Bus Law Paper
“Significant Product Liability Cases since 2005”
One area of Business Law that results in many significant lawsuits is product liability. Many significant product liability cases have occurred since 2005 at the federal level, and more commonly at the state level. Product Liability cases deal with manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, distributors, and others being responsible for the injuries that their products cause to customers (“product liability”). These cases, dealing with tangible personal property, can have major implications in lawsuits and can contain large amounts of damages. Many of these cases have placed certain ...view middle of the document...
Many consumers believe their injuries are because of the maker of the product, and the makers often attempt to find defenses for why they are not at fault. These cases involving the causation of injuries can be difficult to prove at times and can contain different opinions between juries and judges, resulting in many cases being appealed by the plaintiffs who believe manufacturers are at fault. I will discuss a few significant product liability cases arising at the federal level, which have been appealed up to one of the U.S. Courts of Appeals.
Kilpatrick v. Breg, Inc., Case No. 09-13813 (C.A. 11, Aug. 12, 2010), is a negligence and product liability case involving a pain pump manufactured by Breg, Inc. for use during and after surgery by plaintiff Douglas Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick had surgery on his shoulder in 2004 to repair his labrum, and to alleviate pain his surgeon put in a pain pump. Kilpatrick, a world class fishing guide, started to suffer from severe pain and popping of his shoulder during the 2006 fishing season. He was diagnosed with glenohumeral chondrolysis, which is a complete breakdown of the cartlidge, and learned from another orthopedic surgeon that he will need many future operations on his shoulder. The claim that Breg, Inc. was responsible for this injury was supposed to be backed up by an expert witness, Dr. Poehling, but his testimony was deemed unreliable. Without this testimony by Dr. Poehling, the court determined that Kilpatrick could not prove causation in his claim, so the court issued a summary judgment in favor of Breg, Inc. Kilpatrick appealed the exclusion of Dr. Poehling’s testimony, was the decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals (“Kilpatrick v. Breg, Inc.”).
Malen v. MTD Products, Inc. is a case at the federal level that deals with strict liability. This case, Case No. 08-3855 (C.A. 7, Nov. 19 2010), deals with a man named Donald Malen who slipped while getting off his riding lawn mower and badly injured his foot on the rotating blade. He and his wife claimed that the lawn mower was defective in design and construction. The district court initially ruled that the plaintiff’s actions were the sole proximate cause of the injury, and the defendants were granted a summary judgment. The U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, under Judge Ann Williams, reversed the summary judgment granted to the defendants. This reversal occurred only last week, so the jury has not come to a verdict, but the judge believes the jury could find the defendants liable for a defective product that was the proximate cause for the injury to Mr. Malen. The product can be deemed defective because it did not have a mandatory safety interlock system called the Operator Presence Control device, which shuts off the engine if the operator rises from the seat without shutting off the blade. This defect will be used as evidence for this strict liability case and should hold MTD Products, Inc. liable...