Supreme Court Affirms Denial and Reaffirms Burden of Proof for Employees

By: Duane Willis

In a case handled by B. Duane Willis of Morgan & Akins, Joseph Kolby Willis v. All Staff, 2017 Tenn. LEXIS 455 (August 7, 2017), the Tennessee Supreme Court Special Workers Compensation Panel affirmed the dismissal of a claim as not work related, and restated again the burden of proof the employee must carry when trying to prove causation on a claim.

Admissibility of Industry-Standards in Product Liability Cases Remains Uncertain

By: Patricia Baxter

Historically, to defend against a design defect claim the fact that a product’s design complied with industry standards was not admissible.  That type of evidence was viewed as focusing on the quality of the defendant’s conduct in making design choices, rather than the attributes of the product itself.  Morevoer, up until recently, a defendant’s conduct was not something that could be explored at trial in product liability cases.  However, in 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a ruling that fundamentally altered the landscape of product liability law in Pennsylvania, Tincher v. Omega Flex, 104 A.3d 328 (2014).  While Tincher resolved some questions (i.e. which Restatement would govern Pennsylvania product liability law and the tests associated therewith), it left many more unanswered including whether defendants could now introduce evidence that their products met industry standards, in order to prove their product was not defective.  As a practicing products attorney, this is often one of the first questions my clients ask, “My product complies with ANSI, so how can they argue it was defective?”

Supreme Court Panel Overturns Trial Court’s MIR Ruling

By: Jeffery G. Foster

In the recent decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court, Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel, Williams v. Ajax Turner Co., Tenn. LEXIS 204 (Apr. 12, 2017), Jeffery G. Foster and Benjamin J. Conley, attorneys with Morgan & Akins, PLLC, successfully argued an employer has the right to obtain an evaluation with a medical impairment registry (“MIR”) physician based on conflicting impairment ratings assigned by the employee’s treating physician and the employer’s independent physician.  The attorneys also succeeded in having the Supreme Court Panel overturn the lower court’s finding that the authorized physician rebutted the MIR physician’s impairment rating by clear and convincing evidence and, in so doing, reaffirm the standard for rebutting the statutory presumption of correctness afforded MIR physicians.

Patricia Baxter Announced as Speaker for the 2017 CLM Annual Conference.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (March 28, 2017) – CLM is pleased to announce Mrs. Patricia Baxter will be speaking on “Risk Management: Balancing The Interests Of The Insured And Insurer When Business Concerns And Litigation Exit Strategies Are At Odds”.  This conference will be held on March 29-31 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

AEM Product Liability Seminar – Thursday, April 27, 2017

Nathan Bohlander from Morgan & Akins Philadelphia office will be presenting at a Mock Trial for this year’s Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s Product Liability Seminar on April 27th, 2017.

AEM’s 2017 Product Liability Seminar will take the form of a Mock Trial, complete with evidence presentations, arguments from adversarial parties, and a verdict rendered by seminar attendees. The case presents selected litigation arguments and assertions commonly faced by equipment manufacturers.

Here Come The Drones — And The Legal Headaches

Here Come The Drones — And The Legal Headaches

By Nate R. Bohlander

Law360, New York (February 23, 2017, 11:09 AM EST) —

There is arguably no bigger stage in America than that of the Super Bowl halftime show. More than 117 million people watched recently as Lady Gaga appeared to jump from the roof of NRG Stadium and down to the sea of adoring fans below. But before showing off her acrobatic abilities, she offered a subdued rendition of “God Bless America” in front of a series of red, white and blue lights seemingly suspended in mid-air.

The audience was completely unaware that this light show, which first formed a series of stars and then a fluttering American flag, were actually a swarm of 300 drones flying in perfect formation, all controlled by a single computer. Intel’s Shooting Stars, quadcopters that feature built-in LED lights that can create more than 4 billion color combinations, danced and dazzled the brave new world of drones even further into the mainstream of American culture.

Product Defect and Inadequate Warning Claims: We’ve Got a Jury for That

By Patricia J. Baxter and Nate R. Bohlander

If a product lacks any cognizable defect and conspicuously warns against the exact harm which befell plaintiffs, do defect and failure to warn claims against a manufacturer require a jury determination?  Your response would likely fall somewhere on the spectrum between “Probably not” and “No way!”  And you would probably reason that a judge could, and should, dismiss those claims at the motion stage.  But, in a January 13, 2017 decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled to the contrary.