Product Liability Monitor

May 10, 2017
New Developments
Discovery Sanctions Sanctioned
By Alan Hoffman

On April 18, 2017 the United States Supreme Court did something unusual: it decided a discovery issue. In Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger (2017), it reversed a $2.7 million sanctions order for bad faith discovery misconduct. And in Sec. Nat’l Bank of Sioux City v. Day, 800 F.3d 936 (8th Cir., 2015), another recent high profile discovery case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a sanctions order requiring a lawyer to write and produce a training film on deposition conduct as a punishment for “obstructive deposition practices.” Each of these decisions held that the sanctions exceeded the court’s inherent authority. [Continue Reading]

Tesla Autopilot Goes to Court
By Mark Pratzel

Tesla is facing its first U.S. product liability litigation challenging its Autopilot autonomous vehicle (AV) technology in a putative class action filed in Federal Court in San Jose, California. The three named plaintiffs are owners of Tesla Model S cars in Colorado, Florida, and New Jersey, who paid between $81,200 and $113,200 for their vehicles, including a $5,000 premium for Tesla’s “Enhanced Autopilot” 2.0 AV software. Each plaintiff claims that both the Autopilot “Standard Safety Features” and Enhanced Autopilot features were non-functional at delivery and remained so when suit was filed. The plaintiffs claim that Tesla sold 47,000 vehicles with “dangerously defective” software, at least half of which were supposed to have Enhanced Autopilot. They refer to it derisively as “vaporware,” which they define as “computer software that is advertised but still nonexistent.” [Continue Reading]

“Innocent Seller” Statutes: More Warnings, Less Protection
By Dan Jaffe

In Davis v. Dunham’s Athleisure Corp. (E.D. Mo., 2017), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently ruled that a firearms retailer was not entitled to the protection of Missouri’s “innocent seller” statute because it gave additional warnings and directions to the buyer beyond the manufacturer’s warnings. In Davis, the plaintiff bought a used rifle from the defendant retailer, Dunham’s Athleisure Corporation. The rifle was sold to Dunham’s by Century International Arms, Inc.  Plaintiff was injured when the rifle exploded. Dunham’s moved for dismissal under the Missouri “innocent seller” statute, §537.762.1, RSMo. [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
April 2017

Edward ManzoHusch Blackwell partner Edward Manzo is scheduled to present as part of The Federal Circuit Bar Journal’s “Interviews With The Authors” series. Edward will discuss his article The Untold Story of the First Appeal to the Federal Circuit and his personal connection with appeal no. 83-500, the first appeal to the Federal Circuit from a district court, filed on October 1, 1982, the first day of the Federal Circuit’s existence.

Continue Reading Presentation: The Untold Story of the First Appeal to the Federal Circuit

A  previous blog post discussed the uncertainty that surrounded whether and when federal courts will enforce forum section clauses which are routinely included in technology, manufacturing and transportation commercial agreements.  On December 3, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Atlantic Marine Construction Company, Inc. v. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, 571 U.S. __, 2013 WL 6231157 (U.S. Dec. 3, 2013) which substantially clarifies both the procedure and standards for the enforcement of such clauses in federal court.  Continue Reading Valid Forum-Selection Clauses To Be Enforced in Federal Court in “All but the Most Exceptional” Cases

Contractual forum selection clauses—i.e., provisions selecting specific courts for subsequent related litigation—abound in technology, manufacturing, and transportation commercial agreements. Oftentimes, manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, service-providers, and the like designate particular courts to lessen the costs of future litigation, as well as the likelihood of judicial error.  Continue Reading Must a Federal Court Enforce Your Forum Selection Clause?