Tag Archives: product liability

The Red Bull Wrongful Death Lawsuit Might Have Wings

[Update: A month after I posted the below article, researchers at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting presented a cardiac MRI study showing that consumption of energy drinks "increased peak strain and peak systolic strain rates in the heart's left ventricle," which could potentially trigger arrhythmias.]   Few headlines are as cringeworthy to upstanding trial lawyers as those which include a phrase like “$85 million lawsuit alleges,” and earlier this week the New York Daily News reported “Brooklyn man killed by drinking Red Bull, $85 million lawsuit alleges.”   As Eric Turkewitz aptly explains about the “$85 million ... Continue Reading

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The Legal Fiction That GlaxoSmithKline Is In Delaware

Let’s take a refresher course on 1L Civil Procedure. The federal courts have limited jurisdiction; they don’t exist to hear every case, they exist to hear cases that arise under federal law. Additionally, the federal courts have “diversity jurisdiction,” a narrow addition created “to provide a federal forum for important disputes where state courts might favor, or be perceived as favoring, home-state litigants.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Services, Inc., 545 US 546, 553–554 (2005). Diversity jurisdiction is disfavored — the federal courts aren’t supposed to be hearing garden-variety state-law tort and contract lawsuits — and since the founding of ... Continue Reading

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The Real Economic Impact of Product Liability Tort Reform

Via Overlawyered and TortsProf, I saw that a new law review article came out last week in the Vanderbilt Law Review, “Products Liability and Economic Activity: An Empirical Analysis of Tort Reform’s Impact on Businesses, Employment, and Production” by Joanna Shepherd. As a products-liability lawyer (and an armchair economist), I was excited, so I printed out a copy, sat down with my highlighter, and, unfortunately, didn’t even make it past the third page without gnashing my teeth in frustration:   Specifically, we know surprisingly little about whether products liability law suppresses economic activity, and which, if any, reforms might improve ... Continue Reading

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The Product Liability Expert Who Wasn’t There

Product liability claims are doubly challenging for plaintiffs' lawyers. First, product liability law is in a state of flux (with the trend going against injured consumers). Second, product liability cases are notoriously time-consuming and expensive to pursue: in addition to all the ordinary expenses and burdens of personal injury litigation, product cases usually require hiring a bevy of experts who then have to spend hundreds of hours examining the products and preparing their reports. It's not unusual for lawyers to spend over one hundred thousand dollars on a product liability case in out-of-pocket expenses alone (not including lost attorneys fees), ... Continue Reading

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Risk Perception and Categorical Liability

It's an old story, but one that bears repeating again and again, this time by Discover Magazine. People don't make decisions the way computers do. They don't calculate risks and rewards and weigh them against each other.  They routinely think with their guts (the "affect heuristic") and, even if they do some basic probabilities in their heads, they'll still get them wrong: Our hardwired gut reactions developed in a world full of hungry beasts and warring clans, where they served important functions. Letting the amygdala (part of the brain’s emotional core) take over at the first sign of danger, milliseconds before ... Continue Reading

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The Perils Of The Never-Ending Personal Injury Trial

Last week The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre reported: A federal jury on Tuesday ruled against an area woman who was seeking more than $20 million from Toys R Us for injuries she allegedly suffered when an oversized candy dispenser fell and struck her in the head. The jury, which heard from several dozen medical and other experts over a six-week trial, deliberated for about two hours before finding the national toy store chain was not negligent in connection with the Oct. 26, 2008, incident involving Dr. Mary Elizabeth Jordan Flickinger of Clarks Summit. Flickinger alleged she suffered debilitating injuries, including ... Continue Reading

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Pennsylvania’s Defective Drug Design Laws Hang In The Balance

It's no secret that pharmaceutical companies are among the more litigious businesses in America. Up until 2003, when Congress stepped in, the big drug makers had a good thing going: whenever the patent was about to expire on one of their blockbuster drugs, they would file a new patent for trivial modifications to the medicine, and thereafter would sue generic drug manufacturers claiming that the generic version of the old drug somehow infringed on the new patent. Here’s the kicker: the big drug makers knew these patent infringement claims were frivolous, so they would enter into a “settlement” in which ... Continue Reading

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The New Legislative Assault On Pennsylvania Civil Justice

Earlier this week the Pennsylvania Association for Justice sent out a “Legislative Alert” on the six proposed bills in the Pennsylvania state legislature aimed at cheating injured consumers, patients, and citizens out of fair compensation: HB. 184 Creating specialty courts for Med Mal actions HB. 301 Capping damages in med mal actions requires amending PA Constitution HB. 304 15 year statute of repose in all product liability cases HB. 388 Protecting the "product seller" in product liability actions HB. 495 Inadmissibility of “benevolent gesture” or admission of fault on med mal professional liability actions HB. 803 Essentially adopting the third ... Continue Reading

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Recalled Product Lawsuits Getting Harder, Children’s Tylenol Edition

One thing you learn as a personal injury lawyer is that many everyday products are far more dangerous than you thought. Until I became a lawyer and began screening cases and receiving calls, I hadn't a clue that Children's Motrin could cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Tylenol is another example. I've used acetaminophen safely for years without a problem, and I thanked my lucky stars for it when 1,000mg of the stuff brought me back from the delirium caused by a 104+ fever. Every week, though, approximately ten people die and one-thousand are sent to the emergency department by acetaminophen overdosing. Which ... Continue Reading

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Proving Bacterial Infection Injuries Through Circumstantial Evidence

A tragic story: SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City bank has filed a personal-injury lawsuit on behalf of a Sioux City girl against the maker of a powdered infant formula, claiming the girl got seriously ill from drinking the reconstituted formula days after she was born in 2008. According to court documents, Security National Bank alleges the girl, Jeanine Kunkel, now nearly 3 years old, contracted neonatal Enterobacter sakazakii meningitis from the Similac formula made by Abbott Laboratories and suffered permanent brain damage. The bank, as the child's conservator, seeks monetary damages for her care, suffering and fear of future ... Continue Reading

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