Spohrer Dodd Partners Robert Spohrer and Keith Maynard co-authored an article recently published in the December 2018 issue of Trial magazine. Trial is an award-winning publication from the American Association for Justice (AAJ). It provides attorneys, professors, judges, and others throughout the legal community with the latest news on current trends, and commentary and analysis on civil law practice.
Spohrer and Maynard’s article – When Military Products Fail – focuses on defective products that cause injury to servicemembers while on active or reserve duty, as well as the unique challenges that must be overcome by plaintiffs lawyers in order to prevail in any potential claim against manufacturers and entities that supplied the equipment to the military.
As they note in the article, millions of men and women serving in our armed forces work daily with thousands of products – from aviation and auto parts to various weapons and heavy equipment. Just as civilians are susceptible to injury or death caused by equipment failures, design and manufacturing defects, and failures to warn, so too are our nation’s servicemembers.
Addressing trial lawyers who take on these challenging cases, Attorneys Spohrer and Maynard go on to explain the critical importance of taking the proper steps. This includes:
- Securing the equipment involved, and working with appropriate Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers or points of contact to negotiate future examinations, expert inspection and testing, and protocol moving forward.
- Thoroughly reviewing military standards (MIL-STD or MIL-SPEC) in relation to the equipment in question.
- Carefully evaluating all potential responsible parties, a task that can be complicated when multiple entities are involved in the creation of a military product (i.e. an aircraft designed by a civilian contractor, built by another company, modified by a third, and maintained by a fourth).
- Properly navigating investigation and discovery to focus on a specific defect, how and by whom it was approved, and the findings of any collateral board report conducted by JAG officers to determine fault by service personnel involved.
- Completing the appropriate requests for information. This includes Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for case-specific documents and information such as preliminary incident reports, maintenance and service records, and more. It may also involve reviewing open-source information, and Touhy requests, which seek official information to support litigation when the government is not a party.
- Understanding certain defenses that are unique to this area of the law, such as the Feres doctrine and government contractor defense
The depth with which Spohrer and Maynard dig into these unique and challenging cases provides a detailed guide to fellow trial attorneys, and serves a testament to their extensive experience and backgrounds. Spohrer has Board Certifications in Civil Trial Law and Aviation Law by the Florida Bar. Maynard is Board Certified in Aviation Law and recently retired as a Major with over 23 years of military service, including piloting Black Hawk helicopters. The December 2018 issue of Trial magazine is available now.
Spohrer Dodd: A Reputation You Can Trust
Spohrer Dodd is a Jacksonville-based personal injury law firm with a national reputation. The firm’s award-winning attorneys leverage over 150 years of collective experience to fight for clients in state and federal courts in matters ranging from aviation and auto accidents to product and premises liability, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, wrongful death, and more. If you have a potential case, contact us to speak with a lawyer.
To read the article published in the American Association for Justice (AAJ) December 2018 issue, see here.