Justia Products Liability Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Criminal Law
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Defendant was convicted of domestic violence assault, domestic violence stalking, and endangering the welfare of a child. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of conviction as to the charge of domestic violence assault and remanded for entry of a judgment of acquittal on that charge, holding that the record contained insufficient evidence for the jury to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Defendant’s conduct forming that basis for domestic violence assault occurred within the relevant limitations period. The Court also remanded to determine whether resentencing was necessary as to the stalking and endangering the welfare of a child charges. View "State v. Lacourse" on Justia Law

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In the late 1990s, people who had taken the prescription diet-drug combination Fen-Phen began suing Wyeth, claiming that the drugs caused valvular heart disease. A 2000 settlement included creation of the Fen-Phen Settlement Trust to compensate class members who had sustained heart damage. Claims required medical evidence. Attorneys who represented certain claimants retained Tai, a board-certified Level 2-qualified cardiologist, to read tests and prepare reports. Tai read 12,000 tests and asserted that he was owed $2 million dollars for his services. Tai later acknowledged that in about 10% of the cases, he dictated reports consistent with the technicians’ reports despite knowing that the measurements were wrong, and that he had his technician and office manager review about 1,000 of the tests because he did not have enough time to do the work. A review of the forms Tai submitted found that, in a substantial number of cases, the measurements were clearly incorrect and were actually inconsistent with a human adult heart. Tai was convicted of mail and wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1341 and 1343, was sentenced to 72 months’ imprisonment, and was ordered to pay restitution of $4,579,663 and a fine of $15,000. The Third Circuit rejected arguments that the court erred by implicitly shifting the burden of proof in its “willful blindness” jury instruction and applying upward adjustments under the advisory Sentencing Guidelines for abuse of a position of trust and use of a special skill, but remanded for factual findings concerning whether Tai supervised a criminally culpable subordinate, as required for an aggravated role enhancement. View "United States v. Tai" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Brink, and others, claiming that he was raped while in jail when he was nineteen years old and that the rape occurred as a result of ineffective locks on cell doors. Brink argued on interlocutory appeal that the district court erred in concluding that the statute of limitations began running against plaintiff at the moment the torts occurred. The court concluded that the Mississippi Code clearly distinguished between the concepts of emancipation and the disability of infancy, as well as the implications of each, and Mississippi cases did not illustrate an intent to deviate from this clear distinction. Therefore, the court held that the statute of limitations did not begin to run against plaintiff until he reached the age of majority. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "Baker v. RR Brink Locking Systems, Inc." on Justia Law