Segal McCambridge Team Earns Defense Verdict in Motorcycle Crash Helmet Case


February 19, 2015

A Cook County jury heard evidence from January 26th through February 10, 2015, before rendering a defense verdict on behalf of three Segal McCambridge clients in a product liability case involving the design of a motorcycle crash helmet.

Jennette Maxwell lost control of her racing motorcycle at the Black Hawk Farms Raceway near Rockton, Illinois, resulting in a “high side” motorcycle crash at an estimated speed of 47 mph to 53 mph.  She sustained serious head injuries including a depressed skull fracture and brain contusions.  Her physicians diagnosed her with a traumatic brain injury, which required extensive rehabilitation over several months to reduce the nature and extent of her permanent disabilities from which she continues to suffer today.

At trial, Plaintiff’s attorneys complained that the design of the helmet’s retention system was defective and unreasonably dangerous, complaining that the helmet lacked “adequate protection” in a foreseeable crash like the crash Ms. Maxwell was engaged in on the day of the accident.  On behalf of Defendants, the Segal McCambridge trail team denied the design of the subject helmet was defective and further that the helmet provided more than adequate protection in a crash of this severity.  During closing arguments, Plaintiff’s attorneys asked the jury to award more than $9.3 million in damages.

After less than two and one-half hours of deliberations, the 12-person jury ruled unanimously in favor of Segal McCambridge’s clients.

The trial team members consisted of Jeffrey Singer and Chad Layton of Segal McCambridge’s Chicago office and James Ughetta of Littleton, Joyce, Ughetta, Park & Kelly, LLP of Purchase, New York.