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Put Up or Pay Up: Mentor Obtape MDL Judge Promises Sanctions to Plaintiff Attorneys Filing Meritless Cases

We spend the vast bulk of our professional life working in the context of MDLs. We know the drill: plaintiff lawyers file hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of cases. At some point, the cream rises to the top in...more

Component Parts Doctrine not Applicable to Products Used in Manufacturing Process That are not Incorporated into a Different...

Flavio Ramos, et al. v. Brenntag Specialties, Inc., et al. - California Supreme Court (June 23, 2016) - In cases of claimed injury from asbestos exposure, the component parts doctrine was designed to provide...more

Indiana High Court Rules Statute of Repose Inapplicable in Cases of Protracted Exposure to Substances

On March 2, 2016, the Indiana Supreme Court rendered an opinion in the consolidated appeals in three cases. The Court held that the Indiana Product Liability Act’s statute of repose does not apply to cases involving...more

California Court Of Appeal Bends Over Backwards To Uphold Substantial Punitive Award In Asbestos Case

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires procedural fairness in state trials, but that principle seems absent from a recent California Court of Appeal decision upholding a judgment against Kaiser Gypsum...more

Arizona Enacts New Asbestos Trust Claim Disclosure and Evidence Statute

The Arizona legislature recently enacted A.R.S. § 12-782 to prohibit claimants from obtaining duplicative or excessive recoveries in asbestos personal injury lawsuits. Section 12-782 impacts personal injury plaintiffs that...more

Manufacturing Matters – Winter 2015

In This Issue: - Pre-action costs protection in environmental claims - Shared Parental Rights – what you need to know - Due diligence on your partner in China – are you talking to the right person? - An Interview...more

Res Judicata Prevents Plaintiff from Recovering Exemplary Damages

Earlier this month, in Oleszkowicz v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., 2014-0256 (La. 12/9/14), 2014 WL 7009533, the Supreme Court of Louisiana barred a plaintiff from relitigating an exemplary damages claim arising from alleged...more

"Damages" in an Injury Lawsuit: An Introduction for Lay People

Anyone who has survived a serious injury caused by someone else's fault wants to know what the legal system provides by way of hard dollars. In this video, attorney Alfred Clarke explains the different types of "damages" an...more

October 2014: Product Liability Update

Some Courts Loosening Restrictions on Punitive Damages. The 1990s and 2000s saw many developments 9 restricting the frequency and size of punitive damages awards in tort litigation, including both state tort-reform legislation capping the size of awards and the procedures for imposing them, as well as court decisions limiting awards as a matter of substantive due process. Those decisions included the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark opinion in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408 (2003), which generally held that a punitive damages award more than nine times the compensatory award will rarely survive due process. Within the last year, however, several large, high-profile punitive verdicts and other state law developments have prompted a renewed focus on punitive damages awards in tort litigation.more

Employers’ Asbestos Liabilities Do Not Extend to Workers’ Spouses

Two federal judges recently dismissed the claims of the spouses of workers who purportedly carried asbestos fibers home from their workplaces. In July 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma dismissed a case alleging that an employer negligently allowed a worker to bring asbestos fibers home on his clothes that caused mesothelioma to develop in his wife, holding that the defendant company was not aware of the danger at the time. (Bootenhoff et al. v. Hormel Foods Corporation et al., 2014 WL 3810383, August 1, 2014.) Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who oversees the federal asbestos MDL, interpreted Pennsylvania law and issued a similar ruling. (Gillen v. The Boeing Company et al., 2014 WL 4211354, August 26, 2014.) more

In re Paulsboro Derailment Cases: Putting the Brakes on Defendants’ Momentum Regarding Recent Ascertainability Developments Within the Third Circuit

In a recent unpublished decision, Judge Robert B. Kugler of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey addressed the rapidly developing “ascertainability” requirement in class action litigation within the Third Circuit. See In re Paulsboro Derailment Cases (“Paulsboro”), Civ. No. 13-784, 2014 WL 4162790 (D.N.J. Aug. 20, 2014) (construing Marcus v. BMW of N. Am., LLC, 687 F.3d 583 (3d Cir. 2012); Carrera v. Bayer Corp., 727 F.3d 300 (3d Cir. 2013); and Hayes v. Wal–Mart Stores, Inc., 725 F.3d 349 (3d Cir. 2013)). more

Toxic Tort & Product Liability Quarterly Volume 7, Number 2

MASS TOXIC TORTS - West Virginia Chemical Spill Prompts Wave of Lawsuits - The January 9th, 2014 chemical release at a Freedom Industries, Inc. facility in West Virginia has shown, yet again, that major environmental releases are likely to prompt major environmental lawsuits. As a result of the spill of 7,500 gallons of 4-MCHM, a chemical foam used to wash coal, 300,000 residents of nine counties were told not to use tap water for anything other than toilet-flushing or firefighting, area businesses were forced to close, and hospitals took emergency measures to conserve water.more

Baltimore City Circuit Court Rejects Attempt to Consolidate Asbestos Cases

Order refusing to consolidate more than 13,000 non-mesothelioma cases continues a U.S.-wide trend of courts moving away from mass trial consolidations in asbestos cases. On March 5, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City—a court responsible for one of the largest asbestos dockets in the United States—rejected a proposal by certain prominent asbestos plaintiffs’ firms to consolidate more than 13,000 non-mesothelioma cases into a three-phase trial process. The asbestos plaintiffs claimed that the asbestos docket in Baltimore City had reached a “crisis” and proposed that a consolidation approach that had been used twice in the early 1990s should be applied again.more

