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Plaintiff fell from stepladder manufactured by the defendant - Suffered fractured right tibial plateau requiring two surgeries - Torn right ACL requiring two surgeries - Subluxation of right knee - Fractured right distal radius requiring two surgeries - Fractured left thumb - Alleged post-traumatic arthritis - Claimed stepladder was improperly designed.

Cook County, Illinois

In this product liability case, the 48 year old female plaintiff was doing some work on her weekend home in Mattoon on October 19, ________. She was standing on a four foot aluminum stepladder when she fell, suffering a fractured right tibial plateau which required two surgeries, a torn right ACL which required two surgeries, subluxation of her right knee, a fractured right distal radius which required two surgeries, a fractured left thumb and alleged post-traumatic arthritis. She was unable to work her at job as a house cleaner for six months. The plaintiff’s husband claimed loss of consortium and services. The plaintiff claimed the stepladder, a Davidson A-frame Type III Duty Model D-________-04, manufactured by the defendant was improperly designed, allowing it to excessively rack (unstable offset support on three legs instead of all four) and tip over, causing the left front rail to bend under the user’s weight.

The defense argued that the ladder was designed properly, that it met all industry and ANSI product design standards and that the ladder did not rack during the accident. They maintained that the plaintiff fell because she was standing on the third rung of the ladder, violating the product’s instructions and warning. The ladder was a four rung ladder, but only the first two rungs were to be stood on. There was a clearly marked warning on the third rung of the ladder that stated a person might fall if they stand on the third or fourth rung. The plaintiff claimed that she only stood on the second rung and that while standing on the second rung, she could see the entire roof. The defense entered into evidence a tape that shows the plaintiff’s husband standing on the second rung of the ladder and he could not see the roof. The defense claimed that this showed that the plaintiff must have been standing on the third rung of the ladder. The defense also maintained that the damage found on the left front rail of the ladder after the accident was not caused by its bending during use, but was the result of the plaintiff landing on the ladder when she fell.

After a trial that lasted ten days, the jury found in favor of the defendant.

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