Default award entered against tree-stand manufacturer
In July of 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall notice for 9,000 tree stands manufactured by Ol' Man Tree Stands, L & L Enterprises and TSR, Inc., of Florida and Mississippi. A 42 year-old Indiana resident, Timothy Simonton, was one of the victims of the defective stands: he was found fatally hung from his stand after it collapsed in 2005.
This week a jury awarded his widow a judgment of 157 million dollars, after the company failed to appear and defend the product liability claim against it. It is questionable whether the judgment is worth the paper it is written on, and perhaps the jury sensed that. The registered agent for the company is a former shareholder who has since sold his stock, and the company's attorney retired 18 months ago. Apparently there are no insurer or assets to satisfy an award. The large verdict may generate publicity but it will probably do nothing for the victim's family.