October 27, 2005
Borden Wrongful Death Lawsuit Dismissed Against TASER™ International
Coroner Admits Comments Were "Reckless" in Deposition
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - TASER International, Inc. (Nasdaq: TASR), a market leader in advanced electronic control devices announced that a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice was filed by the parties in the James Borden wrongful death lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The filing of this stipulation for dismissal by the plaintiffs brings this highly publicized lawsuit to a conclusion with each party bearing their own costs and provided that Plaintiffs shall recover nothing from TASER International. This is the fifth wrongful death or injury lawsuit that has been dismissed against TASER International in the past 18 months, with one additional dismissal pending.
- On November 6, 2003, Mr. James Borden died while in police custody in Indiana. On November 7, 2003, Dr. Roland M. Kohr, M.D. performed an autopsy on Mr. Borden. Dr. Kohr only spent about 90 minutes in performing the autopsy. For his efforts Dr. Kohr was paid a flat-fee of $600. In his December 10, 2003, autopsy report Dr. Kohr listed Mr. Borden's cause of death as "[C]onsistent with cardiac dysrhythmia secondary to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pharmacologic intoxication, and electrical shock."
- Dr. Kohr's inclusion of "electrical shock" by a TASER device as a contributory cause of Mr. Borden's death resulted in significant public criticism of TASER devices in media reports as well as the filing of this litigation against TASER International, Inc.
- On July 26, 2004, on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, Dr. Kohr, stated that the TASER device "definitely" triggered Mr. Borden's heart attack. However, in his deposition on March 3, 2005, Dr. Kohr admits that his statement on CBS News was "reckless."
Now, almost 2 years after Mr. Borden's tragic death, after much litigation and negative publicity, the civil case of Borden v. TASER International, Inc. has now been dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be re-filed.
Following are some of Dr. Kohr's admissions in his depositions:
1. He did not investigate nor did he take Mr. Borden's significant pre-existing negative medical conditions into consideration in his findings.
2. He did not know all of the events surrounding Mr. Borden's death, e.g. Dr. Kohr wrote in his report that a TASER device had been used on Mr. Borden 6 times when in fact it was only 3 times. Dr. Kohr thought that Mr. Borden "collapsed" immediately after the TASER device being used. He did not know that Mr. Borden, with his hands handcuffed behind his back, had been physically thrown to the ground. Nor, did Dr. Kohr know that 4 officers had put their weight on Mr. Borden's back. Dr. Kohr "now" admits that this weight could have impaired Mr. Borden's pulmonary function and could have caused Mr. Borden to die of asphyxiation. Dr. Kohr also admits that taking Mr. Borden to the concrete floor, while handcuffed, face first caused pain, was a stressor, and could have contributed to his death.
3. Dr. Kohr admits that he had virtually no knowledge of TASER devices. He had never held or fired a TASER device. Nor, did he know the wattage, current output, joules, or frequency of the device.
4. Dr. Kohr admits that the TASER device did not directly impact Mr. Borden's heart. Yet in his attempt to justify his autopsy report, he opined that the device caused pain, the pain caused stress, and the stress negatively impacted Mr. Borden's heart. Yet, since Mr. Borden had taken large amounts of a sedative, there is no evidence that Mr. Borden felt any pain - a fact admitted by Dr. Kohr.
5. Some of the other factors that Dr. Kohr now admits contributed to Mr. Borden's death, yet were only tangentially included as causation of death in his autopsy report include, but are not limited to: obesity, lethal overdose of ephedrine, and overdose of promethazine. Other possible contributors to Mr. Borden's death now admitted by Dr. Kohr, include, but are not limited to: the stress of Mr. Borden losing his father days before, the stress of being arrested, and the stress of being taken to the ground face first unable to catch his fall with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Dr. Kohr now admits that TASER devices are "generally safe" and "definitely" have "law enforcement utility."
In addition to the questionable statements by Dr. Kohr, the plaintiffs relied on James Ruggieri as a purported "expert" in an attempt to link the TASER device to Mr. Borden's death. However, Mr. Ruggieri admitted in his deposition that he is a high school drop-out with no degree in electrical engineering. He dropped out of high school in 10th grade and never returned. His subsequent education includes a G.E.D. and on-line "college" courses. His only "degrees" are from an on-line educational provider, and are in website development and computer information systems. He has no medical training whatsoever, and admits he had never done any testing of a TASER device. He had never experienced the discharge of a TASER device, nor even witnessed the discharge of a TASER device. His opinions have been discredited by leading PhD level electrical engineering experts as well as medical doctors.
In the Borden litigation, 14 highly eminent experts in the fields of cardiac electro physiology, cardiovascular pathology, forensic psychiatry, pulmonary medicine, forensic pathology, toxicology, forensic engineering, statistics, experimental psychology, and electrical engineering thoroughly reviewed the "evidence" and provided detailed reports refuting the plaintiffs' claims. These medical and engineering experts all concluded that the TASER device was not a contributory factor in Mr. Borden's tragic death.
"We are extremely pleased that this litigation, which was relied upon by TASER critics to raise questions about the safety of the TASER technology, was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs in light of the overwhelming evidence refuting their case," said Doug Klint, Vice President and General Counsel of TASER International. "We feel vindicated by this dismissal, and remain committed to our ongoing strategy of aggressively defending this type of litigation. As we have stated, we are committed to protecting the integrity of this Company and its products," continued Klint.
About TASER International, Inc.
TASER International provides advanced electronic control devices for use in the law enforcement, military, private security and personal defence markets. TASER devices use proprietary technology to incapacitate dangerous, combative or high-risk subjects who pose a risk to law enforcement officers, innocent citizens or themselves in a manner that is generally recognized as a safer alternative to other uses of force. TASER technology saves lives every day, and the use of TASER devices dramatically reduces injury rates for police officers and suspects. For more information on TASER life-saving technology, please call TASER International at (800) 978-2737 or visit our website at www.TASER.com.