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Articles Posted in Products Liability

Every day, people in Massachusetts are harmed by defective products. As a result, numerous people around the state file product liability cases in an attempt to hold parties who sell unsafe items accountable. In many cases, such lawsuits allege that both state and federal laws have been broken. A Massachusetts court recently reviewed the pleading criteria imposed on a plaintiff asserting state law claims that are comparable to federal law violations. The issue was discussed in a ruling issued in a case where the plaintiff was injured because of defective medical equipment. If you were injured as a result of a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation, and it is in your best interest to speak with a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer about your options.

The Injuries Sustained by the Plaintiff

The plaintiff is said to have taken a supplement created and sold by the defendant. She then experienced serious negative effects, prompting her to initiate a lawsuit against the defendant. She claimed negligence, breach of warranty, failure to warn, and product liability in her complaint. The defendant attempted to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, claiming that federal law preempted them. The request was denied by the trial court, and the defendant appealed, resulting in a reversal of the trial court’s decision on reasons other than those alleged by the defendant.

Pleading Requirements in Federal Cases With State Law Claims

In cases involving FDA-regulated items, the appeal court concluded that state law claims are not preempted by federal law as long as they parallel rather than complement federal requirements. The court went on to say that in such cases, a plaintiff does not have to establish the particular flaw in the device or the specific federal regulation that was allegedly broken in order for a claim to be successful. Continue Reading ›

In Massachusetts, people hurt at worker can often recover workers’ compensation benefits but are barred from pursuing personal injury claims against their employer by the exclusivity provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act. While the Act may ultimately bar a plaintiff’s claim against her employer, however, a defendant may not be able to prove that it constitutes grounds for dismissal at the onset of the case, as demonstrated in recent Massachusetts opinion in which the court affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. If you suffered bodily harm due to another party’s negligence, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Cape Cod personal injury lawyer to evaluate your options for seeking compensation.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was employed as a machinist for a company that was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the defendant. She suffered injuries while using a machine and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, asserting claims of negligence and negligent supervision and averring that it failed to provide a safe workplace, reasonably supervise the worksite, or properly train its employees.

Allegedly, the defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings on the grounds that it was immune from civil liability under the exclusivity provisions of the Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation Act (the Act). The court denied the defendant’s motion, and it appealed. Continue Reading ›

Although car accidents generally arise out of negligent driving, other factors can contribute to the damages sustained in collisions. For example, a defective car part may injure a person involved in an accident. Manufacturers of defective car parts may be deemed responsible for any losses they cause, but they may try to avoid liability by arguing the court in which a lawsuit is filed does not have jurisdiction over them. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the exercise of personal jurisdiction over entities that are based in another state in a case in which the plaintiff suffered harm due to a defective headrest. If you were injured in a collision, it is in your best interest to speak to a skilled Cape Cod car accident attorney about your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in a car accident while riding in a vehicle manufactured and sold by the defendant car company that had headrests made by the defendant manufacturer. She sustained injuries due to the headrest, which she deemed defective. Thus, she filed a product liability lawsuit against the defendants in the federal district court. The defendant manufacturer moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, arguing in part that the court could not validly exercise personal jurisdiction over it. Upon review, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Establishing Personal Jurisdiction Over Out of State Defendants

Personal jurisdiction is the term used to define a court’s power to compel parties to abide by its orders. Parties who file a case in a court are deemed to consent to its jurisdiction. In regards to parties who do not consent to a court’s exercise of jurisdiction, though, the Due Process Clause of the constitution protects their liberty interest in not being held to judgments of a forum with which they have no meaningful ties, contacts, or relationships. Continue Reading ›

Under Massachusetts law, a pharmacist or druggist who misfills a prescription can be held liable in a pharmaceutical negligence suit. In such cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proof, and several procedural requirements must be met in order for the plaintiff to prevail. If you or someone in your family has been hurt by the mistake of a drug store or pharmacy, you should talk to a lawyer to learn more about your legal rights. Waiting too long to get legal advice about your case can result in forfeiture of what might otherwise have been a valid and valuable claim for pharmaceutical malpractice.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case initially filed in Massachusetts state court but removed to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the plaintiff was a man who was prescribed the drug Levaquin for treatment of a head cold. Levaquin is a quinolone antibiotic also known as levofloxacin. When the plaintiff attempted to get his prescription filled at the defendant pharmacy, the pharmacist who was on duty received a “hard stop” warning on his computer indicating that the plaintiff was allergic to quinolones. The pharmacist looked into the matter further and saw that there was conflicting information that included a prior statement by the plaintiff to the effect that he “in fact had no quinolone allergy” and had been prescribed quinolones on multiple occasions in the past. As per the defendant’s policy in such situations, the pharmacist exercised his “individual judgment,” ultimately deciding to go ahead and dispense the Levaquin.

After suffering an allergic reaction to the medication, the plaintiff filed suit in state court, seeking $650,000 in compensation for his injuries. After the defendant removed the case to federal court, it moved for summary judgment. The district court found that the case had been properly removed to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction, despite the defendant’s meager settlement offer of $5,000. The court also agreed with the defendant that it was entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claims for negligence, breach of warranty, and unfair or deceptive practices in violation of Massachusetts General. The plaintiff sought appellate review.
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While the coronavirus pandemic will likely mean that everyone’s holiday season is at least a little bit different this year as compared to years past, there are some things that remain the same. Gifts will be exchanged. Special meals will be planned. Accidents, injuries, and illnesses will happen, possibly triggering a Cape Cod product liability lawsuit.

