Securing defense verdict for auto manufacturer.
Lightfoot served as lead counsel in defending an auto manufacturer in a personal injury case in Virginia. Plaintiffs, on behalf of their son, alleged that his vehicle's side air bag system was defectively designed because it did not deploy during his auto accident. The driver suffered a significant brain injury. The case tried for three weeks and ended in a hung jury. The case retried for two weeks on a breach of implied warranty of merchantability theory. The jury deliberated for two days and returned a verdict for the plaintiff. Our client filed post-trial motions to set aside the verdict and for a new trial, submitting affidavits from three jurors which stated that they did not understand the definition of the implied warranty of merchantability and did not find that the vehicle was unreasonably dangerous or not merchantable. The trial court denied our client's motions, and we appealed. On appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court reversed the jury verdict. The Court found that the plaintiffs’ airbag expert’s testimony did not have an adequate foundation. Without that testimony, the Court concluded that the plaintiffs, as a matter of law, did not meet their burden of proving that the vehicle was defective and unreasonably dangerous. Accordingly, the Virginia Supreme Court rendered final judgment for our client.