Product Liability Update

Product Liability Update: October 2020

November 5, 2020

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 Federal Court Holds No Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-Of-State Corporation’s Contract and Deceptive Practices Claims Against Foreign Corporation Based In Part On Communications With Plaintiff’s Employee Working Remotely From Massachusetts, As Employee’s Location Was Purely Fortuitous And There Was No Allegation Defendant Intended To Cause Harm In State

  • Massachusetts Federal Court Holds Strict Liability-Equivalent Design Defect Claims Involving Prescription Medical Devices Not Automatically Barred By “Comment k” Exception For Unavoidably Unsafe Products, And Exception Must Be Assessed For Particular Device At Issue; Negligent Design Claims Do Not Require Pleading Of Available Safer Alternative Design

  • Massachusetts Federal Court Applies Local Statute Of Limitations To Permit Claims Against Resident Medical Device Manufacturer, As State Has Significant Interest In Holding Resident Accountable And Louisiana Does Not Have More Significant Relationship To Claims Even Though Plaintiffs Resided And Device Was Implanted There; Plaintiffs Adequately Pled Design Defect, Failure-To-Warn And Express Warranty Claims Where They Alleged Safer Alternative Designs And That Defendant Represented Device Was Safe When It Was Not

  • Massachusetts Superior Court Holds Plaintiff Denied Kidney Transplant Due To Possibility Of Latent Infection From Defendant’s Medical Device, And Thus Subjected To Painful and Expensive Dialysis, Sufficiently Stated Claim For Actual Physical Injury Rather Than Mere Speculative Or Potential Harm

NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY SUPPLEMENT

  • New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Product Liability Act Providing Exclusive Remedy For Manufacturing, Design And Warning Defects Does Not Preclude Consumer Fraud Act Claims For Deceptive, Fraudulent, Misleading Or Other Unconscionable Practices In Sale Of Product, As Such Conduct Is Not Covered By Product Liability Act

Excerpt:

Massachusetts Federal Court Holds No Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-Of-State Corporation’s Contract and Deceptive Practices Claims Against Foreign Corporation Based In Part On Communications With Plaintiff’s Employee Working Remotely From Massachusetts, As Employee’s Location Was Purely Fortuitous And There Was No Allegation Defendant Intended To Cause Harm In State

In Collison Communications, Inc. v. Nokia Solutions and Neworks Oy, No. 19-cv-12251, (D. Mass., Sept. 2, 2020), a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New Hampshire sued a Finnish company in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts after negotiations regarding integrating plaintiff’s technology into defendant’s, conducting a proof-of-concept of the technology and defendant’s possible acquisition of plaintiff fell apart.  Plaintiff’s claims included breach of contract, including of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of Mass. Gen. Law Ch. 93A, the state unfair and deceptive practices statute.  Defendant moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing plaintiff failed to allege sufficient contacts between defendant and Massachusetts to establish personal jurisdiction under either the Massachusetts long-arm statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 223A, § 3, or the due process clause.

Download the October 2020 Foley Hoag Product Liability Update (pdf).