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Craig Peters

Craig Peters

$40,000,000 - Products Liability - Largest reported noneconomic damages only verdict in the U.S.

TLU Icon March 12, 2024 5:30 PM||TLU n Demand

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On December 24, 2019, John Cooper, 70 years old and a life-long general contractor, was preparing to use a piece of Technogym gym equipment, called an Excite TOP upper body trainer. This machine has a design whereby the seat can be removed from the track, but does not warn about this feature or how it works. The seat is intended to slide back and forth along a track to adjust the positioning of the seat to the handles of the machine. John sat on the seat and pulled the handle underneath the seat to adjust it backwards. However, the seat slid completely off the track and John fell, hitting his head and causing him dizziness. Later, John complained of back and neck pain.Eventually, he underwent a cervical fusion a year after his fall, and then a lumbar fusion about three years after the fall.In 2023, after eight years of waiting and wading through discovery battles, COVID delays, and a defendant’s bankruptcy, justice was finally delivered to this 78-year-old, California senior.

The case dealt with the following issues:

1. How to deal with a judge that did not know the law, or care to know the law when it came to product liability cases (and prevented relevant evidence from being admitted)

2. How we dealt with a jury that was comprised of so many engineers, that four (4) of them remained on the jury

3. What decisions we made as it related to the bankruptcy of 24 Hour Fitness that happened during the pendency of the case

4. How we fought to get the parent company in to the case, including taking a writ to the Court of Appeals, where we argued the applicability of Int’l Shoe and World-Wide VW

5. What we did to combat a defense that either ignored the rules, which the judge would do nothing about, or would try to overwhelm us with busy work

6. How we managed a client that was declared by one of the best in the business at witness prep as “unhelpable” – including telling anyone who would listen that, despite his injury, he “never missed a day of work” and he was still driving, walking and operating his business.

7. What we did with his numerous preexisting back and neck complaints and treatment

8. Why we decided to let go of just shy of $1M in economic losses, and instead proceed on noneconomic damages only

Despite the many challenges, on April 3, 2023, the jury found that defendant, Technogym USA was responsible for compensating John $15 million in past non-economic damages and $25 million in future non-economic damages. The amount of interest that Technogym owed at the time of the verdict was just over $15 million. The jury also found that Technogym had acted with malice, requiring a second phase for punitive damages.

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