What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Week? 2018-Sept-17

Monday, Sep 10, 2018

Middlesex County Superior Judge Heidi Brieger told the jury that plaintiff Joanna Summerlin's late husband Louis Summerlin developed lung cancer as a result of smoking cigarettes and exposure to asbestos-laden brakes. The case headed to trial on September 6 in Massachusetts state court.

Louis Summerlin's family alleges that he used to smoke cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris, two packs per day for decades. His lawsuit also claims he was exposed to asbestos fibers while working around automotive products at Ford Motor Company and Honeywell International Inc. The lawsuit names the cigarette manufacturers and the motor companies as defendants. While the trial involves both the defendants blaming each other for the man's death, the jury opines both are responsible for Louis's mesothelioma, a tumor affecting the lung, heart, and stomach.

Asbestos exposure in manufacturing plants and mines has caused hazardous side-effects to several workers. Lawsuits filed against various industries claim the owners of not adequately warning about the risks of asbestos exposure to the workers.  


Monday, Sep 10, 2018

Plaintiff Robert Brown filed an opposition on September 4, before Judge Pamela Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, responding to the summary judgment announced for Exatech Inc.'s AcuMatch hip implant lawsuit last month.

The company had announced a summary judgment declaring that there was no written warranty that the device would last longer than 15 years; hence, the case could be excluded under Texas law. However, Brown stated that his case must be considered as an exception to the Texas statute of repose because the company's sales representatives vouched for the device to last 15 to 20 years. He accuses that Exatech purposely covered up design defects in their hip implant device thereby affecting the limitation period. Brown underwent a total arthroplasty of his left hip on September 14, 2001, during which an AcuMatch M-Series Femoral Stem was implanted in his hip. In 2016, the device broke into half and required him to undergo a total hip revision surgery. He filed a product liability action against the company on August 24, 2017, in the Northern District of Texas.

Hip implant failures are on the rise across the U.S. with several affected patients accusing the implant makers of illegally marketing the product as safe to use. Zimmer, Biomet, Stryker and many other manufacturers involved in the class action litigation for failing to provide an inadequate warning about the alleged device breakage.


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