Wasilewski v. The Raymond Corp.
A court may award punitive damages in a product liability case, if the plaintiff proves that injury resulted from a product seller's alleged reckless disregard for the safety of product users. Allegedly, the plaintiff, Terry Wasilewski, was working for Rite Aid Corp. when a forklift malfunctioned, and the plaintiff was injured. The plaintiff sued, alleging that the forklift was defective and that the defendants violated the Connecticut Product Liability Act, Connecticut General Statutes §52-577m. The defendant, who allegedly performed maintenance and repairs of the forklift, previously moved to dismiss the recklessness count and request for punitive damages. The plaintiff's earlier complaint merely alleged that the defendant knew about serious injuries and related litigation concerning forklifts. Previously, the court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff filed an amended complaint. The plaintiff's amended complaint alleged that the defendant continued to sell forklifts, without warning buyers about the lack of a foot guard and safety risks, although the defendant knew, or should have known, about equipment failures. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant repeatedly returned the subject forklift back into service after reports of equipment failures. The plaintiff's amended complaint adequately alleged a recklessness cause of action, and the court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the recklessness count and request for punitive damages.