Clark Hill Successfully Defends Treestand Company in Jury Trial
Barry Sutton and Steve Brock led a Clark Hill team in a successful defense of Summit Treestands in a May 12 jury trial in the Western District of Louisiana. The Clark Hill team was supported by Melonnie Eader, Jennifer Howard, Mariah Mumford, Jessica Reilly, Eddie Fornell, Carol Schley, and Shauna Duggan up to and throughout the trial.
The case resulted from a November 2019 accident when the plaintiff was hunting in Kisatchie National Forest. Sutton and his team were able to prove that the plaintiff, who was using a Summit Viper treestand, failed to properly use the treestand and follow instructions and warnings, including failing to keep the harness attached to the tree at all times after leaving the ground.
“Getting the plaintiff himself to admit on cross-examination that he intentionally misused the product was especially key to proving our case to the jury,” Sutton said. “The testimony of the Summit engineers and our experienced experts demonstrated the testing and effort that had gone into the design of the product. We were able to show the jury through testing that the product is safe for its intended uses.”
After a four-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in less than 40 minutes and determined there was no defect in the product, and concluded that the product was safe.
“We have been representing this industry for about two decades and have developed a team of attorneys and experts with knowledge of how to defend these cases and put convincing evidence before the jury,” Sutton said. “It was a great win for our team, which worked long, diligent hours. The client and the witnesses were excellent and compelling,” Sutton said. “I am extraordinarily proud of this team and honored and humbled to be a part of it.”
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