On March 14, 2012, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a defense verdict in favor of farm equipment manufacturer CNH America LLC in a case tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa involving severe injuries sustained by a bulldozer operator when he was thrown from the bulldozer cab while attempting to grade a steep slope (http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opns/opFrame.html). The plaintiff claimed that the seatbelt installed on the bulldozer unlatched during the course of the rollover. The plaintiff asserted claims of design defect, manufacturing defect and failure to warn, and also sought punitive damages. CNH’s defense team, which was led by Daniel Haws, JP Gatto, Krista Robertson and paralegal Cheryl Moore, secured a defense verdict in favor of CNH after plaintiff’s manufacturing defect claim was dismissed as a matter of law.
The plaintiff appealed to the Eighth Circuit claiming the trial court erred by dismissing his manufacturing defect claim, abused its discretion in issuing certain jury instructions and not issuing other instructions requested by the plaintiff, and by failing to strike a juror for cause. The Eighth Circuit disagreed, finding that there was no evidence presented at trial to support a manufacturing defect claim, that the jury instructions were adequate reflections of Iowa law, and that the failure to strike the disputed juror for cause constituted harmless error since the plaintiff removed the juror through one of his peremptory challenges. The appellate briefing and argument was also handled by trial counsel Daniel Haws, JP Gatto and Krista Robertson.
Dan is a seasoned litigator with more than 20 years of experience and focuses his practice on general civil and business litigation, product liability, transportation litigation, construction litigation, insurance coverage and appeals. JP concentrates his practice in the areas of civil litigation, product liability, commercial litigation, insurance law, and appeals. Krista focuses her practice in the areas of business litigation, product liability and insurance coverage.