June 25th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Verdict against pelvic mesh manufacturer decided under New Jersey law. There were damages and punitive damages. A number of errors were raised under appeal including statute of limitations issue. The court said the statute of limitations issue was one of the jury. The jury had to answer a special verdict question favorable to the plaintiff. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff as the court must. The request for JNOV was properly denied. Plaintiff satisfied her burden. Plaintiff reasonably believed that her pain was a risk of the surgery. Because there was conflicting evidence whether she thought the pain was because of the surgery or because of the medical device and the conflict was resolved in her favor by the jury which is appropriate. Court properly excluded FDA evidence and publication about FDA standards. This is also decided, however, under New Jersey law. It looks like all the other issues including punitive damages were decided under New Jersey law. Carlino vs. Ethicon, Pa Super. Ct..


March 27th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Air & Liquid Sys. Corp. v. Devries, 2019, U.S. LEXIS 2087 (March 19, 2019) Kavanaugh, J.-In maritime tort cases, we act as a common-law court, subject to any controlling statutes enacted by Congress. See Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 507-508 (2008). This maritime tort case raises a question about the scope of a manufacturer’s duty to warn. The manufacturers here produced equipment such as pumps, blowers, and turbines for three Navy ships. The equipment required asbestos insulation or asbestos parts in order to function as intended. When used on the ships, the equipment released asbestos fibers into the air. Two Navy veterans who were exposed to asbestos on the ships developed cancer and later died. The veterans’ families sued the equipment manufacturers, claiming that the manufacturers were negligent in failing to warn of the dangers of asbestos. We agree with the plaintiffs. In the maritime tort context, a product manufacturer has a duty to warn when (i) its product requires incorporation of a part, (ii) the manufacturer knows or has reason to know that the integrated product is likely to be dangerous for its intended uses, and…

Potentially Dangerous Medical Devices are Still Widely Used

February 21st, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice, Products Liability

Medical malpractice attorney
When patients have medical devices implanted in their bodies, they expect the device to better their lives, not kill them.  However, all too often, patients have been injured or have died due to problems with medical devices that proved to be defective. These device-related injuries can occur during an implant procedure or after the device has been in the body for years. When devices have been in the body for a while, it may be difficult to point to them as the source of the problem; and there are times when the device cannot be removed without causing additional injury or even death. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), defective devices have been associated with 1.7 million injuries and more than 80,000 deaths in the past ten years. Examples include: a neck implant to relieve pain that caused airway obstruction, trouble swallowing and respiratory failure artificial hips that cause cobalt poisoning and can damage the heart and brain surgical mesh that cuts through flesh and organs, causing infections and hemorrhage defibrillators that repeatedly shock patients If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to a faulty…


December 6th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Pledger v. Janssen Pharms., Inc., 2018 Superior Ct., LEXIS 1167 (October 31, 2018) Strassburger, J.-This case is another, gynecomastia verdict of 2.5 million dollars against the pharmaceutical manufacturer. The defendant was Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson. The court said that Frye did not prevent the doctor from testifying. The gynecomastia was caused by Risperdal. The doctor can make the diagnosis who testified based on photographs alone. This case is consistent with other similar decisions on the same subject. Differential diagnosis is a generally accepted methodology. 

What Does Roundup Verdict Mean for Future Lawsuits?

October 22nd, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Personal Injury, Products Liability

What Does Roundup Verdict Mean for Future Lawsuits?
Roundup is a product commonly used by homeowners and commercial landscapers to kill weeds, but it has also been accused of killing people. Multiple lawsuits have been filed in recent years contending that Roundup (or glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup) is “dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce, and that it lacked proper warnings and directions as to the dangers associated with its use.” Now, a jury at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco has decided in favor of a plaintiff who alleged that Roundup caused his cancer. The jury awarded Dewayne Johnson $289 million in damages, $250 million of which is intended to punish Monsanto, the company that makes the herbicide. This verdict sets a precedent for thousands of other cases that similarly claim that Roundup causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, an aggressive cancer that starts in the body’s immune system. After the trial, Monsanto issued a statement saying that it stands by the studies that suggest Roundup does not cause cancer. The company intends to appeal this decision and continue to defend the product. In spite of Monsanto's denials, product…


