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Orange County Focus

ANAHEIM : New Trial Ordered in Toxic Shock Suit

July 02, 1993|MARK I. PINSKY

Citing juror confusion and unclear instructions, an Orange County Superior Court judge ordered a new trial in a suit involving the death of an Anaheim woman from toxic shock syndrome.

On May 3, a jury found that Dolores Shea, 30, died as a result of using a defectively designed tampon but that manufacturer Kimberly-Clark could not have foreseen the death. Therefore, the jury awarded her family no monetary damages.

After the verdict, jurors said they had wanted to award money to Shea's husband, Michael, and the couple's three children but felt that they couldn't under the instructions given to them.

Judge Eileen C. Moore ruled Wednesday that the jury's findings were inconsistent and based in part on improper consideration of evidence. She ordered the case retried.

Michael Shea is "very pleased, and so am I," said Phillip W. Neiman, the family's attorney. "We think we will prevail at the next trial."

Jean Allen, a spokeswoman for Kimberly-Clark, reiterated the company's belief that the tampon is safe and well-designed.

Dolores Shea became ill on Oct. 3, 1989, but thought she had the flu. Within hours, she was in a coma and later died.

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