Generally, companies that sell harmful goods can be held accountable for any injuries consumers sustain while using their products. It is well-established that parties only get one bite of the apple, however, which means they only get one shot to prove liability and recover compensation. Additionally, people deemed in privity of a party in a lawsuit are barred from pursuing the same damages at a later date via the doctrine of claim preclusion. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the elements of claim preclusion in a wrongful death case in which it upheld the judgment in favor of the plaintiff. If you lost a loved one due to a dangerous product, it is smart to speak to an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claims.
The Plaintiff’s Claims
Reportedly, in 1998, the State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the defendant, a cigarette manufacturer, alleging it engaged in a conspiracy to mislead consumers regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking. The claim was ultimately settled. In 2017, the plaintiff, whose husband died from smoking-related illnesses, filed a lawsuit against the defendant pursuant to the wrongful death act.
Allegedly, the plaintiff argued that the defendant’s actions caused her husband’s death, and she sought punitive damages. The case went to trial, and the jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant appealed, arguing that the doctrine of claim preclusion barred the plaintiff’s claims.