Commentary on defective tires, cars, recalls and litigation.

Rich Newsome is an accomplished personal injury and products liability attorney who represents consumers who have been injured by defective tires, cars and other products. As Past President of the Florida Justice Association and current member of the Executive Committee of the National Trial Lawyers Association…MORE

22
Feb

From the perspective of a consumer looking to file a case against a corporation, there’s huge difference in the way a case will be handled in state court versus federal court. Federal court is much more difficult in terms of time, expense, rules pertaining to experts, reporting requirements, access to hearing time and of course: discovery.

Corporate defendants, especially in product liability cases, routinely engage in scorched earth discovery designed to produce as little meaningful discovery as possible. Tactics like dump truck discovery, hiding behind ‘blanket objections’, and as I’ve written about before here, outright lies and blatant withholding of requested information. For those of us in the trenches, we all know the bitter truth: in federal court it’s simply much harder to hold a defendant’s feet to the fire and have the court order truthful and meaningful discovery.
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  • On Losing: Trials and Track Meets

  • Last Saturday we spent all day at the annual middle school championship track meet. Grant, my sixth grader, was competing in three events. He was supposed to win one of the events, the 800, having set the school record at last year’s championship.

    Unlike last year though, he didn’t train much before the meet. He was bitten this fall by the lacrosse bug and he didn’t even want to to run track this year until his coach cajoled him into it. Nevertheless, coming into this weekend’s championship meet his coach and team hyped him up, convincing him that he would again win the 800 based on natural ability. He was expected to be one of the team’s best runners.

    Sadly, and probably predictably, he lost. Lost painfully. Lost to not only the cross team rival’s best runner but also to one of they guys on his own team who was supposed to be a middle of the packer.
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  • Goodyear Lawyers Popped With Sanctions: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  • Goodyear was just hit with a landmark 67 page order granting severe sanctions for discovery violations in the case of Haeger v. Goodyear, a G159 tire tread separation case. The Order, from Federal Judge Roslyn Silver in Arizona, came as the result of a seven year war waged primarily between Goodyear’s lawyers and David Kurtz, a solo practitioner in Scottsdale. An incredible read, the Order has been discussed extensively in the blogsphere by several commentators including Sean Kane, Max Kennerly and others.

    This week I spoke to David Kurtz, who was in the middle of drafting his motion for attorneys fees — which Judge Silver awarded as part of her sanctions Order. It was a great conversation in which he shared the story of the case and some of the public details about the sanctions fight that were not spelled out in the order.

    Here are some of the highlights of what I learned during our conversation, both the good, the bad and the ugly:
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  • Cool New iPad Trial App From P.J. Scheiner

  • Last week the Florida Justice Association hosted a great dinner for the South West Florida Trial Lawyers group. Have to admit I’m a little jealous; it’s a close knit bar of great lawyers in a gorgeous jurisdiction.

    After a great meal, P.J. Scheiner gave a CLE presentation with really good nuggets I wanted to share. P.J. is one of the young stars of the plaintiffs bar in Florida having obtained several recent million dollar plus verdicts. I like to think I’m relatively up to speed on technology, especially tech that can be used in a jury trial, but I had never heard of this:
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  • Vehicle Submersion and Escapeworthiness

  • A surprisingly large number of vehicles leave the road every year for various reasons and end up in a river, lake or pond. In those situations it becomes imperative for occupants to get out of the vehicle immediately. Problem is, leaving the vehicle is often impossible because the power windows short and don’t work, water pressure make it impossible to open the doors, and occupants are unable to break the window glass — unless they have a small hammer or other similar device in their glove box.

    Vehicle submersions are one of the ‘dirty little secrets’ of auto safety. Submersions are among the deadliest of single-vehicle crashes but rarely if ever talked about by the media or auto industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an average of 384 occupants die in motor vehicle crashes each year – not including those that occur during floods. As a coastal community, Florida leads the nation in such deaths. Approximately 4,800 crashes in the Sunshine State end with a car in the water, causing at least 57 fatalities annually.
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