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ARTICLE ID 187682

$________ – PRODUCT LIABILITY – FAILURE TO WARN – DEFECTIVE DESIGN – DANGEROUS DEFECTIVE DESIGN OF CHAIN IN BODY OF DUMP TRUCK – THE FOOT BECOMES CAUGHT IN CHAIN CONVEYOR WHILE SHE IS IN THE BED OF DUMP TRUCK – BELOW-THE-KNEE AMPUTATION OF 38-YEAR-OLD LEG.

New Haven County, CT

In this product liability matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants, the manufacturer and the distributor, were liable for the defective design of the conveyor chain located inside the body of the dump truck and in failing to properly warn the plaintiff and other workers of the dangers associated with being inside the body of the truck while the chain was in motion. The plaintiff’s foot became caught in the chain and she sustained a below-the-knee amputation as a result. The defendants denied liability and maintained that the plaintiff was negligent and disregarded warning labels on the truck itself.

The 38-year-old female plaintiff was employed as a Department of Transportation worker. She was readying one of the department’s dump truck, manufactured by the defendant and distributed by the second defendant. The truck was equipped with a chain conveyor and was used for winter snow removal operations. The truck was also equipped with a ladder fixed to the side of the dump body to allow access to the body of the truck. The plaintiff turned on the chain conveyor and stepped into the body of the dump truck when her boot became caught in the moving chain. The plaintiff sustained a serious injury to her leg and required a below-the-knee amputation of the leg. Due to complications following the surgery, she thereafter had to undergo an above-the-knee amputation due to infection.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant manufacturer and the defendant distributor alleging negligence under theories of product liability. The plaintiff alleged that the design of the chain conveyor in the body of the dump truck was defectively and dangerously designed and the defendants failed to warn the plaintiff and others of the danger.

The defendants denied liability. The defendant distributor alleged that the plaintiff was negligent in failing to obey warning labels on the side of the truck. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s claim that the chain should have a guard over it to prevent injuries such as those sustained by the plaintiff was not possible and would interfere with the purpose and use of the chain. The defendant also argued that the plaintiff’s employer failed to properly train its employees in the proper use of the equipment.The matter was tried. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants. The jury assessed liability at 26% to the defendant manufacturer, 36% to the defendant distributor and 38% to the plaintiff. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $________ in damages. The damages consisted of $________ for non-economic damages and $________ for economic damages.

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