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Podcast Features Wesley Ball on Mastering the Art of Trial Law

On a recent episode of the Trial Lawyer University podcast, veteran product defect trial lawyer Wesley Ball provided valuable insights for attorneys aiming to excel in the courtroom.  Among other topics, Mr. Ball and host Dan Ambrose discussed two of firm’s recent and high-profile cases against controversial figure Alex Jones and automotive giant Mitsubishi.

The conversation began with Mr. Ball discussing how the firm’s goals and focus shifted early, and that ability to adapt to changing circumstances has been critical to the firm’s success:

One of the things we said was we’re not doing any products cases, you’re not going to do that and blow all of the money we’ve got on one case, and we’ll be done. And about two or three weeks after we said that a really, really good and big products case walked through the door.

The discussion continues with the “Perry Mason” moment in the Alex Jones trial: 

And so, Mark begins to cross [Alex Jones] on this and sets him up a couple different ways. And I think the most famous part of that cross examination was, “Do you know that ten days ago your attorneys messed up and sent me a copy of your entire cell phone record?”

You could just see his eyes like deer in a headlight. … That was without a doubt the crowning moment of that trial.

The podcast concludes with Mr. Ball discussing the secrets of gaining a favorable jury verdict, including:

Anchoring your case all the way through from the beginning to the end is something that   I’ve come to really enjoy and strategizing and working with my consults on and is something that has taught me to be a better lawyer.

To listen to the complete hour-long episode, visit Trial Lawyer University.

Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP prevails for master woodworker, now quadriplegic 

PHILADELPHIA – A unanimous jury in Philadelphia has found in favor of a man left quadriplegic when the seat belt in his Mitsubishi 3000 GT failed to protect him during a 2017 accident and awarded almost $977 million.

The verdict on behalf of Francis Amagasu, 58, includes $176 million in compensatory damages and an additional $800 million in punitive damages. Attorneys in the case say the verdict is among the largest in Pennsylvania involving an automotive defect this year.

“Mr. Amagasu lives in a rehab facility now, but it may as well just be a prison cell,” says attorney Wes Ball of Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball in Houston. “He’s in a 10 by 12 room and has had to re-learn how to speak. But he testified and the jury heard his voice, loud and clear.”

The accident happened in November 2017 as Mr. Amagasu was driving in Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania. As he attempted to maneuver around another vehicle, Mr. Amagasu’s car rolled over. Though he was wearing a seat belt, it was one made with a so-called “rip-stitch” design, in which the belt rips apart to, in theory, better manage the forces in a crash.

To enhance the jury’s understanding of the case, the team at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball produced animated videos as demonstrative evidence. These visuals played a crucial role in illustrating how a defective seat belt led to Mr. Amagasu’s life-altering injuries in the 2017 automobile accident. These informative videos that played a pivotal role in securing the verdict are included below.

“But that design doesn’t work,” says attorney Kyle Farrar. “What happens is the seat belt intentionally tears apart and becomes four inches longer, making it easier for the person to move around and that’s what happened to Mr. Amagasu. His head was forced into the car’s roof, and he broke his neck.”

Prior to the accident, Mr. Amagasu was a master woodworker. Samples of work by his grandfather, artist George Nakashima, are on display in the Smithsonian.

In addition to lawyers from Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, Mr. Amagasu was represented by Daniel Sherry Jr., Nancy Winkler, and Jessica Colliver of Philadelphia-based Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck.

The case is Soomi Amagasu et al. v. Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., case number 02406, in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

The trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball have hard-earned expertise in cases against global auto and tire manufacturers over various automotive defects as well as tire tread separation defects that can cause vehicles to lose control and roll over, often at highway speeds and without warning. The firm has secured verdicts and settlements against some of the largest automakers in the world in cases involving auto defects. For more information, visit klfblaw.com.

Trial lawyer Kyle Farrar has been honored among Minnesota Lawyer magazine’s Attorneys of the Year for his role in litigation on behalf of thousands of individuals who have suffered injuries and medical complications after using the 3M Bair Hugger surgical blanket.

Mr. Farrar, who serves on the steering committee in the Bair Hugger multidistrict litigation consolidated in Minnesota federal court, is honored for work that resulted in a key appellate ruling from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that a lower court judge had abused her discretion when she excluded plaintiffs’ medical and engineering experts before granting summary judgment to 3M. The August 2021 ruling by the 8th Circuit means 3M Company must face more than 6,000 hip and knee infection lawsuits linked to the surgical blankets, with potentially thousands more cases expected to be filed.

The blankets, manufactured by Minnesota-based 3M, are used during surgery to prevent hypothermia. Each unit includes a warming unit that pumps air through a hose, filling a blanket which covers the patient. According to the lawsuits, the Bair Hugger device causes periprosthetic joint infections during surgery due to the air currents it creates, which have been shown to spread dirt, dust, and bacteria from the floor of the operating room to the site of the surgery, where sanitary conditions are critically important.

