Trial over prosthetic leg settles after week of testimony

David Yates Jun. 6, 2011, 4:14pm

After a week of listening to testimony on whether an elderly amputee's prosthetic leg was defectively designed, Jefferson County jurors were dismissed early as the case settled minutes before closing arguments.

The trial of Charles Youngblood vs. Letourneau Lifelike Orthotics & Prosthetics began May 23 and ended May 31.

Attorneys for both parties rested their case on May 31. However, a settlement was reached before jurors could hear closing arguments, a court official told the Southeast Texas Record.

The settlement amount was not disclosed, court records show.

Plaintiff Charles Youngblood's left leg was amputated below the knee in 1996. The Veteran's Administration fitted him with a prosthetic afterward, court papers say.

Letourneau Lifelike Orthotics fitted him with a new prosthetic in 2006, which Young alleges was too heavy and limited his mobility, forcing him to have the leg refitted 10 times over the next year.

On Aug. 20, 2007, Youngblood allegedly suffered a serious fall and broke his arm when the Velcro strap securing his prosthetic leg to his body failed, the original complaint states.

"The fall was caused by Letourneau's failure to design and build a left leg that met its own standards," Youngblood's suit states, adding that the leg limited Youngblood's daily activities.

Youngblood was seeking damages for his mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of enjoyment.

Houston attorney Jesus Garcia represents him.

Attorney Leigh Lewis of the Houston law firm Tucker, Taunton, Snyder & Slade represents Letourneau.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, presided over the case.

Case No. B184-421

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