Articles Posted in Product Liability

Under Pennsylvania law, a manufacturer or supplier is liable for any harm caused by a defect, if the defect was a substantial factor in bringing about the harm. The product is defective if it lacks any element necessary that would make it safe for intended use, which includes reasonably foreseeable use or misuse of the product. product liability law firmHowever, the injury must occur to the intended user of the product.

Some product liability cases become class action lawsuits, where multiple parties suffering the same type of injury seek damages for the harm caused by the product. Often, the types of class action suits involve products related to medical care or used to improve your health. The United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a Non-Precedential decision for In Re: Diet Drugs, which discussed the medical proof needed to obtain a claim payment for an unsafe diet drug. A Settlement Agreement was reached with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, and money was set aside in a trust for claim payments. Qualifications were set by the trust administrators to determine whether or not a claimant should be paid benefits.

The resulting case occurred after a class member was denied compensation benefits. She ingested one of the weight loss drugs for over six months. She submitted an echocardiogram, and it was reviewed by a physician who stated she had “moderate mitral regurgitation” where her heart valve separating the lower and upper heart chambers failed to close properly, causing leakage. The Trust, due to several false claims, reviewed a number of the claims for intentional manipulation. The Trust identified the woman’s claim as one containing intentional material misrepresentations of fact. The Trust rejected her claim, based on a letter from a separate doctor who concluded there was no reasonable medical basis for finding moderate mitral regurgitation. After contesting the findings with additional statements, the Trust denied her claim again, and this appeal ensued. Continue reading

Severe weather has hit Pennsylvania this winter, and drivers are at risk for serious car accidents that can result in fatalities and catastrophic injuries. With injuries that are so extreme, the costs of medical care and missed wages from being off work can add up quickly. Personal InjuryIn a multi-vehicle pile-up, like one that occurred at the beginning of this year, sorting out who is liable for your injuries can be complicated.

A couple years ago, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued a non-precedential decision in Swackhammer v. Hajdukiewicz. In this case, there was a motor vehicle accident in which a car was rear-ended by someone who was driving a work vehicle. The injured person’s car was then thrust into the car in front of his, and the driver of the first car filed a claim for severe aggravation to a pre-existing degenerative condition in his neck. The injured party had radiating pain in his arm and numbness and tingling in his fingers, and he required cervical surgery and carpal tunnel surgery. The injured person also complained of depression as a result of the injury. Continue reading

When injuries occur because of faulty products, it can initially be difficult to realize that a defective product was the cause, and that the manufacturer or seller of the product should be held responsible.  Pennsylvania law is controlled by Section 402A of the Restatement 2d of Torts, which states that a seller of a product is liable for harm caused by such a product when it is sold in a defective condition that is unreasonably dangerous to the user.  Strict Liability Scranton PAThis holds the seller strictly liable and means that negligence does not have to be shown, even if the seller exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of this product.  If someone is injured because of a defective product, whether through physical harm or property damage, he or shecan hold the seller accountable and receive compensation for the injuries.

The recent case, Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., was an extensive ruling that weighed whether or not to adopt Section 2 under the Restatement 3d of Torts.  While the underlying case involved property damage alone, it is instructive for all strict liability actions, including those involving personal injury.  After a non-injury fire in the central unit of a two-story triplex building, an investigation revealed that the fire was caused by a lightning strike near the home that caused a small puncture in the tubing that transported natural gas to the fireplace in the residence.  The fire burned for over an hour and caused much damage to the home and the owners’ belongings.  The tubing was sold by the defendant company as part of a gas transportation system.   Continue reading

If you’ve been injured by a product in in Pennsylvania, you may be able to recover damages from the manufacturer or distributor of the product. You need to either show the product was defectively manufactured in a way that made it unreasonably dangerous to consumers, even when it was used correctly, or if the product was accompanied by insufficient warnings about the potential harm that it may cause, or a combination of the two.  One type of consumer product associated with warning labels is over-the-counter medications, particularly child medications. The Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a decision that affirmed a jury verdict of $10 million to an injured girl who took over-the-counter children’s Motrin, a product manufactured in Pennsylvania.

Peronal Injury Lawyer motrinThe child’s eventual, severe medical condition stemmed from the Motrin administered to relieve her of a fever.  The fever continued overnight, and the child’s mother gave her a second dose.  A rash formed, but it was not considered unusual, for a rash had previously appeared on the child before.  A pediatrician was consulted, and the doctor recommended that the child alternate between the Motrin and children’s Tylenol.  The mother, having read the label, noted that a doctor needed to be consulted if there were hives, wheezing, facial swelling, or shock that persisted.  The mother took the child to the doctor soon after the phone call, and the child was diagnosed with pneumonia.  The child was prescribed antibiotics, but she suffered from a worsened condition of red eyes, runny discharge, a persistent fever, red lips, and a red rash on her chest.  The mother gave her the antibiotics, and she continued with the alternating regimen of children’s Motrin and children’s Tylenol.  

The next day the child had to be taken to the emergency room after the rash covered her entire body and developed into blisters and other wounds.  The child’s skin began to slough off, and surgery was performed to reduce the risk of infection from so many open wounds.  The child had to be treated in the same manner as a severe burn victim due to the exposed layers of skin and risk of infection.  The girl continued to have lasting medical problems, including sensitivity to sun, multiple eye surgeries, blindness, and internal bleeding in her uterus.  A product liability claim was filed, claiming that the manufacturer failed to warn of the dangers of the product.   The complaint alleged that the over-the-counter children’s Motrin failed to warn that blisters should not have been caused by the product and did not advise to stop consumption for symptoms of hives, wheezing, facial swelling, or shock.   Continue reading