Product Liability Update
October 13, 2009
Foley Hoag's Product Liability Update is a quarterly update concerning developments in product liability and related law of interest to product manufacturers and sellers. If you find this update useful, please encourage your colleagues and contacts to also register with us on our Web site. As always, you can access all of our publications at www.foleyhoag.com.
Included In This Update:
- First Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Vinyl Chloride Suppliers, Holding Sophisticated User Doctrine Only Required Analysis of Decedent’s Employer’s Knowledge of Product’s Risks, Not Whether Suppliers Reasonably Relied on Employer to Transmit Warnings to Employees
- First Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment for Beryllium Suppliers, Holding Jury Could Find Plaintiff Reasonably Did Not Know Likely Cause of Her Harm Until Limitations Period and Sophisticated User Doctrine Does Not Apply Because Jury Could Find Plaintiff’s Employer Did Not Know Particulars of Beryllium Risk
- Massachusetts Federal District Court Finds Jurisdiction Over Complaint Against Fetal Gender Detector Manufacturer and Distributor, Holding Counsel’s Affidavit Showed Amount in Controversy Exceeded Jurisdictional Minimum Under Class Action Fairness Act and Plaintiffs Alleged Defendant Had Opportunity to Cure Warranty Breach as Required for Magnuson-Moss Act Jurisdiction
- Massachusetts Federal District Court Remands Asbestos Failure-to-Warn Claims to State Court, Holding Defendants Demonstrated No Colorable Federal Contractor Defense Where They Did Not Show Government Prescribed Content of Warning Rather Than Simply Remaining Silent
- Massachusetts Superior Court Holds Order Requiring Nursing Home to Disclose Non-Party Patient’s Medical Records Relevant to Litigation Does Not Violate Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Massachusetts Unfair or Deceptive Practices Statute
First Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Vinyl Chloride Suppliers, Holding Sophisticated User Doctrine Only Required Analysis of Decedent’s Employer’s Knowledge of Product’s Risks, Not Whether Suppliers Reasonably Relied on Employer to Transmit Warnings to Employees
InTaylor v. American Chemistry Council, 576 F.3d 16 (1st Cir. 2009), plaintiffs sued numerous defendants on numerous claims in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts based on their decedent’s death from cancer allegedly caused by vinyl chloride (“VC”), a chemical with which he had worked. After various defendants left the case, the remaining defendants, all of which had supplied VC to decedent’s employer, moved for summary judgment against plaintiffs’ claims of failure to warn of the risks of VC, fraud by involvement in a trade group brochure that contained allegedly false and misleading statements about those risks, and civil conspiracy by aiding decedent’s employer’s alleged fraud in incorporating portions of the brochure into its own safety manual.
Download the Foley Hoag October 2009 Product Liability Update (.pdf)