Securing defense verdict for chemical manufacturer in fraud and failure to warn case.
Lightfoot and local counsel defended this fraud and failure to warn case against a leading chemical manufacturer. The plaintiff, who was a fireman and medic, was injured after responding to a fire which consumed a tractor-trailer hauling acrylic fiber manufactured by our client. The plaintiff claimed he suffered Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and other toxins contained in the smoke of the burning fiber. He offered evidence of $137,000 in medical bills. The plaintiff contended that our client, after it was contacted on the evening of the fire, failed to provide adequate warnings to first responders about dangerous properties of the smoke and failed to inform first responders that the Material Safety Data Sheet created for the fiber called for special firefighting measures, including use of a self-contained breathing apparatus and full protective clothing. Our client denied any misrepresentation or suppression and put on evidence that its warnings were sufficient and the plaintiff's own contributory negligence caused or contributed to his injuries. At the conclusion of a four-day trial, the plaintiff's counsel asked for $1.2 million in damages during closing argument. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client.