain that the dryer was not working properly (taking too long to dry clothes). On two occasions, Defendant came to the Plaintiff's home on a service call. Four days after the second service call, the dryer caught fire and the condominium burned to the ground (along with all contents). The Plaintiff hired four liability experts. The Defendant hired none. The property damage was $300,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $1,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $500,000. The pre-trial offer was $100,000. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Henderson v. Central Texas Electric Cooperative (Kerr County) Plaintiff called Defendant because of fluttering electricity and power surges on a light pole outside their home. Defendant responded by fixing an electrical short on the light pole. The following day, Defendant was called to Plaintiff's home a second time because of electrical fluttering and surges inside the home. Defendant responded by changing connectors at the junction box. Several hours after the second service call, Plaintiff's home caught fire and burned to the ground. Plaintiff sued on a product liability theory and a DTPA theory alleging that the 25 year old electrical transformer outside their home was defective. The transformer was replaced immediately after the fire, although Defendant contended that it was not defective. The specials were $1,000,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $1,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $1,000,000. The pre-trial offer was $75,000. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Mendiola v. Dover Elevator Company (Bexar County) Plaintiff sued for injuries sustained when an elevator in which she was riding allegedly failed, causing it to fall three stories. Plaintiff claimed permanent injuries and several years of missed work as a consequence. The specials were $345,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $500,000. The pre-trial demand was $270,000. The pre-trial offer was $0. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Gutierrez v. Dover Elevator Company (Hidalgo County) Plaintiff sued for injuries sustained when an elevator in which she was riding allegedly failed, causing it to fall from floor to floor until it came to rest. There were two other occupants of the elevator (also testifying witnesses). Defendant denied that there was any defect with the elevator and that the elevator functioned exactly as it should have under the circumstances. The specials were $135,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $500,000. The pre-trial demand was $125,000. The pre-trial offer was $0. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Rodriguez v. McDonald's Restaurant (Webb County) Plaintiff sued for injuries sustained after biting into a hamburger and puncturing her lip with a two inch portion of a hypodermic needle which was imbedded in the hamburger pattie. Plaintiff was with her young daughter at the time and two eyewitnesses confirmed Plaintiff's account. Plaintiff underwent testing for HIV/AIDS with no expert denying the possibility that she would develop the disease. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $1,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $1,000,000. The pre-trial offer was $5,000. The jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff in the amount of $1,000.

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