Personal Injury Products Liability Civil Procedure

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Express Waiver of Assumption of Risk – Gross Negligence Exception

Stacey Chavez, et al. v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. - Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District (July 8, 2015) - California’s public policy in favor of sporting and leisure activities provides strong support for...more

Reports of the Death of SB800 are Greatly Exaggerated – The Court of Appeal Revives Mandatory SB800 Procedures

In a 20 page opinion, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth District repudiated the holding of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove, LLC (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 98 (“Liberty Mutual”), and held that plaintiffs in...more

SDNY Dismisses Manufacturing and Fraud Claims in Fertility Drug Case, But Conflates and Confuses the Rest

By all rights, it should be Sullivan writing about the Sullivan case. But John is taking a well-deserved vacation. We do not know if Sullivan’s travels more closely approximate a Bexis expedition, which involves long hikes...more

Preemption (and Other Things) Defanging Depakote Claims

It wasn’t a complete win, but the summary judgment outcome in Rheinfrank v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., ___ F. Supp.3d ___, 2015 WL 4743056 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 10, 2015), has to put a spring in the step of the defendants as they...more

A Handmade Dismissal for Maker’s Mark

A recent decision from the Southern District of California demonstrates the uphill battle consumer lawsuits face when challenging “handmade” or “handcrafted” labels on alcoholic beverages. On July 27, 2015, in Nowrouzi et...more

Illinois appellate court strengthens sole proximate cause defense in asbestos cases

The question of whether a product manufacturer or employer in an asbestos lawsuit can introduce evidence of the plaintiff’s exposures to asbestos from other sources has become a highly contested issue. There is a lengthy...more

Claims of Negligent Design and Breach of Implied Warranty to Proceed Against Boston Scientific Mesh

On February 9, 2009, a North Carolina resident was implanted with the Obtryx Transobturator Mid- Urethral Sling System (Boston Scientific Mesh). She sued Boston Scientific Corp., the maker of the sling, asserting claims of...more

Expert Testimony Admissible Under Sargon Despite Fact Expert Could Not Definitively Rule Out All Other Possible Causes of Injury

In Cooper v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., (filed 7/16/2015, published 8/13/2015, No. B250163) the California Court of Appeal, Second District, held a physician’s expert testimony attributing the defendant’s...more

“Force of Nature” or Human Error? Litigating the Act of God Defense

The cause of the plaintiff’s damages is typically the first and most critical question posed to a jury in a product liability trial. If a jury determines that a substantial factor in the cause of the plaintiff’s damages was a...more

Louisiana Federal Court Rejects Expert Testimony Tying Gasoline to AML

Underscoring the importance of the distinction between a product and its component parts, a federal court in Louisiana refused to allow expert testimony that exposure to gasoline caused acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) in a...more

DuPont Wins Partial Summary Judgment in Drinking Water MDL

An Ohio federal district court gave E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. a partial victory in litigation over ammonium perfluorooctanoate (“C-8”) drinking water contamination in Ohio and West Virginia by granting partial summary...more

Spoliation: How to Stop Trouble from Brewing

When a business is faced with the potential for litigation, it is imperative that all evidence be preserved to avoid the dreaded “s” word: spoliation. Starbucks Corporation recently learned this lesson the hard way when a...more

11th Circuit: Rule 23 Trumps State Law Limitation on Class Actions

Dealing a blow to defendants facing consumer fraud litigation in the 11th Circuit, the court of appeals for that circuit has reinstated a class action under the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practice Act (ADTPA), despite that the...more

Proposed California Legislation Would Mandate Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Disclosures Statewide

California Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) has introduced and sponsored Assembly Bill No. 597, the Asbestos Tort Claim Trust Transparency Act, which if passed would require asbestos plaintiffs to disclose all...more

Inapplicability of the "One Year" Limitations Tolling Period of the N.C. Rules of Civil Procedure

In Murphy v. Hinton, No. COA14-1230 (July 7, 2015), the North Carolina Court of Appeals determined that a complaint dismissed voluntarily cannot benefit from the "one-year refiling" period pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) of the...more

Inadequate Record Keeping May Result in Gross Negligence For Injuries Caused by Exercise Equipment Malfunction

In Chavez v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc., 2015 No. H040987, the California Court of Appeal, Sixth District, reversed summary judgment in favor of defendant 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. (“24 Hour”), holding defendant’s incomplete...more

Daubert – and a Mechanical Pencil – Doom the Testimony of “Clinical Engineering” Expert

“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” In the granddaddy of today’s reality TV shows, this buzz-phrase became synonymous with “use your head before you rely on a demonstration.” The plaintiff in Hutson v. Covidien Holdings,...more

"Appellate Court Affirms Ruling Allowing Punitive Damages in New York City Asbestos Cases"

In a unanimous ruling decided July 9, 2015, New York's Appellate Division, First Department declined to overrule an April 2014 order by Justice Sherry Klein Heitler, the then-coordinating justice of the New York City Asbestos...more

Ninth Circuit Revives Tort Claims Initially Dismissed Under Economic Loss Doctrine Where Product Caused Damage to “Other Property”

On June 29, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in CHMM LLC v. Freeman Marine Equipment, Case No. 13-35163 (D.C. No. 3:12-cv-01484-ST), reversed the District Court’s judgment in an admiralty case, holding that a vessel...more

“Continuous” Trigger is Alive and Well in Pennsylvania

In recent years, insurers have attempted to avoid their coverage obligations for their policyholders’ asbestos personal injury claims by challenging longstanding trigger of coverage rulings from the 1980s and 1990s. Although...more

Ninth Circuit Reverses Class Certification In Joint Supplement Case Because Not All Class Members Saw Misrepresentation

The Ninth Circuit has held that a district court abused its discretion in certifying a class based on allegedly false health claims because not all class members saw the advertising. The Ninth Circuit said that the trial...more

Wis. Supreme Court Applies the Discovery Rule to Accrual of Wrongful Death Claims

On June 24th, Wisconsin’s supreme court decided that the discovery rule—that is, the rule that a tort claim for which the legislature has provided no other rule “accrues” for statute-of-limitations purposes when the plaintiff...more

Louisiana Appellate Court Overturns Improper Application of “Law of the Case” Doctrine

Today is the day when we will learn whether the Governor of Louisiana will enter the 2016 presidential race. That reminds us of Louisiana’s rather colorful collection of politicians, including Huey Long and Edwin Edwards....more

Expert Declaration in Conjunction with Circumstantial Evidence Sufficient to Defeat Summary Judgment in Vehicle Defect Case

In Pavoni v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 2015 No. 13-55761 (“Pavoni”), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that plaintiffs’ expert declaration in conjunction with circumstantial evidence of the incident were sufficient to raise...more

MDL Court Agrees – Tincher Doesn’t Change Pennsylvania Drug/Device Law

Several months ago we responded with some disdain to recent plaintiff-side arguments we had seen claiming that the strict liability decision in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 104 A.3d 328 (Pa. 2014), somehow altered...more

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