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Articles Posted in Product Liability

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By Kurt Maier, Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley LLP

amusement park Who hasn’t enjoyed a great ride at an amusement park in the summer months? It’s a staple of summer fun and entertainment for children, teens and adults. Your trip to an amusement park should be free of worry about accidents and injuries, but it’s becoming all too common to see serious injuries inflicted because of careless operation of amusement park rides.

There certainly are well-maintained amusement parks, and there are also those that are not. You probably won’t be able to tell which one you’ve chosen by looking at them.

Kentucky amusement parks have certainly had cases of serious injuries. The one that almost everyone remembers is the 2007 incident at Six Flags in Louisville (which has since closed). A 16-year-old girl was riding the Superman Tower of Power ride when a cable wrapped around her feet and severed them. The girl’s family sued the park.

At the Louisville Zoo, a small train designed for parents and their children crashed. One man had his leg pinned under the train and had a series of eight surgeries to repair the damage. He had missed 18 months of work at the time of the lawsuit. A small child had disfiguring face injuries, and many others were injured in other ways. The claims were eventually settled.

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By Bob Young, attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

For the last year, cases have been working their way through the courts against Johnson & Johnson and their talc supplier, with plaintiffs who used their baby powder or Shower to Shower powder suing because they were diagnosed with cancer after long-term use of the products.

Last week, a jury handed down a landmark verdict against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of plaintiff Larry Lanzo and his wife. Lanzo had used Shower to Shower powder and other similar products for nearly 30 years, and developed mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. Lanzo believes the disease came from inhaling the product during the past three decades of use.

The court ruled Johnson & Johnson must pay $117 million in damages, with $30 million of that going to Lanzo, and $7 million to his wife. The rest of the money – $80 million – will be paid in punitive damages.

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement saying it does not believe there is a link between its powder and mesothelioma.

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By Jessica Surber, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

talcum powder

Photo by Keyseeker on Morguefile

For decades, talcum powder was considered to be a perfectly safe part of a woman’s feminine hygiene routine. Women commonly applied it to their genital area as part of their daily routine.

However, new evidence has pointed to the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder. Women are taking action against the companies who promoted this product as safe for use, even though executives knew there was a potential link between it and ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products, is being sued by thousands of women across the country who believed that talcum powder was safe and even helpful to use. Just this week, a California jury handed out a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in a case filed by a woman who developed ovarian cancer. This verdict includes $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages.

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industrial-plant-300x217Mesothelioma can take several forms:  pleural (affecting the lungs), peritoneal (in the abdominal lining), or pericardial (developing in the heart). The prognosis is not good – most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have only six months to two years to live.

All three forms of the disease are believed to be caused by the victim’s exposure to asbestos. If you are considering filing an asbestos case, know that exposure even as far back as 50 years ago can still cause mesothelioma today. Most often, exposure occurs in an industrial setting. Asbestos can be found in construction materials, buildings, and other products. Firefighters, mechanics, shipyard workers, pipe fitters, and demolition crew members are common victims of mesothelioma.

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large clockIf you believe that you have a claim for personal injuries or for a loved one’s wrongful death, you should speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. This is because there is a limited time for filing both injury and death cases. This Tennessee product liability lawsuit case is a reminder that the statute of limitations isn’t flexible.

The statute of limitations prescribes the exact time period for bringing a claim, such as a negligence action arising from a motor vehicle collision, an act of medical malpractice, or an injury from a defective product. There may also be an applicable statute of repose that places additional constraints on the time for filing suit, based on factors such as, for example, the date an allegedly defective product was manufactured.

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Photograph 053 by Lauren Mancke found on minimography.comIf you are suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer, and you have been exposed to Roundup, you may need legal help.

A recent scientific study labeled glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, a class 2A carcinogen. Glyphosate may be linked to cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Those who have this disease need to know that lawsuits are underway against Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup. If you have been exposed to Roundup, either as a consumer, a farmer or landscape worker, it is important to know your rights, and to act quickly. The statute of limitations, which restricts how long you have to file a lawsuit, may apply. It is important to begin research soon to see if you should be represented by counsel.

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feet on sidewalkProperty owners and business operators owe certain duties to those who come onto their premises for a business or social purpose. A breach of this duty can potentially result in a finding of liability against the landowner and an award of damages in favor of an injured party. This is most commonly referred to as a “slip and fall” case, in which someone is injured because of property that isn’t maintained, such as a cracked sidewalk or other similar issue.

For this reason, it is increasingly common for would-be defendants to ask for a waiver of liability from those with whom they do business. It is up to the courts to determine whether such waivers are valid under the facts of an individual case.

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product liability lawsuit

Where do you file a product liability lawsuit?

Most of the time, the answer is simple. You file it where the actionable issue occurred. If you live in Kentucky and that’s where the accident happened, it’s easy to determine you file your lawsuit in Kentucky.

Sometimes, there are multiple possibilities for where to file a suit. If the opposing party doesn’t like the plaintiff’s choice of court, the opposing party can ask for a dismissal of the case or, in some situations, a transfer. If the plaintiff disagrees with the trial court’s order regarding jurisdiction or choice of forum, the plaintiff can file an appeal.

Once the proper court has been decided, another possible issue is that of choice of law. Typically, this question arises when an issue could possibly be resolved according to the law of two or more states. However, sometimes, the choice of law question involves the law of differing nations.

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By Kyle Roby, attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

guardrailsMetal guardrails run alongside many highways, particularly those that hug a steep embankment. They’re designed to protect those in a car if it careens off the highway. In some cases, though, guardrails are making accidents much more deadly than they should be.

A recent accident here in Bowling Green could have possibly had a different outcome if a guardrail was not involved. A car veered off of Morgantown Road and hit the support wires of a utility pole and the guardrail. The guardrail penetrated the car and hit the driver. She was killed. Two others were hospitalized with serious injuries, and two more were treated locally for less severe injuries.

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power plantThe burden of proof is initially on the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. In order to prevail, he or she must prove each of the four elements of negligence (duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages) by a preponderance of the evidence. This is usually done through a combination of expert witnesses and lay testimony.

For instance, in many car accident cases, the basic facts of the crash may be explained by lay witnesses (“I saw the blue car run the red light and hit the side of the white van”). Evidence regarding certain damages, such as injuries and the reasonableness and necessity of medical expenses, requires testimony from an expert witness such as a physician.

In the middle of these extremes are cases in which expert witness testimony would prove helpful but is not strictly required in order for a case to go forward. Sometimes, the parties disagree as to whether such testimony is an actual requirement under the circumstances, and the court must make a decision.

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