Practice Highlights - August 22, 2023

Successful Defense of Product Liability Action

Jones Foster shareholder Steven J. Rothman and litigation attorney Travis J. Foels obtained summary judgment for Kitchenware Craft in a case involving a butane stove explosion and severe burn injuries. Steve Rothman, a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial attorney of over 30 years, was well-suited to represent Kitchenware because of his experience in high-stakes litigation, often involving complex technical issues.

Following a power outage due to a hurricane, the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, began cooking in their kitchen and the portable butane stove “exploded.” Plaintiffs alleged that the stove “suddenly, and without warning, exploded and engulfed [the wife] in flames” causing “second- and third-degree burns to her face, arms, hands, hips, and thighs.”

The couple sued the retailer of the stove, and Kitchenware, the distributor of the butane canister. The stove retailer settled.

Plaintiffs’ expert, a material science engineer, testified about the cause of the explosion and asserted that the butane canister was defective because it failed to warn against horizontal use in portable stoves. Kitchenware challenged the expert’s opinions under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and moved for summary judgment on grounds that a “warnings expert” is essential to a failure to warn case and that Plaintiffs’ expert was unqualified.

The judge agreed and granted summary judgment, holding that “a claim that a warning was necessary and that the failure to warn rendered a product unreasonably dangerous and defective requires a warnings expert.”

About Steven J. Rothman

Steve Rothman, a Jones Foster Shareholder and Board Member, litigates in a wide variety of matters with an emphasis on product liability, wrongful death, personal injury, defamation, real estate, and commercial litigation. He represents individuals, businesses, and governmental bodies, and his cases have included numerous multimillion-dollar claims.

Steve currently serves as President of the American Board of Trial Advocates Palm Beach Chapter, an invitation-only national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges considered to be one of the most prestigious affiliations for trial attorneys. Steve’s leadership in ABOTA adds to his honors and recognition in the legal industry, which includes being Board-Certified in Civil Litigation, and being named a 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation in the West Palm Beach metro area by The Best Lawyers in America.

About Travis J. Foels

Travis Foels is a member of Jones Foster's Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice group. He represents businesses, individuals, and municipalities in civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial litigation, real estate litigation, product liability, premises liability, and personal injury matters.

Travis is actively involved with the Palm Beach County Bar Association and The Florida Bar. He also serves on the Law Alumni Council for the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is a committee member for the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County. He was named to the Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch list for 2024.

About Jones Foster

Jones Foster is a commercial and private client law firm headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. Established in 1924, the firm has served as an integral part of South Florida’s growth and prosperity for nearly a century. Through a relentless pursuit of excellence, Jones Foster delivers original legal solutions that help clients, colleagues, and the community to move forward. Notably, the majority of the firm’s Shareholders have received the designation of Board-Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in their specific practice area. The firm’s attorneys focus their practice in Real Estate, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Private Wealth, Trusts & Estates, Corporate & Tax, and Land Use & Governmental. For more information, please visit