A. Case Name: Shambria Smith v. Kansa Technology, L.L.C., et al.
B. Type of claim: Products Liability
C. Date of Loss: October 13, 2015
D. Venue: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
E. Judge: Honorable Kurt D. Engelhardt
F. Dates of Trial: April 30 – May 2, 2018
G. Plaintiff’s Trial Counsel: Willie G. Johnson, Jennifer O. Robinson, and Derek Elsey
H. Defendant’s Trial Counsel: Guyton H. Valdin, Jr. and Jade M. Wandell
Plaintiff Shambria Smith was involved in an accident on October 13, 2015, while she was working in the mail room at the Hammond Daily Star newspaper company. As a result of the accident, Plaintiff’s finger was traumatically amputated. Kansa Technology, L.L.C. manufactured a Kansa 480 Newspaper Inserter that was present in the mail room.
Plaintiff brought an action against Kansa Technology, L.L.C., claiming that the 480 Newspaper Inserter is unreasonably dangerous and caused her injuries. Kansa Technology, L.L.C. denied that the 480 Newspaper Inserter is unreasonably dangerous and also denied that the product was involved in Plaintiff’s accident.
At trial, Plaintiff asserted three theories of liability under the Louisiana Products Liability Act (LPLA), specifically alleging the Kansa 480 Newspaper Inserter to be unreasonably dangerous in construction/composition, in design, and due to inadequate warnings. Plaintiff offered expert testimony in support of these allegations.
Following the close of the parties’ cases-in-chief, Judge Engelhardt granted, in part, Kansa’s Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and dismissed Plaintiff’s claim that the Kansa 480 Newspaper Inserter is unreasonably dangerous in construction/composition. The case went to the jury on the two remaining theories of liability under the LPLA.
During closing argument, Plaintiff counsel asked the jury to return a verdict in Plaintiff’s favor and to award a total of $988,698 in damages. Following deliberations, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of Kansa Technology, L.L.C., concluding that the Kansa 480 Newspaper Inserter is not unreasonably dangerous in design or due to inadequate warnings. Given these findings, it was not necessary for the jury to render a verdict on the issue of causation, that is, whether the Kansa 480 Newspaper Inserter was involved in Plaintiff’s accident.