The Great Trials Podcast

Jim Gilbert | Dzemila Heco v. Johnson Controls, Inc. | $43.1 million verdict

February 22, 2022

This week, your hosts Steve Lowry and Yvonne Godfrey interview Jim Gilbert of The Gilbert Law Group, PC (https://www.thegilbertlawgroup.com/)

 

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Case Details:

Jim Gilbert, the founder of Colorado's The Gilbert Law Group, PC and former national chairman of the Attorneys Information Exchange Group, shares how he successfully represented Bosnian War refugee Dzemila Heco after she suffered life-altering injuries due to a defective seatback. In August 2007, Dzemila's 2000 Dodge Neon was rear-ended by another car at a stoplight in Vermont. Dzemila, who was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, should have been able to walk away from this minor traffic accident, but her seatback collapsed on impact, causing her to sustain a neck injury that rendered her a permanent quadriplegic in need of round-the-clock care. In today's new episode, learn how "Lawyer of the Year" honoree Jim Gilbert held the seatback manufacturer, Johnson Controls, Inc., responsible for their defective design. Jim discusses how he used expert testimony as well as Johnson Controls, Inc.'s own testing and internal documents against them, including Johnson Controls, Inc.'s 1998 patent filing that stressed the disadvantages of a single-sided recliner. Two years after filing, the same single-sided recliner was implemented in the design of Dzemila's 2000 Dodge Neon. In spite of the defendant's claims that the seat in Dzemila's car met Chrysler's requirements and exceeded government and industry safety standards, the Chittenden County, Vermont jury found the seat to be defective. In June 2013, the jury awarded Dzemila a groundbreaking $43.1 million verdict, the largest jury verdict in the state of Vermont at the time. 

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Guest Bio:

Jim Gilbert

A 1968 graduate of New York University Law School, James L. Gilbert is the owner of The Gilbert Law Group, P.C. an Arvada, Colorado law firm.  The firm specializes in product defect litigation, primarily automotive and truck products.  He now has over 45 years of experience litigating complex cases against some of the world’s largest corporations.  Jim Gilbert was voted 2019 Lawyer of the Year in Colorado.

Highly skilled and comfortable in the courtroom, Mr. Gilbert has received a number of favorable jury verdicts. His work involving defective aftermarket windshield installations, including a $6,100,000 jury verdict against an aftermarket installer, was chronicled in a cover story in Lawyers Weekly entitled "Personal Injury Cases That Made a Difference." Jim Gilbert has obtained many eight-figure jury verdicts including $35,000,000 (California) awarded in a conversion van case, $17,500,000 (Colorado) awarded in a seatbelt case, $43,500,000 (Vermont) awarded in a seatback failure case, and most recently $52,000,000 (Colorado) in a seatbelt failure case. 

Mr. Gilbert is a frequent lecturer and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an invitation-only group with membership limited to 100 lawyers. He is an invited fellow in the Society of Trial Lawyers, a fellow in the International Society of Barristers, is listed as a Top 100 in the National Trial Lawyers Organization, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America and several other national organizations.  He was the national chairman of the Attorneys Information Exchange Group for 15 years.

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Show Sponsors:

Legal Technology Services - LegalTechService.com

Digital Law Marketing - DigitalLawMarketing.com

Harris Lowry Manton LLP - hlmlawfirm.com

 

Free Resources:

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 1

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 2

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