Notable Complex Litigation Cases

Jeremy Green v. Schutt Athletic Sales Company, Schutt Sports Manufacturing Company, Schutt Design Group, Inc., Schutt Sports Distribution Company, and Schutt Manufacturing Company

Civil Action no. 5:05-CV-0164-C in the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division.

This firm has successfully defended Schutt entities, football helmet manufacturers and distributers, in a number of cases. Most recently, Richard Harrison defended Schutt in connection with the above-referenced case. Tragically, the plaintiff sustained a broken neck playing football for Levelland High School and was rendered a quadriplegic. During the two-week product liability trial, the defense countered the claims of plaintiff’s counsel with a line-up of nationally recognized experts, including Dr. Robert Cantu of Harvard, Dr. Joseph Torg of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. James MacElroy of Duke University. The jury delivered a verdict for the defense.

Randy Byrne, d/b/a Randy Byrne Construction, v. Double Diamond, Inc., v. McCoy Corporation, d/b/a McCoy’s Building Supply Centers, and Rushin Truss, Ltd.

Cause no. 200800088 in the 18th District Court of Johnson County, Texas.

In October 2010, Richard Harrison successfully defended McCoy’s Building Supply in a multi-million dollar construction defect case in Cleburne, Texas. Double Diamond is a developer of gated communities built around golf courses. The Retreat in Johnson County is one of its developments. As part of the project, a 23,500 square foot clubhouse was built.

On opening day, the second story of that building collapsed one and one-half feet into the first story. It was claimed by the owner that McCoy’s sold defective trusses for the structure. The defense countered that all of the failures on the project resulted from mistakes made by Double Diamond. After a two-week trial, the jury concluded that 100% of the fault was attributable to Double Diamond, and a take-nothing judgment was entered for the firm’s client.

Phillip Ray Hatcher and Vinnie Beth Hatcher, Individually and as Next Friend of Emily Hatcher, Jordan Hatcher and Cole Hatcher, v. Larry Leroy Rathfon, James Thomas Patton, and Morgan Drive-Away, et al.

Cause no. 33526 in the 6th District Court of Fannin County, Texas.

On State Highway 121 south of Bonham, Texas, a box van slowed to make a turn. A Morgan Drive-Away tractor began to pass the slowing vehicle on the right, using the paved shoulder. When the box van turned right, the Morgan driver veered left and into oncoming traffic. He was then involved in a head-on collision with the plaintiff. The plaintiff was in a coma for several weeks and sustained a serious traumatic brain injury.

As an engineer for TXU, he was a high-wage earner, and the lost earning capacity claim was significant. During the month-long trial, there were disputes about whether the van driver was signaling a left or right turn and about the tractor passing on a shoulder. The jury assessed 87% of the fault against the van driver and only 13% of the fault against the firm’s client. The verdict, which was in excess of $1.3 million, was one of the largest in Fannin County history. However, it was millions less than the settlement demand of $5 million.

Theodore F. Dettmer, Anita J. Dettmer, Individually and as Next Friends for Elizabeth M. Dettmer, and Employers Health Insurance v. James R. Dyer and Star Transportation, Inc., Jointly and Severally

Cause no. 92-1086 in the 59th District Court of Grayson County, Texas.

The accident made the basis of this suit involved a 13-year-old pedestrian and a tractor-trailer on U.S. Hwy. 69. The young girl was seriously injured. The defense countered plaintiff’s arguments saying that the young plaintiff was playing and failed to look before running into the highway. The two-week trial resulted in a defense verdict.

Wesley Albert Perkins, et al. v. Douglass Distributing Company, et al.

Cause no. 94-1503 in the 336th District Court of Grayson County, Texas.

While attempting to deliver a load of gasoline to a retail station, a truck and tanker were blocking both lanes of a state highway at night. The plaintiff’s vehicle, occupied by a grandfather and two grandchildren, crashed into and slid under the tanker, seriously injuring the occupants. It was alleged that the truck driver was under the influence of cocaine. In pre-trial motions, the defense was able to exclude testimony about alleged cocaine use.

During the trial, Richard Harrison focused on the failing eyesight of Plaintiff Wesley Perkins. Following a multi-week trial, the jury assessed 85% of the responsibility to the grandfather and only 15% to the defendant. The firm also successfully defended the case on appeal, where the judgment was affirmed.