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  1. #1
    Big Al's Avatar
    Big Al is offline There is no place like home....
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    ---Taser looses law suit---

    Taser Loses 1st Product-Liability Suit; Jury Awards $6 Million

    By Margaret Cronin Fisk
    June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Taser International Inc., the largest stun-gun maker, lost a $6.2 million jury verdict over the death of a California man who died after police shot him multiple times with the weapon. The defeat is the first for Taser in a product- liability claim.
    A San Jose, California, jury yesterday said Taser had failed to warn police in Salinas, California, that prolonged exposure to electric shock from the device could cause a risk of cardiac arrest. The jury awarded $1 million in compensatory damages and $5.2 million in punitive damages to the estate of Robert Heston, 40, and his parents. The jury cleared the police officers of any liability.
    Taser previously won two trials, one over claims by a police officer injured in a training accident and the other involving a death in custody. Taser has settled at least 10 cases involving injuries to police officers during training, company lawyer Doug Klint told Bloomberg News last year. Taser said it will appeal the verdict.
    ``Certainly, this was a tragedy for the Heston family as well as for the officers involved,'' Klint said in a statement today. ``We, however, do not feel that the verdict is supported by the facts.''
    Shot Multiple Times
    The compensatory damage verdict will be reduced by the jury's finding that Heston was 85 percent responsible for his death, said family attorney John Burton. `That affects the compensatory damages, but not the punitives,'' he said in an interview.
    ``I think Taser's going to have to rethink its litigation strategy and its warning policies,'' Burton said. The jury awarded $5 million in punitive damages to Heston's parents and $200,000 in punitives to his estate.
    Heston died on Feb. 20, 2005, after his father had called Salinas police because his son was ``acting strangely,'' and seemed to be on drugs, according to the lawsuit complaint. Salinas police shot Heston multiple times with the stun-gun, continuing to discharge their Tasers into him until he stopped moving, the lawsuit claims.
    Heston went into cardiac arrest and died, his family said.
    His parents sued Taser, alleging failure to warn of the dangers of the weapon, and Salinas police officers, claiming excessive force. The jury ``exonerated the police because they said the police didn't know repeated exposures could kill someone,'' Burton said.
    Use of the Taser on Heston didn't cause his death, Klint said. Heston fit ``the well established symptom pattern for methamphetamine intoxication and associated excited delirium,'' a condition linked to sudden death in custody, Klint said.
    The lawsuit is Heston v. City of Salinas, C 05-03658 JW, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
    To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Cronin Fisk in Southfield, Michigan, at mcfisk@bloomberg.net
    . Last Updated: June 7, 2008 12:44 EDT
    To be a good Law Enforcement Officer you MUST know the law!

  2. #2
    Twan007's Avatar
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    wow, interesting little read... gonna be very interested to see the final say from appeals and such

    and exactly how much is too much? if that has anything to do with anything =/
    -=Twan007


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  3. #3
    mack's Avatar
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    I have trained on the taser, I have used the taser and I have been hit with the taser. No one will convince me that it is not an effective tool. Are there dangers? Of course, but personally I think Taser International's training was complete and satisfactory. As a matter of fact, the agency I worked for requires a yearly re-certification on the taser and implements any updates from Taser International into the training. People have to realize that if a suspect is acting irrationally and not following the commands they are given by police, they will be tased. His parents sue after calling the police themselves? This is insane. They couldn't control their son and blame the police and Taser for handling the situation.

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  4. #4
    OffDuty's Avatar
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    note "excited delirium" and the high on meth part. Taser appealing this one, to be sure.

    Remember a jury is comprised of 12 people too stupid to come with an excuse to NOT be on jury duty- you think they understand combative, high, craziness? Not a chance.
    There are only two kinds of real justice left: street and poetic...


