On Thursday afternoon a Hinds County jury rendered a $52 million verdict in a case against Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc. and the driver of a vehicle. The trial started on September 3.
The plaintiff was paralyzed at age 4 while riding in a belt positioning booster seat manufactured by Dorel. The jury apportioned 50% fault to Dorel and 50% to the driver of the vehicle.
The damages breakdown was as follows:
- $50 million for future medicals (life care plan)
- $1 million for pain and suffering
- $1 million for past medicals.
Plaintiff’s life care plan was over $60 million. Dorel offered a competing life care plan that was north of $40 million.
John Davidson, Edward Sanders and Ed Blackmon represented the plaintiff.
Wally Greenough and Jonathon Judge with Schiff Hardin in Chicago represented Dorel. They had Jennifer Rogers from Watkins Eager as local counsel, but it’s my understanding that the Chicago lawyers shut Watkins Eager out from meaningful participation during the entire case.
Clay McDonough from Mitchell Day represented the driver of the vehicle.
Judge Winston Kidd presided in the case.
The defendants offered $0 to settle before trial.
How a defendant can put on a $40 million life care plan, but offer $0 to settle, is beyond me.
The zero offer indicates a belief that you have a 100% chance of winning–which of course you never have in any case that has made it past summary judgment. The $40 million life care plan says that you are worried enough about liability to defend damages. Odd strategy.
Someone is going to be getting second guessed on the defense side, starting with the in-house counsel who made the case assignment.