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Supreme Court Reverses Jury Decision for Burned Child

A jury determined that a lighter which “badly burned” a six-year-old child was defective in its design and construction. Three years ago, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that her claim based upon the improper design of the lighter was “preempted” by federal testing requirements, even though courts in other states did not find that the requirements preempted a citizen’s common law rights.

Last week, the court ruled on the case once again. In the ruling of BIC Pen Corporation v. Carter, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2011)(6/17/11), the court overruled the jury’s determination that the lighter had a manufacturing defect. Replacing its opinion for that of the jury, the court determined that the evidence was “legally insufficient” to support a finding of causation. As a result, the little girl has no remedy whatsoever under the law.

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