New Jersey Court Rejects Application of Michigan Products Liability Act where Drugs are Manufactured in New Jersey.

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Robert Rowe, who lives in Michigan, became severely depressed and attempted suicide several times after his dermatologist prescribed Accutane. Rowe brought suit in New Jersey, where the drug was manufactured by Hoffmann-La Roche. The defendants sought to apply the Michigan Products Liability Act, which creates an irrebuttable presumption that a warning label approved by the FDA is adequate as a …

Second Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Product Liability Action due to Misapplication of the Discovery Rule.

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The plaintiff had hip replacement surgery in 1994. Due to the premature failure of the prosthesis, he suffered pain and other problems and was required to undergo a revision surgery to replace a part of the prosthesis in 1996. Plaintiff was informed by a treating physician that the original prosthesis was the subject of various product defect claims in 2001, …

Punitive Damage Award Reduced in Claim Against Chrysler for Defective B-Pillar in Pick-Up Truck.

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After the widow’s husband was killed in an automobile accident, she sued the manufacturer the pickup truck that her husband had been driving, claiming that the truck was defectively and negligently designed. The jury agreed and awarded the widow $235,629 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. On appeal, the court held that the punitive damages award was …

Oregon Supreme Court Applies Inference of “Reliance” or Causation in Punitive Damage Case Against Tobacco Industry.

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In reviewing the propriety of a punitive damage verdict under Campbell and Gore, the Oregon Supreme Court rejected Philip Morris’ argument that there was no evidence that its fraud caused injury to other residents of the State of Oregon. “In essence, Philip Morris is claiming that one cannot reasonably infer that anyone was actually fooled by its 40-year advertising campaign …

Korean statute of repose bars third-party claims by cargo owners arising out of casualty aboard a Panamanian vessel on a voyage from France to the United States.

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In 1985, Hyundai added a section to a Swedish vessel through Lloyds per contract governed by English law. The addition and subsequent repairs were performed by Hyundai in Korea. Subsequently, the vessel was purchased by a Panamanian firm, and eventually “hogged” on a voyage from France to the U.S. The shipowner brought a limitation-of-liability proceeding in the Southern District of …

Eleventh Circuit finds that adverse inference is insufficient where owner allows vehicle to be sold for salvage in crashworthiness suit.

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Following an accident in 1996, the plaintiff sent a letter to Daimler Chrysler notifying it of the accident and of the airbag’s failure to deploy. Daimler Chrysler replied to the letter, requesting the location of the vehicle for inspection purposes. Flury’s counsel never responded to defendant’s letter. Around six months later, the vehicle was sold. In 2002, the plaintiff filed …

Wisconsin Supreme Court holds that lead paint manufacturers can be liable under a “risk-contribution” theory.

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The court first rejected the manufacturers’ curious argument that (because the plaintiffs allegedly had an “adequate remedy” against their landlords) the Constitution barred the plaintiffs’ claim against them, and then concluded that lead paint compounds were factually similar enough to DES that the market-share-type “risk-contribution” approach adopted in Collins v. Eli Lilly, 342 N.W.2d 37 (Wis. 1984), could be utilized …

Louisiana Court of Appeal Holds that Recall Notice is Admissible in Design Defect Case.

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A used Ford caught on fire, and the insurer was subrogated to the rights of the car-owner. State Farm, as subrogree, filed an action against Ford under the LPLA. The trial court found for the plaintiff, and the First Circuit affirmed. “If the service recall bulletin had dealt with a different model year or involved a different type of speed …

Florida Court of Appeal rules that pharmacists can be liable for the negligent filling of prescriptions.

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Despite the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in McLoed v. W.S. Morrell that a retail druggist who fills a lawful prescription of a medical doctor with an unadulterated compound cannot be held strictly liable for breach of implied warranty, an intermediate appellate court held, on June 1, 2005, that a pharmacist could be held liable for his or her negligence, such …

Texas District Court rules that the FDCA does not preempt state failure-to-warn claims.

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The estate and heirs of Bethany Cartwright sued Pfizer, alleging that it’s anti-depressant drug Zoloft caused her to commit suicide. Denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss, the court noted that the FDA’s regulations “merely set minimum standards with which manufacturers must comply” and “expressly do not prohibit a manufacturer from ‘adding [to] or strengthening a contraindication, warning, precaution, or adverse …