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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.

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?

iStock_000018418047_medOne of the more frustrating aspects of defending power tool cases occurs during the deposition of the plaintiff – at the point where he attempts to describe in minute detail how his accident happened. Then, at trial, just when you think you have the plaintiff “nailed down” to a specific accident scenario, his testimony seems to describe a completely different event. With enough wiggle room in his testimony, a well-coached plaintiff can describe his accident almost any way he wants to support his overall claim of product defect.

Enter the accident demonstration video recorded during the plaintiff’s deposition!!

The Federal Rules explicitly provide for video (audiovisual) recording of the plaintiff’s deposition [Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(3)], but are silent as to whether a defendant may require a plaintiff to demonstrate during the deposition how his accident occurred. Nevertheless, a strong argument can be made that the broad scope of discovery allowed by the Rules indisputably permits accident demonstrations during the video-recorded deposition of the plaintiff.

Continue Reading A Picture Paints a Thousand Words: Video Recording an Accident Demonstration

In a rushWhen a corporate defendant is sued in a federal court outside its home state, the issue of where its deposition will be conducted can become a bone of contention. The traditional rule, accepted by most practitioners, is that the deposition will take place at the corporate defendant’s principal place of business as opposed to the forum district. This “rule” may require plaintiff’s counsel to take the time and incur the expense to travel a long way to partake in this basic form of discovery.

Before you advise your client that its witness will not have to travel to sit for his or her deposition, however, take a look at the law in the district where your case is pending. A corporate defendant’s ability to convince a federal district court judge to mandate that plaintiff’s counsel travel to the corporate defendant’s principal place of business to take the defendant’s deposition is no sure thing.

Continue Reading Home or Away? Where Should That Deposition Take Place?

3D-Printer imgThere’s a revolution coming in manufacturing known as “stereotactic lithography.” Besides its certain future impact on manufacturing and supply chain logistics, the 3D printing revolution will challenge our long-held notions of products liability law and the common assumptions made regarding the liability of various entities in the chain of distribution.
Continue Reading Dramatic, Disruptive and Potentially Defective: 3D Printing and Product Liability Law