COVID-19 Update: We are open and fully operating. Click here to see how we are serving and protecting our clients.
NEW COVID-19 Cases: If you have been affected by COVID-19, call or email us to discuss your legal rights.

Articles Posted in Product Liability

Many claims against national corporations are filed in or removed to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. For a federal court to exercise jurisdiction over a case, though, there must be complete diversity between the plaintiff and all named defendants. Thus, in some instances, a defendant will allege that a plaintiff fraudulently joined a defendant that resides in the same jurisdiction as the defendant, simply to keep a case out of federal court. Recently, a Massachusetts district court discussed fraudulent joinder in a product liability case against a car manufacturer and car dealership. If you sustained injuries due to a defective product, you should speak to a seasoned Massachusetts product liability attorney to assess what damages you may be owed.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was driving her car when it suddenly accelerated, causing her to lose control and crash into a building. The decedent died due to her injuries. The plaintiff subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Massachusetts state court against the defendant auto dealership that sold the car, which had a principal place of business in Massachusetts, and the defendant auto manufacturer that made the car, which had a principal place of business in California, asserting claims of negligence and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. The defendants moved the case to federal court, arguing that the defendant auto dealer was fraudulently joined and that the plaintiff could not maintain claims against the defendant auto dealer. The plaintiff then filed a motion to remand.

Jurisdiction Based on Complete Diversity

Under federal law, a lawsuit that may otherwise be removed to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction may not be removed if any of the parties properly joined as defendants and served by the plaintiff are citizens of the state where the lawsuit was brought. A plaintiff cannot, however, impede a defendant’s right to remove a case by fraudulently joined a defendant that has no true connection to the case but is non-diverse.

Continue reading →

In many instances in which a person is injured by a harmful product, the person will be able to pursue multiple claims against the entities responsible for designing, manufacturing, and distributing the product. If a plaintiff alleging multiple claims in a product liability case is unable to prove one claim, however, it may preclude the plaintiff from recovering under other claims. This was discussed in a recent Massachusetts lawsuit in which the plaintiff sought to recover damages caused by defective transvaginal surgical mesh, but voluntarily waived her breach of the warranty of merchantability claim, resulting in the dismissal of her negligence claims. If you suffered harm because of an unsafe product, it is advisable to confer with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you may be owed.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent surgery in 2008, during which the defendant physician implanted transvaginal surgical mesh. About five years after the surgery, the plaintiff began experiencing pelvic pain, suffered unintended weight loss, and lost the ability to be intimate with her partner. She subsequently filed a complaint in multi-district litigation, asserting claims of strict liability, breach of express warranty, strict liability failure to warn, breach of an implied warranty, and negligence. She subsequently waived numerous claims, including her claims for breach of warranty. The defendants then filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court, in part, to dismiss the negligence claim. Upon review, the court granted the defendants’ motion as to the negligence claim.

Negligence and Breach of the Warranty of Merchantability

Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff pursuing a negligence claim in a product liability case must prove that the defendant breached the warranty of merchantability to recover under the negligence claim. In other words, while a defendant may be found to breach the warranty of merchantability without being deemed negligent, the opposite is not true.

Continue reading →

It is not uncommon for surgeons in Massachusetts to implant medical products such as artificial joints, valves, and mesh in their patients. Unfortunately, however, medical products, like other products, often have dangerous defects that cause serious injuries to the people they are intended to help. Thus, many product liability cases arise out of harm caused by defective medical devices. In Massachusetts, whether a plaintiff can recover damages from the manufacturer of a medical product depends, in part, on whether the physician employing the product was advised of the risks associated with its use, as discussed in a recent case. If you were harmed by a defective medical product, you should contact a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to assert against the parties responsible for your harm.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent surgical implantations of mesh devices manufactured by the defendant on two separate occasions, to treat cystocele, prolapse, and rectocele. The mesh eroded over time, and the plaintiff subsequently underwent a procedure to remove the mesh. It could only be partially removed, however. The plaintiff suffered from ongoing issues due to the remaining mesh and the erosion, including pain, scarring, infection, difficulty walking, and painful urination. The plaintiff and her husband subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting numerous claims, including negligence. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment as to all claims, which the court granted in part and denied in part.

Liability for Defective Medical Products Under Massachusetts Law

The court ultimately ruled that the plaintiff set forth sufficient grounds to proceed to trial on her negligence claim. Specifically, the court noted that under Massachusetts law, a manufacturer of a product could be held liable for harm suffered by a user of the product, if the harm was caused by the manufacturer’s failure to use reasonable care in warning of the dangers associated with using the product. In other words, a manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers of a known risk of harm.

