Construction equipment/building products

Fasolas v. Bobcat of New York Appellate Division (April 1, 2017)

A typical argument made by the plaintiffs and their experts in a design defect/ product liability case is that “Safety should never be an option.” Over the years, however, New York courts have recognized that optional safety features are perfectly appropriate under the right circumstances. If a safety feature is disadvantageous under certain conditions of use and the product can be safely used without it under those conditions, the courts have sometimes ruled that the purchaser is in a better position than the manufacturer to decide whether the safety feature is appropriate for the purchaser’s specific uses − even where the end user/injured party is not necessarily the purchaser. In cases where the purchaser is the end user’s employer, it has been held that the purchaser, as opposed to the manufacturer, was in a better position to decide whether the safety feature was appropriate for the employee’s uses. The leading example is Scarangella v. Thomas Built Buses, Inc., 717 N.E.2d 679 (NY 1999).
Continue Reading Equipment Manufacturers: Beware of the Rental Yard Customer When Safety Features Are Optional

gavel-supremeCourt-lawbooks139876297TSOn November 19, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., No. 7 MAP 2013, a case closely followed by the Product Liability Bar in Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court’s decision was expected by many to resolve a lingering conflict in Pennsylvania product liability law. Of my many posts concerning the court’s decision, most have not addressed the net effect this decision will have on how product liability cases are litigated in Pennsylvania in the future, mostly because the Tincher decision gives precious little insight in this regard.

Tincher arose out of a residential fire that began when lightning struck the property. The Tinchers claimed that the corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST), which was part of the home’s gas supply system, was designed defectively and the source of the fire. The plaintiffs and their subrogating insurer brought claims sounding in negligence and strict liability against Omega Flex Inc., the manufacturer of the CSST, in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, PA. Both claims centered on the plaintiff’s main allegation that the flexible CSST lacked sufficient thickness.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Product Liability Law Still Smoking after Reversal of Tincher