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Obion County jury awards UC man $2.3M

Obion County jury awards UC man $2.3M

Posted: Monday, December 22, 2008 9:14 pm

 An Obion County jury has awarded a total of over $2.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a Union City man who was injured by his Bowflex weight system. Jim Warner, 58, bought a Bowflex Power Pro weight system in May 2000 and was working out on the machine in December 2002 when the backboard bench snapped and threw his head down and forward, causing a severe herniated disc in his neck, according to a news release from the Jackson law firm of Hill-Boren. Warner’s lawsuit against the company, filed in Obion County Circuit Court on his behalf by attorney Jeff Boyd of Hill-Boren, claimed the backboard benches on the machine were made out of “cheap, thin plywood covered in foam.” The suit alleged the company had never done any design or testing on the backboard benches to determine if they could withstand the loads that a person working out on the machines would exert. After the injury, Warner underwent surgery but was left with severe nerve damage and continued to have decreased use of his right arm. “As a result of his chronic pain, he is going to be on a high dose of narcotic medication for the rest of his life, which affects his mental ability and daily activities to the point that he can no longer work,” according to the press release. At trial recently in Obion County, it was revealed that Bowflex was aware for more than a year that the benches were failing and causing severe injury, the release states. “Rather than stopping the sales, they continued to market, manufacture and sell the defective products,” according to Hill-Boren’s release. “Only after this injury did Bowflex attempt to correct their product. Two years later, they did a voluntary recall of over 400,000 of these products. “It was further brought out in the trial that the design fix that would have prevented this injury cost $6.90 to make, yet the company chose to keep selling the machines as is,” the release states. At the conclusion of the two-week civil trial, the jury awarded Warner and his wife $328,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million punitive damages. “If product manufacturers are going to send defective products into Tennessee and they choose to sell products that they know are defective, they need to understand that a reasonable jury will punish them for their bad conduct,” Boyd told The Jackson Sun. Published in The Messenger 12.22.08

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