News and Notes from Sloane and Walsh

Attorney John A . Donovan III Wins Jury Trial— $1.3M Judgment In Product Liability Lawsuit

November 4, 2021—John A. Donovan III recently prevailed in a jury trial against BMW in the Federal Court in Rochester, NY.

The case arose out of a fire that occurred in a residential property in Rochester, NY on April 11, 2015. The homeowner had parked a newly-purchased pre-owned 2011 BMW X3 in her garage before leaving for a trip. A fire started in the engine compartment of the vehicle and then spread to and damaged the home. The homeowner insurer paid more than $872,000 for damage to the home and its contents as well as additional living expenses.

Sloane and Walsh (with local counsel, Nelson Canter of McLaughlin & Stern) filed a subrogation lawsuit on behalf of the insurance company and asserted negligence manufacture, failure to warn and breach of implied warranty claims against BMW and the local BMW dealer. The case was tried to a jury of eight in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York for a week and half. At trial, origin/cause and electrical engineering experts for the plaintiff opined that the fire originated in the engine compartment of the vehicle. BMW contested liability. BMW expert opined that the fire started in the kitchen of the home and that arson could not be ruled out as a possible cause of the fire. The jury deliberated for a few hours and returned a verdict for the insurance company on all claims and issues. Together with prejudgment interest, judgment entered for $1,381,283.39.

About John A. Donovan III

Mr. Donovan is a senior partner at Sloane and Walsh, LLP where a significant portion of his practice is devoted to complex corporate and tort litigation. Mr. Donovan works with corporations and individuals to resolve complicated legal issues and he has tried numerous high exposure jury trials in state and federal court. Mr. Donovan’s trials have included a wide spectrum of civil disputes with emphasis on professional liability, corporate litigation, general liability, employment practice liability, subrogration, construction defect, bad faith liability as well as insurance coverage litigation.

John Donovan III