Products Liability and Medical Devices

      Since 1938, Yules & Yules has represented product manufacturers, distributers, and sellers, and their insurers, in hundreds of products liability cases. Our firm’s founder, Herman Yules, handled one of the first reported products liability cases in Connecticut in the early 1950s. In the 1980s Yules & Yules became Connecticut’s most visible products liability defense firm when the Connecticut Supreme Court interpreted Connecticut’s products liability act for the first time in two cases that Attorney Robert B. Yules successfully tried and handled on appeal. See, Winslow v. Lewis-Shepard, Inc., 212 Conn. 462, 562 A.2d 517 (1989) (defective forklift, exclusivity of products liability act); and Burkert v. Petrol Plus of Naugatuck, Inc., 216 Conn. 65, 579 A.2d 26 (1990) (defective transmission fluid, basis for 90 ALR 4th 981 Annotation, “Trademark Licensor’s Liability for Injury or Death Allegedly Due to Defect in Licensed Product”).

     The firm rose to prominence in the products liability arena due to a series of law journal articles Attorney Robert B. Yules authored that were widely cited throughout the United States. One article discussed the defenses available in products liability lawsuits, while another explored for the first time in a law journal the role of the human-factors expert in products liability litigation. See, Yules, “Asserting Legal Defenses in a Products Liability Case,” 8 Journal of Products Liability, 190-221 (1985); Yules, “Human-Factors Experts in Products Liability Litigation,” 9 Journal of Products Liability, 103-132 (1986).

     In the medical device field, the firm has served as local counsel for a number of manufacturers, including Dow Corning Corporation (breast, hip and knee implants); American Medical Products, a division of Pfizer (male urinary implants); Teletronics Pacing Systems (pacemaker implants); and other device manufacturers. As to Dow Corning and Pfizer, Attorney Robert B. Yules was “surgically” trained by their outside physicians in the implant and explant of their medical devices. The firm has also had experience with argon lasers used to treat hemangiomas; dental implants to correct temporomandibular joint syndrome; and numerous other non-implantable devices such as mobility scooters and neck / back traction units.

     As to the legal doctrines unique to the medical device litigation, Yules & Yules successfully defended one of the very first cases to deal with the learned intermediary and federal preemption doctrines. See, Desmarais v. Dow Corning Corp., 712 F. Supp 13 (D. Conn., 1989).

     As most products liability and medical device cases involve going to court, you can rest assured that your company’s interests will be well represented by Yules & Yules. Attorney Robert B. Yules is the co-author of the first edition and sole author of the second edition of Connecticut Trial Practice, published by West Publishing Company. This 600 page treatise, written for the bench and bar, describes the court rules and procedures of a trial from jury selection to post verdict motions.

     Yules & Yules publishes quarterly the New York and Connecticut Verdict Report, which tracks verdicts and settlements in New York and Connecticut cases. The Report is a response to our clients’ request for data by which to determine the value of their pending cases. To receive a copy of the latest Report and to be added to the distribution list, e-mail us.

     Firm members participate in numerous professional associations involved in the products liability and medical device industry, including the Defense Research Institute (DRI) and the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). Attorney Robert B. Yules has participated as a faculty member in products liability seminars sponsored by DRI in Atlanta and San Diego; by Southern Methodist University in Houston; and the Health Industry Manufacturers Association in Kauai, Hawaii.

     We have represented product and medical device manufacturers in suits where the following claims were made: 

  • Products Liability
  • Strict Liability
  • Negligence
  • Breach of Warranty
  • Recklessness
  • Negligent Entrustment
  • Punitive Damages
  • Vicarious Liability
  • Consortium Loss
  • Unfair Trade Practices

PRODUCTS LIABILITY PREVENTION SERVICES

     In the 1990’s, Yules & Yules formed a subsidiary, Liability Consultants, Inc., to render products liability prevention services. These services included counseling manufacturers from product conception to product recalls. Liability Consultants participated as an exhibitor at Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc.’s (RIMS) conferences in New Orleans in 1994 and San Francisco in 1995. Liability Consultants was editorialized in the September 1994 edition of Risk Management Magazine as a way to eliminate products liability claims.