Update – Property Owner’s Defense Goes up in Smoke in Careless Smoking Case


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Property owners owe a duty of reasonable care to avoid causing harm to neighboring properties. In Steamfitters Local Union No. 602 v. Erie Ins. Exch., 2020 Md. LEXIS 347 (July 27, 2020) (Steamfitters Local), a matter originally discussed in a June 2019 blog post, the Court of Appeals of Maryland affirmed that, where the property owner knows or should have known that people are habitually discarding hundreds of cigarette butts into a mulch bed along the boundary of the neighboring property, the property owner owes a duty to its neighbors to prevent the risk of fire. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Experts, Maryland, Negligence, Premises Liability, Subrogation and tagged , , , , .
Gavel

First-Dollar Risk Allocated to the Insured Is Not Subject to the Made Whole Doctrine


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Pursuant to the equitable made whole doctrine, where there are limited funds available, an insurer cannot pursue subrogation until the insured has been made whole – i.e., fully compensated – for its injuries. In City of Asbury Park v. Star Ins. Co., No. A-20, 083371, 2020 N.J. LEXIS 746, the Supreme Court of New Jersey (Supreme Court) addressed the question of whether the equitable made whole doctrine applies to first-dollar risk an insured takes on, such as a deductible or self-insured retention (SIR). More specifically, the Supreme Court considered whether the insured, here the City of Asbury Park, was entitled to recover all its $400,000 SIR before the insurer, Star Insurance Company (Insurer) could assert its subrogation rights. The court held that the made whole doctrine does not apply to first-dollar risk allocated to the insured. Continue reading

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Product Fire

Arkansas Federal Court Fans the Product Liability Flames Utilizing the Malfunction Theory


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To establish a product liability claim in Arkansas, the plaintiff must prove that the product was supplied in a defective condition, which rendered it unreasonably dangerous and that the defective condition was the proximate cause of the claimed damage or injury. Ordinarily, a plaintiff relies upon direct evidence of a product defect to establish its product liability claim. However, in some cases, the product sustains so much damage that it is impossible for a plaintiff to obtain direct evidence of a defect. Continue reading

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Product Recall

Polaris Recalls Snowmobiles Due to Fire Hazard


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On July 16, 2020, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Polaris Recalls Snowmobiles Due to Fire Hazard (Recall Alert).

According to the CPSC, “[t]he fuel hose can be improperly secured, posing a fire hazard to consumers.”

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Product Recall

RH Recalls Riveted Mesh Floor Lamps Due to Fire Hazard


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On July 9, 2020, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

RH Recalls Riveted Mesh Floor Lamps Due to Fire Hazard (Recall Alert).

According to the CPSC, “[t]he lamp’s on/off foot switch can overheat, melt or catch fire, posing a fire hazard.”

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Construction Defect

Massachusetts District Court Holds Contractors Are Not Additional Insureds on Developer’s Builder’s Risk Policy


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In Factory Mut. Ins. Co. v. Skanska United States Bldg., No. 18-cv-11700-DLC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95403 (Skanska), the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts considered whether contractors on a construction job were additional insureds on the developer’s builder’s risk insurance policy. After a water loss occurred during construction, the builder’s risk insurance carrier paid its named insured for the resultant damage, and subsequently filed a subrogation action against two contractors. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the anti-subrogation rule barred the carrier from subrogating against them because they were additional insureds on the policy. The court found that based on the particular language of the additional insured provision in the policy, the defendants were not additional insureds for purposes of the subrogation action. Continue reading

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Product Recall

Edwards Recalls Mechanical Heat Detectors


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On June 17, 2020, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Edwards Recalls Mechanical Heat Detectors Due to Failure to Alert to Fire.

According to the CPSC, “[t]he recalled heat detectors can fail to activate in reaction to rising temperatures, posing a risk of failure to alert consumers to a fire.”

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Recall Alert

Rexair Recalls To Repair Rainbow SRX Vacuums


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On June 17, 2020, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Rexair Recalls to Repair Rainbow SRX Vacuums Due to Fire and Burn Hazards.

According to the CPSC, “[t]he circuit board on the vacuum can spark, posing fire and burn hazards.”

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Figures

Wisconsin Court Applies the Economic Loss Doctrine to Bar Negligence Claims for Purely Economic Losses


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In Mech. Inc. v. Venture Elec. Contrs., Inc., No. 2018AP2380, 2020 Wisc. App. LEXIS 170, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District Two, considered whether a party may bring a negligence claim for purely economic damages. In upholding the lower court, the appellate court found that a party is barred by the Economic Loss Doctrine from bringing a negligence claim for purely economic damages. Continue reading

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Gavel

Texas Federal Court Rules Amazon Can Be Sued for Defective Product


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Recently, in McMillan v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 18-CV-2242, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102025, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon) could be held liable as a “seller” under Texas’ product liability statute for injuries caused by a defective product sold by a third-party vendor on its website. Although the court’s analysis is based on Texas law, the decision puts one more crack in Amazon’s armor. Continue reading

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