Products Liability

Because the results obtained in specific cases depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, past case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in future cases undertaken by a lawyer or law firm.

$2 million for Worker’s Hand Crushed by Unsafe Trash Truck Cable Mechanism

The plaintiff was working on the driver’s side of a trash truck, which was equipped with a winch and cable system to hoist dumpsters. When he and a co-worker stepped onto the rear platform, the winch control lever released the cable which rapidly retracted and entrapped the plaintiff’s hand. His hand was fully crushed and permanently disabled. Sickels, Frei and Mims alleged that the product was negligently designed because there were no warnings, no safe place to store the winch hook, and no mechanism to prevent the control lever’s inadvertent activation. During the deposition of the manufacturer’s corporate designee, partner Gary Mims obtained several concessions, including that a $50 part would have mitigated the unsafe condition. The manufacturer agreed to pay their full liability coverage of $2 million.

Diet Supplement Causes Stroke

Plaintiff purchased a diet control ephedra supplement in order to lose a few pounds for her upcoming wedding. Plaintiff suffered a stroke as a result of taking the weight loss pills as directed by the manufacturer. The supplement contained “MaHuang” and “ephredrine” or “ephedra alkaloids” as well as the stimulant “guarana seed extract”, “caffeine” and other ingredients. The presence of “MaHuang” in combination with “guarana” and other ingredients created a product which presented a risk of foreseeable injury to people who consumed the supplement. The manufacturer marketed the supplement as safe and effective for weight loss and the directions for use of the product were insufficient, inadequate and defective. Sickels, Frei and Mims was successful in reaching a favorable settlement for the Plaintiff in this case.

Training Soccer Ball Defect Causes Teen Eye Injury

Plaintiff, a 13-year-old female, was injured while removing soccer training ball from a storage bin in her garage. The training device was a soccer ball with a high energy storing cord (bungee) attached, which would return the ball to the body when kicked. A small toggle device, to adjust the cord fit around the waist, was at one end of the cord and the ball was at the other. While attempting to remove the ball from the storage bin the toggle snagged momentarily and then released with great velocity striking the plaintiff in the eye. The impact caused a cataract and subsequent glaucoma. The plaintiff had cataract surgery and procedures to address the high pressure. Ultimately the increased pressure rendered her vision in the injured eye a permanent non-correctible 20/100. During mediation, Sickels, Frei and Mims attorneys were able to secure a favorable settlement of $450,000 for the Plaintiff. As a result of this case, the manufacturer no longer makes nor sells the product.

Car Seatback Failure Injures Child in Booster Seat

A four year old sustained crush injuries to her skull, head and face in an automobile accident. The child was seated in her child booster seat behind her father who was driving the family minivan home from a family vacation. While sitting at a red light, the minivan was rear-ended by a sports car traveling up to 14 mph. This seemingly minor rear-end collision caused the father’s seat to collapse backwards, throwing the father backwards while still belted in his seat and his head hit his child’s face with such force that he was knocked unconscious. Sickels, Frei and Mims filed suit against the auto manufacturer and the dealership as this same defective seatback scenario had occurred numerous times before during minor rear-end impact collisions. This case resulted in a confidential settlement that was highly favorable for the child and her family.

Child Dies in Hot Tub Suction Entrapment

A 12 year old girl was swimming with her twin sister and numerous other children in a spa/hot tub that was attached to a swimming pool. The spa had a flat drain cover over the drain and the child buttocks covered the drain and she became suction entrapped to the drain cover. It was estimated that the entrapping suction force was approximately 700 lbs/sq. in. Two adult males were finally able to remove the child from the drain cover only after the cover itself broke. The pool and spa industry has been aware of the risks of suction entrapment for many years and has had the technology available to severely limit, if not eliminate this risk to individuals, especially children. Sickels, Frei and Mims brought action against the pump manufacturer and the manufacturers of the drain cover. This lawsuit resulted in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act of 2007, requiring safety standards for pool drains and drain covers. These safety requirements will help to protect children and adults from the tragedy that struck this family.

$4.87 Million for Victims of Defective Knee Prostheses

Case was on behalf of four patients who received defective knee prostheses, the Duracon Unicompartmental Knee (DUK) The problem with the implants was detected by the knee surgeon who observed that his DUK patients, whose knees should have lasted their lifetimes, were experiencing pain, swelling and radiological evidence of premature wear within a year or two of implant. The Plaintiff successfully established that the artificial knees were oxidizing due to the method of sterilization and excessive shelf life. Three of the four patients required explantation (removal) of the defective knees and revision surgery or new knee implants. The fourth patient, an 85 year old woman, did not require surgery. The jury awarded $4.87 million.

Commonly-used Exercise Cable Snaps, Causing Permanent Eye Injury to Trainer

A young mom and part-time physical trainer was teaching her client how to use an exercise resistance tube, a commonly-used, inexpensive piece of equipment found in most PT centers and gyms. The client was doing a “bear crawl” when the tube suddenly broke, snapping the trainer in the eye and causing permanent injury to the retina. The victim came to Sickels, Frei and Mims after other lawyers told her that her only remedy was through Workers Compensation. Partner Gary Mims analyzed the case as one of products liability, under the theory of implied warranty – that the product was not reasonably safe for its intended purpose. Mims identified other, similar resistance cables that were designed to prevent injury if the tube broke and filed suit against the manufacturer. The case settled before trial for $500,000.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Gary Mims represented me as my attorney with an issue I had last year. Working with Gary was a pleasure. He was very understanding about my situation, and it was affirming to talk to him. He had a good grasp not only of the legal issues, but the technical issues with my case. Other attorneys I had approached were less receptive because they were not familiar with my particular issue; Gary was. He was professional, empathetic, and a zealous advocate. I was very pleased with how he handled my case... Lisa Ramish
★★★★★
This is the ‘go to’ firm in Northern Virginia for personal injury law. They did a fabulous job for us. I would highly recommend them. They definitely went above and beyond for us with a great result. Christine Bates
★★★★★
Trusted advice and guidance when you need it most: Gary Mims of Sickels, Frei and Mims, provided outstanding help and guidance through a difficult, emotional and often complex process. When we first thought we might need legal assistance we reached out to several attorneys that we found on the internet and Gary stood out from all the rest: he explained the situation and process ahead in simple terms that we were able to understand...While we hope not to need legal support in the future, if we did, Gary Mims would most certainly be our first, and only, choice. 10 out of 10, thank you Colonel Jeremy Johnson