Author Archives: Product Liability Playbook

543441518

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Amended to Address Proportionality of Discovery

Relief may be in sight for the discovery costs of large corporate defendants involved in toxic tort litigation. As happens all too often in  toxic tort cases, a single plaintiff (or a group of similarly situated individuals) asserts claims against one or more large corporations that have been in business for many years. Due to the length of the corporation’s existence, there is a voluminous amount of corporate information and documents. When the plaintiff’s predicatably requests the entirety of these documents in the discovery process,…

Continue Reading....
475449310

California Supreme Court Tackles Sophisticated Intermediary Doctrine

Raw suppliers that place their products in the stream of commerce face a dilemma regarding the uncertainty of their duty to warn of the potential hazardous nature of their products. The sophisticated intermediary doctrine is one weapon a raw supplier has against the presumption that a supplier of a hazardous raw material has a general duty to warn all downstream users. The sophisticated intermediary doctrine originated in the Restatement Second of Torts in an attempt to define the duty of a supplier. The doctrine allows…

Continue Reading....

Inaugural Food Litigation ExecuSummit

On February 2-3, 2016, Goldberg Segalla’s Andrew J. Scholz and Joseph J. Welter , partners in the firm’s Product Liability Practice Group,  are slated to speak at the Inaugural Food Litigation ExecuSummit in Uncasville, CT. The day-and-a-half conference — of which Andrew is Chair — will feature insight from those at the forefront of food law and litigation, including those monitoring and researching emerging issues, trends, and liabilities. Andrew will present his program, “Effective Strategies in Defending an Adulterated Food Claim” and Joe will present…

Continue Reading....
iStock_000010503163_Double

Plaintiffs Regain the Litigation High Ground in Florida

In a setback for manufacturers, Florida’s highest court recently ruled plaintiffs do not need to prove a reasonable alternative exists to prevail in product liability cases. The test that requires a reasonable alternative is commonly known as the “risk-utility test.” A mid-level Florida appeals court had used the risk-utility test, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled Florida will return to the “consumer expectations test,” where a design is flawed if a product does not perform as an ordinary consumer would expect. Florida adopted the objective…

Continue Reading....
Medicine law concept. Gavel and stethoscope isolated on white

To Each His Own … Law

In a ruling that could make legal cases more predictable for companies, a New Jersey court held that laws from other states could apply to different defendants in the same negligence case. The case involved a couple who was given incorrect information regarding their child’s chances of being born with Tay-Sachs. The plaintiffs filed a wrongful birth claim, also known as a wrongful life claim, which is when a medical provider allegedly failed to warn parents of the risk of conceiving a child with serious…

Continue Reading....
iStock_000057225942_Large

Lemonade Out of a Lemon Law Ruling

In a win for auto manufacturers, a California appeals court recently ruled the State’s Lemon Law did not apply to the purchasers of used vehicles. The case involves a plaintiff who bought a nearly-new Ford F-350 from the vehicle’s original owner and soon encountered engine problems. The vehicle was covered under the original warranty, but the plaintiff sought to use California’s Lemon Law protection. The appeals court found the definition of “seller” excluded private parties under California’s Lemon Law. The court went on to explain…

Continue Reading....
iStock_000015341040_Large (1)

Avoiding Reinstatement of Distributors in Illinois Product Liability Suits

Retailers can be reinstated into product liability suits through the Illinois Distributors’ Statute. They can protect their interests by being more specific in purchasing contracts and requiring insurance in the United States as seen in Chraca v. U.S. Battery Mfg. Co., 2014 IL App (1st) 132325. In that case, the plaintiff sued the American distributor of a flexible strap used to help carry golf cart batteries in a strict-liability action after the strap malfunctioned.  However, the strap was made by a Chinese manufacturer. The…

Continue Reading....
iStock_000017430230_Large

The 80-Year Liability

Selling a product today that contains a potentially harmful chemical can lead to liability risks many years in the future. That is the situation facing SQM North America Corp., which is currently embroiled in a suit in California arising out of SQM’s sale of fertilizer during the 1930s to 1950s. The City of Pomona has alleged that SQM sold perchlorate-containing fertilizer to Pomona-area citrus growers from the 1930s to the 1950s, which, according to Pomona’s lawsuit, SQM allegedly knew contained the potentially toxic derivation…

Continue Reading....

Gravity Claims Can Trip You Up in New York?

It is a long-standing rule of law in New York State that construction workers injured due to the force of gravity are afforded special legal status. The scope of the special statutory protection is a subject that has preoccupied the courts. One statute, Section 240 of the Labor Law, has generated appellate court decisions defining and redefining its scope, running to thousands of pages. The stakes are high: if it is found that a worker injury resulted from the special hazards created by gravity, the…

Continue Reading....

Is BPA still a bad word?

The continuing controversy over bisphenol A — better known as BPA — took an interesting turn on December 5, 2014, when the FDA announced that BPA is safe at the current levels that occur in foods due to their packaging. This announcement follows the completion of a four-year review of more than 300 scientific studies by FDA experts specializing in toxicology, analytical chemistry, endocrinology, epidemiology, and other fields. Consumer and environmental groups have been critical of BPA use in food containers for years. Twelve states…

Continue Reading....