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Florida Appellate Court Highlights Importance of Procedural Rules

popcornUnfortunately, dangerous and defective products injure many Florida consumers each year. In the most serious cases, faulty products can even cause death. If a product caused your injuries, you may be able to hold the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer accountable for your harm through a product liability claim.

In Stults v. International Flavors, a federal appellate court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit because they failed to object at trial in a timely manner, thus giving up the right to address the claimed errors on appeal.

In the case at hand, the plaintiff typically consumed one to three packets of microwave popcorn each day for three decades. At some point, the plaintiff developed bronchiolitis obliterans – a condition that resulted in an inflammation of the lungs. The plaintiff filed a claim against the manufacturer of the popcorn, asserting that the buttery flavor caused the harm to his lungs.

At trial, different experts testified as to why and how the plaintiff got his lung disease. The defense experts argued that it was caused by an autoimmune disorder and was completely unconnected to the microwaveable popcorn. Contrary to that position, the plaintiff’s expert stated that the ailment was caused by his exposure to one of the chemicals present in the bag of popcorn.

Both sides made many objections to the experts’ testimony, and the trial judge ruled on many of these issues. Some of these rulings prohibited the plaintiff’s expert from commenting about advantageous facts but permitted the defendant’s expert to talk about facts that contradicted the plaintiff’s claims. At the end of the trial, the jury ruled in favor of the defendants.

The plaintiff appealed, citing the judge’s failure to provide proper instructions after the expert’s objectionable testimony. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s rulings, due to the plaintiff’s failure to object to each evidentiary ruling as it was taking place. As a result, the plaintiff forfeited the right to bring up the issue on appeal. Put simply, if a party fails to object at trial within a reasonable time after the alleged objectionable ruling, the court of appeals will not have the ability to review the ruling.

While in this case, the plaintiff was not able to recover damages, Florida victims who prevail in product liability claims can typically obtain medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and property damage, as well as pain and suffering. Of course, the exact amount of compensation a plaintiff will be eligible to receive will vary based on the specific facts of the case.

If you have been injured due to a defective product, it is important to consult a Miami product liability attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we will investigate each party that could be liable for your harm. These cases can quickly become complex, and having the right attorney on your side can make all the difference in your case. We proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. For more information, do not hesitate to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online today.

More Blog Posts:

Spinal Cord Injuries in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, May 19, 2016

Florida Restaurant Did Not Have Duty to Stop Drunk Driver from Getting Behind the Wheel, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, May 19, 2016

Cyber-Bullying and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED), South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, May 19, 2016