August, 2003 – Lamar county jury awarded a $12 million verdict to Donna Blair, a resident of Monroe County, Mississippi in a case involving a defective product that killed her son. According to Ms. Blair's attorney, Greg Allen of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles, P.C., this product liability lawsuit was brought on behalf of her deceased son Tim Morgan against Pro Tech Industries, Inc. for its defective truck cab guard.
The cab guard was installed on the truck to ensure that the truck driver's load does not intrude into the cab. Instead of designing and manufacturing a cab guard that works, Pro Tech used poor design and fabrication and inferior welding procedures that resulted in a failure, causing Tim Morgan's death. Pro Tech did this to save money and therefore put profits over the safety of its consumers.
One of the Plaintiff's lawyers, Ben Baker, said: "Shockingly, Pro Tech claimed and advertised that its cab guard met the minimum Federal standards and provided maximum protection, even though it did not. The minimum standards require the cab guard to be able to withstand one half of the load applied uniformly across the back of the guard. Pro Tech never tested the model cab guard on Tim's truck."
Tim was driving a log truck for Eskeridge Trucking Company when the passenger side wheels went off the side of the road. Before he could ease the truck back onto the road, the truck tipped over on the passenger side. When the vehicle turned over, part of Tim's load slid forward, hitting his Pro Tech protection device – the Pro Tech cab guard. The Pro Tech protection device failed, allowing the few logs that slid forward to press against the back of his cab, causing nearly three feet of intrusion into the occupant compartment.
Greg Allen, the lead lawyer for the Blair's, stated, "This verdict sends a message to manufactures of all products that safety must be a concern. Corporations cannot put their own profits over the safety of its customers. We are demanding that Pro Tech recall these dangerous products and fix them before someone else is killed or severely injured. Pro Tech has sold approximately 30,000 of these guards and they are all dangerous and will not protect the driver as required. There will be many more victims if this product is not recalled."
The $12 million verdict is the largest verdict on record for Lamar County, Alabama. Greg Allen and Ben Baker of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. of Montgomery, Alabama, along with Clatus Junkin of Junkin & Harrison in Fayette, Alabama represented Ms. Blair.