It's not every day that you see a court actually increase the amount of damages that is awarded to a personal injury plaintiff. But in Adams v. Genie Industries, that is exactly what happened.

In this products liability case, the plaintiff suffered injuries to his knee and wrist after falling off of the personnel lifting machine that  serious wrist and knee injuries when he fell from a lift basket that was part of a personnel lifting machine that was both manufactured and sold by the defendant. Based upon expert testimony that was presented at trial, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant should be held strictly liable as well as negligent because the machine's stabilizers weren't fitted with an interlock device that would prevent the lift could from operating unless the stabilizers were in place. (Importantly, the expert also opined that proper outrigger interlocks would not only have prevented the plaintiff's accident from occurring in the first place, but they were available as far back as 1987 at a reasonable cost.)

Although the New York County jury awarded plaintiff a total of $500,000 in damages for his personal injuries, the trial court agreed with plaintiff's counsel that this award was inadequate, and therefore increased the award to $1.25 million. Given the size of the award, it is not surprising that this case was taken all the way to New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

Unfortunately for the defendant, it certainly looks like this effort was all for naught.
Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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