Mr. Farrar, a name partner in Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball, is a nationally respected trial lawyer who has earned record verdicts and settlements on behalf of individuals injured by dangerous and defective products. In addition to medical and pharmaceutical product liability litigation, he and the lawyers at the firm have prevailed in injury litigation against some of the world’s largest automotive and tire manufacturers.

In addition to Mr. Farrar, the successful Bair Hugger appellate team honored by Minnesota Lawyer magazine included Genevieve Zimmerman of Meshbesher & Spence; Mike Sacchet, Leslie O’Leary and Megan Odom of Ciresi Conlin; Gabriel Assaad of McDonald Worley; and Jake Zimmerman of the Zimmerman Firm. Click here to read more about the honor.

Tiremaker reaches end of line in appeal of judgment in fatal tire explosion caused by defective Goodyear G182 tire

NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., leaving in place a $7.2 million wrongful death verdict for the family of a Plaquemines Parish man who was killed when a defective Goodyear G182 tire suddenly exploded. Interest accrued during Goodyear’s appeal brings the award to nearly $8.9 million.

It is the tire defect lawsuit defeat for Goodyear in the case of Breaux v Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. stemming from a February 2014 incident in which Elwood Breaux Jr. suffered mortal injuries when a G182 tire experienced a “zipper failure” and ruptured as he was inflating it.

A three-judge panel from Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal previously found that the trial judge had ruled properly that Goodyear had not carried out its duty to warn about its tires’ dangers and how to avoid injury.

Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball trial lawyers Bruce Kaster, Skip Lynch, Wes Ball and Kyle Farrar handled the Sept. 2019 trial and appeals, along with the Louisiana-based firm of Meeks & Associates.

The case is one of several recent favorable outcomes secured by the Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball trial team, including:

  • A $3.08 million tire defect verdict against Kumho Tire in September 2021.
  • A defamation judgment in September 2021 against Alex Jones and InfoWars on behalf of parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
  • A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in March 2021 in a closely watched and precedent-setting product defect lawsuit against Ford on behalf of a young man who was injured by defective airbags in a Ford Crown Victoria.
  • A $1.2 million jury verdict upheld on appeal in May 2020 on behalf of an Arkansas truck driver seriously injured in a crash caused by a defective Hankook tire.
  • An $11.7 million product defect verdict and four related confidential settlements in 2018 for a New Jersey woman whose arm was severed after her car struck a large truck tire retread on the road.
  • Numerous tire defect settlements with significant confidential awards against some of the world’s largest tire and automotive companies, including Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Bridgestone Tire and Michelin.

About Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, the trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball LLP have hard-earned expertise in cases against global vehicle and tire manufacturers over product defects that can cause significant injury or death. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.

A $3.08 million tire defect verdict won by trial lawyers from Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball has caught the attention of numerous transportation and legal publications.

The Legal Intelligencer describes how the Pittsburgh jury’s unanimous verdict on September 29 hinged on the concept of “consumer expectation” – that products come with an expectation that they will not cause harm.

Writes the Legal Intelligencer:

Following a two-week trial involving expert testimony on the various aspects of a tire’s design and manufacturing, the jury’s Wednesday decision came down to the less technical matter of a consumer expectation test, which found that the product that caused the plaintiff’s injury did not perform as safely as its user reasonably assumed it would.

The trial addressed the liability of Kumho Tires USA in a 2014 trucking accident that left driver Milford Stevens with a number of bodily and neurological injuries. Stevens had been driving a dump truck on a public roadway when one of the truck’s KTUSA-manufactured tires peeled apart and caused Stevens to lose control of and crash the vehicle. A police report found that the failed tire was the primary cause of the accident.

The defense sought to prevent the plaintiffs from using the consumer expectation method of proof, both through a motion for summary judgment and a motion in limine. In its pretrial statement, it argued that “the mere presence of plaintiff’s expert opinion precludes application of the consumer expectation theory.”

Lead trial counsel Wesley Ball of Farrar & Ball, however, said, “I really believe that what the expert does is nothing more than really color what the jury already is going to have an understanding of.”

Writes Tire Business magazine:

The plaintiff, Milford Stevens, sued Good Tire Service Inc. of Altoona, Pa., after suffering serious neurological and physical injuries, including fractures to his vertebrae, head and face, in the September 2014 accident. Mr. Milford’s attorneys claim the tire, a Kumho Powerfleet 983, experienced a sudden tread failure, causing his fully loaded dump truck to crash and roll over.

Mr. Stevens was driving a 2007 Mack tri-axle dump truck, owned by Thomas Construction and loaded with over 72,000 pounds of sand, at highway speeds on U.S. 422 near Muddy Creek Township, Pa., according to the suit.

