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Russ Vignali is a tenacious advocate who focuses his litigation practice on the defense of products liability matters and related commercial disputes in New York state and federal courts. He also handles a variety of claims in the general liability area and has experience with related insurance coverage matters. Russ joined Wilson Elser in 1982 out of law school and developed his service approach within a firm culture that values a high level of responsiveness and open communication with clients.

Deposing your adversary’s liability expert is not only a chance to delve into the details of the expert’s opinions, but the deposition also presents a great opportunity for defense counsel to explore the sustainability of the expert’s opinions going forward. In the context of a products liability case, the plaintiff’s expert’s deposition, if used wisely, can set up an effective challenge to the expert’s proffered opinions under the Federal Rules and can result in the expert’s eventual disqualification. Perhaps nothing is more devastating to the Plaintiff’s case than the loss of his expert for all, or even part, of the case.
Continue Reading Asking the Right Questions at the Expert’s Deposition to lay the foundation for your client’s Daubert Challenge

New York’s appellate departments are now unified with respect to their interpretation of Article 10(a) of the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention). The issue of whether Article 10(a) of the Hague Convention permits service of process by mail to a foreign country in the absence of an objection from the state of destination has now been resolved in New York. The First Department in Mutual Benefits Offshore Fund v. Zeltser, 2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 04344, earlier this year reversed itself and joined the state’s three other appellate departments in holding that service of process by mail under those circumstances was indeed permissible.
Continue Reading New York Appellate Courts Now Unified on Hague’s “Send versus Serve” Issue

A Czech warning sign for general dangers.A federal district court judge in New York City’s Southern District, applying Virginia law, recently invoked the concept of a manufacturer’s “post-sale duty to warn” to hold an automobile company potentially liable for failing to warn about an alleged defect in a car that it technically did not even manufacture. The ruling came in the context of the General Motors Ignition Switch multidistrict litigation (14-MD-2543).
Continue Reading Revisiting the Post-Sale Duty to Warn

It’s probably common knowledge to even a novice product liability practitioner that a manufacturer can be held liable for a defect in a component part supplied by another company that is integrated into the manufacturer’s end product.  After all, under most commonly held notions of product liability law, the product manufacturer is subject to liability for a defect even when the defect arises solely from a flaw in a component part manufactured or supplied by another company.  By accepting the component from the supplier and integrating it into the manufacturer’s product, the manufacturer effectively “buys” any liability for a defect that may come with the component. Public policy requires the product manufacturer to make sure that it uses components supplied by reputable companies that are designed with safety in mind. The manufacturer is in the superior position to ferret out defective components and to avoid their use.  Since the manufacturer realizes the benefits (i.e., profits) from marketing the product, it should also be held to answer for any product defects, even those from a component part it did not manufacture.
Continue Reading How Far Is Too Far? New York Clarifies Potential Warnings Liability for Third-Party Products

1509-Technology-and-electronic-productsWhen we wrote back in November 2013 about 3D Printing and Product Liability Law, we predicted that the 3D printing revolution “will challenge our long-held notions of product liability law and the common assumptions made regarding the liability of various entities in the chain of distribution.” Our blog challenged the reader to think about who the manufacturer would be under the make-believe fact scenario we posed for an injury allegedly caused by a 3D-printed product.

Continue Reading Is Our Legal System Ready for the Evolution of 3D Printing Technology?