Product Liability Update - October 2014

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In this Issue:

- Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds Trial Court Properly Instructed Jury on Absolute “Unreasonable Use” Warranty Defense Where Plaintiff Ignored Warning Label and Safety Manual and Had Been Drinking, and Instruction Adequately Explained Difference Between Defense and Comparative Negligence.

- Massachusetts Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment Against Claim Fire Truck Was Defectively Designed Due to Lack of Redundant Hose Restraints Where Plaintiff Offered No Expert Testimony Regarding Reasonableness of Design or Causation.

- Massachusetts Federal Court Holds Triathlon Participant’s Release and Indemnity Agreement Has Different Effects on Different Claims But Is Not Enforceable As To Claims For Gross Negligence.

- Massachusetts Federal Court Holds Complaint Alleging Defendant Breached Warranties by Selling Automobile Prone to Catching Fire Did Not State Claim for Unfair Trade Practices In Absence of Allegations Defendant Knew of Defect Prior to Plaintiff’s Loss, or Some Other Unfair Conduct.

- Excerpt from Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds Trial Court Properly Instructed Jury on Absolute “Unreasonable Use” Warranty Defense Where Plaintiff Ignored Warning Label and Safety Manual and Had Been Drinking, and Instruction Adequately Explained Difference Between Defense and Comparative Negligence:

In Rose v. Highway Equipment Co., 2014 Mass. App. LEXIS 108 (Aug. 27, 2014), plaintiff sued the manufacturer of a broadcast spreader—a “sander” that mounts on a truck chassis in order to disperse abrasives like sand and salt onto road surfaces—in Massachusetts superior court after he severely injured his hand while oiling the spreader’s chain. Plaintiff asserted claims for negligence and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability (the Massachusetts near-equivalent of strict liability), arguing the spreader was defectively designed.

Please see full issue below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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