Category Archives: Product Liability

Does The “I’m Just A Retailer” Defense Pass Muster?

Many product liability practitioners operate with the presumption that a seller of a product – while it may be named as a party defendant – ultimately will obtain a dismissal from the case so long as a financially solvent product manufacturer is identified and the seller did not sell a known defective product or otherwise take any action affecting the condition of the product. In other words, a product seller generally cannot be held vicariously liable.  However, the District of New Jersey decision, DeGennaro v.

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How Long is Long Enough: A National Review of Statutes of Repose Part II

In this series of articles, we will examine the jurisdictional differences among statutes of repose throughout the United States, their relationship to products liability litigation, and what manufacturers need to know to maximize risk avoidance Statutes of repose provide an absolute bar to claims against manufacturers, usually after a statutorily determined period of time elapses from the point that a product is delivered or installed, regardless of when an accident occurs.  The majority of states which have statutes of repose in place hold that period…

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How Long is Long Enough: A National Review of Statutes of Repose, Part I

In this series of articles,  we will examine the jurisdictional differences among  statutes of repose throughout the United States, their relationship to products liability litigation, and what manufacturers need to know to maximize risk avoidance Statutes of repose provide an absolute bar to claims against manufacturers, usually after a statutorily determined period of time elapses from the point that a product is delivered or installed, regardless of when an accident occurs.  This is distinctly different from a statute of limitation, where the “clock begins ticking”…

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Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind: Manufacturers Have No Post-Sale Duty To Warn In Illinois

The highest court in Illinois has recently handed a significant victory to product manufacturers on the issue of manufacturers’ duty to warn consumers of product defects discovered after the product has left the their control. In Jablonski v. Ford Motor Co., 955 N.E.2d 1138, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a $43 million jury verdict against Ford Motor Company stemming from a fatal motor vehicle accident.  John and Dora Jablonski were stopped at a stop sign in a 1993 Lincoln Town Car when it was…

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Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: Failure to Warn Can Result in Costly Litigation

In the first Risperdal antipsychotic lawsuit to go to trial for personal injuries, a New Jersey jury found overwhelmingly that Johnson & Johnson’s product was not a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff to develop diabetes. However, the jury also found, overwhelmingly, that J&J failed to fully and adequately warn the plaintiff of the potential risk of side effect and illness that can be associated with taking Risperdal.   Though no monetary award was granted to the plaintiff in this particular action, J&J has been…

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Service Provider Escapes Strict Liability, Plaintiff Escapes Spoliation

A New York Appellate Court recently dismissed claims of strict product liability and breach of implied and express warranty against a vehicle repair facility, finding that such claims must fail where the facility did not design, manufacture, distribute or sell the product.   Reeps v BMW of N. Am., LLC., et. al, 2012 NY Slip Op 02584 (1st Dept 2012). The case involved the Reeps family, who had their 1989 BMW serviced at Hassell Motors (a licensed BMW dealer) for an exhaust odor inside of…

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Insurers Sue Parts Manufacturer Over Asbestos Claims

On Monday, May 7, 2012, insurers Continental Casualty Co. and Columbia Casualty Co filed suit against their insured, car parts manufacturer, Hennessy Industries Inc, in Illinois Court. The lawsuit seeks to limit Continental and Columbia’s liability in asbestos-related injury claims against Hennessy, for coverage sought by Hennessy for lawsuits arising from asbestos exposure through the use of products manufactured, distributed or sold by its predecessor, Ammco Tools Inc. Continental and Columbia, by way of declaratory judgment, are seeking a ruling that they have no obligation…

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Punitive Damages Restricted in AZ

Arizona’s legislature recently passed a bill that will negate punitive damage claims on products or services that received regulatory approval or otherwise comply with state and/or federal law. If Gov. Jan Brewer signs the bill plaintiffs would be prohibited from obtaining punitive damages with limited exceptions. Plaintiffs could still seek punitive damages when: the injury occurred after regulators ordered a company to remove a product from the market or its terms of approval were substantially altered; the company withheld relevant information from the government during…

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Class Action Lawsuit Against Discount Tire Dismissed

A California federal judge recently dismissed a class action lawsuit against Discount Tire alleging that it failed to disclose certain information to their customers.  Specifically, the plaintiff, who was representing the putative class, asserted that Discount Tire failed to properly disclose the fact that he was being charged a fee for disposing of his old tires.  This disposal fee was included as a line item on the receipt that was handed to the plaintiff in an envelope.  However, the clerk who spoke with the plaintiff…

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