Plaintiff, who operated a nail salon, used a liquid acrylic nail product repackaged and distributed by Premium Nail Concepts, Inc. (PNC). After Plaintiff was diagnosed with a sensitization to ethyl methacrylate, a chemical ingredient contained in the PNC nail product Plaintiff used, Plaintiff filed a products liability claim against PNC. The jury ruled in favor of PNC, determining that PNC’s nail product was not in a defective condition because of a manufacturing defect, design defect, or inadequate warning. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court abused its discretion in (1) allowing PNC to present expert testimony that its product was “safe as used” when skin contact is avoided; (2) denying Plaintiff the right to cross-examine the expert witness who proffered this evidence; (3) instructing the jury on the meaning of “safe as used”; and (4) refusing to instruct the jury that skin contact with the PNC product is common in the nail industry. View "Kenser v. Premium Nail Concepts, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Products Liability
Peter Carter was driving a Ford Explorer rented from Overland West when Todd Durham's vehicle collided with Carter's vehicle. The impact caused the Explorer to roll five times, partially ejecting Carter and killing him. Carter's estate filed a wrongful death and survival claim against Ford, Overland, and Durham (collectively, Defendants) under strict products liability and negligence theories. After a jury trial, the district court concluded that Durham was liable in negligence and that Ford and Overland were not liable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by (1) denying the estate's motion for default judgment on liability as a sanction against Ford for withholding evidence of other incidents; (2) excluding the estate's proffered evidence of other incidents; (3) excluding evidence related to Ford's actions in making a Safe Canopy System a standard feature in the United States in 2007 and some other countries in 2002, and by permitting Ford to present a "consumer-choice" defense; and (4) excluding an indemnity agreement between Ford and Overland and limiting questioning about the agreement and the parties' prior adversarial position. View "Stokes v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law
After Peter Carter was killed in a car accident, Plaintiff filed a wrongful death and survival action against the vehicle manufacturer, the auto rental company, and the other driver in the accident. Plaintiff asserted claims against the auto companies for negligence and strict liability, arguing that the seatbelt system in Carter's vehicle was defective. The district court ruled that Mont. Code Ann. 61-13-106 prohibited evidence of seatbelt use or nonuse in products liability claims but not in negligence claims. The court concluded it would be too confusing for the jury to admit the evidence on the products liability claims but exclude it on the negligence claims and informed Stokes if he planned on using evidence of seatbelt use or nonuse he must drop his negligence claims. The Supreme Court granted Stokes's petition for supervisory control, holding (1) when the plaintiff's injuries are alleged to result from a defect in the vehicle's occupant restraint system, whether the claim sounds in negligence or strict liability, the statute does not preclude evidence of seatbelt use or nonuse; and (2) where the plaintiff's claim is combined with a claim against the driver of another vehicle involved in the crash, a limiting instruction must be given.
While pitching in a baseball game, Brandon Patch was struck in the head by a batted ball that was hit using a Hillerich & Bradsby Company (H&B) aluminum bat. Brandon died from his injuries. Brandon's parents sued H&B in strict products liability for survivorship and wrongful death damages, asserting manufacturing and design defect and failure to warn claims. The district court granted H&B's motion for summary judgment on Patches' manufacturing defect claim but denied summary judgment on their design defect and failure to warn claim. The court granted Patches' motion in limine, excluding H&B's assumption of the risk defense. The jury concluded that the bat was in a defective condition due to failure to warn of the enhanced risks associated with its use and awarded Patches an $850,000 verdict on their failure to warn claim. On review, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding the district court properly (1) denied H&B summary judgment, (2) denied H&B's motion for judgment as a matter of law, (3) granted Patches' motion in limine regarding H&B's assumption of the risk defense, and (4) instructed the jury on failure to warn.