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SANDBERG, PHOENX & VON GONTARD PREVAIL FOR HELMET MAKER IN SEVERE BRAIN INJURY CASE
Jurors weep, deliberate 3 hours, find for defense in accident
Keith Phoenix, along with F. Laurens Brock of the Tennessee law firm, Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel, PC, tried the case for Bell Sports, Inc. in the City of St. Louis Circuit Court.
Plaintiff filed suit seeking recovery for loss of consortium and devasting injuries to her 34 year old husband when he was operating his bicycle and collided with a pick-up truck. He suffered severe brain injury resulting in cognitive and ambulatory disabilities, and will be confined to a nursing home for the rest of his life. Plaintiff’s past and future medical was in excess of 8 million dollars.
Plaintiff attributed her husband’s injuries to a defect in his bicycle helmet, which was distributed by Bell Sports, Inc. Plaintiff argued that the subject helmet liner was "too stiff," thereby preventing the helmet from absorbing any of the impact from the collision, and causing the rider’s skull to absorb the full impact of landing on the pavement.
Bell disputed plaintiff’s defect theory and argued the helmet itself showed no visible signs of impact damage. Although there were fact witnesses who testified plaintiff's husband was wearing his helmet at the time of the accident, Bell presented evidence at trial which indicated the rider’s helmet was not on his head at the time his head impacted the pavement, and rather was either not worn at the time of accident, or was worn unbuckled, causing the helmet to be ejected from his head when he collided with the truck.
See Missouri Law Weekly article here.