On October 7, 2014, in the case of Ralphael Walls v. Williams-Pyro, Inc. Rocky Wilkins and Ben Wilson of Rocky Wilkins Law Firm, PLLC and co-counsel Allen Smith of The Smith Law Firm obtained a $3,568,116.00 jury verdict plus an award of $1,000,000.00 in punitive damages against Defendant Williams-Pyro, Inc. The case was tried in Hinds County Circuit Court in Jackson, Mississippi.
The basic facts are as follows: A fire started on Mr. Walls’ stove. While looking for a fire extinguisher, suddenly and without warning, 2 Range Queen fire suppression canisters made by Williams-Pyro that were mounted under the vent hood activated, causing extinguishing powder to drop and splash hot oil all over the Plaintiff. As a result, Mr. Walls suffered second and third degree burns on his body. He was left with permanent scars.
This product liability case centered around Williams-Pyro’s Range Queen device (now called the Stove Top Fire Stop). The plaintiff presented evidence of defective design and no warnings. The plaintiff also presented evidence that the military banned the product in the 1990s for safety reasons. There was evidence of Williams Pyro’s notice of prior injuries/deaths caused by the Range Queen’s defects. The plaintiff presented evidence of a feasible design alternative that did not cause grease to splash. The defendant’s own testing videos from the 1990s were played for the jury which showed repeated instances of grease splashing several feet off the stovetop and making the fire worse. The videos also showed that even when the product put out fires, the flames would reignite (“reflash”) if the stove was not turned off immediately.
Please contact Bethany Logan at (601) 948-6888 if you need additional information.