Orange County Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgment in Favor of Defense in Wrongful Death Case: Tyson & Mendes Wins Motion for Summary Judgement in Case Resulting from Accident at John Wayne Airport

Orange County Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgment in Favor of Defense in Wrongful Death Case: Tyson & Mendes Wins Motion for Summary Judgement in Case Resulting from Accident at John Wayne Airport

IRVINE, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2023) – Marking a major victory for nationwide insurance and civil litigation defense firm Tyson & Mendes LLP, the Orange County Superior Court granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of John Bean Technologies on March 14, 2022.  The court had previously held John Bean Technologies, an aerotech services provider, liable after its employee died while changing a tire on a passenger boarding bridge at John Wayne Airport (Allison v John Wayne Airport).

According to Richard Somes, a Partner based in Tyson & Mendes’ Irvine office who defended the wrongful death case, the plaintiff was working with another contractor in February 2019 when a 4-foot-tall jet bridge tire exploded. The work was being performed in an airline workshop and the tire was not attached to an airplane at the time. The impact from the explosion allegedly caused traumatic injuries to one worker, Brandon Allison, who died at the scene.

“The plaintiff – Allison’s wife – initially filed a wrongful death suit against the tire manufacturer, Goodyear, for failing to preserve the tire in question, but the suit was dismissed due to lack of evidence,” Somes said.  Plaintiff also sued John Bean Technologies, based on evidence the plaintiff’s husband was an employee of the company at the time of a workplace injury.  Tyson & Mendes filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of John Bean Technologies based on the workers’ compensation exclusivity rule.  Somes and his team – Tyson & Mendes attorneys Molly A. Gilardi and Cindy Pham– persuaded the court the plaintiff’s only remedy was through workers’ compensation.  On March 14, 2022, the Orange County Superior Court granted the defense’s motion for summary judgment based upon the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy rule.

Plaintiff subsequently filed a new complaint in a separate lawsuit based upon a voluntary undertaking and promissory estoppel exception to the workers’ compensation exclusivity rule. Tyson & Mendes filed a demurrer and the court sustained the demurrer on February 1, 2023.  This reinforced Tyson & Mendes’ argument in its previously filed motion for summary judgment that workers’ compensation is the only remedy for workplace injuries.

“The plaintiff’s wrongful death claim alleged significant damages,” Somes said. “And while we are extremely sympathetic toward her and this traumatic experience, we were able to prove to the court that a more effective and viable solution could be achieved through a workers’ compensation claim pursuant to the prior ruling made by the court on March 14, 2022. The court followed the law as well as our express themes of reasonableness and common sense in determining that there was no basis for the theory of promissory estoppel in this instance.”

Serving 18 states nationwide, Tyson & Mendes is one of the fastest growing civil defense firms in the U.S. The firm has established itself as a leader in driving down damages awards and reducing the likelihood of Nuclear Verdicts® – often defined as jury awards in excess of $10 million. Using a unique set of proven defense methods, the firm saved clients more than $1.07 billion in 2022.

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About Tyson & Mendes LLP
Tyson & Mendes LLP is a nationwide, AV-rated litigation and trial firm specializing in insurance defense and protecting its clients from Nuclear Verdicts®. Robert Tyson and Patrick Mendes founded the firm in 2002 to defend corporations, insurance companies, and their clients in civil litigation matters. The firm has experienced tremendous growth in the past two decades, with offices across the U.S. serving clients in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The firm is most widely recognized for winning the landmark Howell v. Hamilton Meats California Supreme Court case, which forever changed the state’s litigation landscape by significantly impacting the damages a plaintiff may recover. Robert Tyson is also the author of the Amazon Bestseller Nuclear Verdicts®: Defending Justice for All, the first playbook for the defense on how to avoid runaway jury verdicts.

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Ashley Bendas/Jean Walcher, J. Walcher Communications /, 619-295-7140




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