Justia Iowa Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Products Liability
by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiffs' premises liability claims against Alcoa Inc. and on their products liability claims against Iowa-Illinois Taylor Insulation, Inc. (IITI) for supplying asbestos-containing insulation in the Alcoa plant, holding that the district court erred.At issue was the provision in Iowa Code 686B.7(5) that a "defendant in an asbestos action or silica action shall not be liable for exposures from a product or component part made or sole by a third party." In the instant asbestos case, the district court read the statute to limit liability to manufacturers of the asbestos-containing product at issue. The district court held that section 686B.7(5) granted immunity to Alcoa and IITI because the asbestos-containing insulation was manufactured by third parties. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court failed to appreciate the legal significance of the legislature's use of the phrase "produce or component part made or sold by a third party" to reference a products liability defense known as the component parts defense as described in the specific context of asbestos litigation. View "Beverage v. Alcoa, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Jim Book, the owner of an auto repair shop in Iowa, bought from an Iowa retailer four Treadstone tires manufactured in China by Doublestar Dongfeng Tyre Company, Ltd. Jim’s son, Dylan Book, was airing up one of the tires when it exploded, causing severe and permanent injuries. Dylan, through his mother, filed a products-liability action in Iowa seeking recovery from Doublestar and Voma Tire Corporation, a national tire distributor that sold several of Doublestar’s tires. Doublestar moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Federal Constitution permits the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a high-volume, foreign manufacturer, such as Doublestar, whose allegedly dangerous product purchased in Iowa injured a resident here. View "Book v. Voma Tire Corp." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff developed a neurological disorder from her prolonged use of metoclopramide, sold under the brand name Reglan and as a competing generic formulation. Plaintiff admitted she ingested only generic metoclopramide but sued both the manufacturer of the generic drug and the manufacturers of the branded formulation. The district court dismissed all of Plaintiff’s claims, ruling (1) Plaintiff’s claims against the generic manufacturer were preempted by federal law that requires conformity with the brand manufacturers’ warning labels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and (2) Plaintiff’s claims against the brand manufacturers required proof that the brand defendants manufactured or supplied the product that caused Plaintiff’s injury. The Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment for the brand manufacturers and reversed in part summary judgment for the generic manufacturer, holding (1) Plaintiff’s state common law tort claims against the generic manufacturer based on inadequate warnings were not preempted to the extent that the generic manufacturer failed to adopt warning language approved by the FDA for Reglan; and (2) the brand manufacturers are not liable for injuries to those who used only the competing generic formulation. View "Huck v. Wyeth, Inc." on Justia Law