The largest automotive recall in U.S. history still has motorists wondering if their Takata airbags will explode and shoot shrapnel through their vehicles. But, another set of unsuspecting motorists might not know they’re in danger.
Langdon & Emison attorneys Kent Emison and Michael Serra have been published by Thomson Reuters' Automotive Journal, on the subject of guardrail defects. "Defective guardrails in serious injury and death cases" takes a look at the many design defects of the end terminals that are out there on American roadways, particularly those models made by Trinity and Lindsay Transportation's Barrier Systems.
"As a result of ongoing litigation and public awareness, many states have barred the installation of these dangerous guardrail end terminals, and some have even begun the expensive process of removing them from the roadway," they wrote. "But nearly half the states continue to install these defective and dangerous guardrail systems on our roadways. Until they are removed, it is likely that more deaths and serious injuries will occur."
Kent is a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and for 2018 was named "Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year" for the Kansas City metro area by Best Lawyers in America. He is a frequent lecturer to bar associations and trial lawyer groups nationwide, and devotes 100 percent of his practice to litigation in product liability, motor vehicle accidents, and other cases involving personal injury and wrongful death.
Michael has been named a "Rising Star" in personal injury litigation by the Super Lawyers publication, bringing a firm commitment to justice to his work and a breadth of experience going up against large corporations. As an associate at Langdon & Emison, Michael plays a key role in all phases of litigation for cases involving defective vehicles and products; electrical shock injuries; railroad accidents; and other instances of negligence.
The spring 2018 edition of the Langdon & Emison newsletter has been published. Inside this edition, you can read about defective Takata airbags, truck accident recoveries, tips on an effective focus group for plaintiffs' cases, and many more substantive topics.
To read the full newsletter, click here.
Dangerous recreational vehicle (RV) tires, manufactured by Goodyear, are at the center of a federal investigation and lawsuits nationwide. Are your RV tires safe? Maybe not, according to a recent blog published by Langdon & Emison partner David Brose.
Takata has finally pleaded guilty to deceiving automakers about the safety of its airbags. This week's guilty plea by Takata in federal court, as well as the new accusations against automakers in a separate lawsuit, show that legal proceedings in the airbag scandal continue to move forward.
Langdon & Emison partner Brett Emison recently published an article, "Screening for Auto Defects" in the November 2016 issue of Trial magazine, an American Association for Justice publication. Emison works routinely with attorneys across the United States to evaluate catastrophic injury and death cases for potential auto product defects.
"When handling auto crash cases, you must be diligent and identify all potential failures that resulted in injury--an auto defect may result in more serious injuries than would have occurred otherwise," Emison said.
In most cases, drivers carry only the minimum auto insurance that their states require, ranging from only $15,000 to $50,000. In these instances, negligent drivers are vastly underinsured, highlighting the critical importance of carefully evaluating every motor vehicle crash for a potential auto product defect.
According to Emison, there are four scenarios to consider when evaluating whether an auto defect contributed to an injury or death:
· A minor collision at residential speeds results in catastrophic injury or death.
· A single occupant is severely injured or killed while other occupants suffer minor, if any, injuries.
· Failure of or severe damage to a localized area of the vehicle.
· Seat-belted occupants are seriously injured or ejected.
The work conducted within the first few days or weeks after a client contacts an attorney is crucial for successfully identifying a product defect. Emison describes several types of auto defects that can contribute to a serious injury, including defective seatbacks, fuel-fed fires and defective tires.
“Every trial lawyer should screen an auto crash for potential auto defect claims,” Emison said. “You often can conduct an initial review with only an accident report and few photographs, though additional follow-up may be required.”
View Emison’s full article here, or listen to him talk about identifying auto product defect claims in this video.
About Brett Emison
Brett A. Emison is a partner at Langdon & Emison where his practice focused almost exclusively on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as class action and other complex tort cases. His experience and expertise spans an array of personal injury litigation, including auto product defects; railroad crossing accidents; trucking accidents; and defective drugs and medical devices. Mr. Emison is a member of the American Association for Justice Leaders Forum. Brett also serves on AAJ’s Publications Committee; PAC Board of Trustees; and its National Finance Council. Because of his vast experience, he is regularly published in national trade publications on product liability and other contemporary legal topics.
About Langdon & Emison
Langdon & Emison is recognized as one of the nation’s leading personal injury law firms, having taken on some of the world’s largest corporations on behalf of injured people and their families in courtrooms from coast to coast. Langdon & Emison represented the plaintiff in Baker vs. General Motors, a landmark lawsuit where for the first time evidence was admitted into court proving an automaker’s deliberate choice of profits over human safety. With offices in Lexington and Kansas City (Mo.), St. Louis, and Chicago, the firm has earned a national reputation as a leader in auto defect cases, trucking accidents and a full array of personal injury litigation.
Consumers buy new vehicles for the promise of dependability and safety; however, new car buyers could be purchasing vehicles equipped with defective airbags that can explode or rupture with excessive force and shoot metal shrapnel throughout the vehicle compartment.
In a closely watched civil trial in the Superior Court of California, a legal team from the Missouri-based law firm of Langdon & Emison recently obtained a $23.4 million verdict against Ford Motor Company on behalf of a single mother who suffered permanent injuries as a result of a 2007 accident.
In the case, Cynthia Castillo v. Ford Motor Company et al (Case No. CIVRS 706262), Ms. Castillo filed a lawsuit against Ford and the companies who manufactured and installed the tires on her 1997 Ford Explorer. Her lawsuit was based on a tragic car accident caused when the left rear tire on her vehicle “de-treaded” on a California freeway and the vehicle instantly became unstable and uncontrollable, forcing the Explorer to run off the freeway and roll down a steep embankment.
The accident knocked Ms. Castillo unconscious and she suffered brain damage. Just 38 years old at the time of the incident, she is now a quadriplegic, fully dependent on 24/7 care for the remainder of her life. Instead of being the caregiver for her young daughter, her child became one of her moms caregivers.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Castillo argued that the accident was caused by hidden handling defects in the Explorer. At trial, Ms. Castillo’s legal team — Robert L. Langdon, Adam W. Graves and Phyllis A. Norman of Langdon & Emison and Daniel T. DeFeo of the DeFeo Law Firm — presented evidence that high level management at Fords world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. were aware of similar wrecks caused by hidden handling defects. Specifically, they introduced evidence showing that Ford spent $3.5 million correcting the defect in Venezuela, but chose to ignore the fix recommended by its own engineers and not to spend the $500 million needed to fix the Explorers in North America.
After a six-week trial and more than three days of deliberations, the California jury in the case reached a unanimous verdict finding the Ford Explorer to be defective. The jury awarded Ms. Castillo $13.4 million for medical care and future life needs and another $10 million for her pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
“Cynthia Castillo was among Ford's targeted group of soccer moms for the 4 million Ford Explorer SUVs sold in North America from 1990 to 2001, which fit the active, athletic lifestyle she enjoyed with her then 7 year old daughter,” said Langdon.” That all came to an abrupt halt on the day of her accident, but we are pleased that justice was served with the jurys verdict and thankful that Cynthia will be able to receive the additional care she needs and deserves.”
Langdon & Emison is recognized throughout the country as a leader in the areas of product liability and personal injury law. From its offices just outside Kansas City, the attorneys at Langdon & Emison serve clients across the nation who have been injured or lost a loved one in an automobile accident that occurred due to a defective product or the negligence of another party.