Product Liability Update

Product Liability Update

July 30, 2010

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:

  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Face Amount of Medical Bills Admissible as Evidence of Reasonable Value of Services Rendered to Personal Injury Plaintiff, But Range of Payments Generally Accepted by Plaintiff's Providers in Satisfaction of Such Bills Also Admissible
  • Massachusetts Federal District Court Certifies Medical Monitoring Injunctive and Damages Class Action for Smokers with Only Subcellular Injury, Holding Alleged Common Need for Monitoring Supported Classwide Injunctive Relief and Predominated Over Individualized Issues
  • First Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Putative Class Action Against Manufacturer of Recalled Heartworm Medication, Holding Massachusetts Unfair and Deceptive Practices Statute Requires Proof of Economic Loss
  • Massachusetts Federal District Court Precludes Manufacture and Design Defect and Causation Testimony From Plaintiff's Expert and Grants Summary Judgment Where Expert's Only Training and Experience Were in Accident Reconstruction
  • Massachusetts Appeals Court Affirms Preclusion of Expert Testimony that Holster Was Unfit for Particular Purpose Because Expert Had No Experience With Particular Holster or Holster Design Generally

Excerpt:

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Face Amount of Medical Bills Admissible as Evidence of Reasonable Value of Services Rendered to Personal Injury Plaintiff, But Range of Payments Generally Accepted by Plaintiff’s Providers in Satisfaction of Such Bills Also Admissible

In the just-decided case of Law v. Griffith, --- N.E. 2d. ----, 2010 WL 2803893 (Mass. July 20, 2010), plaintiff was injured in an automobile accident when she was struck by defendant’s vehicle. Thereafter, she brought a negligence action in Massachusetts Superior Court. Before trial, the judge allowed defendant’s motion to exclude plaintiff’s medical bills from evidence because the amounts actually paid by plaintiff’s medical insurer, and accepted by her providers, were ignificantly lower than the amounts the providers had billed. As a result, the parties’ stipulation regarding the amounts actually paid was introduced at trial. After a jury verdict in plaintiff’s favor, she appealed, challenging the judge’s exclusion of the bills and admission of the amounts actually paid. The Massachusetts Appeals Court determined that the judge erred in declining to admit the medical bills as evidence of the value of plaintiff’s medical services, and therefore that a new damages trial was required. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) then granted further appellate review.  

Download the Foley Hoag July 2010 Product Liability Update (.pdf)