Continue reading →

When a person retains an attorney for any legal matter, it is critical that the person communicate candidly with the attorney to prevent the unwitting waiver of the right to pursue other claims. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court dismissed a plaintiff’s product liability lawsuit due to his failure to disclose his potential claims against the company that manufactured the product in a prior bankruptcy proceeding. If you were injured by a defective product, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss what measures you can take to protect your right to seek compensation.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Injury and Bankruptcy Proceeding

It is reported that in April 2018, the plaintiff purchased a battery-operated skateboard that was manufactured by the defendant. Two months later, while he was riding on the board, it suddenly shut off, causing him to be thrown into the air. The plaintiff sustained a concussion and shoulder injuries in the fall, which necessitated a trip to the emergency room. He subsequently suffered from headaches, memory loss, and back and neck pain due to his injuries. He emailed the defendant on the day of his accident and multiple times thereafter regarding the accident and the potentially defective nature of the board.

Allegedly, in October 2018, the plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In the course of his bankruptcy proceedings, he was required to list any claims he had against any other parties, including accidents, regardless of whether a lawsuit had been filed. He did not list the skateboard accident, however. In February 2019, the plaintiff’s debts were discharged, and his bankruptcy case was closed. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting numerous claims and seeking $10 million in damages. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that judicial estoppel barred the plaintiff’s claims.

Continue reading →

Under Massachusetts law, people that are injured by defective products have a right to pursue claims for damages against anyone in the chain of distribution of the product, including the manufacturer. While, in some instances, it is easy to determine who should be named as a defendant in a product liability case, in cases in which another company purchased the company that originally sold the product, it can be difficult to ascertain who is liable for the alleged harm. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts discussed successor liability in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he was injured by a defective vehicle. If you sustained injuries due to a dangerous product, it is wise to speak with an assertive Massachusetts product liability attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered significant injuries in a car accident. He subsequently filed a product liability lawsuit in Massachusetts state court against the defendant, alleging the car was dangerously designed and manufactured. The defendant was not the company that manufactured the car, however, but was the company that purchased certain assets from the original manufacturer when the original manufacturer filed for bankruptcy. Under the Master Transaction Agreement approved by the bankruptcy court, the defendant agreed to assume liability for any product liability claim arising out of motor vehicle accidents occurring after the sale. The defendant removed the action to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332 and then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the defendant.

Successor Liability for Harm Caused by Defective Products

Generally, a successor company does not assume the liabilities of its predecessor. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, such as in cases in which the purchaser expressly or impliedly agrees to take on such liabilities. In such cases in which a successor can be held liable for its predecessor’s acts, the predecessor’s contacts with a forum may be imputed to the successor.

Continue reading →

Defective products harm millions of people each year, causing serious injuries, and in some cases, death. Anyone harmed by a defective product can seek recourse via a civil lawsuit, and product manufacturers can be held liable for the damages caused by defective products under several different theories. Recently, the United States District for the District of Massachusetts discussed the grounds for pursuing product liability claims under the theory of design defect and failure to warn. If you suffered harm or the loss of a loved one because of a defective product, it is sensible to consult a capable Massachusetts product liability attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was operating a lathe manufactured by the defendant. He inserted a piece of metal into the lathe, and the bar stock of the lathe subsequently bent to a 90-degree angle and struck the decedent in the head. He suffered massive bleeding and was transported to the hospital. He underwent five surgeries but ultimately died from his injuries. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting several claims, including breach of implied warranty. Following discovery, both parties filed motions for summary judgment, which the court denied in part and granted in part.

Product Liability Claims Under Massachusetts Law

Under Massachusetts law, a manufacturer that sells products impliedly warrants that his products are fit for the ordinary purpose for which such products are used, which is referred to as the implied warranty of merchantability. Thus, a manufacturer can be held liable under a theory of breach of implied warranty if a person is harmed by a product’s defective design or the manufacturer’s failure to warn.

