Appeals Court Overturns Jury Verdict in Florida Failure to Warn Lawsuit

In Trek Bicycle Corp. v. Miguelez, a Florida man apparently sustained personal injuries when the road bicycle he was riding suddenly stopped after an unspecified object became caught in the spokes. As a result of his harm, the man filed a failure to warn, products liability, and defective design and manufacture lawsuit against the manufacturer of the bicycle and the store that sold it to him in a Florida court. Although the bicycle manufacturer obtained a directed verdict regarding the hurt man’s other claims, the trial court declined to issue judgment in the company’s favor with regard to the man’s failure to warn cause of action. As a result, the lawsuit proceeded to a jury trial.

At trial, the hurt man claimed he would not have suffered harm if the bike company had placed a warning sticker stating the carbon forks could potentially crack or fail on the device. Following a jury trial, the injured bicyclist was awarded $800,000.00 in damages as a result of the bike manufacturer’s negligent failure to warn. Still, jurors opted not to issue a verdict against the bicycle retailer.

Next, the bike manufacturer filed an appeal with Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals. According to the court, the burden of establishing the man’s harm was “more likely than not” caused by the bicycle company’s failure to warn was on the plaintiff. After reviewing the evidence offered in the case, the appellate court held that the bike company’s failure was not the proximate cause of the injured man’s harm.

According to the Court of Appeals, proximate cause is a question of fact that is typically concerned with whether a defendant’s conduct could foreseeably cause a plaintiff’s actual injury. After that, the Florida court held that road debris was the proximate cause of the injured man’s harm. The court added that this danger was independent of the bike manufacturing process and a warning about the components used to build the bicycle would not have prevented the man’s harm.

Because the man’s injury accident resulted from his use of the bicycle equipment as intended, the court held that he failed to demonstrate the bike failure was more likely than not caused by the manufacturer’s negligent failure to warn. In addition, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals found that the trial court committed error when it denied the bike manufacturer’s motion for a directed verdict on this claim because there was no evidence upon which a jury could legally base an award. Finally, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order and remanded the case for entry of judgment in favor of the bicycle manufacturer.

If you or someone you love was injured by a dangerous or defective product in South Florida, you are advised to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. To discuss your right to receive damages for your harm with a hardworking Miami personal injury attorney today, do not hesitate to give the seasoned advocates at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. a call at (305) 448-8585 or contact us online.

Additional Resources:

Trek Bicycle Corp. v. Miguelez, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 3rd Dist. 2015

More Blog Posts:

Tampa Federal Court Holds Insurer Did Not Commit Bad Faith Following Motorcycle Accident, March 18, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Florida’s First District Remands Workers’ Compensation Case for Reconsideration of Injured Woman’s Statutory Employee Status, March 16, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

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