Prince Lionheart Inc.’s Product Liability Victory

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner represented Prince Lionheart Inc., a well-respected 45-year-old family owned children’s products company based in Santa Maria, Calif., and its insurer in a significant product liability and consumer fraud case in Riverside, Calif., in a jury trial that ended Dec. 27 in a great victory for the defense.

Plaintiffs, Brian and Stacy Winter and their two minor children, sued for injuries allegedly arising out of an incident in which John Doe I, then 3 years old, sustained an injury to his penis while using a Prince Lionheart potty seat. The family brought claims for design defect, failure to warn, emotional distress, consumer fraud, and punitive damages. Plaintiffs sought to prove that the product caused John Doe I serious, permanent injury to his penis that resulted in anxiety, urological problems, permanent scarring, and lifelong erectile dysfunction. Plaintiffs’ counsel demanded $42 million to settle the matter and ultimately asked the jury for $33 million in compensatory damages and to award punitive damages as well. Sympathy for the John Doe I, who was present throughout the trial, was a significant issue in the case.

After two and a half months of trial, the judge entered a directed verdict in favor of Prince Lionheart on Brian Winter’s claims. The 12-member jury deliberated for 3 days before returning a defense verdict on the consumer fraud claim, the failure to warn claim, and the risk-utility design defect claim. The jury rendered a verdict for plaintiff John Doe I on the consumer expectations claim awarding an insubstantial amount for past damages and finding no basis to award future damages.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner represented Prince Lionheart Inc. with a team including Bettina Strauss (Picture), Tim Hasken, James Emanuel and Susan Watkins.

Involved fees earner: James Emanuel Jr. – Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner; Timothy Hasken – Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner; Bettina Strauss – Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner;

Law Firms: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner;

Clients: Prince Lionheart Inc.;


Author: Ambrogio Visconti