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HKPC Obtains 25 Minute Defense Jury Verdict In Maryland Treestand Product Liability Trial

In Frank v. Summit Treestands, LLC., Frederick County, Maryland, Mel Karfis and Barry Sutton recently obtained a lightning fast defense verdict on behalf of their treestand manufacturing client.  Plaintiff sought over $750,000.00 for serious spinal, chest and lung injury suffered when he fell 20 to 25 feet from his treestand.  He maintained that the cause was the result of a failure of the metal frame of the treestand and that his failure to use his harness in the matter intended was a foreseeable misuse of the product.  In a case which stressed the importance of warnings and safety videos, Barry and Mel, together with engineer-designer and safety pioneer Ron Woller, their experts, George Saunders (mechanical engineering) and L.J. Smith (renowned hunting safety expert), established that the metal deformation was the result of and not the cause of the fall, and that the plaintiff’s injuries were solely caused by his own decision to disregard repeated warnings to always wear his full body safety harness.  Deliberating only 25 minutes, the jury found that the product was not defective and was reasonably safe for its intended uses.  The case is important for the entire treestand industry because it pioneered the importance of safety videos (now co-packaged with every treestand) in the courtroom.  Mel and Barry, and another partner, John Prew, have developed a national practice defending treestand manufacturers throughout the United States.