Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Products Liability
Adams v. Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss the product liability claim against it, holding that the trial court did not err in concluding that personal jurisdiction was not authorized under Connecticut's applicable long-arm statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 33-929(f).Section 33-929(f) subjects foreign corporations to suit brought by a resident of the state on a cause of action "arising out of" the corporation's distribution of goods with the reasonable expectation that the goods are intended to be used, and are so used, in Connecticut. At issue was whether Defendant's contacts with Connecticut were sufficiently "related to" the litigation to satisfy Connecticut's long-arm statute and specific personal jurisdiction under the due process clause. The trial court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss, concluding that the "arise out of or relate to" requirement was not met in this case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to establish that their claim against Defendant arose from or related to Defendant's forum contacts. View "Adams v. Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co." on Justia Law
Glover v. Bausch & Lomb, Inc.
The Supreme Court accepted and answered two certified questions of law regarding whether Plaintiff's claims pursuant to the Connecticut Product Liability Act (CPLA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-572m et seq., were preempted by federal law and held that the CPLA's exclusivity provision, section 52-572n, barred Plaintiff's claims.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) a cause of action exists under the negligence or failure-to-warn provisions of the CPLA or elsewhere in Connecticut law based on a manufacturer's alleged failure to report adverse events to a regulator like the United States Food and Drug Administration following approval of the device or to comply with a regulator's postapproval requirements; and (2) CPLA's exclusivity provision bars a claim under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., based on allegations that a manufacturer deceptively and aggressively marketed and promoted a product despite knowing that it presented a substantial risk of injury. View "Glover v. Bausch & Lomb, Inc." on Justia Law
Normandy v. American Medical Systems, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court concluding that Defendant, as a hospital, was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the Connecticut Product Liability Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-572m et seq., under the circumstances of this case, holding that the trial court did not err.Plaintiff brought this complaint alleging injuries arising from Defendant's violations of, among other things, the product liability act, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., and common law. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Defendant was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the product liability act and that Plaintiff's CUTPA and common law claims were time barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Defendant provided general information regarding various medical procedures on its website and did not significantly participate in placing the medical device at issue into the stream of commerce Defendant was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the product liability act; and (2) the statutes of limitations governing Plaintiff's remaining claims were not tolled. View "Normandy v. American Medical Systems, Inc." on Justia Law
King v. Volvo Excavators AB
In this action to recover damages for personal injuries resulting from an allegedly defective product the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants, holding that the amendment to the statute of repose in Number 17-97 of the 2017 Public Acts (P.A. 17-97) retroactively applied to Plaintiff's claims.On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the statute of repose applied to her product liability claims is unconstitutional because it creates two classes of claimants - employees subject to a ten-year statute of repose and nonemployees not subject to the statute of repose if the claimant shows the product was within its useful safe life when the injury occurred. While Defendants' motions for summary judgment were pending the legislature enacted P.A. 17-97, which combined the two classes of claimants by removing the limitation provision applicable to employees. The trial court concluded that P.A. 17-97 was not retroactive and applied the ten-year statute of repose to bar Plaintiff's claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the amendment to the statute of repose in P.A. 17-97 retroactively applied to Plaintiff's claims. The Court remanded to determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the injury occurred during the safe life of the product. View "King v. Volvo Excavators AB" on Justia Law
Bagley v. Adel Wiggins Group
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court for Plaintiff in this action brought pursuant to Connecticut’s Product Liability Act under strict liability and negligence theories, holding that Plaintiff failed to prove both that the product at issue was unreasonably dangerous and that it was a legal cause of the decedent’s fatal lung disease. In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos-containing products while working for Defendant and that Defendant’s actions in selling such asbestos-containing products constituted violations of the Act. After Plaintiff rested her case, Defendant moved for a directed verdict. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion as well as Defendant’s motion to set aside the verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict following the jury’s verdict in Plaintiff’s favor. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was insufficient evidence to show that the product at issue was dangerous or that it was a legal cause of the decedent’s mesothelioma, and therefore, the trial court improperly denied Defendant’s motion for a directed verdict and motion to set aside the verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. View "Bagley v. Adel Wiggins Group" on Justia Law
White v. Mazda Motor of Am., Inc.
Plaintiff’s Mazda3 sedan caught fire one month after Plaintiff purchased the vehicle. Plaintiff brought this product liability action against Mazda Motor of America, Inc. and Cartwright Auto, LLC, claiming that a defect in the car’s fuel system caused the fire that, in turn, caused Plaintiff to suffer injuries. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants on the basis that Plaintiff failed to produce competent expert testimony to support his claim of defect. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that he could prove his case based on an unspecified defect under the malfunction theory of products liability and without expert testimony. The Appellate Court affirmed, concluding (1) Plaintiff failed to raise the malfunction theory in the trial court and thus did not preserve it for appellate review; and (2) Plaintiff’s specific defect claims required expert testimony, and Plaintiff failed to produce this evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff did not properly preserve his malfunction theory of liability claim for appellate review, and therefore, the Appellate Court did not err in declining to review the malfunction theory claim on appeal. View "White v. Mazda Motor of Am., Inc." on Justia Law
Incardona v. Roer
Plaintiffs brought two separate actions alleging that Hazel Smart died as a result of a defective catheter used in her dialysis treatment at Greater Waterbury Gambro HealthCare. The trial court consolidated the two actions, which brought claims sounding in negligence, medical malpractice, loss of consortium, and products liability. During pretrial proceedings, the trial court imposed monetary sanctions on Plaintiffs for failure to comply with a discovery order. Plaintiffs appealed. The appellate court dismissed the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that the trial court's discovery order was not an appealable final judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appellate court properly dismissed the appeal, as the trial court's order did not constitute an appealable final judgment. View "Incardona v. Roer" on Justia Law
Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Deere & Co.
Plaintiff, Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company, brought a product liability action against Defendant, Deere and Company, claiming that a lawn tractor manufactured by Defendant contained a manufacturing defect in its electrical system that caused a fire resulting in the destruction of the home of Plaintiff's insureds. Following a jury trial, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a plaintiff may base a product liability action on the "malfunction theory," which allows a jury to rely on circumstantial evidence to infer that a product that malfunctioned was defective at the time it left the manufacturer's or seller's control if the plaintiff establishes certain elements; and (2) the trial court erred in denying Defendant's motion for a directed verdict because Plaintiff's evidence in the present case was insufficient to establish its products liability claim. View "Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Deere & Co." on Justia Law