prehensive look at all the recent verdicts, here are a few of our past
years’ top verdicts that had notable further developments in 2009:
• Marlyn Nutraceuticals, Inc. v. World Nutrition, Inc., Patrick
Buehl and William Wong, United States District Court for
the District of Arizona, 2002-CV-01876
This was a retrial of the number 5 verdict in 2006 in which
the jury awarded $6.325 million. Plaintiff Marlyn
Nutraceuticals, dba Naturally Vitamins, is an Arizona distributor of an enzyme product called Wobenzym. World Nutrition
introduced a competing enzyme product called Vitalzym.
Defendants incorrectly claimed that Wobenzym was quarantined due to mad cow disease, and claimed that their own
product was faster and required smaller doses. Marlyn
Nutraceuticals claimed that its former employee took its customer list and used it for direct mailing. World Nutrition contended its claims were mere puffing and that the customer list
was not confidential.
In 2009 at the retrial on very similar claims and before the
same judge, the jury awarded $2,005,110, less than a third of
the previous award.
• Jeff Brethauer v. General Motors Corp., Court of Appeals of
Arizona Division One, 1 CA-CV 07-0530
Brethauer was listed as a significant defense verdict in
2007. In this product liability case, Brethauer was driving a
1998 Chevrolet pickup truck on I- 17 in a heavy rainstorm.
The truck hydroplaned, ran off the highway and hit a steep
embankment. Brethauer was ejected and sustained paralyzing
injuries. GM demonstrated that he was not wearing the seatbelt, and that the alternative laminated glass design was not
safer and would not have prevented his ejection.
In 2009, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected most of
plaintiffs’ challenges and upheld the verdict. The court also
found that a jury instruction on the consumer expectation
test was appropriate for the driver’s seatbelt at issue. Plaintiffs
appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, but the appeal was
stayed when GM went into bankruptcy.
• Thomas Hudgins and Leroy Devore v. Southwest Airlines, Inc.,
Court of Appeals of Arizona, No. 1 CA-CV 07-0366
This was the number 4 verdict in 2006. Exactly two years
before 9/11, plaintiff “bail bond agents,” on their way to
arrest a fugitive, flew from Baltimore to Phoenix on
Southwest Airlines. They had arranged to “fly armed,” meaning that they lawfully took their guns on the plane with them.
The pilot radioed that they did not have authorization and
after landing they were incarcerated for three days. Federal