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Defective-Product Verdicts Against Companies Increase

Cybex International Inc., a fitness equipment maker, lost a $66 million jury verdict in New York last month to an assistant physical therapist who was paralyzed when an exercise machine fell on her at work.

For Cybex, whose chief operating officer said he has no idea what the company did wrong, timing may have played a role. The state court jury’s Dec. 7 decision in Buffalo illustrates the most prominent trend in U.S. court verdicts in 2010: a surge in awards against companies accused of putting defective products on the market.