On November 13, 2020, Scott Toomey, Jason Schmitz, and James Ughetta obtained summary judgment in New York federal court on behalf of sport equipment maker Bell Sports, Inc. against Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and its attempt to recover more than $700,000 it paid to settle a product liability lawsuit arising out of the use of an elastic exercise resistance band.
In 2012, Bollinger Fitness LLC purchased and rebranded segments of Bell’s fitness business, including resistance bands used for home exercise. Liberty Mutual paid more than $700,000 to defend its insured Bollinger and to settle a 2014 product liability lawsuit that alleged the rebranded Bollinger resistance band was defective and caused a permanent, disabling eye injury. Liberty asserted contractual claims arising out of the purchase agreement and various extracontractual claims. Both parties moved for summary judgment.
United States District Court Judge Frederick Block granted Bell’s motion and denied Liberty’s. In so doing, he agreed with Bell’s interpretation of the contract and rejected Liberty’s extracontractual claims outright. The court then summarily dismissed all of Liberty’s claims, finding no factual or legal support for them.