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Bell wins lawsuit filed by crash victim

Published August 21, 2013
Helmet fit and positioning critical to verdict, attorney says

VAN NUYS, CA (BRAIN) — Easton-Bell Sports has won a civil case filed by a 60-year-old cyclist who claimed that his Giro Pneumo helmet contributed to head injuries he suffered from a crash three years ago. Easton-Bell Sports' attorneys are framing last week's verdict in LA Superior Court as a "pivotal" victory for helmet advocates, with implications for the rising tide of suits filed by football players against helmet makers and sports organizations.

Jeffrey Sohn suffered brain injuries following a bike crash in Sunol, Calif. while completing an 85-mile ride. His attorneys claimed that Sohn's helmet slipped on impact and exposed the left side of his head to injury.

Easton-Bell Sports' attorneys argued that Sohn was wearing the helmet improperly — positioned too high on his head, despite instructions that came with the helmet. They also pointed to language in the helmet owner's manual that stated that no helmet can protect parts of the head it does not cover.

According to a press statement by Easton-Bell Sports' law firm, Yukevich-Cavanaugh, the defense was able to point to scratch marks on Sohn's helmet that invalidated the crash reconstruction presented by Sohn's attorneys.

It took the jury five hours to decide that the helmet did not play a substantial part in causing Sohn's injuries.

"Our hearts certainly go out to Mr. Sohn and his family," said attorney James Yukevich. "But cases like this are of exceptional significance, because they demonstrate that, given a safe product and a coherent defense, most juries will exercise basic common sense despite their sympathies for the plaintiffs ... I believe that that should send a message to both defendants and plaintiffs in similar cases."

Yukevich said the suit also pointed out the importance of correct fit and proper positioning of helmets. Giro has sold more than 400,000 Pneumo helmets worldwide.

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