The following are the top Product Liability Verdicts in Georgia for 2013 ~ part 2:
1.) A $ 10,000,000 verdict for the Plaintiff in Jefferson County, Georgia, Superior Court for Wrongful Death, and Design Defect with Failure to Warn.
The case name was Andrea Eslavan Hernandez as representative of the Estate of Florentino Hernandez v. Hi-Tech Engineering, No. 11-cv-622, and the date of the verdict was March 21, 2013.
The facts as summarized were that on December 29, 2006, the Plaintiff’s husband, Florentino Hernandez, age 53, was working at a lumber mill in Wadley, Georgia when he was doing maintenance on an inactive piece of equipment that was used to process wood when he was hit by a piece of lumber that came from an adjacent active piece of equipment of the same type that Hernandez was working on.
The piece of equipment was controlled by a central unit using software that was developed by the Defendant, Hi-Tech Engineering. The blow from the impact caused Mr. Hernandez to be thrown into spiked rollers that were active causing Mr. Hernandez to die from his injuries.
The Plaintiff’s case against Hi-Tech was based on the fact that the employees were following the instructions given by representatives of Hi-Tech that the employees only had to lockdown machines that were being worked on, therefore, the employees did not know that the activation of one machine could cause the activation of another machine.
It was further argued that Hi-Tech did not provide any manual or written instructions for the software, and that the machines did not have mechanisms that could manually lock down the machines.
The jury, after a four (4) day trial and only thirty-five (35) minutes of deliberation, came back with a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for $ 10 million dollars holding Defendant Hi-Tech 100% liable for the incident.