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June 2021

New York Senior Counsel Joseph T. Rivera, Jr. Wins Unanimous Defense Verdict Following Jury Trial in the District of Connecticut

On June 9, 2021, the New York Product Liability team and its Senior Counsel Joseph T. Rivera, Jr. successfully obtained a unanimous defense verdict following a four-day jury trial in the United States District Court of Connecticut, on behalf of an international bicycle distributor and national retailer. 

The plaintiff, who was 51 years of age at the time, allegedly sustained significant ankle and knee injuries while riding a bicycle in Connecticut downhill on a residential street into oncoming traffic.  The plaintiff alleged that while riding this bicycle, she attempted to slow down but could not due to a defect within the bicycle which caused her to suddenly turn off the road and crash into a curb causing her to sustain significant injuries. The plaintiff asserted a strict product liability cause of action against the bicycle distributor and retailer based on Connecticut’s Product Liability Act, alleging that a manufacturing defect within the bicycle proximately caused her injuries.  Due to the alleged incident, the plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries to her ankle and knee and claimed she suffered permanent injuries, including scarring, limited range of motion, impairment of activities of daily living, chronic pain syndrome, depression, anxiety, etc.  At trial, the plaintiff demanded nearly $4,000,000.

During the trial, Rivera was able to establish that the plaintiff’s own negligence, and not any alleged defect within the bicycle, proximately caused her accident.  With a meticulously thought-out trial strategy and deliberate cross-examination of multiple witnesses including plaintiff’s bicycle expert, Rivera also successfully established numerous inconsistencies between plaintiff’s trial testimony and her other witnesses’ trial testimonies.

After the trial concluded, despite not hearing from any defense witnesses, the eight-person jury returned a unanimous defense verdict finding that plaintiff failed to meet her burden of proof and, therefore, was not entitled to any relief on her product liability claim. This successful outcome results from the outstanding strategy, support, and tireless efforts of the entire New York Product Liability team, especially team leader Gregg Minkin, Senior Counsel James Nally and paralegal Frances Pena

Gregg D. Minkin
Joseph T. Rivera Jr.