According to testimony in the case, the tread on the Kumho Powerfleet 983 tire, mounted on the vehicle’s left front wheel position, separated, causing Mr. Stevens to lose control.

During two weeks of trial testimony, trial lawyers Wes Ball and Skip Lynch of Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball presented evidence they claim showed the tire was defective in design and should not have been placed on the market.

Among other things, the attorneys presented evidence they claim showed that the rubber compound around the tire’s belts had insufficient antioxidant content, which they contended would have prevented the tire from premature failure due to oxidation issues.

Mr. Ball accused Kumho Tire USA of being “driven by profit rather than safety.”

“Bad designs cause bad problems,” he said. “Companies like this shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from our system of trade while disregarding the safety of our citizens.”

 Notes Law360:

As a result of the accident, Stevens suffered serious injuries, including fractures to his vertebrae, head and face, according to the suit. Stevens’ attorneys presented evidence at trial showing that the tire did not have adequate protection to prevent tire failure from oxidation, according to the release.

Sherry said the jury found that the tire was defective in its design, and not because of a manufacturing defect, and awarded Stevens approximately $256,000 for past medical expenses, $554,000 for his future life care plan, and $400,000 for past and future loss of household services, plus $1.8 million in noneconomic damages.

 

Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball lawyers: Defective Powerfleet 983 truck tire made truck a ‘ticking time bomb’ 

PITTSBURGH – An Allegheny County jury has returned a $3.08 million unanimous jury verdict for a truck driver who suffered severe injuries when a defective truck tire manufactured in Korea by Kumho Tire experienced a sudden tread failure causing his fully loaded dump truck to crash and roll over. 

Plaintiff Milford Stevens was carrying more than 72,000 pounds of sand when the tread separated on the left front Kumho Powerfleet 983 tire of the dump truck he was driving in September 2014. Mr. Stevens was traveling at highway speed when the 2007 Mack tri-axle dump truck owned by Thomas Construction flipped over on U.S. 422 near Muddy Creek Township. Mr. Stevens suffered serious neurological and physical injuries, including fractures to his vertebrae, head and face.  

During two weeks of trial testimony, trial lawyers Wes Ball and Skip Lynch of Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball presented evidence showing that the tire was defective in design and should not have been placed on the market. Among other things, evidence showed that the tire’s belts did not include an adequate AO package thereby preventing the tire from premature failure due to oxidation issues. 

“This truck was a ticking time bomb because manufacturers like Kumho Tire USA are driven by profit rather than safety,” said Mr. Ball. “Bad designs cause bad problems. Companies like this shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from our system of trade while disregarding the safety of our citizens.” 

In addition to lawyers from Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball, Mr. Stevens was represented by Dan Sherry Jr. of Philadelphia-based Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck. 

The case is Milford E. Stevens v. Good Tire Service Inc. et al., No. GD 15 13492, in the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, the trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP have hard-earned expertise in cases against global vehicle and tire manufacturers over defects that can cause significant injury or death. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.     

Trial Lawyers Wes Ball and Kyle Farrar have been recognized among Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers of 2021.

Trial Lawyer Wes Ball

This marks the first year of Lawdragon recognition for the two experienced lawyers, who have built reputations based on high-profile verdicts and settlements on behalf of individuals harmed by defective tires and automotive products and general personal injury litigation.

Trial Lawyer Kyle Farrar

The Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers is committed to researching attorneys nominated by their peers who strive to fight for justice for those facing life-altering problems. Lawdragon describes the attorneys named as those who “stand up against the worst, seeking justice and providing hope.” 

Earlier this year, Mr. Ball and Mr. Farrar were recognized as “Plaintiffs’ Trailblazers” by editors at the National Law Journal.

Recent successes include a closely watched precedent-setting product defect victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in Bandemer v. Ford. Also in 2021, the two were part of a Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball litigation team that preserved an earlier $7.2 million wrongful death trial verdict for the family of a man who was killed when a defective Goodyear G182 tire suddenly exploded.

After US Supreme Court victory, Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball team preserves trial verdict for family of man killed when tire exploded 

 

NEW ORLEANS – Hot off a precedent-setting product defect victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, the trial team at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball has emerged with another important win at the courthouse. 

This time, the KLF&B lawyers preserved their earlier $7.2 million wrongful death trial verdict for the family of a man who was killed when a defective Goodyear G182 tire suddenly exploded. The successful outcome in Breaux v Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is another example of the firm’s ability to win at trial and succeed at the appellate level against powerful corporate interests. 

 Firm co-founders Bruce Kaster, Skip Lynch, Wes Ball and Kyle Farrar led the Louisiana trial and appeal, along with local counsel Meeks & Associates LLC. In March 2021, the KLF&B team secured a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a closely watched product defect lawsuit against Ford.  

