Articles Posted in Products Liability

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This products liability lawsuit centered on Risperdal. Louise Taylor began suffering psychotic episodes when she was seventy-one years old, in early 1998. From March 1998 to January 2001, Psychiatrist Richard Rhoden prescribed Risperdal to Taylor for the treatment of her recurrent psychotic manifestations. In February 2001, Taylor developed tardive dyskinesia, a syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs. In 2002, Taylor filed a complaint against Ortho-McNeil Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer, seller, and distributer of Risperdal, and its parent company Johnson & Johnson (collectively “Janssen”), claiming that Risperdal caused her to develop tardive dyskinesia. Taylor also named her treating physician, Dr. Richard Rhoden, as a defendant in her complaint. Taylor settled her claims against Dr. Rhoden prior to trial. The case went to trial oin 2014. The jury, in a nine to three decision, found that Taylor was harmed by Risperdal due to: (1) Janssen’s “failure to provide adequate warnings/instructions” and (2) Janssen’s “negligent marketing/misrepresentation.” The jury awarded Taylor $650,000 in actual economic damages and $1.3 million in noneconomic damages, for a total damages award of $1,950,000. On review, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that, as a matter of law, the Risperdal in question contained an adequate warning; the Court reversed and rendered the statutory inadequate warning judgment. Furthermore, the Court held that various errors in the jury instructions required reversal of the plaintiff’s verdict that sounded in negligent misrepresentation, and the Court reversed and remanded the negligent misrepresentation claim. View "Johnson & Johnson, Inc. v. Fortenberry" on Justia Law

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After all defendants to the original complaint filed responsive pleadings in Mary Meeks’s medical malpractice suit, Meeks obtained leave of court and filed a first amended complaint, adding as a defendant the manufacturer of a medical device, Hologic, Inc. A doctor performed an outpatient diagnostic hysteroscopy and an endometrial ablation on Meeks at the Northwest Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale using a Novasure medical device manufactured and sold by Hologic to treat Meeks’s menorrhagia. Meeks did not serve the first amended complaint on Hologic but instead filed a second amended complaint without leave of court or permission from all defendants. Hologic filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Meeks’s claims against Hologic were federally preempted and that Meeks’s claims additionally were barred by the statute of limitations. Because Meeks failed to obtain leave of court or permission from the defendants to file the second complaint, and because the first was never served on Hologic, the Supreme Court found that the statute of limitations had expired against Hologic and that the trial court properly granted Hologic’s motion to dismiss. View "Mary Meeks v. Hologic, Inc." on Justia Law

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Deborah Jackson sued Illinois Central Railroad Company under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) for the wrongful death of her husband, Charles. Jackson alleged that her husband’s death from lung cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos while working for the railroad. After the close of discovery, Illinois Central filed a motion for summary judgment and a motion to strike Jackson’s expert, Michael Ellenbecker. Later, Illinois Central moved to strike improper evidence from Jackson’s response to the motion for summary judgment. When Jackson attempted to supplement Ellenbecker’s designation at the summary-judgment hearing, Illinois Central moved ore tenus to strike the supplementation. The Circuit Court denied all of Illinois Central’s motions. Illinois Central appealed. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that Jackson’s expert designation of Ellenbecker was improper summary-judgment evidence because it was not sworn to upon personal knowledge and constituted inadmissible hearsay. Because the supplemental response was unsworn and never was filed, it also was improper. And, because Jackson could not show a genuine issue of material fact without Ellenbecker’s testimony, the Court reversed the denial of summary judgment and rendered judgment in favor of Illinois Central. View "Illinois Central Railroad Company v. Jackson" on Justia Law

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This case was a latent-injury silicosis case filed against a Florida corporation that was dissolved. The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court's review centered on whether the Florida corporate-survival statute applied to a Mississippi plaintiff, or whether the discovery rule for latent injuries permitted claims to be brought against the foreign corporation after dissolution. Sixteen plaintiffs sued Clark Sand Company, Inc. more than four years after the corporation’s dissolution. The circuit court judge sustained Clark Sand’s motion for summary judgment. "At common law, when a corporation dissolved, it no longer existed, and it could not be sued. But because of the harshness of this rule, Florida, like most states, has adopted a corporate-survival statute that allows plaintiffs to bring suit against a Florida corporation for up to four years after dissolution." Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Williams v. Clark Sand Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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A city pipeline buried beneath a road leaked odorless natural gas which infiltrated a nearby home, causing an explosion. Residents alleged that the natural gas lacked its distinctive rotten egg smell, and that the odorant that was designed to provide the warning odor was defective because it faded. After reviewing Plaintiffs’ products-liability and assorted negligence claims against the odorant manufacturer, odorant distributor, and transmission pipeline, the Mississippi Supreme Court concluded that these claims failed as a matter of law. The Court therefore affirmed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment to the odorant manufacturer and transmission pipeline, and reversed the circuit court’s denial of the odorant distributor’s motion for summary judgment to render judgment in its favor. View "Elliott v. El Paso Corporation" on Justia Law

