Jurors find razor company not responsible in student’s death

Noa Yadidi

The parents of Ishan Bose-Pyne ’12 will not appeal the verdict from a jury that found no legal liability in his death, according to a statement from their lawyers.

On Aug. 31, a federal jury ruled that the Wahl Clipper Corporation was not guilty of a manufacturing defect or negligence in design of an electric razor that was alledgedly responsible for Bose-Pyne’s death two years ago.

“Although we are disappointed that the jury did not find fault in the clipper as the cause of Ishan Bose-Pyne’s death, we are grateful that we were chosen to be counsel for Ishan’s parents,” attorney Arnold Peter said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed on July 22 of last year by his mother, Shonali Bose. The trial began Aug. 28 with the swearing in of seven jurors (one of whom was later dismissed by a doctor’s note) and the opening statements from both sides. The 10 allegations listed include product liability, negligent infliction of emotional distress, wrongful death, breach of express and implied warranty.

According to the lawsuit and reports filed on the night of the incident, Bose-Pyne emerged from his bathroom with his shirt engulfed in flames.

There were no lighters or matches found, and on the night of the incident the razor was not eliminated as a cause of the burns. Bose-Pyne was later admitted to the Los Angeles County-USC Burn Center where he was treated for third-degree burns and died of an infection 11 days later on Sept. 13.

The lawsuit also alleges that in the past eight years Wahl has recalled at least nine defective products for various reasons, including the risk of possible electric shock, injury to the user, and overheating or fire.

The lawsuit said that “the Wahl Clipper label and package insert does not provide an adequate warning about the increased risk of serious injury and/or death from the clipper.”

The plaintiffs filed eight pieces of evidence in their initial report, including a September 2010 article from the Chronicle with quotes from teachers and administrators about the influence his life and death had on the community.

U.S. District Court Judge Margaret M. Morrow presided over the trial at the Roybal Courthouse.

The lawyers for the plaintiffs are Peter and Marcus Lee of Peter Law Group, while the lawyer for the defendants is Warren Gilbert of Hosp, Gilbert, Bergsten, and Hough.

The suit initially contained charges against Target Corporation, the company that sold the malfunctioning razor, but the charges were dismissed in March.