October 4th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Dunlap v Fed. Signal Corp., 2018 Superior Court of PA LEXIS 907 (August 20, 2018).  Appellants Roger Maher and Carl Roell (“Maher and Roell”) appeal from the order granting summary judgment in favor of Federal Signal Corporation (“Federal Signal”), and dismissing all remaining claims. We affirm. Maher and Roell are members of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire. They are parties in a mass tort products liability action commenced by approximately 247 firefighters who allegedly suffered permanent hearing loss due to exposure to siren noise from the Q2B siren (“Q-siren”) manufactured by Federal Signal. Their cases were consolidated for trial with cases filed by six other firefighters (collectively “plaintiff firefighters”) under the Dunlap caption and designated as Trial Group 1A. The underlying complaint of the plaintiff firefighters is that the Q-siren is unreasonably dangerous and defective and negligently designed because it emits omnidirectional, high-decibel sound that, over time, causes permanent hearing loss to firefighters occupying the fire truck. They offered the expert testimony of Christopher J. Struck, an acoustics expert, to the effect that a shroud, particularly the Bromley Shroud, could be applied to the Q-siren to divert the noise to…


April 18th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Shuker v. Smith & Nephew, PLC, No. 16-3785 (3rd Cir. March 1, 2018) Krause, C.J.  With the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, Congress added comprehensive medical device approval processes to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, prescribing tiers of federal requirements for certain devices corresponding to the device's inherent risk level. In exchange for compliance with the strictest federal mandates, Congress afforded manufacturers express preemption from state laws imposing different or additional "safety or effectiveness" requirements for those devices. 21 U.S.C. § 360k(a)(2). This case presents an issue of first impression among the Courts of Appeals: how courts should apply that express preemption provision to state law tort claims challenging the design and manufacture of a medical device comprised of multiple components, some of which are from "Class III" medical devices subject to federal requirements, Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., 552 U.S. 312, 322-23 (2008), and some of which are from medical devices that carry a different class designation and are not subject to those requirements, see Medtronic, Inc. v. Lohr, 518 U.S. 470, 475-78, 494-95 (1996). Because the plaintiffs' negligence, strict liability, and breach of implied warranty claims in their…


March 8th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 117 (February 16, 2018) Lazarus, J.  Omega Flex, Inc. appeals from the judgment entered in favor of Terence D. and Judith R. Tincher following a jury trial and the denial of its post-trial motions.  Omega Flex contends that it is entitled to a new trial because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has determined that the trial court’s jury instruction contained a fundamental misstatement of the governing law.  We agree and vacate the judgment, reverse the order denying post-trial relief, and remand for a new trial. This case involved a fire where investigators determined that a nearby lightning strike caused a small puncture in corrugated stainless steel tubing that transported natural gas to a fireplace located on the first place of the residence.  Heat caused by lightning strike ignited natural gas and caused a fire.  No one was injured, but the fire caused significant property damage.  The stainless steel tubing installed in the home which melted because of the lightning was sold by Omega Flex as part of a gas transportation system.  The Tinchers sued Omega Flex based on strict liability. Tincher I,…


March 8th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Murray v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 2018 Pa. Super. 36  (February 20, 2018) Bender, P.J.E.  In this case it was found that there was sufficient causation based upon photographing of other evidence of what the patient looked like, an adolescent growing breasts after taking Risperdal.  The court went through the testimony very carefully and found there was enough evidence.  A choice of law doctrine, it was held that Maryland law applies and hence the cap applies, even though the case was tried in Philadelphia.  Maryland had greater contacts with respect to noneconomic damages, said the court.  Finally, the court sent the case back for consideration of punitive damages.  On that issue and the punitive damage issue, the remand was so that an individual record could be created to the unique conflict of law principles relevant to the case.


January 10th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Oberdorf v., Inc., No. 4:16-CV-01127 (M.D. Pa. December 21, 2017) Brann, J.  Plaintiff suffered a  loss of vision from a retractable leash that malfunctioned.  It snapped backwards, hitting her in the face.  She had purchased the product on  Judge Brann found that Amazon was like an auctioneer, and had no responsibility for the sale of the product.  Amazon Marketplace is like a newspaper classified ad section, connecting potential consumers with eager sellers in an efficient, modern and streamlined manner.  Subjecting Amazon to strict liability would not further the purposes of § 402A.  The court also found that under the Communications Decency Act, no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of information.  Here, the plaintiffs are trying to treat Amazon as the publisher or speaker of information by the seller of the leash.  Case dismissed.