Taser International faces lawsuit filed by family of deceased NC teen

Legal news for personal injury attorneys. Taser International is accused of failing to warn users of the dangers of firing Tasers at chest area.

Taser International is named in a civil lawsuit after a teen was killed by cardiac arrest when a Taser that was fired in the chest area.

Charlotte, NC—The family of a deceased teenager who was killed by a Taser shock that was fired by a police officer in 2008, has filed a lawsuit against the Taser maker, Taser International. The civil lawsuit was filed in a federal court on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, as reported by the Charlotte Observer.

The lawsuit contends that Taser International did not warn its users that if a person is Tased near the chest that the outcome could be lethal. The suit centers around Darryl Wayne Turner, 17, who was killed on March 20, 2008 after being shocked by a police officer at a Food Lion store, where Turner had worked, located at Posterity Church Road. Police officials were reportedly called to the store after a Food Lion store manager asked him to leave and he refused. According to the store’s surveillance, Turner was at the customer service desk, pushing over displays and throwing an umbrella. Turner then approached closer to the store manger and an employee, even raising his arm and pointing towards the manager. When Officer Jerry Dawson entered the store, Tuner took a step toward him, and Dawson fired a Taser at him, striking him in his chest. Turner then died from cardiac arrest.

An autopsy revealed that the 17-year-old’s “heart was pumping so fast and chaotically from the stress of the confrontation and the Taser shot that it stopped pumping blood properly.” An investigation determined that Dawson violated the department’s policy by holding the trigger of the Taser for 37 seconds. Dawson was subsequently suspended for five days without pay and had to complete extra training. Turner’s family received $625,000 from the city of Charlotte in August, in which the city did not admit any wrongdoing. The payout was the largest police-related claim the city has had in 10-years.

The suit alleges that Taser International did not warn its users that shocking people in the chest could be deadly, and to avoid doing so. The suit refers to a 2006 study that was funded by Taser International, which concluded that the Taser should not be shot in the chest area. The lawsuit did not ask for a specific monetary amount.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for personal injury lawyers.