A week prior to her retirement, a government employee attempted to open a window in her office when a malfunction occurred within the window, causing it to slam down on her hand. The window crushed the top of her middle finger, which required surgical repair.
Swartz Culleton was hired to prosecute a product liability claim against the window maker. The window, however, was over 20 years old, had been installed by a company no longer in business, and contained no markings that identified the manufacturer. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Christopher Culleton, retained a window expert who, after inspecting the window, was able to narrow the suspect list to five window manufacturers and two component makers. Culleton then filed a lawsuit against all the suspects. After obtaining documentation and testimony from the defen-dants, the cause of the malfunction was isolated to a defect in the balance casing, which had been made by a Massachusetts company.
“We showed that even though the window was 20 years old, the balance mechanism was supposed to survive the number of operations that would have occurred over that period and unfortunately it had not, and was therefore defective,” said Culleton.
The case was cracked during a deposition of a representative of the Massachusetts company. Under cross examination, the representative agreed that his company made the balance and that the failure of the balance had caused the window’s sudden fall. The case settled soon after for $200,000 dollars and compensation for all medical expenses. Fortunately, the former government employee was able to make virtually a full recovery from her injury.