Arizona justices decline deputy's Taser lawsuit

Chris Rizo Jun. 3, 2008, 7:14pm

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal by a former Maricopa County sheriff's deputy trying to revive a lawsuit against Taser International Inc.

The high court's decision not to hear Samuel Powers' lawsuit lets stand a Court of Appeal ruling that upholds a Maricopa County Superior Court jury's verdict for Taser.

The 16-year sheriffs' veteran filed a product liability suit against Taser after suffering a career-ending back injury when shocked by the Advanced Taser M-26 during training. The stun gun was manufactured by Taser.

Powers said he suffered a broken back during a training exercise because Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser didn't warn of the device's potential risk.

Powers' physician, Dr. Terry McLean, discovered while treating Powers for the July 2002 Taser injury that Powers had severe osteoporosis.

Taser argued in court that it did not know that the muscle contractions produced by the 50,000-volt M-26 were strong enough to cause a bone fracture.

The Court of Appeals had ruled that a trial judge was correct to rule that Powers wasn't entitled to have jurors instructed they could hold Taser liable for dangers that the company didn't learn of until Powers' injury.

Powers sought approximately $800,000 in lost wages, plus punitive damages.

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