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  5. #5
    Bob Loblaw's Avatar
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    I would probably say that incidences of injury when a baton is used are MUCH higher than when a taser is implemented. People should really consider the alternatives when they bitch about the taser...would you rather your brother/sister/boyfriend/girlfriend, etc ride the lightning or get their legs and arms broken, spleen and liver ruptured and ribs smashed out with an asp? It is one or the other...in my dept, both tools appear on the same spot on the Use of Force Continuum. I know what my answer would be.....
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  6. #6
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    Even if a jury thinks the defendant did nothing wrong, out of sympathy for the poor family who lost their son their hearts will bleed and they'll award money. This is the problem with a lot of malpractice lawsuits. The jury feels bad for the person suffering and awards money even when nothing was done wrong. I have no doubt based on the information in the article that the cops and Taser did nothing wrong. I'd bet a pay check the jury simply felt bad for the poor family and awarded them money regardless of the facts in the case. This will be overturned in an appeal.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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  7. #7
    JLK's Avatar
    JLK
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    let make sure I got this right. parents raised a 40 year old methhead. parents see druggie son acting strange and call the police. police arrive deem that for the safety of all parties involved that the son needs to be taken control of. the son high on drugs and weakened by a history of illegal drug us does not survive. now I feel sorry for the parents that their druggie son is no more but that was the poor choices of the son's. he could have just as easily expired with the use of the batton or hands on. put the blame where it belongs.


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  8. #8
    ex401mp's Avatar
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    Thats why I would rather just go ahead and use my baton.
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  9. #9
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLK View Post
    let make sure I got this right. parents raised a 40 year old methhead. parents see druggie son acting strange and call the police. police arrive deem that for the safety of all parties involved that the son needs to be taken control of.
    Same story different day.
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  10. #10
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    Quote Originally Posted by ex401mp View Post
    Thats why I would rather just go ahead and use my baton.
    I know there are pros and cons on each side but I prefer my baton also.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  11. #11
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Related topic... (Mods, split it into a new thread if you think it's should be, please)

    Anyone see National Geographic's Fight Science on self defense? They get a former US Navy SEAL to take a hit from the Taser, and he succeeds in moving an arm enough to break one of the cables. Now -- as a general caveat -- I think it's a good reminder that the Taser isn't a magic box that works perfectly. But I could help but notice that it was a pretty off-center hit. One dart hits him just barely on the left pec, and I can't see where the other goes, but I'm gonna guess the left arm or hip by the sequence in which he locks up. I'm curious how he'd do with a more centered hit, or with the alligator clips... And without 10 or 20 minutes to really psych himself into it.
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  12. #12
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    Related topic... (Mods, split it into a new thread if you think it's should be, please)

    Anyone see National Geographic's Fight Science on self defense? They get a former US Navy SEAL to take a hit from the Taser, and he succeeds in moving an arm enough to break one of the cables. Now -- as a general caveat -- I think it's a good reminder that the Taser isn't a magic box that works perfectly. But I could help but notice that it was a pretty off-center hit. One dart hits him just barely on the left pec, and I can't see where the other goes, but I'm gonna guess the left arm or hip by the sequence in which he locks up. I'm curious how he'd do with a more centered hit, or with the alligator clips... And without 10 or 20 minutes to really psych himself into it.
    Remember my old agency? After 9-11 Delta considered Tazers in the cockpit. 5 members of my old agency's tac team fought through a Tazer hit and got into the cockpit. Delta didn't get Tazers. Some people just need a good old fashioned ass kicking. I love my baton.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

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  13. #13
    gozling's Avatar
    gozling is offline the gene pool could use a little chlorine
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    I just don't understand this outcome...
    Considering the drug use involvement! Or was that not allowed in court for some weird messed up reason? (sarcasm)
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  14. #14
    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    I bet if you tried that case in front of ten different juries, you'd have at least six different outcomes: Five for the defendant and five giving various sums of money to the plaintiff.

    Unfortunately, criminal cases seem to be just as random in their outcomes sometimes... For example, the getaway driver getting death, but the actual robber/shooter getting life with parole, or less.

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  15. #15
    Probation13-901's Avatar
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    Heston was 85 and the meth was 15%, maybe the family should go sue the cook who made the meth.

  16. #16
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xiphos View Post
    Remember my old agency? After 9-11 Delta considered Tazers in the cockpit. 5 members of my old agency's tac team fought through a Tazer hit and got into the cockpit. Delta didn't get Tazers. Some people just need a good old fashioned ass kicking. I love my baton.
    The catch is that was the old Air-Taser, not the current X26 or M26. That one was a pure pain compliance device; the show used a current model. (And it wasn't just guys from the tac team; a couple of our academy instructors did it, too. Like the PT/EVOC instructor from PA... who made sergeant a year or two ago.)
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

    TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance

    "Don't suffer from PTSD -- Go out and cause it!"
    -- Col. David Grossman, US Army, ret.

    All opinions expressed are my own and are not official statements of my employer.

 

 

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