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defibrillator

“The California Supreme Court held [in June] that a business has no common law duty to provide automatic defibrillators in anticipation that a customer will experience heart failure while on the premises.” [TortsProf; earlier, and generally]

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Kyle Graham notes that the Ninth Circuit has certified that question to the California Supreme Court, in Verdugo v. Target Corp. [Non Curat Lex; opinion, PDF](& White Coat)

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A bill in the California legislature held out hope for encouraging wider adoption of the lifesaving devices, but couldn’t make it past the Litigation Lobby. [John Frith, California Civil Justice Blog]

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Marc Hodak wonders about the FDA and its sense of urgency.

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Today’s WSJ covers the story, which has been around for a while, and Dr. Wes has one reaction. We’ve had numerous posts touching on the liability implications of keeping defibrillators on hand at public places, not keeping them on hand, or both.

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…so a Florida jury ordered it to pay $619,650 to the family of a Fort Lauderdale customer who had a heart attack. A spokesman for L.A. Fitness says it wasn’t common, let alone legally mandatory, for health clubs to stock defibrillators in 2003, when the incident occurred. (Jon Burstein, “Gym told to pay $619,650 in man’s death because it didn’t have a defibrillator”, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Mar. 30)(hat tip: Florida Masochist).

Best of 2012: December

by Walter Olson on January 1, 2013

September 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 13, 2007

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Round-up

by Ted Frank on October 5, 2006

Some quick links:

  • Michael Krauss reviews a Mississippi Court of Appeals decision on a bogus fender-bender claim. [Point of Law; Gilbert v. Ireland]
  • Yet another example of overbroad laws on sex offenders (see also Jul. 3, 2005). [Above the Law]
  • “As far as the law is concerned, those individuals whose pacemakers fail are the lucky ones.” [TortsProf Blog]
  • Emerson Electric sues NBC in St. Louis over a scene in an hourly drama where a cheerleader mangles her hand in a branded garbage disposal. [Hollywood Reporter, Esq.; Lattman; Defamer and Defamer update; St. Louis Post Dispatch]
  • A case that’s really not about the money: Man stiffs restaurant over $46 check, defends himself against misdemeanor charge with $500/lawyer. [St. Petersburg Times; Obscure Store]
  • Bill Childs catches yet another Justinian Lane misrepresentation. See also Sep. 26 and Sep. 17 (cf. related posts on Lane’s co-blogger Oct. 3 and Sep. 25), and we might just have to retire the category, since we can only hope to scratch the surface. Point of Law has the Gary Schwartz law review article discussed by Childs. [TortsProf Blog and ] Lane’s post also deliberately confuses non-economic damages caps with total damages caps: nothing stops someone with more than $250,000 in economic damages from recovering more than $250,000, even in a world with non-economic damages caps.
  • Update: Bill Childs in the comments-section to Lane:

    “Of course, all of this gets pretty far afield from what I originally wrote and that you’ve conceded, which is that you (unintentionally but sloppily) misrepresented the facts of the Pinto memo, failed to research its background beyond what was apparently represented to you, and still haven’t (last time I checked, at 9:10 p.m.) updated your site to reflect your error. Nor have you approved the trackback I sent to the site. You’ve posted comments to that very entry and another entry has gone up on the site, but readers still see the plainly inaccurate statement that the memo excerpt you show was Ford evaluating tort liability for rearendings, when in fact it was Ford evaluating a regulatory proposal for rollovers using numbers from NHTSA.

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Attorneys recommended against installing defibrillators in casinos for fear that the plaintiffs’ bar would use the safety measure as evidence that casinos had a duty to provide medical attention to patrons and create additional liability on the occasions the defibrillators fail, but executives overruled the lawyers. As a result,

Medical research shows that casino visitors whose hearts suddenly stop survive at higher rates even than people who happen to go into cardiac arrest while visiting a hospital. “The safest place in America to suffer sudden cardiac arrest is a casino,” says Bryan Bledsoe, a George Washington University emergency-medicine doctor and co-author of textbooks for paramedics.

Dozens of lives have been saved, and Nevada and several other states have since passed tort reform providing immunity to businesses that use defibrillators. Never fear, there’s always someone happy to ascribe a sinister motive to corporate behavior: “‘Casinos are just saving gamblers so that these people can return to casinos and lose more money,’ says David Robertson, a board member of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling.” (Kevin Helliker, “Beating the Odds”, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 28).

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