Author Archives: Robert M. Hanlon Jr.

“Natural” Juice Manufacturer Gets Squeezed

Last month, my colleagues here at Goldberg Segalla wrote about food labeling litigation and offered suggestions about to how to defend it.  Their article, entitled “The New Food Fight: Defending Against Labeling Litigation,” is available here.  In it, they note that only a small portion of food litigation involves manufacturing defect claims.  The bulk of it is based on advertising claims that have little to do with health or nutrition.  While various claims have been targeted, a common one is the claim that a…

Continue Reading....

A Ticket Seller Is Not a “Product Seller”

An amusement park is not a viable defendant under New Jersey’s Products Liability Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:58C-1, et. seq. That was the holding in a recent unpublished opinion by New Jersey’s Appellate Division in Morgan v. Six Flags Great Adventure,2013 N.J. Super Unpub. LEXIS 1274; 2013 WL 2300979. Manufacturers and sellers are strictly liable under the act for harm caused by a defective product. “Product seller” is a defined term and, this court clarified, it does not include an entity that “merely sold licenses for…

Continue Reading....

Can In-House Counsel Be Compelled To Testify At Trial?

Yes.  As fellow blogger Chip Miller and I wrote in a recent article titled Keeping In-House Counsel Off the Stand (And Outside Counsel Out of the Doghouse), published in DRI’s In-House Defense Quarterly (Summer 2012), “In-house counsel attending trial can indeed find themselves called to the witness stand, and that scenario has played out in at least several product liability trials. Once on the stand, plaintiffs’ tactics include using the witness as a human bulletin board to authenticate and then display and discuss the…

Continue Reading....

Canadian Judge Finds Mandatory Speed-Limiter Law Unconstitutional

I reported yesterday that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) develop performance standards for advanced speed-limiting technology and then require that all newly manufactured heavy commercial vehicles be equipped with such devices.  (“NTSB Encourages NHTSA To Require Advanced Speed-Limiting Technology.”)  I noted that it remains to be seen whether that technology is sufficiently reliable, practical, and effective to warrant immediate action.  Albeit not binding in either the United States or Canada, a June 6 decision…

Continue Reading....

NTSB Encourages NHTSA To Require Advanced Speed-Limiting Technology

At its June 5, 2012 meeting, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) addressed the well publicized bus accident that occurred on March 12, 2011 at approximately 5:38 a.m. en route from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut back to New York City.  Travelling at approximately 78 mph in a 50 mph zone, the bus departed from its travel lane, crossed over the right shoulder, scraped along the guardrail for 480 feet, overturned 90 degrees onto to its right (passenger) side, and then impacted two signposts,…

Continue Reading....

SSA’s Determination of Disability Is Not Worth Its Weight In Prejudice

In a medical malpractice case arising out of allegedly negligent knee replacement surgery, the plaintiff offered into evidence the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Determination of Disability. Orber v. Jain, 10-cv-1674 (DNJ Camden).  Judge Renee Marie Bumb, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, found the determination to be inadmissible under Rule 403 because it is “substantially more prejudicial than probative.” The court cited a number of reasons for its decision, which should be of interest to similarly situated defendants.  First, the…

Continue Reading....

Repair Damages Cannot Be Ascertained On A Class-Wide Basis

In Little v. Kia Motors America, Inc., 2012 N.J. Super. LEXIS 45 (April 2, 2012), the New Jersey Appellate Division reinstated both a partial defense verdict as to diminution in value and an order that repair damages cannot be ascertained on a class-wide basis.  The class action, certified in 2003, stems from an allegation that the defective design of Kia Sephias purchased between 1997 and 2000 caused premature wear of the brakes and brake rotors.  The case was tried before a jury in 2008. …

Continue Reading....