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0 Jury levies $10M judgment against Taser, Taser to appeal judgement

Taser International plans to appeal a $10 million verdict delivered by a North Carolina jury.
Scottsdale-based Taser (Nasdaq:TASR), which manufactures electronic stun guns and other equipment, was found partially responsible for the death of 17-year-old Darryl Turner after police in Charlotte, N.C., used a Taser device on him during an altercation at a grocery store on March 21, 2008.
Taser officials expressed their condolences to the family, but said their company’s device was not responsible for his death.
“This was a sad and tragic incident, and our hearts go out to Mr. Turner’s family,” said Doug Klint, president and general counsel of Taser International. “We can certainly understand how the jury felt deep compassion for Mr. Turner’s family, and how this compassion may have overwhelmed the scientific evidence presented in this case.”
Taser officials pointed to several pieces of evidence that were either excluded or ignored during the trial, and said the company plans to appeal the verdict.
“Taser will contest the verdict even before entry of judgment,” said spokesman Steve Tuttle. “If the judgment is entered, we will appeal.”
Among the items the company pointed to were testimony that Turner had a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, as well as questions about marijuana found on Turner after the incident.
The company also suggested that jury instructions were not clear about what Taser could be held responsible for in Turner’s death.
Taser was ruled responsible for about $9.23 million of the total award; about $6 million of that will be covered by insurance. The city of Charlotte will cover $730,000 as part of a settlement, and $40,000 will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
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