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Oct 24, 2023

Summary Judgment Victory for Multinational Technology Company in Product Liability Case

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice in collaboration with our client’s lead counsel with Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP, obtained a defense judgment in a case filed by a car transport company which sought $1.8 million in damages.

The case was originally filed in Delaware in 2019 but subsequently dismissed and refiled in the District Court for Johnson County, Kansas. Plaintiff claimed that they were relying upon a navigation device designed by the client during a route to transport vehicles, when they struck a low bridge, damaging the subject tractor-trailer and its contents.

Baker Sterchi and Gordon Rees filed a summary judgment motion, asserting that at the close of discovery, plaintiff had failed to establish that the product at issue was defective where the only evidence proffered for a claimed “defect” was an expert’s testimony that, at a later date, the GPS device did not signal a warning of the low bridge or that data was unavailable. Counsel also argued that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie claim for its express warranty claim due to a driver’s non-delegable duty to exercise caution, and that plaintiff could not establish that the subject GPS was purchased for something other than its ordinary purpose, rendering the breach of implied warranty claim invalid.

Baker Sterchi and Gordon Rees also filed and argued a motion to strike several late witnesses and untimely-disclosed categories of damages, which threatened to quintuple plaintiff’s original damage claim. Ultimately, the Court ruled in favor of the defense as to both motions. This result is a meaningful win for technology companies that have GPS navigation device product offerings, as drivers must exercise reasonable caution whether or not they claim to rely upon the device.