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NEWPORT, R.I.-International Business Machines Corp. won its seventh keyboard injury case earlier this month when a federal court jury in Rhode Island unanimously reaffirmed a 1995 verdict in favor of the company.
A second trial had been ordered by Judge Raymond J. Pettine because he determined that evidentiary rulings on the admissibility of expert witness testimony and certain IBM internal documents had unfairly prejudiced the plaintiff, Patricia H. Piester.
Ms. Piester, a data-entry clerk, developed carpal tunnel syndrome that she attributed to her IBM keyboard. In her suit, she alleged that the keyboard was dangerous in its design and that she should have been warned about potential injuries.
The IBM case brings to 24 the number of trial court decisions favoring keyboard makers. Plaintiffs have won only one keyboard product liability case so far, and the defendant in that case, Digital Equipment Corp., is asking a New York Superior Court judge to reverse a $5.3 million jury verdict for failure to provide adequate warnings (BI, Dec. 16, 1996).