Taser International fights hard against claims that its stun guns kill. Wired's Noah Shachtman puts it bluntly: "They never, ever lose in court."
That just changed, with a precedent-setting verdict from a federal jury that awarded $6m in damages against TI, even though the victim was held to be 85 percent responsible for his own injuries.
An autopsy found that Heston died from a combination of methamphetamine intoxication, an enlarged heart due to long-term drug abuse, and Taser shocks. Heston's parents, Betty Lou and Robert Sr., and their daughter sued Taser International. ... The six-person jury found that Arizona-based stun-gun manufacturer Taser International should have more effectively warned police that Taser shocks were potentially dangerous. Salinas police testified during the trial that they were not warned that the shocks could be dangerous.
According to the plaintiffs' attorney, the verdict comprises $5.2m in punitive damages and $1.021m in compensation. Taser seeks solace in the fact that it was only held 15 percent responsible. Shareholders, however, are rendering a verdict of their own.
Is it because of the increasing use of Tasers as human prods in situations where guns would never be drawn? Or was this just an inevitability in the long run?
First Jury Zaps Taser; $6 Mil for Wrongful Death [Wired: Danger Room]