Justia South Carolina Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Products Liability
by
This case returns to the Supreme Court on remand from the United States Supreme Court (USSC) for reconsideration in light of its decision in "Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc.," (131 S.Ct. 1311 (2011)). In the South Carolina Court's previous decision, it concluded Appellant's state-law products liability claims against Ford Motor Company were preempted by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard ("FMVSS") 205. The Court reaffirmed its previous decision. Appellant filed a products liability claim against Respondent Ford Motor Company premised on the allegation that its 1997 Ford F-150 pick-up truck was defective and unreasonably dangerous because it did not incorporate laminated glass in the vehicle's side and rear windows. In connection with implied conflict preemption, "Williamson" revisited the Supreme Court's decision in "Geier v. American Honda Motor Co.," (529 U.S. 861 (2000)). "We construe the key language in Williamson to hold that manufacturer choice among alternatives operates to preempt a state law claim only where the state law stands as an obstacle to a significant federal regulatory objective. Similarly, our previous decision was not based upon the notion that the mere presence of manufacturer choices in FMVSS 205 preempted Appellant's state tort suit. We adhere to the view that the manifest purpose of the federal regulatory scheme underlying FMVSS 205 would be frustrated if these state claims were allowed to proceed. Assuming implied conflict preemption remains a viable part of preemption, we believe it applies here to preclude Appellant's state law claims." View "Priester v. Cromer" on Justia Law

by
India Graves, a six-month-old girl, died while being monitored by one of CAS Medical Systems' products. India's parents, Kareem and Tara Graves, subsequently filed a products liability lawsuit against CAS, contending the monitor was defectively designed and failed to alert them when India's heart rate and breathing slowed. The circuit court granted CAS's motion to exclude all of the Graves' expert witnesses and accordingly granted CAS summary judgment. The Graves appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the testimony of the Graves' computer experts. While the court did err in excluding one doctor's testimony, the Graves were still left with no expert opinions regarding any defects in the monitor. In the absence of this evidence, CAS was entitled to summary judgment. Accordingly the Court affirmed the circuit court. View "Graves v. CAS Medical Systems" on Justia Law