Continue reading →

In a civil lawsuit, the complaint sets forth the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant, and if the allegations in the complaint are not properly pleaded, the complaint may be dismissed. Thankfully, Massachusetts’s liberal standards typically allow a plaintiff to file an amended complaint even if the initial complaint was dismissed. A plaintiff who wishes to pursue a claim following a dismissal of the complaint must comply with the statutory requirements, however, including the statute of limitations, or his or her claim may be barred in its entirety. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts analyzed whether a plaintiff is barred from pursuing claims if the statute of limitations runs after the initial complaint is dismissed but before the amended complaint is filed, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he was harmed in the workplace. If you suffered a work injury, it is advisable to speak with a Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your potential causes of action.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that in January 2016, the plaintiff was injured in an industrial accident while at work. He filed a workers’ compensation claim following the accident and received a settlement. In January 2019, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Massachusetts courts alleging negligence claims against the defendant corporation that owned the facility where the accident took place and the container that exploded, causing him harm, and other entities that distributed the container. The defendants removed the case to federal court and filed motions to dismiss, arguing lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

It is alleged that in July 2019, the court granted the defendants’ motions, dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice and allowing him thirty days to file an amended complaint. The plaintiff filed an amended complaint later that month, after which the defendants filed motions to dismiss, arguing that the amended complaint was barred by the statute of limitations. In opposition, the plaintiff argued that the amended complaint was timely under the relation-back theory.

Continue reading →

When a person is injured by a national corporation, pursuing damages against the corporation can be complicated. For example, the injured person must show that the court can exercise jurisdiction over the corporation and that the corporation can be held liable under the claims asserted, otherwise the injured person’s claims may fail. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a plaintiff sought to hold a national drug company responsible for harm caused by a contrast agent administered during an MRI. If you sustained injuries due to the negligence of a corporation, it is prudent to meet with a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent an MRI, during which he was given an injection of a gadolinium-based contrast agent, that was manufactured by the defendant. Following the MRI, the plaintiff suffered gadolinium retention in several organs, which caused him to suffer emotional and physical injuries. He filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant failed to warn the patient adequately of the risks associated with gadolinium. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing, in part, that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and that the plaintiff’s claims were preempted by federal law. The court granted the defendant’s motion but granted the plaintiff leave to amend the complaint.

Exercising Personal Jurisdiction Over an Out of State Corporation

A court can exercise general or specific personal jurisdiction over a defendant. In the subject case, the plaintiff conceded that the court did not have general personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Thus, the court’s analysis focused on whether specific personal jurisdiction could properly be exercised over the defendant.

Continue reading →

If a person is harmed by a defective product, he or she can pursue a claim for damages from the manufacturer of the product. Even if you can prove a product is defective, however, you prove that the court can validly exercise jurisdiction over the manufacturer to recover compensation. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently discussed the requirements for exercising jurisdiction over a non-resident company, in a case in which the plaintiff was allegedly injured at work by a defective container. If you suffered harm due to a defective product you should meet with a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to pursue.

Factual and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff, who lives in Massachusetts, worked at a chemical manufacturing company owned by the defendant employer. In January 2016, while the plaintiff was working, a defective container exploded, causing a fire. The plaintiff suffered severe injuries as a result of the explosion. He subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim, and then filed a lawsuit against numerous defendants, including the manufacturer of the defective container. The defendant manufacturer moved the case to federal court, and then filed a motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction. Upon review, the court granted the motion.

Exercising Jurisdiction Over Nonresident Companies

Under Massachusetts law, when personal jurisdiction is called into question the plaintiff bears the burden of proving a court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction is valid. In assessing whether personal jurisdiction can be exercised over a non-resident company a court must determine whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with the Massachusetts long-arm statute and with the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.

Continue reading →

The adverse effects of smoking cigarettes are common knowledge. While currently cigarettes must be sold with warning labels, that was not always the case. As such, if someone began smoking decades ago and suffered harm as a result, he or she may be able to pursue claims against cigarette manufacturers on various theories of liability.

Notably, Massachusetts is a jurisdiction that allows such claims, as shown in a recent case in which the Superior Court of Massachusetts ruled that a plaintiff could proceed with its product liability claims against a cigarette manufacturer, denying the defendant manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a dangerous product, you should meet with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss your options for pursuing compensation.

Plaintiff’s Decedent’s History of Smoking

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s mother began smoking the defendant’s cigarettes in 1963 when she was 13 years old after she was given free cigarettes by one of the defendant’s representatives. She became addicted to cigarettes and smoked two packs per day for decades. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and ultimately succumbed to the disease. She smoked until her death. After the decedent’s death, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence, breach of warranty, conspiracy, and violation of G.L.c. 93A. The defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment, which the court denied.

Continue reading →

Contact Information