Articles Posted in Product Liability

Earlier this month, the federal appellate court overseeing Connecticut and several other eastern states issued a written opinion in a medical malpractice case regarding a plaintiff’s ability to bring a wrongful birth lawsuit. The case presents interesting issues for victims of Connecticut medical malpractice because, like the state where the case arose, Connecticut does allow for several types of wrongful birth claims. However, the case illustrates that there is a limit to the class of cases covered by wrongful birth statutes.

Ultrasound of BabyConnecticut Wrongful Birth Claims

Wrongful birth is a term used to describe a specific type of medical malpractice claim. Specifically, the term refers to a situation in which, absent the medical provider’s negligence, the plaintiff would not have gotten pregnant.

In Connecticut, there are three types of permissible wrongful birth claims:

  • Failure to properly perform a sterilization procedure;
  • Failure to inform soon-to-be parents of an unborn child’s abnormality or birth defect; and
  • Failed abortion procedures.

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In Connecticut product liability cases that go to trial, the plaintiff’s goal is to obtain a favorable verdict. However, in some cases, even a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor is not enough. In a recent case, the plaintiff brought a product liability claim against the defendant for the wrongful death of her husband. The plaintiff alleged that while her husband was working for the defendant, he was exposed to an asbestos-containing product, and the exposure contributed to his lung cancer. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant’s product was unreasonably dangerous and that the defendant knew or should have known of that danger but failed to determine the danger or remove the product from the market.

ContractAt trial, one of the plaintiff’s witnesses testified that as a worker at the defendant company, the husband would have been exposed to dust from the product. The plaintiff’s experts testified about how exposure to asbestos can cause a certain type of lung cancer. At the end of the trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff. However, Connecticut’s Supreme Court reversed the decision.

The court found that the plaintiff failed to prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous and that it was a legal cause of the husband’s lung disease. It found that the plaintiff’s evidence was insufficient to prove that asbestos fibers were released from the product and that sufficient fibers were released to cause the husband’s lung disease. Therefore, the judgment was reversed.

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