Edward Bazurto v. Archer Company USA, Inc., et al.,
Pima County Superior Court, CV2013-3772
This was a product liability case. Edward Bazurto,
USA, Inc., in concrete foundation holes when the product blew
out of the hole. The Dexpan knocked off Bazurto’s safety glasses
and burned his left eye. Bazurto sustained acute and long-term
injuries as a result. Bazurto alleged Dexpan was not adequately
tested, the material data sheet should have required safety goggle
use (not glasses), and that the product’s warnings were inadequate.
Bazurto asked the jury for $1.2 million. Archer argued the warnings
were proper, Dexpan was adequately tested, and that safety glasses
were appropriate eye protection under the circumstances. Archer
also argued Bazurto’s employer was negligent for not properly
training its employees in the use of the product.
Pierre Vanoss et al. v. BHP Copper, Inc., Pima County
Superior Court, CV2013-488417
This was a mine construction site wrongful death case.
Jon Pierre Vanoss, employed by non-party contractor
Tetra Tech, was working at the Pinto Valley Mine, owned by BHP
Copper, Inc., when he fell to his death in an unwitnessed accident.
Vanoss’ parents and his two children, and another child he had
with his girlfriend, alleged BHP Copper failed to maintain a safe
work site, did not comply with mine safety and health administration regulations, and failed to properly supervise Tetra Tech. The
Vanoss family asked the jury for $25 million. BHP Copper argued
that it met the standard of care and that Vanoss caused his own
death when he carelessly left his work station and crossed safety
barriers. BHP also argued that Tetra Tech ignored established
safety rules, and that BHP was unaware of any such violations
and had no reason to know Tetra Tech was acting unsafely.
Where Are They Now?
Here are significant appellate opinions from 2016 about past
years’ notable verdicts:
Scot Sobieski et al. v. American Standard Insurance Co. of Wisconsin
et al., Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. One, CA-CV 14-0416.
This 2013 verdict was in an insurance bad faith case for $1.5
million. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part,
and vacated in part. It found the Sobieskis presented sufficient
evidence from which the jury could conclude that the insurer’s
investigation of the claim was not reasonable. It affirmed the
judgment against American Standard for breach of the duty of
good faith and fair dealing. The Court of Appeals vacated the
$1 million punitive damages award, in the absence of evidence
linking the insurer’s denial of coverage to an improper motive.
Brandon Orosco et al. v. Maricopa County Special Health Care
District, Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. One, CA-CV 15-0850.
This was a 2014 verdict for $4.25 million in a medical malpractice case. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed
an award made pursuant to an offer of judgment. The court
held that a second offer of judgment did not extinguish the first
one, and that the expense of a private process server was properly included. In a separate memorandum decision, the Court of
Appeals affirmed the denial of motions for judgment as a matter
of law and for new trial or remittitur. These related to evidentiary
rulings, closing argument, and jury instructions. On remand, the
trial court was directed to ensure that fees awarded under Rule
68(g) did not include improper double expert witness fees.
Keg Restaurants Arizona, Inc., et al. v. Tucson Oro Valley Keg LLC et al.,
Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. One, CA-CV 15-0054.
In this 2014 verdict, the jury found for Tucson Oro Valley Keg
for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith
and fair dealing, awarding a total of $3,443,634 on its counterclaims. The Court of Appeals affirmed the award in all respects.
It found there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdicts and its awards of damages to Tucson Oro Valley Keg. It
also found the jury instructions were proper, as was the trial
court’s award of expert witness fees.
Joseph Winckler v. BNSF Railway Company,
Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. One, CA-CV 13-0516.
This was a $3,852,256 verdict in a Federal Employers Liability
Act trial in 2012. In a memorandum decision, the Court of
Appeals vacated judgment for Winckler and remanded for a
new trial on the negligence claim. The court found BNSF was
entitled to summary judgment on an Arizona state regulatory
claim. Although BNSF was granted judgment as a matter of law
at the close of evidence on the regulatory claim, the jurors had
participated in a long trial that focused on the regulation and its
requirements. The Court of Appeals held this deprived BNSF
of a fair trial.
Three of 2015’s top 10 verdicts have pending appeals that are in
progress. One of 2015’s significant defense verdicts has a pending
The number of verdicts reversed
its declining trend and increased
by 18 percent, back to
approximately 2014 levels.