Jens C. Ruiz
Jens Ruiz is an experienced litigator who focuses his practice in the areas of product liability, warranty and casualty litigation. He also has experience handling insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. He defends a number of clients in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, automotive, boating, marine and personal watercraft industries throughout Florida. Matters handled by Jens involve negligence, product defect, and personal injury including catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. A considerable portion of Jens’ practice also involves representing and defending a transportation network company and transportation network drivers.
In addition to his experience as an attorney, Jens draws on his experiences earned as a claims counsel in the employment specialty claims department of a national specialty liability lines insurer, overseeing complex employment practices litigation throughout the country. Management of these claims involved analysis of coverage positions for claims arising under the applicable policies, settlement negotiations, and supervision of outside defense counsel.
During law school, Jens worked for a number of governmental and policy-making entities, including the New York State Attorney General Environmental Protection Bureau, the Civil Court of the City of New York, and the New York City Fire Department Intergovernmental Affairs.
Scott Sarason and Jens Ruiz obtained a defense verdict on behalf of Louisville Ladder, Inc. on February 27, 2020 in a product liability case in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – West Palm Beach Division where the Plaintiff was seeking $1.9 million in damages.
The plaintiffs, Jerry Zaslow and Diane Paganuzzi-Zaslow, were represented by the Rosalyn Sia Baker-Barnes and Jordan Dulcie of the Searcy Denney law firm in West Palm Beach. Mr. Zaslow claimed that he fell as he was climbing down a wooden attic ladder installed in his home. The plaintiffs claimed that the subject attic ladder had a design defect and failed to adequately warn Mr. Zaslow about use of the ladder. As a result of the fall, Mr. Zaslow sustained a concussion, a compression fracture of L2 and bilateral sacral fractures. Mr. Zaslow’s physicians diagnosed him with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic Parkinson’s disease. The plaintiffs retained a physical pain physician and economist who opined that his past and future medical care exceeded $1 million. The plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the subject attic ladder was defective, and failed to properly warn users about its potential risks. They also claimed that the attic ladder was unreasonably dangerous in design because the attic ladder’s handrail, one of several grip points, did not extend the full length of the ladder.
Louisville Ladder denied all of the plaintiffs’ allegations. Louisville Ladder argued that the handrail was not the cause of Mr. Zaslow’s fall, and the ladder’s warnings and instructions were adequate, but Mr. Zaslow failed to follow them. The defense successfully argued that Mr. Zaslow had used the subject attic ladder on multiple occasions prior to the accident, he knew where the handrail was prior to the accident, and given his position on the attic ladder prior to the fall, he had sufficient handrail, along with other grip points, available to use. The difference in Mr. Zaslow’s use of the attic ladder on the date of the accident as opposed to prior uses was that he was bringing down a suitcase from the attic, which for him, required the help of a second person.
Scott M. Sarason and Jens C. Ruiz of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell won a defense verdict on behalf of Louisville Ladder, Inc. on April 24, 2018, in a product liability case in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – Miami Division. The claims against Louisville Ladder related to the design of a 16’ extension ladder. In October 2015, Plaintiff Jorge Morejon fell as he was transporting from the roof of a residence he was working on to a 16’ extension ladder manufactured by Louisville Ladder. The subject ladder was gifted to Mr. Morejon six years earlier and was used by him numerous times prior to the date of incident. The fall resulted in Mr. Morejon sustaining fractures to his right hip, lower vertebrae and ribs. He underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery (screws and pelvic reconstruction plate) to repair his right hip. Mr. Morejon’s doctor opined that he would need a total hip replacement in the future due to his hip injury. Plaintiff’s medical bills amounted to approximately $300,000.
Mr. Morejon filed suit alleging that Louisville Ladder failed to adequately warn Mr. Morejon on the proper use of the 2007 16’ extension ladder. He also alleged that the ladder was defective and unreasonably dangerous in its design because the user needed to move their center of gravity outside of the ladder’s siderails in order to mount or dismount the ladder at elevation. Plaintiff asserted that the ladder should have a “walk-through” device at the top so that a user could maintain their center of gravity between the rails. Plaintiff also asserted the ladder did not comply with the applicable ANSI standards. At the close of Plaintiff’s case, Mr. Morejon asked the jury to return a $3.1 Million award in his favor.
Louisville Ladder denied Mr. Morejon’s allegations. Prior to trial, Louisville Ladder moved for partial summary judgment on Plaintiff’s failure to warn claim, which was granted by the Court. The basis for the summary judgment was that the warnings and instructions were adequate, and Plaintiff read the ladder’s warnings and instructions, but did not rely on them to use the ladder. Louisville Ladder also moved to exclude Plaintiff’s liability expert’s opinions under Daubert, which was granted in part by the Court. In granting Louisville Ladder’s Daubert motion, the Court prohibited Plaintiff’s liability expert from opining as to the adequacy of the ladder’s warning and instructions and opining about an alternative “walk-through” design for the subject ladder.
At trial, Louisville Ladder presented evidence that the subject extension ladder was neither defective nor unreasonably dangerous in design. The ladder complied with all ANSI standards and governmental regulations. The ladder was not and had not been subject to a recall. Mr. Morejon had used the ladder on numerous occasions prior to the incident without issue. There were no other claims or incidents involving the subject ladder similar to Mr. Morejon’s claim. The evidence showed that Plaintiff’s incident was the result of Mr. Morejon’s failure to ensure that the ladder was secure prior to using it or the result of his loss of balance.
The case went to the jury, and the jury returned a complete defense verdict in 18 minutes.
- Motor Vehicles
- Boating and Marine
- Product Liability Liability Council (PLAC)
- Defense Research Institute
- Dade County Bar Association
New York Law School — J.D., 2011
- Dean’s List – Fall 2010
- Dean’s List High Honors-Fall 2009
Syracuse University — B.A., Political Science, 2005
- New York — 2013
- Florida — 2012
- U. S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
- U. S. District Courts of Florida (Southern)