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Richard Palermo alleged that he was injured by infected tissue surgically placed into his knee. He sued LifeLink Foundation, Inc., under the Mississippi Products Liability Act (“MPLA”), Mississippi Code Section 11-1-63. The trial court and Court of Appeals both found that Mississippi Code Section 41-41-1, which defined the procurement, processing, storage, distribution, and use of human tissue as a “service,” exempted LifeLink from liability under the MPLA. The Supreme Court clarified the analysis surrounding this issue, found no reversible error, and therefore affirmed the trial court and the Court of Appeals. View "Palermo v. LifeLink Foundation, Inc. d/b/a LifeLink Tissue Bank" on Justia Law

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Robert Reeves, an employee of Illinois Central Railroad, sued Mississippi Valley Silica, Inc. for lung injuries that allegedly were caused by his inhalation of silica while employed with Illinois Central. The case was dismissed without prejudice in 2006, and this suit was filed against thirty-two named defendants in 2007. Robert Reeves died in 2010, before the litigation was concluded, and the case then was pursued by his wrongful death beneficiaries. After trial in May 2012 against the sole remaining defendant, Valley, the jury found economic damages in the amount of $149,464.40 and noneconomic damages of $1.5 million, with Valley 15% at fault. The jury also awarded punitive damages of $50,000, and the trial court awarded attorney fees of $257,701.50. Although Valley was found only 15% at fault, the trial court determined that the law in place in 2002, when the original complaint was filed, should have applied. Accordingly, the statutory caps on punitive and noneconomic damages enacted in 2004 were inapplicable and Valley was jointly and severally liable for 50% of the judgment. Ultimately, the court determined that Valley owed the Reeves beneficiaries $824,732.20, plus $50,000 in punitive damages, and $257,701.50 in attorney fees, for a total of $1,132,433.70. Valley appealed. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court concluded that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to identify Valley’s sand as the proximate cause of Robert Reeves’s injuries as a matter of law. Therefore, the Court reversed the trial court and rendered judgment in favor of Mississippi Valley Silica. View "Mississippi Valley Silica Company, Inc. v. Reeves" on Justia Law

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Paul and Terri Broome purchased a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox from a Chevrolet dealership in April 2010. The vehicle came with a three-year or 36,000 mile warranty. According to the Broomes, the vehicle had various defects which they attempted to have repaired through the dealership. When the dealership was unable to fix the defects, in December 2011, the Broomes filed suit against General Motors, the manufacturer of the vehicle, for breach of written and implied warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Act. This case was one of first impression to the Supreme Court: whether Mississippi Code Section 63-17-159(6) (Rev. 2013), the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act, or Mississippi Code Section 75-2-101 (Rev. 2012), et seq. (the Uniform Commercial Code, the “UCC”) was the most analogous state statute to the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act for the purposes of determining the statute of limitations for Magnuson-Moss Act claims filed in Mississippi. The trial court found that the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act was the most analogous state law to the Magnuson-Moss Act and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim as barred by the statute of limitations. The Court held that Mississippi’s UCC was the most analogous state statute to the Magnuson-Moss Act. Therefore, the trial court erred in dismissing the plaintiffs’ claim. View "Broome v. General Motors, LLC " on Justia Law

Posted in: Products Liability

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Plaintiffs Bre’Annah Banks, Ladarius Harp, Kimberly Norris, Zerlanzeia Lambouths, and Lakedrick Reed filed suit against the Sherwin-Williams Company claiming products liability and negligence. After both sides elicited evidence from lay and expert witnesses supporting their arguments, the trial court entered an order granting summary judgment for Sherwin-Williams based on the plaintiffs’ failure to establish product identification, an essential element of their claim. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court held that, under the applicable standard for the consideration of summary judgment, the plaintiffs presented enough evidence to create an issue of material fact as to whether the paint in question came from Sherwin-Williams. Accordingly, the judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "Banks v. Sherwin-Williams Company" on Justia Law

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This was the third appeal the Supreme Court decided arising out of litigation over a defective combine Edward J. Johnson Jr. purchased from Parker Tractor & Implement Co., Inc. in 1994. This case was a direct appeal from the Circuit Court’s dismissal of a garnishment action as time-barred by the seven-year limitations period. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court. View "Johnson, Jr. v. Parker Tractor & Implement Company, Inc." on Justia Law