Grant is a trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience representing corporate clients in product liability, class action, environmental contamination, construction defect, trucking and consumer fraud matters. The Legal 500 recognized that Grant "enjoys a growing reputation with clients that appreciate his 'excellent technical knowledge and fine trial skills.’” Grant has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which indicates he has reached the height of professional excellence and has been recognized for the highest level of integrity.
Grant has tried numerous catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases to verdict, including one that was ranked among the Top 10 Defense Verdicts in California and one ranked by The National Law Journal as among the Top 20 Defense Verdicts in the nation.
Geronga v. Ford Motor Co. (Cal. Super. Ct., San Mateo Cty.) Second Chair. Grant helped obtain a defense verdict for Ford in a case where a plaintiff sought $42 million in damages. In 2013, five women died and four were seriously injured when a limousine that had been stretched from a Lincoln Town Car caught fire while on a bridge crossing San Francisco Bay. When the car was stretched, its capacity was limited to six rear passengers; the limo operator later modified the car to carry up to 12 people. At trial, Ford argued that the later modification caused the overloading that led to the fracture of the floor structure and its contact with the drive shaft, ultimately causing the fire. Cross-examination of the limo operator revealed that the operator had altered the limo’s records after the fire.
Verduzco v. Ford Motor Co. (Cal. Super. Ct., Stanislaus Cty.) Second Chair. Grant successfully defended Ford Motor Co. from claims that the entire line of Taurus sedans were defective and uncrashworthy. The case involved catastrophic brain injuries to a young vehicle occupant in the rear seat of a Taurus who was struck from behind while stopped. The speed of the crash and biomechanical reconstruction were hotly contested by the parties, and both parties’ experts ran a combined total of over 20 car-to-car crash tests to support their theories. The plaintiff claimed that Ford failed to conduct adequate pre-production rear-impact safety testing, and that the catastrophic injuries were caused by intrusion from an inadequately designed rear structure combined with excessive deformation of an allegedly defective front seat. Ford proved that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by an aftermarket speaker box located in the trunk. The plaintiff sought more than $18 million in damages—including $8 million in economic damages as well as punitive damages. After a seven-week trial, the jury returned in two hours with a 10-2 defense verdict for Ford, which was recently upheld on appeal.
Bilich v. Ford Motor Company (Cal. Super. Ct., Santa Clara Cty.) First Chair. Grant successfully defended Ford against claims that the driver’s air bag in her 1995 Ford Contour was overloaded with propellant and caused the plaintiff’s undisputed catastrophic traumatic brain injury, which occurred when she crashed into a center divider at freeway speeds. Plaintiff also claimed that a steering defect caused the crash, and that the seat belt unlatched in the crash. Ford rebutted these claims by among other things, presenting evidence that the plaintiff was unbelted and reaching across the center console to retrieve a bottle on the floorboard when she lost control of the car, and that her head injury resulted from loading the passenger side of the console and shifter when the vehicle struck the center divider at a 45-degree angle. Further, Ford established, that the design of the air bag canister did not permit overloading of propellant wafers. The plaintiff demanded in excess of $25 million for past and future medical care (including a 24-hour attendant to prevent self-harm), wage loss and pain and suffering. The case settled on very favorable terms during trial after favorable expert-related rulings.
Kay Reed/Vornado v. Tyco Electronics (Cal. Super. Ct, San Francisco Cty.) First Chair. Successfully defended a hybrid mass tort/subrogation product liability claim brought to recoup past litigation and settlement costs and future business and litigation costs involving 150-plus fires caused by shorting/overheating of Vornado space heaters. The economic damages at the time of trial were in excess of $12,000,000. Plaintiff alleged that the insulated “quick-connect” wiring components supplied by Tyco Electronics (TEC) were defective and failed during normal use. TEC traced back the design and performance history of the heaters and conducted an epidemiological study that identified a running change in the heating element that created an overamperage condition that far exceeded the amperage rating for the quick connects. After a week of successful rulings on in limine motions and as voir dire began, the matter settled at a favorable number that was a fraction of what plaintiffs had spent prosecuting the case.
