Product Liability Monitor

March 9, 2017
New Developments
Missouri Products Law: Are The Times A-Changin’?
By Joe Guffey

Missouri, the home of Mark Twain and Harry S Truman, has in recent years become one of the most deeply red states politically. Yet it has also acquired a reputation as of one of the most plaintiff friendly forums nationally, thanks to its substantive law and to juries in the City of St. Louis (dubbed the Number 1 “Judicial Hellhole” by the defense-oriented American Tort Reform Association for 2017).

Some of that may be about to change following the 2016 election of Republican former Navy Seal Eric Greitens as Governor and heavy Republican majorities in the Missouri House and Senate. Several bills are now pending in the Legislature which could bring about significant changes in Missouri product liability law and practice. [Continue Reading]

Immunity for Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturers?
By Mark Pratzel

As autonomous automobile vehicle (AV) technology develops new legal issues and challenges continue to appear. An issue that has led to much debate is the potential impact of lawsuits, which some contend could hamper the growth of AV technology. [Continue Reading]

What is an Adequate Warning? Criteria and Application
By Dan Jaffe

Many courts have stated criteria for determining the adequacy of product safety warnings. The Tennessee Supreme Court established a particularly useful 5-part test in Pittman v Upjohn Co., 890 S.W.2d 425, 429 (Tenn. 1994).  As recently re-stated by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [Continue Reading]

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice

Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]

Product Liability Monitor Archive
February 2017

Product Liability Monitor

October 7, 2016
New Developments
The Duty to Warn in New York
By Dan Jaffe

New York’s highest court recently held in two asbestos cases (Dummit v. A. W. Chesterton and Suttner v. A. W. Chesterton) that a manufacturer of valves had a duty to warn of the hazards arising from the use of its valves with asbestos-bearing gaskets and packing materials which it neither manufactured nor distributed. Both cases involved valves manufactured by Crane Company. Crane’s valves did not contain asbestos or other hazardous materials, but they could not practically function in a high-pressure, high-heat environment without asbestos-containing gaskets, insulation and packing. [Continue Reading]

Federal Guidelines for Autonomous Vehicles
By Mark Pratzel

On September 20, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) issued the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, first Federal policy on automated vehicles. Focused on “highly automated vehicles” (HAV), the guidelines show that the Federal government sees automated car technology as a safer alternative to cars driven by humans. “We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and exhausting,” said Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic Council, noting that automated vehicles “will save time, money and lives.” [Continue Reading]

What Is A Reasonable Alternative Design?
By Alan Hoffman

At the heart of the concept of defective product design embodied in the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Product Liability is the availability of a reasonable alternative design which could have reduced or avoided a risk of harm. However, a product may be defective, even if no reasonable alternative design exists, if it fails to provide reasonable instructions or warnings of a foreseeable risk of harm. A recent decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court illustrates the application of these principles. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Mark Pratzel Mark Pratzeldefends clients in matters involving construction, toxic tort, product liability, premises liability and personal injury law. Representing clients in the manufacturing, technology and chemical industries, he concentrates his practice in cases alleging industrial explosions and exposure to asbestos. Mark also represents a variety of corporate clients in a broad range of litigation matters involving contracts, regulatory issues and product literature.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice
Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]
Product Liability Monitor Archive
September 2016

Product Liability Monitor

September 12, 2016
New Developments
FDA Requires Highest Level of Warning on Opioids & Benzodiazepines
By Jenna Marie Stupar

On August 31, 2016 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new directive to include the “black box” label on approximately 400 opioid and benzodiazepine products. Opioids are powerful pain reducing medications including prescription oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.  Benzodiazepines are typically prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and seizures.  Examples of these products include alprazolam, clonazepam and lorazepam.  Both types of drugs depress the central nervous system. [Continue Reading]

Driverless Cars and Automobile Insurance
By Mark Pratzel

As driverless automobile technology develops it leaves unanswered questions about the legal implications for auto insurance.   Currently, if drivers of traditional cars get into an accident, the auto insurance policy of the party at fault will typically cover the property and bodily injury damages sustained by the victim. But what happens if the fault can be attributed to an autonomous vehicle controlled by a computer? [Continue Reading]

