Representative Cases

Products Liability

David Bolton v. Louisville Ladder, Inc., Civil Action No. 2-08-CV-209-J
On October 16, 2009, Frilot attorneys obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, on behalf of Louisville Ladder, Inc. in David Bolton v. Louisville Ladder, Inc., Civil Action No. 2-08-CV-209-J. The gravamen of Plaintiff’s suit was that he sustained serious injuries resulting from his use of a six(6) foot fiberglass stepladder which was allegedly defectively designed by Louisville Ladder. As a result of the accident, Plaintiff shattered both of his wrists and suffered a severe head injury. In all, Plaintiff’s spent almost six (6) months in care facilities as a result of his injuries. Louisville Ladder contended that the accident was caused solely by Plaintiff’s carelessness. At the conclusion of the three day trial the jury exonerated Louisville Ladder.

Cassandra Sampson, et al v. Claiborne Butane, et al, Suit No. 36,748
Frilot attorney David A. Olson obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in the Second Judicial District for Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, on behalf of Rheem Manufacturing Company. In Cassandra Sampson, et al v. Claiborne Butane, et al, Suit No. 36,748, the plaintiff sued the defendants seeking damages, pursuant to the Louisiana Products Liability Act, for the wrongful death of three family members in a residential house fire. The plaintiff alleged that the subject water heater was the origin and cause of the subject fire, and that the water heater was unreasonably dangerous in manufacture and for a failure to warn. After a two week trial, a twelve member jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendants.

Henry Stanislowsky et al vs. Rheem Manufacturing
Frilot L.L.C. obtained a major defense victory for client Rheem Manufacturing Company, a privately held manufacturer of water heaters, in a jury trial in the New York State Supreme Court, Sarasota County.

The product liability case, Henry Stanislowsky et al vs. Rheem Manufacturingarose when the plaintiff, using a highly flammable liquid to remove the carpet in his brother’s basement, experienced 2nd and 3rd degree burns to over 30% of his body from a fire allegedly ignited by a Rheem gas-fueled water heater. Mr. Stanislowsky alleged that Rheem’s water heater was defectively designed and not equipped with needed devices to prevent this incident. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the heater did not come with an 18” stand to raise it above the flammable vapors. After two weeks of trial, the jury took only 1 ½ hours to return a unanimous verdict finding no product defect. The successful defense of Rheem is particularly significant as the lead plaintiffs’ lawyer has a long history of successfully prosecuting manufacturers of water heaters in this type of case.

Eula Guidry Ardoin et al. v. Stine Lumber Company
The firm represented Universal Forest Products, Inc., the country’s largest wood treater, in a product liability class action seeking replacement of all treated wood in the United States. The firm obtained a dismissal, with prejudice, of our client in this motion.

Flynn v. Louisville Ladder
The firm successfully defended Louisville Ladder in federal court in Marshall, Texas. In that case, a dentist claimed to be disabled because of a manufacturing defect in an aluminum extension ladder and to have lost wages in excess of $8 million. After deliberating forty-five minutes, the jury wholly exonerated the ladder manufacturer.

Arch Chemicals v. Fisher Controls International
The firm obtained a defense verdict for Fisher Controls this case which arose out of an explosive decomposition at a hydrazine plant owned by Arch Chemicals. Arch maintained that it was entitled to a recovery of $1.6 million in physical damage to the chemical plant and lost profits, plus attorneys’ fees and expenses under Louisiana’s redhibition articles. Fisher was exonerated by the jury at the conclusion of the 6-day trial.

Martin v. Nintendo of America
Benoit v. Nintendo of America

Frilot L.L.C. successfully defended Nintendo of America Inc. in two personal injury cases tried simultaneously in federal court in the Western District of Louisiana. Two plaintiffs claimed that they had suffered seizures because of playing Nintendo video games, and that the seizures had been caused by the games’ defective design and inadequate warnings. After four days of trial, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their respective claims. The Martin case also involved a federal statutory claim brought under the Consumer Product Safety Act. In what is believed to be the first trial of its kind anywhere, the claim was tried for almost 3 weeks to the bench in the Western District of Louisiana.

Riley v. Rheem
Firm attorneys successfully defended Rheem Manufacturing in Clarksville, Tennessee in a state court case that had been tried twice before. The plaintiff alleged that the fire that killed her son had begun when gasoline vapors contacted a Rheem gas-fired water heater installed in the family’s garage. She claimed that the water heater was defectively designed and bore inappropriate labeling. After hearing a week of evidence and testimony, the 12-person jury concluded that the water heater was neither defective nor unreasonably dangerous and returned a unanimous verdict in Rheem’s favor.

Paul Heilman, et al v. Perfection Corporation
As national counsel for the top five manufacturers of water heaters, comprising almost 100% of that industry, Frilot successfully settled one of the largest class action settlements ever on behalf of the U.S. water heater industry. The water heater companies were named in approximately 23 separate state and federal class action lawsuits throughout the country involving a defective component part provided by a third party supplier to the industry. As counsel for the water heater industry, Frilot successfully consolidated and settled these claims in a national class action suit involving more than 14,000,000 class members.

Schram v. Emerson Electric Co.
Firm attorneys defended Emerson Electric Company in a products liability case involving the loss of 27 thoroughbred race horses, a loss of a barn and lost profits for the corporation that owned the horses. The plaintiff filed suit in the 32nd Judicial District Court for the Parish of Terrebonne, State of Louisiana, seeking $4 million in damages. The plaintiff alleged that a motor manufactured by Emerson Electric Co. was the cause of the fire. After a 3 week trial, the jury exonerated Emerson Electric Co. and awarded the plaintiff no money.