SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., June 7, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- TASER International, Inc. (Nasdaq:TASR), a market leader in advanced electronic control devices (ECDs), announced that a jury verdict in United States District Court for the Northern District of California in the case of Betty Lou Heston, et al. v. City of Salinas, TASER International, Inc., et al. found that the extended duration of a TASER ECD contributed 15 percent to the death of Robert C. Heston on February 19, 2005. While the jury attributed 85 percent of the cause of death to the actions of the decedent, the jury awarded $1,021,000 in compensatory damages and $5,200,000 in punitive damages against TASER International based on alleged negligent failure to warn. The jury verdict was delivered Friday evening.
Plaintiffs alleged that the muscle contractions associated with an extended simultaneous discharge from the three TASER ECDs it took to subdue Mr. Heston, together with his methamphetamine intoxication and protracted violent activity, contributed to metabolic stress that ultimately lead to the death of Mr. Heston.
Importantly, the officers in this case were exonerated for their actions in dealing with a very difficult and dangerous situation wherein all parties, including the plaintiff, agreed that the TASER devices were the best option available to these officers.
"We are disappointed that the jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages in this case given the many world renowned experts that testified to the fact that the TASER ECD was not a causal factor in this death, which fit the well established symptom pattern for methamphetamine intoxication and associated excited delirium," said Doug Klint, Vice President and General Counsel of TASER International. "TASER International intends to pursue appropriate legal channels, including a motion for a new trial, judgment notwithstanding the verdict and filing an appeal in this matter," stated Klint.
"Certainly, this was a tragedy for the Heston family as well as for the officers involved. We however do not feel that the verdict is supported by the facts including the testimony of the world class experts who testified on our behalf with scientific and medical evidence. Our commitment to continue to defend our life-saving products and to support law enforcement remains unchanged," concluded Klint.
About TASER International, Inc.
TASER International's products protect life. TASER provides advanced Electronic Control Devices (ECDs) for use in the law enforcement, medical, military, corrections, professional security, and personal protection 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. For more information please call TASER International at (800) 978-2737 or visit our website at www.TASER.com.
The TASER International logo is available at http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2931
Note to Investors
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), including statements, without limitation, regarding our expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. We intend that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking information is based upon current information and expectations regarding TASER International. These estimates and statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, are not guarantees of future performance, and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results could materially differ from what is expressed, implied, or forecasted in such forward-looking statements.
TASER International assumes no obligation to update the information contained in this press release. These statements are qualified by important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those reflected by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include but are not limited to: (1) market acceptance of our products; (2) our ability to establish and expand direct and indirect distribution channels; (3) our ability to attract and retain the endorsement of key opinion-leaders in the law enforcement community; (4) the level of product technology and price competition for our products; (5) the degree and rate of growth of the markets in which we compete and the accompanying demand for our products; (6) risks associated with rapid technological change and new product introductions; (7) competition; (8) litigation including lawsuits resulting from alleged product related injuries and death; (9) media publicity concerning allegations of deaths and injuries occurring after use of the TASER device and the negative effect this publicity could have on our sales; (10) TASER device tests and reports; (11) product quality; (12) implementation of manufacturing automation; (13) potential fluctuations in our quarterly operating results; (14) financial and budgetary constraints of prospects and customers; (15) order delays; (16) dependence upon sole and limited source suppliers; (17) negative reports concerning the TASER device; (18) fluctuations in component pricing; (19) government regulations and inquiries; (20) dependence upon key employees and our ability to retain employees; (21) execution and implementation risks of new technology; (22) ramping manufacturing production to meet demand; (23) medical and safety studies; (24) field test results; and (25) other factors detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, those factors detailed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Form 10-Qs.
The statements made herein are independent statements of TASER International. The inclusion of any third parties does not represent an endorsement of any TASER International products or services by any such third parties.
CONTACT: TASER International, Inc.
Steve Tuttle, Vice President of Communications
Media ONLY Hotline: (480) 444-4000