Product Liability Update

Product Liability Update

October 4, 2011

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 Issue:

  • First Circuit Holds Trailer Manufacturer Not Liable for Negligence or Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability Where Trailer Was Built to Plaintiff’s Employer’s Exact Specifications and Design Was Not Obviously Unsafe
  • Massachusetts Superior Court Holds Expert Testimony Regarding Technical Feasibility of Extracting Nicotine to Below Addiction Thresholds and Adding Flavors to Resulting Product Admissible Because Supported by Scientific Research and Data, But Testimony Concerning Consumer Reaction to Product Inadmissible Due to Lack of Such Data
  • Massachusetts District Court Appellate Division Holds Statute of Limitations Bars Claim for Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability for Roofing Shingles Delivered Twenty Years Earlier Because Any Such Claim Accrued on Tender of Delivery, But Express Warranty Claim Survives Because of Fact Dispute Regarding Any Time Limitations Imposed by Warranty 

Excerpt:

First Circuit Holds Trailer Manufacturer Not Liable for Negligence or Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability Where Trailer Was Built to Plaintiff’s Employer’s Exact Specifications and Design Was Not Obviously Unsafe

In Hatch v. Trail King Industries, Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 18000 (1st Cir. Aug. 29, 2011), plaintiff was paralyzed after a hydraulically operated drop gate on the trailer he operated fell on him, trapping him underneath. The trailer and its gate were manufactured by defendant according to the exact specifications of plaintiff’s employer. Plaintiff sued the manufacturer in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for negligence and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability (the Massachusetts near-equivalent of strict liability), alleging the trailer gate was defective and that the addition of a safety pin or chain would have prevented the accident. 

Download the Foley Hoag October 2011 Product Liability Update (.pdf)