While not every product mishap will result in an injury or illness significant enough to trigger litigation, some, unfortunately, will. Fortunately, the law provides some protection against unreasonably safe products, provided that the consumer does his or her part to assert a claim in a timely fashion.

As in other types of personal injury litigation, the burden of proof in product injury cases is on the injured individual, so it is important that any evidence concerning the bad product be saved and preserved as possible evidence. Contacting an experienced product liability attorney is also a critical step in the process of receiving fair compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by a defective product.

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In a Cape Cod products liability case, there are likely to be several defendants. This is because several different parties in the chain of distribution – from the manufacturer to the wholesale distributor to the retailer – can potentially be liable to the plaintiff.

While it might seem simpler to name only a single defendant, this is rarely wise. Naming multiple defendants can help ensure that the plaintiff ultimately receives what he or she is due if there is a favorable judgment, even if one or more of the defendants proves to be insolvent or has limited resources for satisfying the plaintiff’s claim.

When there are several defendants, each of whom could potentially be held liable for a plaintiff’s personal injuries, it is not unusual for there to be cross-claims between the defendants as each attempts to limit its own monetary outlay to the plaintiff. Experienced product injury lawyers are well-acquainted with these tactics and understand that this “infighting” between the defendants cannot stand in the way of the injured party’s quest for justice.

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When a defective product causes injury or death to a consumer, the consumer (or his or her family) may be able to recover a settlement or judgment against the company that made the product. In some situations, the wholesaler and or seller may also be liable. There are several different legal theories upon which the consumer may rely on in a Cape Cod products liability lawsuit. These theories include (but are not necessarily limited to) design defect, manufacturing defect, strict liability, failure to warn, and breach of warranty. It is important that a person who has been hurt by a dangerous product get legal advice in a timely fashion, lest his or her claim become time-barred under state products liability laws.

Battery Banks Recalled

Most of us rely heavily on our cellphones these days, and a dead battery can disrupt not only our entertainment but also our ability to communicate and, when we are traveling, navigate. Portable power banks have become very popular, as we often need additional battery power to get us through a long day or a weekend trip. Unfortunately, power banks are not without risk. Recently, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)  issued a recall of certain 10,000 mAh power banks because the banks’ battery may overheat and cause a fire. Consumers are advised to stop using the recalled products immediately.

Interestingly, these banks are not associated with a particular brand. Rather, they may contain a company logo on the front and or back of the product. This is because they were distributed as promotional items at meetings or other events rather than sold directly to the public. If you have suffered a fire or a burn caused by one of these banks or another lithium-ion battery product, you may be able to seek compensation via a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the device.

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When a Cape Cod personal injury lawsuit is filed against a defendant that is a governmental entity, there is often a defense that the entity is immune from suit based on the principles of governmental tort immunity. Of course, this defense is not always successful, as there are many situations in which the government can be sued, and a judgment can be entered. Resolution of the issue of whether or not immunity applies is typically handled by motion practice in the trial court, sometimes with interlocutory review by the appellate court if an appeal is filed by the party aggrieved by the trial court’s decision.

Facts of the Case

In a recent Massachusetts Appeals Court case (unreported), the plaintiff was a man who suffered a closed head injury and bilateral leg amputations after falling onto subway tracks (owned and maintained by the defendant transportation authority) and being struck by a train. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, averring that the defendant was negligent in failing to adequately staff the station with a safety inspector or a customer service agent (CSA) on the day the accident occurred.

The defendant sought summary judgment, arguing (among other things) that it was immune from liability for the plaintiff’s failure-to-staff claim, citing the discretionary function exception contained in Massachusetts General Laws ch. 258, § 10(b). The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant filed an interlocutory appeal of the denial of its motion under the doctrine of present execution.

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If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, you probably already know that there are more baby products on the market than ever before. When choosing from a seeming multitude of options, how can you be assured that you are buying a product that is safe, rather than a potentially dangerous product that may eventually become the subject of a Massachusetts product liability lawsuit?

The unfortunate fact is that you cannot know, with absolute certainty, which items are safe, and which are not. However, there are some ways to research a particular product before making a purchase.

The federal government has a website that is somewhat of a “clearinghouse” for recalls and product advisories concerning several different products, including consumer products aimed at children and child safety seats.

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Massachusetts product liability cases can cover a multitude of products – from the cars we drive to the toys that amuse our children to the medications that we take to try to be our healthiest selves.

Product injury lawsuits are not easy, and litigation can be lengthy. In many cases, there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome, if the plaintiff is to ultimately receive fair compensation for his or her injuries (or for a loved one’s death).

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case, the plaintiffs had filed individual lawsuits against the defendant pharmaceutical companies, asserting that the defendants had engaged in “off label” prescription drug marketing and fraud intended to push their antidepressant drugs on minors for whom the Federal Drug Administration had not approved usage. The plaintiffs’ actions were aggregated for pretrial proceedings by order of a multi-district litigation panel.

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