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$3.38 Million Jury Verdict to Injured Factory Worker in Products Liability Case

On December 6, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, after a one-week trial a jury returned a $3.38 million verdict in favor of a 54-year-old woman from Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

On March 1, 2004, the worker’s right hand was burned by a heat seal press while she was working at a CIBA Vision contact lens factory in Des Plaines, Illinois. She was cleaning the heated upper part of the press wearing a heat-resistant glove when it unexpectedly dropped onto her hand, which remained trapped under the 450-degree press for several minutes as co-workers tried to free her. This caused severe burns which left the worker with limited use of her right hand and required skin grafting from both feet.

The lawsuit alleged the accident resulted from the defective design of a latch that was intended to hold the upper press in position but failed to function properly on the day of the accident. Universal Machine Co. of Pottstown, the company that designed and manufactured the press, denied that the press was unsafe when it left the company’s control and blamed the accident on modifications of the machine by CIBA Vision and unsafe work practice by the worker and CIBA Vision. The jury allocated 40 percent of the fault to the injured worker and, after reduction for this finding as a result of the verdict the worker is entitled to recover $2.03 million in damages.

Early in the litigation process the defendant offered nothing to settle the case. As the case approached trial the defendant offered $50,000, and stayed there for many months. In the two weeks leading up to the trial successive offers to settle were made with the highest being $700,000. By choosing to go to trial on the advice of her attorneys the worker recovered damages almost three times more than the best of the settlement offers.

The worker was represented by Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. Michael Teich and Joshua Weisberg served as co-lead trial counsel. David Rapoport lead the legal team overall but did not appear at the trial. Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. attorneys Paul Richter and Steven Sandler and our talented support staff also worked hard on this case and contributed to the result.

Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. is a personal injury law firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The personal injury attorneys at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. have achieved multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for individuals with lawsuits arising from medical malpractice, product liability, semitruck and motor vehicle accidents, workplace injuries and construction accidents in Illinois and Wisconsin. Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C.’s premier aviation negligence lawyers represent victims of commercial and general aviation disasters nationwide.

If you feel you may be in need of legal services, personally email an attorney from Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. for a free case evaluation or telephone our Chicago office toll free at 877-216-4213.