When is a Product Design Defective?
By Alan Hoffman

In Izzarelli v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Connecticut Supreme Court was called on by the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, to consider whether the so-called “good tobacco” exception to strict liability of comment (i) to Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts precludes an action against a cigarette manufacturer for manipulating the nicotine in its cigarettes to increase the user’s risk of cancer under Connecticut law. Answering in the negative, the Connecticut Court used the case to revisit its holding in Potter v. Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co. and the evolution of product liability jurisprudence since the Second Restatement. In doing so, it delved into a question at the heart of product liability law: what constitutes a design defect? [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Jenna Stupar stupar-jennajoined Husch Blackwell in 2015 after serving as a summer associate for the firm in 2014. She focuses her practice on toxic tort, product liability, and commercial litigation matters. She also has experience working with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice
Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]
Product Liability Monitor Archive
August 2016

 

Product Liability Monitor

July 8, 2016
New Developments
Federal Preemption of Pesticide Failure to Warn Claims
By Alan Hoffman

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court decided Bates v. Dow Agrosciences LLC, 544 U.S. 431 (2005), concerning preemption of state law failure to warn claims by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, 7 U.S.C. §136 et seq.  (“FIFRA”) [Continue Reading]

Driverless Cars and the Law – The Tesla Accidents
By Eric B. Krauss

Last month’s Product Liability Monitor post, “Driverless Cars and the Law,” asked, “What happens when a driverless car is involved in an accident?” How will courts react when a serious, even fatal, accident occurs? These questions became more immediate when a Tesla Model S, driven by its owner, Joshua Brown – ironically, an advocate of Tesla’s “Autopilot” feature–was involved in a fatal crash while operating in Autopilot mode. [Continue Reading]

Expert Witness Testimony in New York
By Dan Jaffe

New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, recently affirmed lower courts’ orders excluding the causation testimony of two experts under the Frye Rule. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Known as a strong trial lawyer and skillful negotiator, Dan JaffeDan Jaffe assertively protects the interests of his business clients in product liability claims and commercial disputes. He persuasively presents the facts and argues the law at the trial and appellate levels. During jury trials, he uses creative approaches in order to effectively communicate burdensome evidence to lay juries, consistently ensuring the best possible outcomes for corporate clients.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice
Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]
Product Liability Monitor Archive
June 2016

Product Liability Monitor

June 7, 2016
New Developments
Driverless Cars and the Law
By Mark Pratzel

As driverless car technology evolves, questions continue to arise regarding its legal repercussions. Google, one of the leading forces behind autonomous cars, predicts that they will be available to the public by 2020.  Nissan and Tesla are also developing self-driven car technology.  And consumers support the new technology.  A recent Pew Research Center study indicated that nearly half of Americans would ride in a driverless car. [Continue Reading]

The Sandy Hook Firearm Litigation
By Joe Guffey

On the morning of December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle modeled on the military M-16, which he used to kill 26 persons and wound others. The shootings received extensive nationwide media coverage. [Continue Reading]

Federal Preemption of Aircraft Design Defect Claims
By Alan Hoffman

In Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp., 45 F.Supp.3d 431 (M.D. Pa. 2014), a wrongful death suit arising from the crash of a Cessna 172 claiming defects in the carburetor of its Lycoming engine and the related manuals and instructions, the plaintiff alleged that Lycoming violated various design requirements for the engine type certificate, and failed to report failures, malfunctions or defects as required by the Federal Air Regulations. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Alan Hoffman concentrates his practice in the Alan Hoffman areas of product liability, tort and business litigation with the firm’s St. Louis office. He handles a wide variety of product liability and personal injury litigation, including chemical and toxic tort; premises liability; firearms and ammunition; maritime; aviation; and rail cases. He has defended chemical manufacturing clients in exposure and product liability cases. Alan also has been an active pilot for more than 40 years and has a unique knowledge of aviation law.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice
Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]

AirplaneThe United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is considering whether, and if so, to what extent the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. §§ 40101 et seq., preempts tort claims for alleged defective aircraft design or manufacture. It has asked the Federal Aviation Agency to weigh in on these questions.  The answers are important for the aviation industry.

Continue Reading Air Safety: Does The Federal Aviation Act Preempt Aircraft Design Defect Claims?