Product Liability Update

Product Liability Update: January 2019

January 31, 2019

Foley Hoag LLP publishes this quarterly Update primarily concerning developments in product liability and related law from federal and state courts applicable to Massachusetts, but also featuring selected developments for New York and New Jersey. 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:

MASSACHUSETTS

  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Applies “Transient Jurisdiction” Doctrine To Hold Nonresident Individuals’ Intentional, Knowing And Voluntary Presence In Massachusetts At Time Of Service Sufficient To Establish Personal Jurisdiction Even If Claims Have No Relationship To State
  • Massachusetts Federal Court Holds Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-Of-State Manufacturer Satisfies Due Process As Manufacturer Had Account Executive Based In Massachusetts And Sold To Hardware Chain’s Out-Of-State Distribution Center Knowing It Shipped Products To Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Federal Court Applies Restatement (Second) Of Torts’ “Comment k” To Hold Prescription Drug Not Unreasonably Dangerous in Design As Matter Of Law, And “Learned Intermediary” Doctrine To Hold No Duty To Warn Patient Directly Of Risks
  • Massachusetts Federal Court Holds Suicide Does Not Bar Wrongful Death Claim As Matter Of Law Where Complaint Plausibly Supports Plaintiff’s Lack Of Capacity To Resist Due To Mental Instability

NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY SUPPLEMENT

  • Second Circuit Holds Putative New York And California Consumer Class Adequately States False Advertising And Deceptive Business Practices Claims, As “Whole Grain” Representations On Front Of Cracker Box Would Plausibly Lead Reasonable Consumer To Believe Grain Was Predominantly Whole Grain Even Though First Grain On Side-Panel Ingredients List Was Enriched White Flour

Excerpt:

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Applies “Transient Jurisdiction” Doctrine To Hold Nonresident Individuals’ Intentional, Knowing And Voluntary Presence In Massachusetts At Time Of Service Sufficient To Establish Personal Jurisdiction Even If Claims Have No Relationship To State

In Roch v. Mollica, 481 Mass. 164 (2019), a member of a Massachusetts college softball team, a New Jersey resident, suffered injuries from an alleged hazing incident during a team trip to Florida at a property owned by the coach’s parents, who were New Hampshire residents. She sued the parents in Massachusetts Superior Court, alleging they “negligently allowed a dangerous act of initiation or hazing” and “negligently failed to obtain or seek immediate medical attention” for her, and served them when they later attended a softball game in Massachusetts. After defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the trial court judge granted the motion, holding that service of process does not itself confer jurisdiction, as the two are distinct concepts and plaintiff’s claim otherwise had no connection to Massachusetts.

Download the January 2019 Foley Hoag Product Liability Update (pdf).