Pierson v. Ford Motor Company (N.D. Cal.) Second Chair. Plaintiff Dax Pierson was a 35-year-old belted passenger in a 2003 Econoline E-350 that rolled over after encountering black ice. Pierson sustained a cervical fracture that resulted in high-level quadriplegia. He alleged the removable bench seat latch failed, propelling him into the roof, and that the roof “crushed in” due to design defects. Ford argued that the bench seat was not detached until after the crash and during extrication, and that the neck injury was a “diving injury,” that preceded any roof deformation. The jury found for plaintiff and awarded $12 million in economic damages for medical and wage loss, and $6 million in general damages for pain and suffering. Prior settlements reduced the judgment to $15 million.
Gramkan v. Ford Motor Company. First Chair. In this San Mateo County case, Shook successfully defended Ford from claims that the plaintiff’s 2008 Ford Edge suffered a catastrophic brake failure that resulted in a high-speed impact with a large redwood tree. She sustained multiple thoracic and cervical fractures and internal injuries and spent two months in the ICU, and another two months in a rehabilitation home. The case involved extensive testing of the brake system and analysis of the EDR, the latter indicating that the plaintiff did not apply the brakes throughout the downhill descent. The plaintiff disputed the accuracy of the download and also claimed that the ruptured vacuum assist drum was the cause of the brake failure and not the result of the impact with the tree. Based on aggressive trial strategy, the case settled for a nuisance amount on the eve of trial.
- Ford Motor Co.
- Kia Motors of America
- Marley Cooling Tower (Now SPX Cooling Technologies)
- Mercedes USA
- Mitsubishi Motors
- Nissan North America
- Reinke Corp.
- Signature Systems, Inc.
- SimplexGrinnell LP
- TE Connectivity (Formerly Tyco Electronics Corp.)
Publications and Presentations
Evolving Product Liability in Highly Automated and Connected Vehicles, Corporate Disputes, July-September 2020.
Presenter, Autonomous Vehicles and The Road Ahead for the Defense Bar: Potential Exposures for Tech Suppliers and Auto Manufacturers, ACI Automotive Product Liability Litigation Seminar (2018).
Presenter, Autonomous Vehicles: Emerging Technologies, Emerging Risks, Shook Hardy & Bacon Update of the Law CLE (2018).
Moderator, The Road Ahead for Autonomous Vehicles, ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, May 3, 2018.
Presenter, "Look Ma, No Hands!" The Road Ahead for Autonomous and Connected Technologies, Update of the Law CLE (2017).
Presenter, In-House Counsel for Manufacturers and Suppliers Speak Out on Managing Outside Counsel, Reducing Costs and Formulating Early Defense Strategy, American Conference Institute's 10th Annual Summit on Defending and Managing Automotive Product Liability Litigation (2017).
Panelist, Preparing the 30(b)(6) witness for deposition, ABA Annual Meeting (2016).
Moderator, In-House Counsel Panel: Ethical and Practical Considerations in Settling Cases, ABA TIPS Program Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation (2016).
Program Chair, Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation, ABA Tips (2013).
Moderator, Minimizing Exposure for Product Liability: Doing Business in the United States: What You Need to Know About Investing, Product Liability and Dispute Resolution, ABA (2012).
Moderator, Component Parts Supplier Panel: Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation, ABA TIPS (2011).
Program Chair and Speaker, Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation, ABA TIPS (2008, 2010).
Speaker: Lien On Me: Hot Topics in Settlement Negotiations, ABA TIPS (2009).
Speaker, The Dream Team Approach to Success: IT, Legal and RIM Working Together to Control Your Data, ARMA Silicon Valley Conference (2009).
Speaker, Preemption: Examining the Current Viability of the Defense, ACI (2008).
Program Chair and Moderator: Post-Sale Duty to Recall, Warn, or Retrofit, ABA Annual Meeting (2007).
Program Chair and Moderator, Practical Considerations for Handling Cases Containing Claims of Negligence, Strict Liability, and Breach of Warranty, ABA TIPS (2007).