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Case Style: Jennifer and Nathan Mercer v. First Alert, Inc., et al.
Case Number: 89732
Judge: David E. Schoenthaler
Court: Circuit Court of Scott County
Plaintiff's Attorney: John O. Moeller, Davenport, Iowa and James L. Fetterly, Fetterly & Gordon, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Defendant's Attorney: Stuart R. Lefstein of Katz, McHard, Balch, Lefstein & Fieweger, P.C., Rock Island, Iowa.
Description: Product liability - baby monitor which plaintiff's claimed overheated causing a fire which killed 3-year-old son, Bradley, and disfigured their then-18-month-son, Travis, on January 18, 1993. First Alert, a subsidiary of BRK Brands, asserted that they product was not defective and that it intended to appeal the verdict. Jerry Baby Products baby warmer started the file and settled with the Plaintiffs in 1996.
Outcome: Verdict for Plaintiffs for $4.4 million in compensatory damages and $12.5 million in punitive damages. The jury allocated the fault 50/50 between the defendants.
Plaintiff's Experts: Billie Don Russell, College Station, Texas, electrical engineer; Jose Terrero, College, Maryland, electrical engineer; Pat Pagni, Berkeley, California, computer modeling; Byron Sherman, Columbia, Missouri, electrical engineer; Robert Svare, Isanti, Minnesota, electrical engineer; Jesse Aronstein, Poughkeepsie, New York, material science; Steven Packham, Salt Lake City, Utah, toxicologist; and Joe Zuckerman, Fire Cause Analysis, Palo Alto, California, fire and origin.
Defendant's Experts: Leonard Wharton, Evidentia Engineering, Short Hills, New Jersey,computer modeling; Ralph Transue, Rolf-Jensen and Associates, Vernen Hills, Illinois; and Gerald Roark, smoke detector consulting.
Comments: Five woman and three men served on the jury. Seven jurors signed the verdict.