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Lottery Litigation Dept.: Jeff Tamraz welding verdict

Welding equipment manufacturers had won 16 out of 17 cases alleging damages from welding fumes, cases that were based on questionable scientific evidence and sometimes even out-and-out fraud. But when damages are unbounded, the trial bar can make a profit on bogus product-liability claims just on the random mistakes juries make, and a $20.5 million verdict in federal litigation in Ohio is evidence of that. Over 3000 more cases remain pending in federal court in Ohio. (Scruggs Law Firm press releaseDamian G. Guevara, "Lincoln Electric ordered to pay welder sickened by fumes $17.5 million", Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Dec. 5; Erichson blog). (The $17.5 million in the newspaper headlines does not reflect the separate $3 million loss of consortium claim. (h/t S.R.)) The defendants' press release note that plaintiffs have been forced to voluntarily dismiss with prejudice thousands of cases already, and failed to recover any damages for any of their nine "showcase" plaintiffs. In April 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court denied an appeal of the only other plaintiffs' verdict. If this verdict stands (and there's a good chance of reversal in the Sixth Circuit on Daubert grounds), defendants will have won 16 out of 18 cases, but plaintiffs will be averaging over $1 million of recovery a case. See also Apr. 4.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.