Every commercial airline flight carries scores of lithium-ion powered batteries in phones, tablets, computers, activity trackers, cameras, headphones and other devices. Consumers need to respect the risks that are associated with these products if not used, stored or charged correctly. Battery manufacturers and the manufacturers of products containing them must be ready to respond to all claimed incidents.
Continue Reading Lithium-Ion Batteries: Fire in the Sky?

Green EnergyManufacturers and Installers of Solar Panels Face Unique Risks from Residential House Fires 

House fires have always been a major source of product liability litigation in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of house fires occur each year, resulting in billions of dollars in insurance claims. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 487,500 structure fires in 2013 that resulted in $9.5 billion in property damage. As a result, insurance carriers and their fire investigation experts are well equipped to identify those fires that may present an opportunity for subrogation; i.e., those fires that could have been caused by a defective product or an improper installation of electrical wiring in the home.

At Wilson Elser, the Product Liability practice has attorneys who specialize in the field of fire investigation and in particular the investigation of electrical fires. We are paying close attention to the rapid increase in the use of solar panels to supply energy to homes.  According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 500,000 homes and businesses nationwide are equipped with solar panels. Experts forecast this market to grow exponentially in the future.Continue Reading Here Comes the Sun…

cars-on-fire137810326TSA recent decision handed down by the Connecticut Supreme Court may significantly impact the way product liability lawsuits are litigated within the state of Connecticut in the future. In a products liability case, the “malfunction doctrine” permits the plaintiff to argue at trial that a product possessed a defect without offering direct evidence of a defect, but rather only circumstantial evidence of the alleged defect. Under the malfunction doctrine a plaintiff is permitted to argue that a product  was defective due to an unexpected event that would not have occurred if the product functioned properly without the necessity of specifying the part or component that was actually defective. A common use of the malfunctions doctrine is in product liability cases arising out of a fire. In a fire case, a plaintiff will typically argue that all causes for the fire have been ruled out except for a malfunction within the product despite no direct evidence of a specific defect.
Continue Reading The Connecticut Supreme Court restricts the plaintiff’s ability to rely on the “Malfunction Doctrine” to support a Product Liability claim