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Texas Supreme Court Takes Another Decision Away From A Jury

Jim M. Zadeh
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Attorney at Law
Posted on May 08, 2015

On May 7, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court addressed the issue of a manufacturer's design defect and whether a safer alternative design was available in Genie Industries v. Matak.  Matak was working on the platform of a fully extended 40 foot aerial lift when the lift tipped over and Matak died of massive head injuries.  The jury found the aerial lift was defectively designed and found the manufacturer, Genie industries 55% responsible for the damages and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed the jury, trial court, and appellate court's judgment and rendered judgment in favor of Genie Industries.  The Texas Supreme Court reasoned that the aerial lift was not unreasonably dangerous, a decision that directly contradicted the decision of the jury.  A review of the opinion shows that the Texas Supreme Court put great weight on the evidence supporting Genie Industries and minimized the evidence in favor of the deceased.  Three members of the Supreme Court dissented stating, in essence, the Texas Supreme Court should not substitute their judgment for the judgment of the jury.