Objectors Seek Writ of Certiorari to SCOTUS Over Monsanto Agent Orange Settlement

On January 21, 2014, objectors to a class action settlement over contamination from Monsanto Agent Orange herbicide filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Unites States Supreme Court. The Petition asked the Court to entertain the objectors’ request to reverse the West Virginia Supreme Court’s November 22, 2013 decision, which affirmed the trial court’s approval of a proposed class settlement as fair, adequate and reasonable.more

Class Action Litigation Reform – Interview with Dan Pascucci, Member, Mintz Levin

Attorney Dan Pascucci, Member of Mintz Levin's Litigation Practice, talks about the Supreme Court’s role in establishing the national identity of class action litigation.more

Painting a Picture at Trial for the Court of Appeal

During a trial, the jury and court below will hear the testimony of witnesses and observe their demeanor. Once the case is on appeal, the reviewing court is usually limited to reading transcripts that may or may not convey the full story of what happened at trial. This article discusses the importance of storytelling and creating a picture of the trial court proceedings for the court of appeal.more

Asbestos Alert: Barabin v. AstenJohnson, Inc., et al. Ninth District Court of Appeals, Action #10-36142, 11-35020 (November 16, 2012) Rehearing Granted on March 25, 2013

On March 25, 2013, the Ninth Circuit ordered that this case be reheard en banc. The hearing is currently expected to go forward during the week of June 24, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. A decision is expected within three months of the hearing date. The three-judge panel opinion at 700 F.3d 428 (discussed below) may no longer be cited as precedent. more

Product Liability Annual Review -- 2012

In This Issue: Letter from Chair; Key Practice Highlights; Aviation; Consumer Products and Toxic Torts; Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices; Awards + Rankings; Publications; Key Contacts. Excerpt from Letter from Chair - I am pleased to present you with the 2012 Product Liability Annual Review, marking another successful year for Morrison & Foerster’s Product Liability Group. In 2012, my colleagues and I continued to build on our position as a world-class product liability group. We continue to handle high-stakes, high-profile matters for clients in the pharmaceutical, aviation, and consumer-products industries. In 2012, we litigated more than 400 active product liability matters, and were retained in more than 100 new engagements. We continued our successful trial track record with jury trial victories, and successfully resolved numerous other cases through motion practice and favorable settlements. We also advised our clients on a wide range of risk mitigation issues, including product labeling, risk assessment, and responses to safety incidents. Please see full issue below for more information. more

McReynolds v. Krebs

Georgia Supreme Court Rules on Apportionment of DamagesGeorgia

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Georgia's modified comparative fault scheme is to be applied even in cases in which the plaintiff bears no fault.more

Busy Mass Tort Court Revamps Procedures

Our readers recognize that Philadelphia (home base for MassTortDefense) is a hot-bed of mass tort activity, administering those cases through a Complex Litigation Center.  Now comes important news that the Honorable John W. Herron, Administrative Judge of the Trial Division of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, recently issued an order that will alter and impact the handling of mass tort cases in this busy jurisdiction. General Court Regulation No. 2012-01 represents the first general overhaul of the Complex Litigation Center’s practices in many years. The order  will revise and streamline the conduct of mass tort litigation in Philadelphia in a number of ways.  More on that in a minute.  What is also significant is the reason for the changes.  The order notes the pronounced upward trend in mass tort filings in this court, and the fact that the court’s disposition rate has not kept pace with filings; thus, a significant backlog has developed.  The order notes the impact of past policy which invited the filing of cases from other jurisdictions.  A "dramatic increase in these filings" occurred after the court’s leadership invited claims from other jurisdictions. In 2009, when published comments were offered encouraging the filing of claims in Philadelphia, out-of-state filings rose to 41%, and in 2011 reached 47%. So, in response, Judge Herron’s order: ends reverse bifurcation in all mass tort cases, significantly limits the consolidation of non-asbestos cases,  unless agreed by all parties, Please see full article below for more informaiton. more

Trending Away from Medical Monitoring?

In conclusion, the law applicable to claims for medical monitoring has developed substantially since the first case of Friends For All Children. While the trend over time has been to recognize their availability through traditional tort law or new causes of action, there is now a growing trend toward non-recognition prompted by the concerns articulated by the Supreme Court in Buckley, supra. An interesting trend is also currently under foot toward non-recognition based on recent developments in the science showing that the risks of monitoring in many instances far outweigh the potential benefits. No doubt, credible studies establishing that the risks of monitoring greatly outweigh the benefits to be derived there from would be expected to have a further chilling effect on the trend begun in Friends For All Children. We will have to wait and see how these studies ultimately play into the law.more

Allocation Ruling: The Second Department “Time On The Risk” Allocation Ruling In Lead Paint Cases Will Not Be “The Last Word”

A New York intermediate appellate court has made a ruling on allocation of the settlement of a lead paint claim between consecutive insurers of the same building. This ruling is significant, not only to lead paint cases, but to any toxic tort cases arising in New York. In Serio v. Public Service Mutual Insurance Co., Docket No. 13599, (April 23, 2003) the Appellate Division, Second Department held as follows: “Where the exposure occurred over a period of three years, and where the two insurers covered that loss, respectively, during consecutive periods of two and one years, we hold that each insurer shall bear a share of liability for the purpose of funding their negotiated settlement with the injured parties, directly proportionate to each insurer?s time on the risk” Please see full article below for more information.more

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