8 Figure Settlement | Product Liability | Massachusetts

This case involves the wrongful death of an employee, who was fatally injured while operating an industrial lathe machine. Approximately twenty-three years earlier, the manufacturer was sued by another family for the same hazard. Nothing was done to remedy this known hazardous design defect and predictably, the next generation model lathe had the same design defect. The plaintiff here loaded a steel bar into the lathe machine. Approximately 2-feet of the bar extended beyond the confines of the machine. There were no fail safes designed into the machine to protect end users from the known hazards when using the machine with unprotected extended bars. Once the pre-calculated program was initiated on the machine, the bar spun at 2500RPM in 1.7 seconds causing it to bend, warp, and whip, ultimately striking the employee in the left shoulder and head. The whipping steel bar partially severed the employee’s left arm who later succumbed to his injuries

Our Mission

Attorney Richard Sullivan retained TTS to conduct a number of Focus Groups to test liability and gather any negative attribution towards his client, a Settlement Presentation, consisting of filmed interviews of friends and family, and an Animation of how the incident took place, allowing for jurors to better understand the complexities of the machine and usage. Lastly, Attorney Sullivan hired TTS to organize and manage a Shadow Jury during trial. 


Incident Location

Our Work

Total Trial Solutions worked one-on-one with Attorney Sullivan for more than two years on the case. Here is a quick summary of the work we performed. 

Through Focus Groups, we were able to pinpoint the most important issues in the case and help shape how the case would ultimately be presented at trial. During these focus groups, we were able to test how the animation would come across to jurors, and if it was helpful in their understanding of what happened. Due to the complexity of what did happen, the animation was able to clearly portray what occurred which eliminated many questions previous groups had about the events of the incident.

Settlement Presentation

Journalists and Videographers worked together to create a Settlement Presentation compiled of videos, photos, and filmed interviews of friends and family members of the deceased party. The presentation showcased a loving husband and proud father, a supportive son, a dedicated brother, and a hard worker, among other things. The Settlement Presentation laid the foundation for settlement negotiations. It showed defense counsel the evidence they were up against. 


The plaintiff, in this case, was injured while using a lathe, a large computer-controlled piece of machinery. Attorney Sullivan knew it would be difficult to explain the complexities of the equipment to a jury, therefore he consulted with TTS Visual Strategy Specialist and decided to have an animation created to show the incident unfolded. Attorney Sullivan showed the animation to jurors during the trial, which allowed them to see and understand just what happened to cause the plaintiff’s injuries. 

Shadow Jury

Once trial commenced, Total Trial Solutions utilized a Shadow Jury. We invited individuals to attend the trial and give us feedback after each day of trial. This information helped shape our understanding of what the real jury may also be hearing/thinking about the case. After four days of trial testimony, the parties agreed to a settlement. According to the attorneys on file, the information obtained through the efforts of Total Trial Solutions, was instrumental in how the case was pursued and ultimately tried.

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