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Mechanic v. Industrial Toolmaker

In Mechanic v. Industrial Toolmaker (Central Valley Sup. Ct.), Joseph Nicholson and Khaldoun Baghdadi negotiated a major seven figure confidential settlement on behalf of the family of a 30-year-old laborer who was crushed and killed while performing repairs to equipment at an agricultural shipping center. During maintenance of the equipment used by the shipper, the laborer was working beneath a heavy metal plate supported by a rod much like the hood of a car. The decedent misplaced the support in a manner that caused its failure which Joseph and Khaldoun claimed was foreseeable under California product liability law. Their team developed evidence that other users were similarly misplacing the rod. They were also able to show that the manufacturer of the device was aware of such potential misuse at least a year before the death but took no remedial action. While the manufacturer ultimately made changes to the design of newer models of the machine, it never recalled or retrofitted the one which killed the plaintiff’s decedent. The trial was continued twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the matter eventually settled through mediation.

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