Articles Posted in Products Liability

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Appellee Marcella Fletcher was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, which she attributed to years of laundering her father’s asbestos-dust-covered work clothing, and she sued Appellant CertainTeed Corporation, who manufactured the asbestos-laden water pipes with which her father had worked. In her complaint, she alleged, inter alia, negligent design and negligent failure to warn. Before the completion of discovery, the trial court granted CertainTeed’s motion for summary judgment, and Fletcher appealed. A majority of the Court of Appeals reversed the grant of summary judgment, concluding that CertainTeed had failed to demonstrate, as a matter of law, the absence of evidence that its product was defectively designed. The Court of Appeals also found that a jury question existed as to whether CertainTeed had a duty to warn Fletcher of the risks associated with inhaling asbestos dust. After its review, the Georgia Supreme Court concluded that CertainTeed owed no duty to warn Fletcher of the possible hazards of asbestos-dust from its products, but that the Court of Appeals correctly reversed the trial court’s judgment with respect to Fletcher’s defective design claim. View "CertainTeed Corp. v. Fletcher" on Justia Law

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Appellee AGCO Corporation (AGCO) manufactured and sold a self-propelled, agricultural spray applicator called the "RoGator." In 2005, AGCO began offering an Extended Protection Plan (EPP) to its RoGator customers. Appellant Lloyd’s Syndicate No. 5820 d/b/a Cassidy Davis provided the master policy of insurance for the EPP program, which covered AGCO for certain liability to customers who purchased the RoGator EPP. Glynn General Corporation administered the plans. Between 2005 and 2008, AGCO enrolled about 2,050 RoGator machines in the EPP program. In 2008, a number of customers presented claims under the EPP based on the failure of wheel motors on the RoGator. After it paid about 25 claims related to this failure, Cassidy Davis invoked the "Epidemic Failure Clause" of the master insurance policy and refused to pay for any more claims. AGCO then sued Cassidy Davis asserting various claims, namely claims for breach of contract and bad faith denial of insurance coverage. The trial court granted partial summary judgment to AGCO and denied partial summary judgment to Cassidy Davis on a breach of contract issue, holding that the EPP covered failures caused by design and engineering defects in the RoGators. The trial court also denied Cassidy Davis’s motion for summary judgment on the bad faith claim, rejecting the insurer’s argument that it was not obligated to indemnify AGCO until a court entered a judgment establishing AGCO’s legal liability to its customers. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court on both issues. Cassidy Davis appealed, arguing: (1) that the Court of Appeals erred in its interpretation of the coverage provision of the extended protection plan; and (2) the Court of Appeals erred in its interpretation of the indemnity provision of the master policy of liability insurance. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court concluded the Court of Appeals misinterpreted the relevant language of both contracts. Therefore the Court reversed on both issues. View "Lloyd's Syndicate No. 5820 v. AGCO Corporation" on Justia Law