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Plaintiffs alleged that Gilead was researching two alternative drugs to treat HIV and both passed Phase III trials with approximately equal effectiveness in HIV treatment but that Gilead chose to pursue the alternative that carried a risk of bone and kidney side effects instead of the alternative because doing so allowed it greater financial returns on its patent for the… Read More

ERISA did not preempt an ERISA plan's suit against Bayer, the manufacturer of an allegedly defective pregnancy prevention device.  The Plan's claims for negligence, products liability, failure to warn (of defects in the device), etc. did not act immediately and exclusively on ERISA plans.  The ERISA plan was relevant to the claims only insofar as it granted the plan a… Read More

A manufacturer is liable in strict liability for injuries foreseeably caused by a feature of the product design that could have been reduced or avoided by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design.  Here, plaintiff fell from a scissor lift when he failed to close the chain avross the opening to enter the lift's platform.  The manufacturer offered an alternative… Read More

Plaintiffs entered into arbitration agreements with Pacific as part of their agreements for Pacific's cryogenic preservation of their sperm or eggs.  One of the cryogenic tanks in which the specimens were to be preserved failed.  This decision holds that the manufacturer and distributor of the failed tank could not compel arbitration under the plaintiffs' agreements with Pacific to which the… Read More

Plaintiff was injured in an accident on his Yamaha dirt bike.  He said the authorized Yamaha dealer from whom he bought the bike had installed the throttle mechanism improperly, leading it to fall off the bike, causing the accident.  The jury verdict and judgment in favor of Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., the US distributor of the bike was reversed because… Read More

The trial court correctly granted the defendant water pipe (hookah) manufacturer judgment on the pleadings against plaintiff's claim that it violated Prop. 65 by failing to warn that if used to smoke marijuana, the hookah would expose the smoker to marijuana smoke that contains carcinogens.  The opinion follows regulations implementing Prop. 65 in holding that the proposition covers only products… Read More

The FCC's regulation governing the standards for the permissible amount of radio frequency emission from a cellphone (47 C.F.R. § 1.1310(c)) preempt plaintiff's state law claims that Apple's iPhones are unsafe even though they conform to the FCC's standards.  The FCC issued its regulation under the broad authority that Congress conferred on it in the Federal Communications Act of 1934. … Read More

The trial court made four errors in granting Amazon judgment in this Prop. 65 action against it based on its listing (and sale) of 11 skin whiting products that contained mercury.  First, it improperly found that tests of individual samples of the products didn't prove that all of the product contained mercury.  The test results showed mercury levels so high… Read More

Plaintiff sued the manufacturer of his hip replacement for product liability failure to warn and defective manufacture.  This decision affirms summary judgment for the defendant.  The failure to warn claim failed because plaintiff's doctor who chose and implanted the hip replacement testified that he kept closely abreast of developments in hip replacement surgery and was aware from reading scientific journals… Read More

This decision affirms a judgment against Monsanto for failing to warn of the toxic nature of Roundup.  It holds that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (7 USC 136 et seq.) does not preempt state common law duty to warn and defective design products liability claims.  There was substantial evidence to support the jury's verdict of liability on those… Read More

The district court did not err in reducing punitive damages against Monsanto for failure to warn of cancer risks from Roundup to a ratio of 3.8 to 1 to actual damages, though that ratio was on the borderline of being excessive.  The harm caused was physical, yet the jury awarded plaintiff $5 million in actual damages, 96% of which was… Read More

Following Bates v. Dow Agrosciences (2005) 125 S.Ct. 1788, this decision holds that a state law claim for failure to warn of the dangers of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is not expressly or impliedly preempted by FIFRA.  The warning that plaintiff claimed Monsanto should have put on Roundup labels was not in addition to or different from FIFRA's… Read More

The district court erred in dismissing the complaint in this case on the ground that defendant, which owns SnapChat, was immunized by the Communications Decency Act (47 USC 230).  Under Barnes v. Yahoo!, Inc., 570 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2009), a defendant enjoys CDA immunity only if it is “(1) a provider or user of an interactive computer service (2)… Read More

Following Bolger v., LLC (2020) 53 Cal.App.5th 431, this decision holds that is strictly liable in tort for defective products sold through its website even if Amazon does not manufacture or sell the products itself. Read More

California's 2-year statute of limitations rather than Connecticut's 3-year statute of limitations applies to a products liability claim brought by plaintiff who then resided in and were injured in Connecticut by the defendant California manufacturer's malfunctioning medical robotic surgery device.  A statute of limitations serves the state's interest in protecting its defendants against stale claims on which memories will have… Read More

Under the Song-Beverly Warranty Act, a new car manufacturer that is unable to repair the plaintiff's new car after a reasonable number of attempts must replace it or make restitution in an amount equal to the actual price paid or payable by the buyer of the car plus incidental damages.  (Civ. Code 1793.2(b)(2).)  When the plaintiff has leased rather than… Read More

The trial court erred in instructing the jury that a manufacturer remained liable on its limited new car warranty well after the mileage or temporal limits had expired so long as the defect had been reported during the warranty's duration and had not been "fixed."  Instead, CACI 3231 correctly summarizes Civ. Code 1795.6, which extends the warranty period only if… Read More

The Biomaterials Access Assurance Act (“BAAA”), 21 U.S.C. § 1602(1)(A) immunized defendant, the manufacturer of a portion of a hip replacement prosthesis from liability that arose when a portion of the prosthesis supplied by defendant broke after implantation, requiring a new surgery and replacement.  The act provides immunity for those supplying parts of a human implant. Read More

The Right to Repair Act (Civ. Code 895 et seq.) does not apply at all to product liability claims against a non-builder manufacturer of a product that a builder incorporates into a residence--unless the product defect causes the residence to violste one of the building standards set out in Civ. Code 896.  (Civ. Code 896(g)(3)(E).)  Here, however, a defect in… Read More

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