LITIGATION DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR - Mid-Size Firm  ALM's Daily Report   2017 - 2016 - 2014

Tractor Fire

Bourque v. CNH America LLC

Date: April 2015
Party represented: CNH America LLC
Venue: USDC for the West District of Louisiana
Length of trial: 4 days

Type of case

Product Liability

Verdict/award

Plaintiff's verdict

This product liability case arose out of a fire involving a farm tractor manufactured in 1962.  Plaintiffs alleged that in 2007, Plaintiff was operating the tractor when internal pressure from the gas tank blew the gas cap off the tank, causing gasoline to gush out of the tank and ignite.  Plaintiff sustained serious burns as a result of the accident.  Plaintiff alleged that the tractor was defective and unreasonably dangerous under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.  The defendant manufacturer contended that the tractor had been substantially modified since the time of its manufacture and that the gas tank was incapable of maintaining any pressure at the time of the accident.  Defendant further argued that burn patterns indicated that the fire originated at a split fuel line on the left side of the tractor.  The case went to trial in April 2015.  Trial was bifurcated into liability and damages phases.  After the four-day liability phase of trial, the jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff.  The parties settled the case prior to beginning the damages phase of trial.  

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