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Jim CorriganAlan MortensenLance MilneJohn Campbell

Jim Corrigan · Alan Mortensen · Lance Milne · John Campbell

Window Blind Strangulation/Wrongful Death - $25M Verdict and Finding of Punitive Damages

TLU Icon March 2, 2022 6:30 PM||TLU n Demand

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Case Analysis by Jim Corrigan, James O’Leary, Alan Mortensen, Lance Milne Webinar Hosted by John Campbell

After 6 days of trial Salt Lake City, the jury returned a verdict for $25,000,000 and found that Century Blinds, a California blind manufacturer with a large presence in Salt Lake City, manufactured corded blinds across the country for several years without putting a “no additional cost” tilt wand on their blinds, as opposed to tilt cord, which Century Blinds knew was a strangulation hazard to small children. Century Blinds also manufactured corded blinds without providing cord cleats which should have been installed with the blinds. Cord cleats allow a parent to wrap around blind cords at a level above where children can reach. The blinds also came with a warning label that was not visible and did not meet ANSI Standards required of blind manufacturers to tell parents not to put furniture by window blinds. The jury heard testimony that these blinds should have never been allowed in the Mahe home back in 2008 when they were installed because of these defects. The jury also found that the conduct of Century was punitive.

The punitive damages phase started and shortly after the commencement of testimony, the matter was resolved.

Teaching Points:

1. Dealing with parental fault in the death of a child 2. Using Defendants’ testimony to establish credibility with the jury early 3. Use of engineering hierarchy to prove product defect case 4. How to use. Empirical Jury’s focus group results to fine tune case:

a) Used poor focus group results to refine issues and attack credibility issue proposed jurors identified

b) Shift theories and focus of case away from the warning language and focused on placement 5. How to ask for a large sum of money in a conservative venue

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