Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Mass. Appeals Court adopts "apparent manufacturer" approach to products liability
A little over a week ago the Appeals Court of Massachusetts upheld a $3.35 million jury verdict against Otis Elevator Company for an injury to a four-year old boy caused by a defective escalator that bore Otis Elevator's name but that was in fact manufactured by an independent Chinese company, thus applying part of the "apparent manufacturer" doctrine from the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Product Liability. Other Massachusetts cases had previously applied the apparent manufacturer doctrine, but no reported Massachusetts case had previously applied the doctrine to a person or entity outside the distribution chain (i.e., a nonseller). The Court concluded that a nonseller trademark licensor who participates substantially in the design, manufacture, or distribution of the licensee's products may be held liable under Massachusetts law as an apparent manufacturer. You can read the case here: Lou v. Otis Elevator Co. Go to the Boston Personal Injury Lawyer blog for more information and links.