 The Bandemer v. Ford ruling at the high court was an important win for a young man who was injured when the airbags in a Ford Crown Victoria failed to deploy during a rollover accident. The court decision is also widely credited with preserving access to the legal system for individuals everywhere to seek justice when they are injured by dangerous and defective products. 

 The most recent court case dates back to Feb. 5, 2014, when Elwood Breaux Jr. and a co-worker were inflating a G182 tire after noticing the tire pressure was low. Mr. Breaux was holding the tire upright when the sidewall ruptured. He never left the hospital and died from his injuries 28 days later.   

 On May 12, a three-judge panel from Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal found that trial Judge Michael Clement had ruled properly when he determined that Goodyear had not carried out its duty to warn about its tires’ dangers and how to avoid injury. 

 Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, the trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP have hard-earned expertise in cases against global vehicle and tire manufacturers over defects that can cause significant injury or death. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.    

How Wes Ball and Kyle Farrar found their way to the top of the NLJ Trailblazers list 

HOUSTON, OCALA, Fla. – An important and closely watched victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in March along with a national docket of defective tire and auto litigation caught the attention of editors at the National Law Journalleading to 2021 Plaintiffs’ Trailblazers honors for trial lawyers Wes Ball and Kyle Farrar. 

Part of the nationally respected trial team at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball, the pair gained the attention of NLJs research staff following record jury verdicts involving dangerous tire treads and automotive products. Most recently, the two played key roles in a case that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and led to a precedent-setting opinion with lasting implications for product safety and U.S. consumers. 

Bandemer v. Ford is the story of a young man who was seriously injured in 2015 crash when an airbag failed to deploy in Ford Crown Victoria. In the product defect claim brought by Mr. Bandemer, Ford Motor Co. stonewalled by arguing that Mr. Bandemer could not file the lawsuit in his home state of Minnesota because the vehicle involved in the crash had been purchased in another state. Ford claimed that injured people in such situations could only seek justice in courts where a company has its headquarters.

Led by Mr. Farrar, the Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball team took Mr. Bandemer’s lawsuit from the trial court through the appeals process all the way to the nation’s highest court. In Marchthe justices returned an 8-0 opinion rejecting Ford’s argument. Legal observers and consumer-rights activists hailed the decision as a critically important protection for individuals hurt by dangerous or defective products.

In addition to Bandemerthe NLJ’s editors noted a string of large jury verdicts and settlements against manufacturers and transportation companies, as well as their active caseload of product defect lawsuits across the country.

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, the trial lawyers at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP have hard-earned expertise in cases against global vehicle and tire manufacturers over defects that can cause significant injuries or deaths. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit TheTireLawyers.com.

Media Contact:
Robert Tharp 
214-420-6011
robert@androvett.com

Veteran tire defect litigators make 2020 Super Lawyers lists in Texas, Florida

HOUSTON and OCALA, Fla. – Three veteran trial lawyers from Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball have been singled out by peer-review guide Super Lawyers for their litigation success at holding tire manufacturers accountable for defective and dangerous tires.

Attorneys Bruce Kaster, Wes Ball and Kyle Farrar earned repeat recognition on the prestigious list based on feedback from peer lawyers and the team’s string of wins in hard-fought litigation against domestic and international tire manufacturers. They were honored for products liability and plaintiff personal injury work.

Along with firm co-founder and trailblazing trial lawyer Skip Lynch, they have earned record verdicts and settlements across the U.S. on behalf of victims of vehicle crashes caused by defective tire treads. Their work has helped shine a light on the need for transparency and better oversight of tire manufacturers.

Mr. Kaster marked his fifth year on the Florida Super Lawyers list. Messrs. Farrar and Ball have made the Texas Super Lawyers list every year since 2014 and before that were on the Rising Stars list of up-and-coming young lawyers.

Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball trial lawyers are authorities on accidents caused by defective tire treads, litigating high-profile lawsuits against domestic and international manufacturers in China, South Korea and Japan. They have managed to obtain closely guarded internal documents that revealed previously unknown design and manufacturing defects. Theirs is the only U.S. law firm to have secured court orders to inspect Asian tire manufacturers and to conduct an inspection of such plants.

“We’re dedicated to holding manufacturers accountable for the safety of these products, and we’re proud to earn this recognition from our legal peers,” said Mr. Kaster.

Super Lawyers, owned by Thomson Reuters, uses a patented selection process involving peer nominations and independent research. No more than 5 percent of a state’s lawyers can be selected.

About Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball

Based in Ocala, Florida, and Houston, trial lawyers at Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball have hard-earned expertise in cases against global vehicle and tire manufacturers over various defects that can cause significant injuries and death. The firm is a nationwide leader in securing verdicts and settlements against the world’s largest tire and vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit www.TheTireLawyers.com and www.FBtrial.com.