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Case of the Month September 2021

Riding Mower Causes User to Sustain Severe Burns

Ellyson v. Magic Circle Corp.

Case Type:
Product Liability - Lawn Mower

Specific Liability:
Gas geysered from the lawn mower tank onto plaintiff causing burns

General Injury:
Severe Burns to 70% of Body

State: Wisconsin
Circuit Court of Wisconsin, Fourth Judicial District, Sheboygan County.

Case Name:
Ellyson v. Magic Circle Corp.

Docket/File Number:

Result Amount:

Result Date:
December 08, 2017 [Editor's Note: Although this verdict is older, it is of high interest.]

Angela W. Sutkiewicz

Plaintiff: Timothy S. Trecek, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., Milwaukee, WI
Plaintiff: Jesse B. Blocher, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., Waukesha, WI
Defendant: Frederick R. Tedford, Tedford & Pond L.L.C., Hartford, CT
Defendant: Lee Mickus, Taylor Anderson L.L.P., Denver, CO
Defendant: Richard A Lind, Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson, Minneapolis, MN
Defendant: David J. Turek, Gass Weber Mullins L.L.C., Milwaukee, WI
Defendant: Wendy Gunderson, Smith Gunderson & Rowen S.C., Brookfield, WI
Defendant: Joseph J. Ferris, Kasdorf, Lewis & Swietlik S.C., Green Bay, WI

Result Type:

Plaintiff: Engineer/Machine Operator Safety: Berry, Thomas, P.E., Witchita, KS
Plaintiff: Product Safety: Deppa, Roy, Product Safety Analysis LLC, Brookeville, MD
Plaintiff: Fire and Explosion: Henderson, Richard, Southeastern Research Laboratories, Inc., Florence, SC
Plaintiff: Human Factors: Laux, Lila, Ph.D., Human Factors Consulting, Denver, CO
Defendant: CPSC Regulations: Nord, Nancy, Washington, DC
Defendant: Human Factors: Sala, Joseph, Ph.D., Exponent, Philadelphia, PA

Breakdown of Award:
Total Compensatory Award: $5,830,000
Comparative Negligence Percentage: 0

Summary of Facts:
Matthew Ellyson, a 29-year-old male landscaper had been operating a riding lawn mower manufactured by Magic Circle Corporation d/b/a Dixie Chopper, with a gas cap manufactured by The Kelch Corporation/Bemis Manufacturing Company, and purchased through HD Cline Company, for 2 to 3 hours when he stopped to check the fuel level and the gas forcibly geysered from the tank onto him and caused him to sustain burns over 70 percent of his body, resulting in 7 months of hospitalization, surgeries, skin grafts and rehabilitation. The plaintiff offered evidence that defendants Dixie Chopper and The Kelch Corporation/Bemis Manufacturing Company were each aware that similar incidents had occurred prior to the plaintiff's incident.

Circuit Court of Wisconsin, Fourth Judicial District, Sheboygan County.

Westlaw Citation:
2017 WL 11615174

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