August 05, 2015
Barze Nominated as Leading Practitioner in Product Liability Defence
R. Bruce Barze, Jr. , partner in our Alabama member firm, has been nominated by his peers as one of the world’s leading practitioners in the product liability field with his inclusion in Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence 2015. After obtaining and analyzing the opinions of law firm clients and product liability lawyers from around the world, the edition listed 468 leading product liability defence lawyers in 33 jurisdictions around the world. Mr. Barze is one of the 13 product liability defence lawyers listed from Alabama. He has been listed in this publication since 2011. Mr. Barze is a technology oriented trial attorney with substantial experience defending high-stakes personal injury and wrongful death cases and handling business, insurance, and environmental litigation in numerous states in the USA. He also handles a variety of insurance coverage matters and risk management issues, ranging from coverage opinions and analyses to all types of coverage litigation. (Click here for more information about Mr. Barze)
Alabama member obtains victory for Swiss client
R. Bruce Barze, Jr. and his colleague, Lane Knight, lawyers in our Alabama member firm, recently obtained a complete victory in the Supreme Court of Alabama for their client, Güdel AG. The case involved personal injuries to Robert Rutledge, a resident of Alabama. While Mr. Rutledge was attempting to enter a doorway on a stamping-press unit in the manufacturing facility where he worked, a cable on the overhead door to the unit broke, causing the door to fall down and hit Rutledge, crushing his leg. Rutledge’s leg eventually had to be amputated. He sued Güdel AG, a Swiss company, on the grounds that Güdel allegedly manufactured the equipment that caused Rutledge’s injury. Messrs. Barze and Knight moved the trial court to dismiss the claims against Güdel for lack of personal jurisdiction. Relying on substantial affidavit testimony, Güdel argued that it could not be subject to specific jurisdiction because it had manufactured a separate component of the stamping-press unit that had no functional connection with the door that fell and struck Rutledge. Rutledge offered a conclusory response that Güdel had taken actions in Alabama “related to the action against Güdel,” and, in the alternative, asked for jurisdictional discovery. The trial court denied Güdel’s motion, and Güdel petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus. The appellate court agreed with Güdel, granted its petition, and issued a writ of mandamus directing the trial court to dismiss all claims against Güdel. The Court held that Güdel had made a prima facie evidentiary showing that the trial court had no specific jurisdiction over Güdel because the product manufactured by Güdel could not have caused the overhead door to fall and injure Rutledge. As such, Rutledge was required offer evidentiary support to rebut Güdel’s showing. The Court held that Rutledge had failed to meet his evidentiary burden and that his “bare allegations” were insufficient to warrant jurisdictional discovery. The case is Ex parte Güdel AG, 2015 Ala. LEXIS 66 (May 29, 2015) (Click here for the Opinion)
R. Bruce Barze, Jr., Partner, Balch & Bingham LLP
1901 Sixth Avenue North • Suite 1500 • Birmingham, AL 35203-4642.