Delgado v. Markwort Sporting Goods
Delgado appealed from the Civil Court's order granting defendants' separate motions to set aside a $1.6 million verdict rendered in her favor. She alleged she was injured while playing flag football when her finger became entrapped in a metal D-ring closure of an opposing player's flag belt. Delgado sued the manufacturer and distributor of the belt alleging it was defectively designed. Defendants were granted dismissal when they argued plaintiff failed to make a prima facie showing the belt was defectively designed, and the court agreed. The unanimous panel agreed with the civil court that Delgado failed to submit sufficient evidence to prove the D-ring flag belt posed a substantial likelihood of harm. It found Delgado's own evidence and testimony showed that in almost 20 years of regular play, almost always using D-ring flag belts, this type of injury had never occurred, militating against a finding the belt was substantially likely to cause injury. The panel stated that without a showing the product was unreasonably dangerous as designed, Delgado's showing there were economically feasible alternate designs available was irrelevant. It also found Delgado was not prejudiced by the court's pretrial ruling limiting testimony of her proposed experts, affirming the judgment.