Kathy Faulstich, et al. vs. Sentry Control Systems, Inc., et al.


    Christopher E. Faenza obtained a defense verdict for Sentry Control Systems, Inc., following a six-day jury trial before the Honorable Lois Smaltz. Plaintiff, Kathy Faulstich, claimed she was injured when she attempted to walk under a vehicle-access barrier gate arm that was attached to parking revenue control equipment manufactured by defendant Skidata America, Inc., and maintained by defendant Sentry Control Systems, Inc.

    Plaintiff, Kathy Faulstich claimed injuries to her back, neck, shoulder and knees, as well as cognitive dysfunction and severe emotional distress. Plaintiff's son, Jacob Faulstich, asserted a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress, which he claimed resulted from observing his mother being hit by the subject gate arm.

    Plaintiff's complaint asserted causes of action for premises liability and products liability against defendants, Lindquist & Craig Hotels and Resorts, Skidata America, Inc., and Sentry Control Systems, Inc. At the time of trial, only the products liability causes of action remained against defendants, Skidata America, Inc., and Sentry Control Systems, Inc.

    As a result of Yoka & Smith's successful motion in limine, plaintiff's only liability expert, Stephen C. Wexler of Wexco International, was precluded from testifying at trial because his opinions lacked foundation. Defendants were then postured to argue that plaintiffs lacked evidence to support a finding of liability, as plaintiff had no expert to testify that the subject product was defective in its design, or did not perform as expected by consumers. Defendants also argued that it was not reasonably foreseeable that a pedestrian would walk under a vehicle-access only gate arm, and that plaintiff's own negligence caused her injuries.

    After 50 minutes of deliberating, the jury returned with a defense verdict. Prior to trial, Yoka & Smith served a statutory offer to compromise for $5,001 upon plaintiff, Kathy Faulstich. Because the offer was rejected by plaintiff, Sentry Control Systems was awarded its costs and expert fees, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 998.

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