Justia Products Liability Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bell v. Pfizer, et al.
Plaintiff alleged various causes of action against the maker of the generic drug (Pliva), brand defendants, and others after she was injured by the prescription medication metoclopramide. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of brand defendants and dismissal of her claims against Pliva. The court denied plaintiff's motion to supplement the record, finding no compelling reason to allow plaintiff to do so; the district court did not err in determining plaintiff's claims against brand defendants failed as a matter of law because she stipulated that she had not ingested a product manufactured by brand defendants; reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's non-warning design defect and breach of implied warranty claims and remanded for further consideration; and because there was no causal link between Pliva's failure to incorporate the 2004 labeling change and plaintiff's injury, the district court's dismissal of that claim was not error. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Bell v. Pfizer, et al." on Justia Law
Sommervold v. Wal-Mart, Inc.
Plaintiff's hands were injured when a battery-operated toy purchased at a Wal-mart store in Aberdeen, South Dakota exploded after he picked it up to see why it was malfunctioning. With the three-year statute of limitations about to expire and the toy manufacturer bankrupt, plaintiff filed this tort action in state court against Wal-Mart. The district court granted Wal-mart's motion to dismiss for insufficient service of process, concluding that plaintiff failed to comply with the applicable South Dakota service of process statute. Because plaintiff initiated the action in state court and attempted to serve Wal-mart prior to removal, South Dakota law governed whether service was sufficient. The record clearly supported the district court's finding that the assistant manager was not the person in charge of the Aberdeen store when service was attempted. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Sommervold v. Wal-Mart, Inc." on Justia Law
Bayside Holdings, Ltd., et al v. Viracon, Inc., et al
Bayside installed hurricane-resistant windows manufactured by Viracon and supplied by EFCO. Shortly after installation, cracking and delamination occurred in some of the windows. Bayside filed suit against Viracon and EFCO nine years after it noticed the defect. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Viracon and EFCO, concluding that Minnesota's two-year statute of limitations applied to Bayside's breach of warranty claims and therefore, these claims were time-barred. View "Bayside Holdings, Ltd., et al v. Viracon, Inc., et al" on Justia Law
Russell, et al v. Whirlpool Corp.
Plaintiffs filed suit against Whirlpool after a fire destroyed their home, alleging that the fire was caused by a defective refrigerator Whirlpool designed, manufactured, and sold. Whirlpool appealed the jury's finding in favor of plaintiffs. The court concluded that the fire investigator did not employ National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921 in his investigation and therefore, his testimony could not be excluded for failure to reliably apply its contents; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted the challenged testimony of the investigator where the jury weighed the conflicting evidence and credited the investigator's testimony in spite of Whirlpool's challenges; the district court did not err when it denied Whirlpool's motion for judgment as a matter of law where the circumstantial evidence was strong enough to allow the jury to infer that the refrigerator contained a defect at the time it left Whirlpool's control and that caused the fire; and the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Whirlpool's motion for a mistrial for violation of an in limine order. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Russell, et al v. Whirlpool Corp." on Justia Law
Westfield Ins. Co. v. Robinson Outdoors, Inc.
Robinson marketed and sold camouflage products that, according to Robinson, would eliminate human scent so that wild game, with their acute sense of smell, would not be able to detect a hunter's presence. Consumers who had purchased these products brought class action lawsuits against Robinson, claiming that Robinson's products did not actually eliminate human odor (collectively, "the underlying lawsuits"). Robinson sought defense and indemnification from it's insurer, Westfield, but Westfield declined coverage. Instead, Westfield brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that the policy did not cover the underlying lawsuits. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Westfield where Westfield was under no obligation to defend or indemnify Robinson in the underlying lawsuits and where Robinson waived its argument premised on the reasonable-expectations doctrine. View "Westfield Ins. Co. v. Robinson Outdoors, Inc." on Justia Law
Schilf v. Eli Lilly & Co.
Approximately one month after Dr. Richard Briggs prescribed sixteen-year-old Peter Schilf Cymbalta for his depression, Peter committed suicide. The Cymbalta literature did not include an FDA-approved black box warning stating that Cymbalta could induce suicidality in children diagnosed with depression. Peter's parents (Appellants) sued Eli Lilly & Company and Quintiles Transnational Corporation ("Lilly"), alleging that Lilly's failure to warn and deceit caused the death of Peter. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Lilly. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) there were genuine issues of material fact whether Dr. Briggs knew the suicide-related information that an adequate warning would have contained; and (2) there were genuine issues of material fact whether an adequate warning would have changed Dr. Briggs' decision to prescribe Cymbalta to Peter. View "Schilf v. Eli Lilly & Co." on Justia Law
Nemmers v. Ford Motor Co.
Plaintiff Kayla Nemmers filed a products liability action against Defendant Ford Motor Company, alleging that a lap-only seatbelt installed in the front-center seat of a 2002 Ford pickup failed to restrain her torso during an accident. After trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ford. Nemmers appealed, arguing that the district court committed reversible error by making certain evidentiary rulings, by refusing to dismiss certain jurors for cause, and by failing to admonish defense counsel for remarks made during closing argument. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in its evidentiary rulings; (2) did not err by refusing to dismiss certain jurors for cause; and (3) did not abuse its discretion in failing to give a curative instruction after defense counsel made remarks during closing argument. View "Nemmers v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law
Linden, Jr. v. CNH America
Plaintiff filed a products liability action against CNH based on injuries he sustained while operating a CNH-manufactured bulldozer. A jury returned a verdict in favor of CNH and defendant appealed. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the manufacturing defect claims where plaintiff had not pointed to sufficient evidence in the record that would support his claim that the product manufactured by CNH "departed from its intended design" and did not meet its "design specifications." The court also held that there was no error in the jury instructions regarding the "sophisticated user," "premature wear" instruction, "safety code" instruction, and "manufacturer expert in its field" instruction. Finally, because plaintiff was unable to show that he was prejudiced by the trial court's dismissal of a prospective juror, the jury verdict must be upheld. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Linden, Jr. v. CNH America" on Justia Law