Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

The devil may be in the details of a products liability case

When the plaintiff was injured as he veered off the roadway and smashed into tree, he felt that his seat belt restraint and airbag system had tragically failed him. Following through, he and his attorneys filed a suit against Ford Motor Company alleging, among other things, negligence, strict liability and lack of fitness for a particular use.

But as the plaintiff was too soon to find out, it's not only the merits of a products liability case that wins the day at the courthouse. You really must cross all the T's and dot all the I's -- and make sure it all gets done in time.

Unfortunately for the plaintiff, a Pennsylvania federal judge tossed the plaintiff's case without even exploring the particulars. The heartbreaking rational: The plaintiff and his attorneys failed to make a "good faith" effort to get good service on the defendant after it was discovered that the motor company had moved.

Alas, the plaintiff didn't make another attempt to serve Ford within the 30-day period provided by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedures -- making the original complaint invalid.

The final nail in the case's coffin came after the plaintiff waited too long to re-issue the writ or reinstate the complaint, according to court records. By the time the suit was finally properly served, the statute of limitations had run out.

All that was left was for Ford to move for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that all three counts in the complaint were barred by the passage of time as dictated by the relevant statute of limitations. Furthermore, the judge spelled out in his opinion that Pennsylvania's four-year statute of limitations period is shorter than Ford's five-year written warranty on a vehicle's safety restraint system -- and therefore the four-year period would apply in this case.

Bottom-line: The injured plaintiff struck out in the bottom of the ninth and will never get his day in court. He will never be compensated for his injuries, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

Lesson: Get an attorney or a law firm that pays strict attention to the details!

Source:  Pennsylvania Record, "Judge sides with Ford Motor Co. in products liability case" Jon Campisi, May. 06, 2013

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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