Articles Posted in Products Liability

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Appellant brought a products liability claim against Respondent, the manufacturer of various models of swimming pool filters for both commercial and residential swimming pools, after he was injured when a filter canister exploded. Appellant alleged that the design of the filter was legally defective and that Respondent failed to give him proper warnings regarding the risk of explosion. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Respondent on all claims. Appellant filed a post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law or, alternatively, for a new trial. The district court denied the motion. Appellant appealed, arguing that, during closing argument, Respondent’s counsel made various impermissible statements that were not based in evidence or that reflected the personal opinion of counsel. Appellant’s counsel did not timely object to any of the disputed statements. The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for new trial, holding that attorney misconduct could be deemed to have occurred in this case and that the evidence supporting the products liability verdict was weak. Remanded to the district court for additional findings and with direction for the district court to reconsider its conclusion. View "Michaels v. Pentair Water Pool & Spa" on Justia Law

Posted in: Products Liability

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Petitioners were two German limited liability corporations who were sued by a homeowners association for alleged construction defects in plumbing parts. Petitioners moved to dismiss the complaints, arguing that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over them because they had no direct connection to Nevada, did not manufacture or distribute the allegedly faulty plumbing parts, and had no responsibility or control over their American subsidiaries such that the subsidiaries’ contacts with Nevada could be imputed to Petitioners. The district court asserted jurisdiction over Petitioners, determining that the companies’ American subsidiaries acted as Petitioners’ agents and concluding that the subsidiaries’ contacts with Nevada could be imputed to Petitioners. Petitioners filed a petition for writ of prohibition challenging the validity of the district court’s exercise of jurisdiction over them. The district court granted the petition, holding that no agency relationship was shown in this case, and accordingly, the district court exceeded its jurisdiction in imputing the subsidiaries’ contacts to Petitioners. View "Viega GmbH v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs in the underlying action asserted product liability claims against Appellants, manufacturers of an anethestic drug that may have exposed patients to serious diseases. Before the beginning of the trial, Appellants filed a motion to change venue from Clark County to Washoe County, arguing that the adverse pretrial publicity reasonably prevented Appellants from receiving a fair trial in Clark County. The district court concluded that a change of venue was not warranted at that time and reserved ruling on the motion until after an attempt to select a jury had been made. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal because the district court had not issued a final ruling on the change of venue motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a court order deferring a final ruling on a change of venue motion based on adverse pretrial publicity until after jury selection begins does not finally decide the motion; and (2) because the court did not finally rule on the motion in this case, the matter was not ripe for appeal. View "Sicor, Inc. v. Sacks" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs in the underlying action asserted product liability claims against Appellants, manufacturers of an anethestic drug that may have exposed patients to serious diseases. Before the beginning of the trial, Appellants filed a motion to change venue from Clark County to Washoe County, arguing that the adverse pretrial publicity reasonably prevented Appellants from receiving a fair trial in Clark County. The district court concluded that a change of venue was not warranted at that time and reserved ruling on the motion until after an attempt to select a jury had been made. After the jury was empaneled, Appellants renewed their motion for a change of venue, which the district court denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court must apply a multifactor test to determine whether there is a reason to believe that the party seeking a change of venue will not receive a fair trial in the community where the case originated; and (2) because Appellants did not demonstrate that the circumstances in this case presented a reasonable belief that a fair trial could not be had in Clark County, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Appellants' motion for a change of venue. View "Sicor, Inc. v. Hutchison" on Justia Law

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This case involved consolidated petitions for writs of mandamus challenging district court rulings regarding the admissibility of expert testimony. The petitions arose out of two separate actions resulting from an outbreak of heptitis C at an endoscopy clinic. Plaintiffs sued defendants, pharmaceutical companies, for strict products liability. The Supreme Court held that (1) a nurse can testify regarding matters within his or her specialized area of practice but not as to medical causation unless he or she has obtained the requisite knowledge, skill, experience, or training to identify cause; and (2) the standard for defense expert testimony regarding medical causation differs depending on how the defendant utilizes the expert's testimony. When a defense expert traverses the causation theory offered by the plaintiff and purports an independent causation theory, the testimony must be stated to a reasonable degree of medical probability pursuant to Morsicato v. Sav-On Drug Stores. However, when a defense expert's testimony of alternative causation theories controverts an element of the plaintiff's prima facie case where the plaintiff bears the burden of proof, the testimony must only be relevant and supported by competent medical research. View "Williams v. U.S. Dist. Court" on Justia Law