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Newborn-gentle-300x200Neocate baby formula is designed for children with difficulty digesting common proteins for a host of reasons, including serious illness. Where traditional baby formula contains long, complex proteins, “elemental formulas” are comprised of amino acids—the building blocks of larger proteins—which are more readily digestible. Despite being an effective product to deliver protein, it does not provide the amount of phosphorus necessary for healthy bone development, ultimately leading to bone fractures and the skeletal disorder rickets. Since Neocate is a “product” for the purposes of an action in tort, strict liability attaches and those injured need only demonstrate that the product was defectively designed.

Nutricia, a subsidiary of Groupe Danone, manufactures Neocate, which is one of the most popular elemental formulas on the market. As with traditional baby formula, Neocate is designed to be “whole nutrition,” i.e., the manufacturer’s intent is for the Neocate to be the only nutrition consumed by the child. Consequently, Nutricia had the duty to ensure that the product was properly formulated to provide all necessary nutrients.

Neocate was popular and widely prescribed, as it proved effective in providing nutrition to sick infants and children. However, in 2015, physicians began to notice high instances of broken bones and rickets associated with Neocate. Rickets is a condition where children develop soft or brittle bones, sometimes caused by a severe phosphorus deficiency. Nutricia was made aware of the problem no later than October of 2015 but did not begin researching phosphorus deficiency—hypophosphatemia—in relationship to Neocate until 2016. When it undertook this research, the company instructed physicians prescribing Neocate to monitor each patient’s blood phosphorus level.

hospital bed

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A catheter is a medical device, essentially a tube, used in a wide range of medical procedures.

Certain catheters are designed to access veins and arteries. Vascular catheterization allows a physician to perform certain diagnostics that are otherwise impossible, such as sampling blood directly from the heart; measuring blood flow in the heart’s chambers; or evaluating blockages or abnormalities in the blood vessels outside the heart, such as the arms and legs.

collision

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John Roman Images

On July 19, one man was killed in a Michigan car accident involving a semi-truck and a law enforcement vehicle. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the fatal crash occurred in Dewitt, at the intersection of Old US-27 and Cutler Road. The crash occurred around 8:30 in the evening.

Evidently, a state trooper was pulling onto Old US-27 when the trooper’s vehicle clipped the side of a passing semi-truck. The trooper’s car spun out of control, crashing into an oncoming motorist’s vehicle head-on. The motorist’s vehicle ended up in a ditch along the road’s edge, while the trooper’s car remained on the road. The driver of the oncoming vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, and the trooper was hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The trooper is expected to recover. Evidently, the trooper was responding to a call reporting retail fraud. The accident is currently under investigation.

hoverboard

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As a general matter, companies are responsible for the safety of products that they make, sell, market, and distribute. When a product is unreasonably dangerous or defective in any way, each of these parties can typically be held liable for any injuries caused by the product. However, Michigan product liability law is vast, and many cases arise in a legal gray area.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard one such case involving a purchase on Amazon.com. In that case, a family purchased a hoverboard for their son from Amazon. It was undisputed that Amazon did not own the hoverboard, and that a third party listed the item for sale on Amazon’s website. However, the item was shipped in an Amazon box from a warehouse owned by Amazon, and the plaintiffs believed that they had purchased the hoverboard from Amazon.

red light

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While the duty of responding police officers is primarily to make sure that anyone who was injured in an accident receives the medical attention they need in a timely manner, law enforcement is also responsible for investigating the crash. Of course, detectives investigate Michigan car accidents to determine whether any of the parties involved broke the law. The question often arises whether a law enforcement investigation is sufficient in a personal injury case.

Police officers are humans and, as a result, can make mistakes. In addition, officers are subject to biases and are not typically experts in car accident cases. Thus, many personal injury victims realize that the investigation conducted by police officers was not as thorough as they would like. In some cases, an officer may fail to photograph the scene or record all the necessary information. However, in some cases, an officer’s conduct goes beyond a small oversight. A recent case acts as a good example of a situation where responding police officers failed to conduct a fair and complete investigation.

carriage

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Earlier this month, three children were killed when another motorist rear-ended the carriage that was carrying the children and several other family members. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the accident occurred in southeastern Branch County.

Evidently, the carriage was traveling along the side of the road when a driver crashed into the back of the carriage at a high rate of speed. The carriage contained seven people; two adults and five children. All seven passengers were thrown from the carriage upon impact. Two of the young children, ages six and two, were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. A four-year-old child was taken to the hospital, and later succumbed to his injuries.

insurance

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In a recent case, an appeals court considered a Michigan personal injury claim involving an employer’s refusal to pay personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits. The issue before the appeals court was whether the claim was timely filed after the employer stopped paying the claimant’s PIP benefits.

In May 2015, the plaintiff was in a car accident while she was driving a state vehicle as she was a state employee. She sought PIP benefits for her injuries from the state, her employer, and received them for almost two years. In August 2017, the state stopped making payments, and stated that it would no longer pay the plaintiff PIP benefits because the state believed she was not disabled. The plaintiff filed a complaint against the state in December 2017, alleging she was entitled to PIP benefits and that the state unreasonably refused to pay her.

courtroom

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In a recent Michigan slip-and-fall case, a state appellate court considered whether a plaintiff’s amended complaint adding a nonparty at fault relates back to the original filing. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s amended complaint did relate back to the original filing date of the complaint. Thus, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the plaintiff’s case was time-barred.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff purchased a new refrigerator at Best Buy. Evidently, the plaintiff’s new refrigerator unexpectedly sprayed water out of its dispenser onto the floor, causing the plaintiff to slip and fall. The plaintiff filed a claim against Best Buy, which sold and installed the plaintiff’s fridge, alleging negligence, breach of warranty, and breach of contract. Best Buy filed a notice identifying Samsung as a nonparty at fault, as the fridge’s manufacturer. Essentially, Best Buy was claiming that Samsung should be a party to the lawsuit because Samsung was likely at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff then amended her complaint, adding a claim against Samsung.

slip and fall

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In a recent Michigan premises liability opinion, the appellate court allowed the plaintiff’s case to proceed to trial based on the property owner’s failure to warn the plaintiff of a dangerous condition in their home. The plaintiff alleged that she fell when entering a mudroom in the defendant’s home where she was a guest. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that her injuries were caused by an eight-inch drop-off between the hallway and the mudroom, which was not visible to the plaintiff.

In Michigan premises liability cases, there are varying degrees of care owed to the plaintiff, depending on the relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff. A plaintiff can generally be categorized as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. An invitee is someone who is invited to enter or remain on the premises for a commercial benefit to the premises owner. A licensee is someone who is invited to enter or remain on the premises for any reason other than a business or commercial one. Finally, a trespasser is someone who enters the premises without an express or implied invitation.

Car accident

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan car accident case discussing the state’s personal protection insurance (benefits) system. The case is important for all Michigan accident victims because it shows how the PIP system works, and under what circumstances an injury victim may not be covered.

As a general matter, Michigan’s PIP framework is a no-fault system, meaning that an injury victim does not need to show that the other driver was at fault to recover PIP benefits. However, questions can come up regarding whether a person is covered under a PIP policy. In situations involving multiple vehicles and multiple insurance policies, issues may also arise regarding which insurance policy has “priority,” or is responsible for covering the claim.

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