LOS ANGELES (Oct. 11, 2018) – Following an eight-day trial, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury ruled in favor of the defense on October 5 – awarding a full defense verdict versus the $36 million requested by a plaintiff injured at a Costco Warehouse in Van Nuys, California.
According to Tyson & Mendes Partner Kevin Place, lead attorney for the defense, the case Elizabeth A. Chako, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., et al, involved plaintiff Elizabeth A. Chako, who was shopping at Costco when a 7.25 pound bottle of liquid dishwasher detergent – a “two-pack” consisting of two 116 oz. bottles connected by what is known as a “dog bone” or twin-pack handle at the neck of each bottle – fell on her right foot.
“Ms. Chako grasped the handle and pulled the two-pack of bottles toward her when one of the bottles allegedly disengaged from the handle and fell on her foot. Plaintiff alleged that she developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) as a result of the bottle injuring her foot and that she currently suffers from severe, incurable pain to her upper and lower extremities,” Place said.
Chako further alleged that the product’s “two-pack” design was defective and maintained she would need lifelong medical treatment due to her injuries. As a result, the plaintiff sought compensation for a future life care plan valued at $6 million, as well as past and future general damages of $30 million.
Place, along with fellow Tyson & Mendes Senior Counsel Marsha Yasuda, represented Sun Products, the company that manufactured the bottles and dishwasher gel. Sun Products purchased the “Twin Pak” handles from Oregon Precision Industries, which designed and manufactured the handles.
“Ultimately, we appealed to the jury’s common sense and reason that plaintiff failed to meet their burden of proof that the plastic handle was defective. Further, we provided evidence that the plaintiff’s CRPS diagnosis was questionable in light of her pre-existing medical conditions,” Yasuda said.
The jury returned a defense verdict on behalf of Sun Products and Costco, with no money awarded to the plaintiff. Defendant Oregon Precision Industries settled with plaintiff for an undisclosed amount shortly after the commencement of trial.
“By using Tyson & Mendes’ defense concepts of responsibility, reasonableness and common sense, we were able to prove to the jury that the plaintiff’s claims were not supported by the evidence,” said Place. “We feel satisfied that we achieved justice on behalf of our corporate client.”
About Tyson & Mendes LLP
Headquartered in San Diego with offices throughout the country, Tyson & Mendes LLP is an AV-rated litigation firm specializing in insurance defense. The firm has grown to more than 130 attorneys defending corporations, insurance companies, and their clients in civil litigation matters throughout California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington and Florida. The firm is most widely recognized for winning the landmark Howell v. Hamilton Meats California Supreme Court case on the “billed vs. paid” medical damages issue, which forever changed the state’s litigation landscape by significantly impacting the damages a plaintiff may recover. Visit www.tysonmendes.com.