Product Liability Attorneys
Taking on the country's largest manufacturers requires superior legal skills and technical knowledge. Our attorneys are ready for the challenge, relying on their decades of experience in product liability cases.
The history of product liability in Washington is complicated and convoluted. However, in 1981, the Washington legislature passed the Washington Products Liability Act, which created a comprehensive set of laws dealing with product liability claims. The effect of the WPLA was to shift the focus from the conduct of the manufacturer to the reasonable safety of the product in order to more adequately protect the consumer.
Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in each of the several types of product liability cases. The first type of product liability is a duty to warn. Manufacturers have a duty to warn against potential harms resulting from the use of their products. An example would include the requirement that cleaning solution contain a warning that it should not be ingested orally, which is not only reasonably foreseeable, but could result in serious danger to the consumer.
Next, our attorneys have successfully represented numerous clients in manufacturing defect claims. Manufacturing defects occur when a product deviates in a material way from the design specifications and other identical units. These products are "flukes" in the system, and simply find their way into the stream of commerce containing a defect that deviates from the design specifications intended by the manufacturer.
Manufacturers may also be liable for defects discovered after the manufacture and sale of a product. When a manufacturer learns, or should have learned, about a danger posed by their product after it has been manufactured, they have a duty to issue adequate warnings to consumers. The most common example of this type of product liability is failing to issue a product recall.
Finally, our attorneys have helped consumers hold manufacturers responsible for injuries and deaths caused by the defective designs of products including cars, trucks, cranes, pharmaceutical drugs, motorcycles, hydraulic lifts, and gas tanks to name a few.
A product will be considered defectively designed if it is unreasonably dangerous and every product designed by the manufacturer contains the same defect.
SKW has substantial experience related to auto products liability, which is a specific category of products liability. Ford, Nissan, Yamaha, Toyota, Hyundai and General Motors are among the national vehicle manufacturers who have unsuccessfully defended themselves against our attorneys.
The attorneys at SKW are passionate about using the legal system to encourage manufacturers to design and manufacture their products with consumer safety as their first priority. We have years of unmatched experience in products liability law, which gives our team the necessary knowledge and confidence to take on the nation's largest manufacturers and bring justice to those injured or killed by product defects.
Learn about the Monster Truck Case and how SKW helped the Hizey family.
Michael Kirkland v. Emhart Glass
"Gobs" of white hot molten glass enter metal molds that form the molten glass into bottles. Newly-formed, red-hot (500° to 1000+°) bottles are discharged onto a conveyor. Michael Kirkland had worked in the bottling industry for 30 years. He had changed molds on bottle-manufacturing machines many times. In November 2008, Mike lost his balance and fell onto the conveyor, when he was straddling the conveyor belt as workers were required to change the bottle molds. He landed on a red hot bottle, which lodged in his rectum, causing severe internal and external burn injuries.
A European safety standard specifically addresses this type of machine. Although Emhart provided guards to address pinch points and other hazards on the machine, it did not provide a guard to protect people working over the conveyor from coming into contact with hot bottles on the conveyor.
The Court ruled that product manufacturers, including Emhart Glass, have a nondelegable duty to design products that are reasonably safe.
Postscript: During the lawsuit, defense witnesses testified that it was impractical to have a guard over the conveyor for various reasons and that a guard over the conveyor would create other hazards. In March 2012, less than a year after the product liability lawsuit concluded, Emhart Glass announced that it was incorporating a new Conveyor Ladder into the design of its machines "to perform easy and safe service of molds" by "providing a thermal insulated ‘tunnel' with an integrated footstep." Emhart Glass' website states that the new Conveyor Ladder "improves protection against contact with hot containers on the conveyor, minimizing the risk of getting burned and the risk of slipping and falling."
Moore v. International Harvester
$2.7 million settlement
Settlement was reached on behalf of a 19-year-old man who was badly burned.
Flood v. Proler Settlement for policy limit
A man's arm was amputated in an incident caused by faulty equipment at a scrap steel facility.
Wirth v. Lederle
A batch of DPT vaccine that was "hot", or stronger than it should have been, affected several children in the western U.S. Our young client had a high fever then a seizure that the doctor couldn't bring down. The boy suffered brain damage and eventually, death.
Carpenter v. North Thurston School District
A manufacturer of soccer goals failed to provide a warning that the goal could tip if weight was applied to the top bar. The plaintiff suffered a closed head injury when the goal tipped while he was doing chinups from the top bar.
Barker & Coleman v. Teco
A manufacturing defect in a hydraulic lift caused the lift to fail and resulted in severe injuries to P.U.D. workers.
Alward v. Lane Int'l Corp
A manufacturer of manhole ladders had been having trouble with its crimping machine, which caused the ladders to break apart during use. The plaintiff was severely injured from the ladder he was climbing as a result of the defect.
Turner v. Ford Motor Co
A man was severely burned in an accident when the filler neck of his gas tank broke off, causing the vehicle to catch on fire. The filler neck of the gas tank was located directly behind the driver's side window of the vehicle. The manufacturer learned that the filler neck had a propensity to break off, and also knew that deaths had resulted from this defect. Despite this knowledge, the manufacturer failed to warn customers who had previously purchased the vehicle of the dangers the defect presented.
Brown v. Yamaha
A fifteen year old plaintiff was rendered a spastic quadriplegic due to the manufacturer's failure to provide a simple kill switch on a Yamaha motorcycle.
Magana v. Hyundai Motor Corp
A defectively designed seat back on a Hyundai vehicle failed and launched the plaintiff backwards and through the rear windown.
Stanton v. Lemay
A mother and her two children were killed when their vehicle collided with the rear end of a garbage truck. The garbage truck was defectively designed in that it did not contain an under-ride guard, which would have prevented the fatalities by allowing the plaintiff's vehicle to absorb the effects of the crash properly.