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Product liability update - January 2013
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • January 31 2013

In Hatch v. Trail King Industries, Inc., 699 F.3d 38 (1st Cir. Nov. 2, 2012), plaintiff was paralyzed after a hydraulically operated drop gate on the


Massachusetts federal court holds admissible experts’ causation testimony based on epidemiologic study finding statistically significant increase in breast cancer among relevant subgroup of women exposed to drug even though no such increase found in women
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • April 17 2012

In Fecho v. Eli Lilly & Co., 2012 WL 194419 (D. Mass. Jan. 20, 2012), dozens of women developed breast cancer after having been exposed to the anti-miscarriage drug diethylstilbestrol, commonly known as DES, in utero.


First Circuit holds trailer manufacturer not liable for negligence or breach of implied warranty of merchantability where trailer was built to plaintiff’s employer’s exact specifications and design was not obviously unsafe
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • October 3 2011

In Hatch v. Trail King Industries, Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 18000 (1st Cir. Aug. 29, 2011), plaintiff was paralyzed after a hydraulically operated drop gate on the trailer he operated fell on him, trapping him underneath.


First Circuit holds expert opinion that benzene causes rare leukemia subtype admissible because applying “Bradford Hill” or “weight of the evidence” criteria to conclude association between benzene and disease was causal is scientifically reliable
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • April 25 2011

Plaintiffs in Milward v. Acuity Specialty Products Group, Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 5727 (1st Cir. Mass. Mar. 22, 2011), sued three chemical companies in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, claiming workplace exposure to their benzene-containing products had caused the plaintiff husband to develop acute promyelocytic leukemia (“APL”).


Massachusetts Federal District Court holds defense expert’s testimony on lack of causal link between drug and suicide attempts admissible
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • April 25 2011

In In re Neurontin Marketing and Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, 2011 WL 1048971 (D.Mass. Mar. 18, 2011), over one hundred individuals experienced behavioral disturbances, depression and ultimately suicidal actions, including completed suicide, after their doctors prescribed an anti-epileptic drug, gabapentin.


Massachusetts Federal District Court holds hospital not fraudulently joined in medical device suit, as warranty claim asserting hospital was product seller rather than service provider has reasonable basis
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • January 31 2011

Plaintiff in Phillips v. Medtronic, Inc., 2010 WL 4939997 (D. Mass. Dec. 1, 2010), developed inflammatory masses causing pain and loss of certain functions after hospital treatment that included the implantation of two intrathecal pain pumps.


Massachusetts Federal District Court holds retailer not liable in negligence
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • January 31 2011

In Bernier v. One World Technologies, Inc., -- F. Supp. 2d ----, 2010 WL 3927765 (D. Mass. Sept. 29, 2010), plaintiffs were injured while using a table saw that “kicked back” causing their hands to make contact with the blade.


First Circuit reverses trial court decision to exclude expert from testifying based on pro-plaintiff bias, holding focus of inquiry should be on expert’s specialized knowledge and whether testimony will assist jury in understanding fact in issue
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • January 31 2011

In Cruz-Vasquez v. Mennonite General Hospital, Inc., 613 F.3d 54 (1st Cir. 2010), plaintiffs sued a hospital and two physicians in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, asserting medical malpractice and Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act claims after their daughter died two days after her premature birth.


Massachusetts Federal District Court holds plaintiff could not prove causation in manufacturing defect suit due to lack of proof alleged defect was caused by manufacturer rather than plaintiff’s employer
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • January 31 2011

In Brown v. Husky Injection Molding Systems, Inc., 2010 WL 4638761 (D. Mass. Nov. 17, 2010), a worker injured his hand when he reached into an injection molding machine that was not equipped with the standard “front pulley guard” on its frame.


First circuit to determine whether sarbanes-oxley act extends whistleblower protection to employees of contractors, subcontractors, and agents of publicly-traded companies
  • Foley Hoag LLP
  • USA
  • November 5 2010

The First Circuit has agreed to hear an appeal from a recent District of Massachusetts decision taking a very broad view of the whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.