News Brief

Lee and Tatarka Obtain Summary Judgment in Product Liability Suit

June 4, 2019

Suna Lee (Of Counsel-New Jersey) and Gregg Tatarka (Partner-White Plains) recently obtained summary judgment in a product liability suit with a June trial date and a demand of $1.95 million in Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County. Suna and Gregg represented the alleged distributor of a lithium-ion battery that injured the plaintiff when it went into thermal runaway, causing significant burn injuries. Investigation revealed that the plaintiff had misidentified the battery, and Suna and Gregg provided the identity of the correct manufacturer. Instead of re-filing, plaintiff’s counsel developed a theory that our client was engaged in a scheme to sell counterfeit batteries, in spite of testing performed by the defense expert that concluded our client sold only legitimate batteries. At deposition Suna and Gregg extricated an admission from the plaintiff’s expert that he had no evidence of counterfeiting other than plaintiff’s testimony, no methodology for arriving at his opinions, and it was just as likely that the battery cell had been misidentified and was not counterfeit. The co-defendant vape shop retailer settled for an undisclosed amount prior to the Motion being heard and without discussion with either Suna or Gregg. In addition to granting summary judgment, the court also sua sponte excluded plaintiff’s expert based on the deposition testimony obtained. 

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