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$________ Product Liability – Defective Design – Man caught under ATV sues manufacturer – Severe friction burns to arms, legs and abdomen.

3rd Circuit Court

In this matter a man trapped under a malfunctioning ATV received a verdict for $8.4 million.

On May 4, ________, the plaintiff Michael C. of Jasper test drove a ________ Artic Cat Thundercat ________ ATV at the Jasper Rodeo in Jasper, Florida. The plaintiff had previously been given the keys by the dealership’s salesman, Greg W. Both men were, at that time, drunk. The plaintiff struck a divot while driving the ATV, causing it to roll over on top of him. The vehicle continued running, causing catastrophic friction burns to his arms, legs and abdomen where the spinning tires came in contact with his skin. The plaintiff asserted in subsequent litigation that he could not return to his work as a construction foreman, and faced several surgeries to correct injuries suffered during the incident.

The matter was tried in the 3rd Circuit Court of Hamilton County. The plaintiff sought damages for strict liability and negligence against the manufacturer of the ATV, Arctic Cat, Inc. Damages presented by the plaintiff at trial were $________ in past medical cost, $________ for future medical treatment, $________ in past lost earnings and $________ in future earnings lost.

At trial, the plaintiff utilized internal Arctic Cat records which showed that the defendant was aware of a problem with the tilt sensor used on the ATV prior to its manufacture. The decision not to correct this problem was argued as the principal theory of negligence. The plaintiff showed that the tilt sensor was known to give false signals of the vehicle’s position, and as a result, did not shut off when the vehicle tilted in excess of 65 degrees. The plaintiff did not contest that Michael C. was intoxicated, stipulating that his BAC was over .08, and did not dispute the allegation that Greg W. may have been drunk when he gave the plaintiff the keys for a test ride.

The defendant Arctic Cat denied product liability, arguing that the plaintiff had been operating the ATV while intoxicated and therefore solely liable for his own injuries. The defendant also asserted that their authorized dealership’s salesman was negligent in giving the ATV to plaintiff to test ride in violation of policies, and that he himself was drunk and not working within his capacity of a salesman at the time the incident occurred.After nine days of trial, the jury deliberated for 3 hours and 15 minutes before returning. a verdict for the plaintiff. The jury found Arctic Cat ________ percent liable for the plaintiff’s injuries despite his intoxication, and assigned no fault to the dealership’s employee. The jury awarded $8.4 million.

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