Andy Payne, Todd Ramsey and Stefanie Bradshaw receive $16.3 million verdict
On October 23, 2015, a Tarrant County jury returned a 16.3 million dollar verdict in favor of Plaintiff, Clarence Johnson. The product liability case involved an air conditioning compressor and components designed and sold by Emerson Climate Technologies and Fusite. The defendants’ compressor failed, spewing pressurized hot flaming oil onto Mr. Johnson’s face, neck and torso.
The case was tried in the 48th District Court of Tarrant County, the Honorable David Evans presiding. Clarence Johnson was represented by Andy Payne, Todd Ramsey and Stefanie Bradshaw of the Payne Mitchell Ramsey. John Bush of the Bush Law Firm and John Jose of Fort Worth also represented Mr. Johnson. Emerson Climate and Fusite were represented by Ethan Shaw of Austin, Texas and Adam Peck and Melody Eagan of Alabama.
Plaintiff alleged that the compressor was defective in the design of its electrical terminal, the lack of appropriate guarding and its lack of adequate warnings. “We were pleased that the jury found for Mr. Johnson on all defect theories,” said lead plaintiff counsel Andy Payne. In the trial, plaintiff’s team brought to light defendants’ own patents and testing demonstrating defendants’ knowledge of the hazard and a fix for the hazard that the defendants sold on other products. “Despite admitted knowledge of the hazard, the defendants made no effort to warn of the hazard,” reports Todd Ramsey who believes this motivated the jury to return a large verdict.
Although defendants offered no money to settle, the jury returned a substantial verdict of 16.3 million dollars, placing only ten percent fault on Mr. Johnson. “We hope that Emerson will receive the message sent by this Tarrant County jury and take steps to improve their products’ design and warnings so this never happens again,” said Andy Payne.