Sohn v. Easton-Bell Sports, Inc.
August 15, 2013 – Van Nuys Superior Court, Van Nuys, CA
Five hours is all it took for a Los Angeles jury to find that a popular Easton-Bell Sports helmet is not defective despite claims from a 60-year old plaintiff that the “Giro Pneumo” bicycle helmet failed to protect him from permanent and severe brain damage. The verdict came in late afternoon yesterday, following a three week trial in the L.A. Superior Court in Van Nuys.
The case of Jeffrey Sohn v. Easton-Bell Sports Inc. arose out of an accident that happened nearly three years ago in the Northern California city of Sunol. Mr. Sohn was just completing an 85-mile ride when he wiped out and hit his head on the pavement. Though he was wearing the Giro Pneumo helmet at the time, he suffered a traumatic brain injury. As a result, Mr. Sohn alleged that he was no longer able to live a normal, active life, which once included cycling as a favorite activity.
Through his attorneys, Larry E. Coben and Raymond Paul Johnson, Mr. Sohn claimed that the Easton-Bell helmet was defective in its design. The plaintiff pointed to the helmet’s “RocLoc” system claiming it caused the helmet to rotate during the crash leaving the left side of his head completely unprotected.
Defense counsel Jim Yukevich and Thomas Borncamp, of the law firm Yukevich | Cavanaugh, successfully argued to the jury that the plaintiff’s theory was impossible. They did this largely by highlighting evidence of the scratch patterns on the helmet and by attacking the testing methods used by plaintiff’s key expert witnesses. The defense also showed that Mr. Sohn was improperly wearing the helmet too high on his head, contrary to the manufacturer’s clear instructions.
“Our hearts certainly go out to Mr. Sohn and his family. But cases like this are of exceptional significance, because they demonstrate that, given a safe product and a coherent defense, most juries will exercise basic common sense despite their sympathies for the plaintiffs,” said Mr. Yukevich. “I believe that that should send a message to both defendants and plaintiffs in similar cases.”
Easton-Bell Sports has sold more than 400,000 Giro Pneumo helmets worldwide.