Product Liability Monitor

 

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

February 8, 2017
New Developments
Autonomous Vehicle Technology Regulation In the Trump Administration
By Eric B. Krauss

Last autumn President Obama revealed his administration’s plan for autonomous driving technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) published fifteen guidelines in September, 2016, that were almost widely lauded as striking the right balance between safety and technological progress.   Consumer, automotive and technology interests—with the notable exception of Apple—seemed pleased that the government espoused policies that did not overregulate and stifle innovation, yet provided enough potential federal oversight to prevent a state law quagmire. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recognized that the emerging technology faced tremendous burdens, and federal guidelines would bring some uniformity to the fifty states’ differing regulations. Support for the Obama administration guidelines was near-universal and cost to the industry was minimal. [Continue Reading]

Defective and Dangerous Spacecraft
By Alan Hoffman

On January 27, 1967, the Apollo 1 spacecraft burst into flames during a ground test at Cape Canaveral. Three astronauts—Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee—died in the conflagration.  The fire and the loss of the astronauts traumatized NASA, which had a six year record of spaceflight without loss of life. [Continue Reading]

Product Liability Defense: New Resources and the Changing Platform
By Dan Jaffe

At many law firms and companies information technology is the moving force changing and enhancing the resource platform supporting product liability defense efforts. These rapidly improving technologies can reduce costs while increasing the amount and quality of available information needed to support the liability defense of products. Automated systems allow lawyers’ tasks to be performed with greater efficiency. Law practice is similar in this respect to other service businesses in which information technology has had a profound impact on workplace organization as well as the type and amount of skilled labor needed to accomplish the enterprise’s goals and objectives. [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
December 2016

Product Liability Monitor

December 13, 2016
New Developments
Auto Manufacturers Partner with Nauto to Improve Driverless Car Technology
By Shannon Peters

One of the main obstacles to the autonomous vehicle industry is “infrastructure,” but not in the sense typically associated with the term. Since autonomous vehicles come in all shapes, sizes, and powertrain types (gasoline, electric, and hybrid), and a wide range of degree of automation, the key infrastructure issue is not with the roads or the need for a worldwide network of guidance wires, rails, or charging stations, but ensuring the safe integration of autonomous vehicles into the world of human drivers.  Enter “Nauto.” [Continue Reading]

Confidentiality and the Public Interest
By Dan Jaffe

Public Justice, a public interest advocacy organization, recently posted over one million pages of Remington Arms Company internal documents on a publically available searchable online database. These documents concern the “Walker” trigger mechanism of the Remington Model 700 rifle, which has been the subject of more than 100 lawsuits, and is allegedly implicated in at least 24 deaths. [Continue Reading]

What is an Adequate Warning?
By Alan Hoffman

In Miasa Barron, et al. v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., the Missouri Court of Appeals recently affirmed a verdict by a St. Louis jury awarding $15 million in compensatory damages and $23 million punitive damages for birth defects caused by the antiepileptic drug Depakote.  While there were other issues, the central liability question was whether Abbott adequately warned about the dangers of birth defects from using Depakote during pregnancy. [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
November 2016

Product Liability Monitor

November 8, 2016
New Developments
Does Talc Cause Cancer? Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom
By Alan Hoffman

This year juries returned verdicts totaling nearly $200 million in three Missouri cases claiming that ovarian cancers is caused by using talcum powder products. By contrast, in September a New Jersey Superior Court excluded expert opinions offered to support such claims and granted defense motions for summary judgment in two pending cases. What scientific evidence is there concerning the causal connection, or lack of it, between talc use and ovarian cancer? [Continue Reading]

Autonomous Vehicles and Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
By Eric B. Krauss

The Three Laws of Robotics are not laws in the traditional sense. They are neither rules passed by a community to regulate its members nor scientific facts proven by observation to govern natural phenomena, but rather a work of literature, devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov. These “laws” reflect common-sense maxims for human relationships: that people should not harm others; that they should obey the standards of their communities; and that people should not engage in self-destructive behavior.  The difference between humans and computers is that humans have free will, while computer behavior is governed by software and programming devised by humans.[Continue Reading]

Court Dismisses the Sandy Hook Shooting Suit
By Dan Jaffe

On October 14, 2016 Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed the Sandy Hook shooting victims’ suit against Remington Arms Company and Bushmaster Firearms International. Judge Bellis held that the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901, et seq. (PLCAA), and did not fall within any exception to immunity from liability set forth in the PLCAA. [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
October 2016

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

August 9, 2016
New Developments
GM’s Ignition Switch Litigation Woes Continue
By Shannon Peters

“Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.” That must be what GM’s executives (and counsel) were thinking when the Second Circuit handed down its recent decision overturning portions of the 2015 Bankruptcy Court decision that could have immunized the “New GM” from “Old GM’s” liability related to the ignition switch recall of 2014. The decision also calls into question the 2009 sale order as a potential violation of the victims’ due process rights. [Continue Reading]

The Hazards of Lithium Ion Batteries
By Alan Hoffman

Lithium ion batteries have been in use for more than two decades, but safety concerns about them have recently attracted a wave of media and regulatory attention. Fires involving the lithium ion batteries of Boeing 787 Dreamliners in January, 2013 resulted in the temporary grounding of the entire 787 fleet. [Continue Reading]

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) in Actions Against Firearms Retailers
By Dan Jaffe

The U.S. District Court of Kansas recently denied a retailer’s motion to dismiss a suit alleging negligent entrustment and knowing violation of federal law in the sale of a firearm based on the pre-emption provisions of the PLCAA. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Shannon Peters Shannon Petersconcentrates his practice on the areas of product liability, intellectual property, and general commercial litigation as part of the firm’s Product Liability team. He advocates for clients of all sizes, from individuals to corporations, including some of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialty chemicals, petrochemicals, automobile parts, and industrial and consumer products, advising them on negotiations, discovery issues and litigation strategies.
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
July 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]