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$2 million lawnmower verdict will stand

Four and a half years after the death of 4-year-old Justin Simmons, the products liability lawsuit over his death finally may have reached closure.

The Supreme Court of Virginia on Friday turned aside the last plea for a writ from MTD Products, the lawnmower manufacturer ordered to pay $2 million to the Simmons’ family.

Justin Simmons was killed in April 2004 in Botetourt County when a riding lawnmower backed over him.  Lawyers for the family argued that the lawnmower should have had a mechanism to stop the blade when the mower was coasting backward.  No other mowers offered such a safety feature.

A Roanoke jury returned a $2 million verdict for the Simmons family in June 2006.  Brent Brown of Salem was plaintiff’s counsel.

By Peter Vieth

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