New York State Judge Awards $7.5 Million In Product Liability Action After Man Severely Burned By Faulty Kenmore/Electrolux Electric Range
On Aug. 19, 2009, 19-year-old plaintiff Christopher Bent was cooking at his parents' home when the Kenmore smooth top electric range that had been turned off allegedly reignited and caused an oil fire to erupt. Plaintiff sustained significant burn injuries including second and third degree burns to his hands, arms, feet, and legs requiring surgery and resulting in permanent disfiguring scars and related nerve damage.
Plaintiff filed a product liability action against defendants Sears, Roebuck, & Company and Electrolux Home Products in the Supreme Court of New York County, NY, on Oct. 16, 2009. Judge Geoffrey Wright struck defendants' answers on Aug. 28, 2014, and entered default judgment against them upon finding that defendants had contemptuously failed to provide ordered discovery. That order was affirmed on appeal.
On April 22, 2016, following a trial to the court, Judge Wright awarded plaintiff $5,000,000, including $2,000,000 for past pain and suffering and $3,000,000 in future pain and suffering. The parties submitted post-trial briefs on the issue of punitive damages, plaintiff arguing that defendants failed to act to protect consumers after becoming aware of literally hundreds of instances where the defendants' smooth top electric range models spontaneously turned on or failed to turn off and were aware of these dangerous propensities for more than two years before the malfunction that permanently disfigured plaintiff. Judge Wright granted plaintiff's motion for punitive damages and awarded an additional $2,500,000 on July 13, 2016. According to information provided by plaintiff's counsel, defendant had offered $2,000,000 and plaintiff had demanded $4,500,000 prior to trial.
Lexis Advance subscribers can view the full summary, including expert information, here: Christopher Bent v. Sears, Roebuck, & Co. and Electrolux Home Products; 2016 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 6658
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