Justia Products Liability Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Utah Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court accepted certified questions of law from the federal court related to a case involving artificial hip implants, answering to what extent implanted medical devices should be immune from strict liability design defect claims under Utah law because they are "unavoidably unsafe," meaning they are "incapable of being made safe for their intended and ordinary use" but their marketing and use is justified because of the benefit they provide. Specifically, the Court answered (1) while some implanted medical devices are unavoidably unsafe, under current federal regulations, this question should be treated as an affirmative defense and determined by the fact-finder on a case-by-case basis with regard to devices that enter the market through the 510(k) process; and (2) for devices that go through a more rigorous premarket approval process, the Court does not opine on whether such devices might be unavoidably unsafe as a matter of law because they are already exempt from design defect claims under the United States Supreme Court's decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc. 552 U.S. 312 (2008). View "Burningham v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this case arising from a severe injury Levi Rutherford sustained when he skied into a patch of machine-made snow the Supreme Court declined Defendant's invitations to hold that Plaintiffs' claims were barred by a release of liability signed by Levi's father or, alternatively, Utah's Inherent Risks of Skiing Act, Utah Code 78B-4-401 to -404 (the Act), holding that the district court correctly denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Specifically, the district court held (1) the preinjury release signed by Levi's father was unenforceable; and (2) pursuant to Clover v. Snowbird Ski Resort, 808 P.2d 1037 (Utah 1991), summary judgment was not appropriate as to Plaintiff's claims under the Act. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals with respect to the preinjury release, holding that the release was void as against public policy and affirmed the court of appeals to the extent that it chose to apply Clover to the facts of this case but remanded for a determination in accordance with this Court's clarified implementation of Clover's holding. View "Rutherford v. Talisker Canyons Finance, Co." on Justia Law