United States: Pillsbury Winthrop Houston Litigation Team Remains Undefeated With Latest Product Liability Win
Last Updated: November 4 2004

Houston Litigators Notch Fifth Consecutive Trial Victory

HOUSTON – Pillsbury Winthrop LLP has successfully defended its client, a subsidiary of Livonia, MI-based TRW Automotive, in a multi-million dollar product liability trial. The complete defense verdict was returned by a Houston jury on October 28, ending an intense two-week trial in the 190th Judicial District Court of Harris County (Houston).

A Pillsbury Winthrop Houston team consisting of partner David Tippetts, associate Erich Schenk and legal analyst Kathy Novacinski handled the defense for the trailer manufacturer.

In the case, the plaintiff alleged that a leaf spring – part of a suspension system used in cars and trucks – from an 18-wheel trailer was defective. The plaintiff claimed that metallurgical failure caused the leaf spring to fracture and cause a head injury on December 1999. That claim, however, was ultimately rejected by the jury after Pillsbury Winthrop’s defense team demonstrated the component was not defective and that it was impossible to determine the exact nature of the accident. The jury further maintained that trucking companies should have been much more central to the case, since they are responsible for inspecting and maintaining their trucks’ parts.

"The jury did an excellent job of analyzing complex metallurgical data and recognizing who was and was not to blame," said Tippetts. "The plaintiff was an innocent victim and her injuries severe, but it would have been a further injustice to hold the wrong parties liable."

This latest trial win keeps the Houston office of Pillsbury Winthrop undefeated since its opening nearly two years ago. Previous victories were on behalf of clients TRW, Praxair and Schindler Elevator. The fifth consecutive trial victory (many others have been favorably settled) is a testament to the strength of the local litigation team, comprising seasoned partners Tippetts, David Weinstein, Thad Dameris, John Easton, Trevor Jefferies, Jerry Ross, Sam Stubbs, and a number of high-quality counsel and associates.

"Our clients regularly recognize the contributions and accomplishments of each member of our litigation team," says Weinstein, leader of Pillsbury Winthrop’s Houston litigation practice. "We look forward to delivering the same results in the future."

Pillsbury Winthrop’s Houston office serves a wide range of clients, both domestic and international, in the industries of energy, real estate, technology, and aeronautics, with interests in Texas and markets throughout the world. Its attorneys have significant experience in complex, commercial, and environmental litigation, as well as finance and banking, and real estate.

Pillsbury Winthrop LLP is an international law firm with core practice areas in capital markets, real estate, financial services, litigation, intellectual property, global energy and technology. The firm has 16 offices worldwide. For further information, please visit http://www.pillsburywinthrop.com.

Contact: Eric Gertsman, 415-983-1368

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