Articles Posted in Product Liability

When a dangerous product causes an injury, the injured person will often file a civil lawsuit seeking damages from the product manufacturer. Typically, the injured party and the manufacturer will reside in different states. Thus, the question of which state’s law applies will often have to be resolved by the courts. Recently, a Florida court addressed the issue of what state’s laws apply with regard to punitive damages claims in a product liability case filed against a Massachusetts company. If you were harmed by an unsafe product, you might be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Florida product liability attorney to discuss your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a procedure during which transvaginal mesh produced by the defendant was implanted to treat urinary incontinence. She then suffered severe side effects and filed a lawsuit as a product liability against the defendant in a district court in Florida. As part of her complaint, she sought punitive damages. Over a year into the litigation of the matter, the defendant filed a motion asking the court to govern the punitive damages claim under Massachusetts law. Ultimately, the court denied the motion.

Choice of Law Analysis in Product Liability Cases

The court explained that parties could stipulate to, or waive, the law that will govern claims or issues in a federal diversity case. In the subject case, the court noted that the defendant’s motion was untimely, as it was filed several months after the deadline for dispositive motions had passed. Additionally, it was not filed due to new facts, as the defendant possessed the information that formed the basis of its request since the onset of the case. Thus, the court denied the motion as untimely.

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Dangerous products often lead to the untimely demise of the people who use them. If a person dies due to the use of an unsafe product, the personal representative of the person’s estate will typically choose to pursue claims against the manufacturer of the product. In some instances, a  defendant in a product liability case may attempt to introduce evidence that the deceased person engaged in unsavory behavior in order to reduce its liability. Evidence must be relevant to be admissible, however, and even relevant evidence may be precluded if it is unduly prejudicial, as demonstrated recently in a Florida court’s ruling. If you lost a loved one because of a dangerous product, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Florida product liability attorney to assess your options.

The Claims Against the Defendant and Evidence of Marital Strife

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent smoked cigarettes that were manufactured and distributed by the defendant for approximately fifty years. He eventually contracted lung cancer, which ultimately caused his death. The plaintiff, who was married to the decedent, filed a lawsuit against the defendant manufacturer, alleging numerous claims, including negligence and strict liability.

It is alleged that, prior to trial, the plaintiff filed a motion to preclude the defendant from introducing evidence about the decedent’s infidelity and the couple’s marital problems, including their divorce and remarriage. The court granted the motion on the grounds that as the events happened long ago, they were irrelevant and were highly prejudicial because it painted the decedent in a poor light. A jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred precluding in testimony regarding the couple’s relationship.

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Each day, people are injured throughout Florida by use of defective products. In many instances, people harmed by an unsafe device or machine are able to file product liability lawsuits to pursue damages from the product’s manufacturer. Typically, a plaintiff in a product liability case will need to retain an expert to testify as to the manner in which the product was unsafe. In a recent case, a Florida court discussed the parameters for admitting expert opinions regarding alternative designs. If you were hurt by an unsafe product, you may be able to recover damages and should consult a capable Florida product liability attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as the manager of the meat-market at a supermarket in Florida. During a busy Sunday, he was cutting meat with a band saw manufactured by the defendant. He became distracted and turned away from the saw. When he returned to the saw, he reached for a tool, and his arm was amputated by the saw’s unguarded blade. The plaintiff then filed a product liability lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the design of the saw was unsafe.

It is alleged that during the trial, the plaintiff presented expert testimony regarding other designs the defendant could have employed that would have been safer. The defendant asked the court to provide the jury with a state of the art defense instruction, but the court declined. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed on several grounds, including the argument that the trial court erred in declining the provide the jury with the requested instruction.

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