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Bergen County, New Jersey

This product liability case involved a plaintiff, in his early 40s, who had purchased a cart used to store and transport fishing gear from one of the defendants, a sporting goods store a day earlier. The car contained two tires. The plaintiff contended that one of the tire rims, made by a defunct company in China and incorporated into the machine, was defectively manufactured, resulting in it exploding as he was pumping air. The plaintiff named the manufacturer of the tires placed on the cart that incorporated the rims, the manufacturer of the cart and the sporting goods store who sold him the cart. The plaintiff also contended that air dispenser machine used by the plaintiff the following day was defectively designed because it did not contain clear instructions as to setting the correct air pressure before inflating the tire and because it did not contain a self- regulating shut off device. The various defendants denied that its products were defective and that the failure of the plaintiff to use proper care while inflating the tires was the cause of the incident.

The evidence disclosed that the rim was manufactured in China, and that when the plaintiff attempted to effectuate service through the Hague Convention, the plaintiff learned that the company was no longer doing business. The plaintiff contended that the rim was defectively manufactured and that the tire manufacturer who placed the product into the stream of commerce was liable under a Products Liability theory. The plaintiff further maintained that the manufacturer of the cart was liable both for this defect and for inadequate warnings, contending that this defendant and the defendant sporting good store from which he purchased the product should have advised that the tires are supposed to be partially deflated to facilitate operation on the beach.

The evidence reflected that the day following the purchase, the plaintiff brought the cart to a local gasoline station, paid 50 cents to use its air compressor and attempted to fill the tires when the rim exploded. The tires were rated for 14 psi and the plaintiff would have established that under applicable regulations, they should be able to withstand three times this amount of pressure. The plaintiff contended that the air dispensing machine was defectively designed. The plaintiff contended that unlike the older type machines in which the consumer could easily dial the maximum pressure on the main portion of the device, and which also contained audible sounds that would stop one the desired pressure was attained, the amount which could be pumped was controlled by a remote device in the service station and no audible warnings were provided. The plaintiff contended that an individual would be unable to control, or to clearly ascertain the amount of air being inserted. The plaintiff further contended that this newer machine did not contain a device which automatically shut down once the desired pressure was reached. The plaintiff maintained that these factors rendered the air dispensing machine defective and were a substantial factor in the happening of the incident.

The defendant cart manufacturer maintained that air compressor machine was defective and was a substantial cause of the incident. The air compressor machine manufacturer denied that this contention should be accepted and contended that the alleged defect in the tire rim was causally related to the happening of the incident.

The plaintiff contended that the explosion caused a fracture of most of the bones of the dominant hand and propelled him backwards, causing back injuries. The plaintiff also contended that the wrist arm and shoulder area sustained significant injury. The plaintiff’s orthopedic hand surgeon contended that the plaintiff will permanently suffer severe pain and concluded that the hand is ________% disabled and that the excruciating pain will remain permanently. The physician would have testified that the permanent pain is so severe, that an amputation of the arm would be justified.

The plaintiff had owned a tree surgeon business and the plaintiff contended that he lost the business because of the injuries. The plaintiff would have projected approximately $________ in income losses. The plaintiff further contended that the incident caused a post traumatic stress disorder which will permanently cause anxiety and depression, nightmares and flashbacks of the event.

The case settled prior to trial for $________, including $________ from the defendant tire manufacturer, $________ from the manufacturer of the fishing cart, $________ from the sporting good store, $________ from the service station and $________ from the air dispenser manufacturer.

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