Design Defects

News & Analysis as of

Something Went Right In Brazil

Zika virus, Olympic unpreparedness, economic collapse, presidential impeachment - a lot of things have gone wrong in Brazil lately. But we’re not here to talk about any of that. Here’s something that went right: Brazil v....more

Betterment on Construction Projects, part 2 (more cowbell) (law note)

Another question about betterment, and about A/E insurance policies: I am confused on why the A/E even carries error and omission insurance. I must re-read one of the policies. And if betterment protects the designer,...more

Middle District of Louisiana Gets it Wrong: A Different Product is not an “Alternative Design”

Over the Fourth of July weekend, we in the Philadelphia area learned that 120 of the “new, state-of-the-art” trains in our regional commuter rail system were being pulled out of service. Someone noticed that the trains were...more

Expert’s Failure to Test Theory No “Silver Bullet” for Defense

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently held that an expert offering opinions on a proposed safer alternative design in a product liability matter does not need to perform any testing of the...more

The Difference Between Manufacturing and Design Defects

Some plaintiffs seem to think that if they allege any problems about anything in the manufacturing process of a prescription medical product, then it falls under the rubric of “manufacturing defect.” They’re wrong, of course....more

Fifth Circuit Considers Allocation of Risk of Defective Plans and Specifications in Reversing $1.29 Million Judgment Entered in...

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board v. INET Airport Systems, Inc., et al., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 6646, 819 F.3d 245 (5th Cir. Apr. 12, 2016) - This action arose out of a construction project in terminal E of...more

U.S. DOT Moving Closer to Certification of Driverless Cars

Motor vehicle design continues to make significant technological leaps incorporating a number of automated features, with many manufacturers pioneering the concept of driverless cars. What was once the stuff of science...more

Dismissing Drug Design Defect Based on Preemption

In a rare harkening to our past and discussion of specific judges, we recall that our first gig after law school was clerking for Judge Jon P. McCalla of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee....more

Takata Exploding Airbag Claims Another Young Life

A Texas teenager, Huma Hanif was killed when the Takata airbag in her Honda Civic exploded as a result of a crash. Since 2011, the Honda Civic has been recalled multiple times. According to the victim’s family, they have...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions - SC19232 - Izzarelli v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. - Plaintiff obtained a judgment against a tobacco company upon a claim that it put in additives and manipulated the nicotine...more

Product Liability Verdicts in Arizona

Product liability cases show a strong defense trend in Arizona. Since 2011, Arizona juries have given twelve defense verdicts and three plaintiff’s verdicts. Here are all of the Arizona product liability verdicts over the...more

Guest Post - The Connecticut Supreme Court Modifies The State’s Consumer Expectation Test By Adopting The Modified Test

Today’s guest post is by Adam M. Masin, a partner at Shipman & Goodwin LLP. It’s about the most significant general Connecticut product liability decision in almost 20 years. It’s not a drug/device case, though. Instead it...more

Hidden Defects Linked to Small Plane Crashes

Over the last few decades, close to 50,000 people have died in helicopter and small plane crashes in the U.S. This is almost ten times the number of people killed in major airline crashes. In addition, thousands of people...more

Some Case-by-Case Comment K Mixed with Some Insufficient Pleading of Fraud

In Hawaii, from whence today’s case comes, tourists are encouraged to try poi, mashed up taro root, which looks like purple wallpaper paste and tastes like, well, purple wallpaper paste. The term is also used as a friendly...more

Federal Preemption Narrowed For Aviation Suppliers In Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp.

On April 19, 2016, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion on the issue of federal preemption in Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp. The sixty-one page opinion effectively narrowed the scope of federal...more

Innovator Drug/510k Medical Device Impossibility Preemption and the Meaning of “A Fortiori”

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “a fortiori” is legal Latin meaning: - By even greater force of logic; even more so it follows. We’ve been arguing for some time – since PLIVA v. Mensing, 131 S. Ct. 2567...more

Bad Bullets Brings Sixth Circuit in Line with Siblings: The Commercial Activity Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

On March 7, 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals joined its sibling circuits by affirming a ruling from the Southern District of Ohio, which found that the design and manufacture of a product is a commercial activity...more

Comment K Case by Case – Falling Out of Favor?

When we examined Restatement (Second) of Torts §402A, comment k (1965), in our 2011 research post “Comment K, Some of the Way,” we remarked about how it said “a lot of things,” including: (1) that one can’t design away...more

Guest Post - Design Defect Preemption - It’s as Simple as One, Two, Three

Courts are starting to “get” the design defect preemption argument. That makes sense because the argument is simple. Any major changes in the design of a drug or a medical device require the prior approval or permission of...more

Silence Would Have Been Golden: Unnecessary Illogical Preemption Decision in Motrin SJS/TENS Summary Judgment Victory

We sat through The Revenant again this weekend, at the plaintive (not plaintiff) request of a Drug and Device Law Friend who had yet to see it. Last time, we barely stayed awake. This time, we lost the battle. We have heard...more

Design Errors Exception to the Economic Loss Doctrine

A recent Pennsylvania case, Gongloff Contracting, LLC v. L. Robert Kimball & Assocs., Architects and Engineers, Inc., sheds light on circumstances in which design errors can lead to damages in tort as courts recognize...more

New Jersey Mesh Summary Judgment Hat Trick

We’re pleased to report that good things continue to happen in Atlantic County product liability proceedings following recent judicial turnover. On February 19, 2016, the Reed Smith Bard/Davol defense team scored a hat trick...more

Preemption And Causation Do Away With Contraception Lawsuit

With Spring Training well underway, we took notice of the solid base hit delivered last month by the Northern District of California in La Paz v. Bayer Healthcare LLC, No. C 15-03995, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13058 (N.D. Cal....more

Betterment on the Construction Project (law note)

Today’s post is thanks to a discussion with an engineer following a talk I gave for the ASCE of North Carolina.  He asked about owners trying to recover for obvious mistakes, for which they’d have to pay anyhow....more

Preemption prevails in watercraft case under Federal Boat Safety Act

For vehicle manufacturers that find themselves in state court facing product liability claims over safety mechanisms, federal preemption is frequently examined as an affirmative defense. Watercraft manufacturers, in...more

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