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Jury Sides With Defense in Motorcycle Product Liability Trial

Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a German luxury vehicle manufacturer after a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff alleged that he regularly let his motorcycle idle in his garage to warm it up in the winter. On the day in question, the plaintiff became distracted by a telephone call and forgot about the motorcycle, which eventually overheated and caught fire, causing significant damage to his home. The defense of the manufacturer focused on the fact that the motorcycle was air-cooled, which, unlike an engine with a radiator, needs movement for cooling, and on two warnings in the motorcycle rider's manual that specifically instructed users not to leave the motorcycle idling at a standstill as a fire could result. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that the motorcycle was defectively designed and never should have caught fire, and that the warnings in the manual were inadequate because an additional on-product warning was required. After four days of trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict.

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