On March 2, 2022, a Wisconsin federal judge dismissed Burton v. Am. Cyanamid Co., No. 07-C-0303, 2022 WL 623895 (E.D. Wis. Mar. 2, 2022), a lingering fifteen-year personal injury litigation against lead-based paint manufacturers The Sherwin-Williams Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., and Armstrong Containers Inc. In granting the manufacturers’ summary judgment motions, District Judge Lynn Adelman relied upon the procedural issues that arose throughout the lawsuit and the 2021 reversal of a $6 million award in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Continue Reading Federal Court Tosses Fifteen-Year-Old Lead Paint Personal Injury Lawsuit

On March 28, 2022, the Supreme Court of Delaware settled a 15-year battle between asbestos plaintiffs and defendants by affirming the burden-shifting framework provided in a 2006 Superior Court decision. This decision affirms once and for all that where a company manufactured
Continue Reading The Impact of Droz on Evidentiary Standards in Delaware

Under the Tennessee Products Liability Act, plaintiffs used to be required to identify a specific defect or condition that made the product unreasonably dangerous and proximately caused the alleged injuries. But in Hill v. Kia Motors America, Inc., et al., the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals turned this requirement on its head and held that plaintiffs could meet the specific defect element by circumstantial evidence merely supporting an inference of an unspecified defective condition.


Continue Reading The Sixth Circuit Tosses the Specific Defect Requirement under Tennessee Law

Recently, in Moore v. Elec. Boat Corp., No. 21-1566, 2022 WL 278535 (1st Cir. Jan. 31, 2022), a government contractor-defendant successfully appealed remand based on 28 U.S.C. § 1442, the so-called Federal Officer Removal Statute.

Moore serves as a reminder – especially to asbestos defendants – that contractors acting under the direction of a branch of the military (or any U.S. agency) should determine the extent of the government’s involvement.  A fact-intensive inquiry, such evidence may be sufficient
Continue Reading Submarine Manufacturer Successfully Dives into Federal Waters with Effective Removal of Asbestos Case in the First Circuit

We previously blogged on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Mallory v. Norfolk S. R.R. Co., Civ. A. No. 3 EAP 2021, Slip. Op. J-49-2021 (Pa. Dec. 22, 2021),  which put an end to general jurisdiction based solely on registration to do business in the Commonwealth.  Since the issuance of this landscape-shifting decision, courts in the Commonwealth have seen a flurry of ”Mallory motions” coming in all shapes and sizes. So far, plaintiff’s response has been uniform – Mallorys holding is limited and does not apply to defendants whose dealings are entirely “interstate” and who have no “footprint” in the Commonwealth. This attempt to minimize the impact of Mallory was recently rejected by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in Emery v. U.S. Steel Corp. giving a glimpse of hope to foreign defendants haled to court in Pennsylvania.

Continue Reading Mallory enforced by Philadelphia Court – There Is No General Jurisdiction Based on Registration to Do Business

The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATR) published its 2021-2022 Judicial Hellholes Executive Summary. The report highlights the most prominent jurisdictions across the United States known for allowing innovate lawsuits, welcoming litigation tourism, and expanding civil liability.

The 2021-2022 Judicial Hellholes

The ATR’s top judicial hellholes are:

(1) California. “The Golden State” is back in the No. 1 Judicial Hellhole spot due to appellate courts holding e-commerce companies strictly liable for products sold on their sites, “baseless” Prop-65 lawsuits, “frivolous” Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims, and the AG promoting an “expansive view” of public nuisance law.

(2) New York. “The Empire State” is right behind California for having one of the worst legal climates in the nation. The ATR notes this is due to New York’s unmatched number of “no-injury” class actions, ADA lawsuits, and immense asbestos litigation docket.
Continue Reading Things Are Heating Up: The Top “Judicial Hellholes” For 2021-2022

Litigants recently tested the limits of liability waivers under Iowa law. In a 6-1 decision, the Iowa Supreme Court joined the bulk of other jurisdictions and held a contractual liability waiver was not enforceable “to the extent it purports to eliminate liability for the willful, wanton, or reckless conduct” a plaintiff alleges. Lukken v. Fleischer, 962 N.W.2d 71, 82 (Iowa 2021).

Continue Reading Can You Waive Liability for Reckless Conduct? Iowa Supreme Court Finally Says No.

About a year ago, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed to amend the short form warning rules for Proposition 65.  Proposition 65 requires businesses to warn Californians about exposure to certain chemicals through “clear and reasonable” warnings.  There are currently two forms of “safe harbor” warnings, one of which is the short form warning. The short form warning requires less detail, takes up less label space, and does not require the listing of any chemical names, which has made it a popular choice.

Continue Reading OEHHA Proposes (Additional) Changes to Prop 65 Short Form Warnings

On December 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision in Mallory v. Norfolk S. R.R. Co., Civ. A. No. 3 EAP 2021, Slip. Op. J-49-2021, at 33, 44 (Pa. Dec. 22, 2021) that is sure to become the pillar of jurisdictional challenges going forward. The Court unanimously held that general jurisdiction does not exist solely on the basis of a company’s registration to do business in Pennsylvania.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania Supreme Court Puts An End to Consent By Registration Theory of General Personal Jurisdiction

On November 9, 2021, the Oklahoma Supreme Court set aside a $465 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in State ex rel. Hunter v. Johnson & Johnson, 2021 OK 54. In 2017, the State of Oklahoma sued three opioid manufacturers, including J&J, alleging the companies deceptively marketed opioids in the state. At trial, only J&J and the claim of public nuisance remained. At the end of a 33-day bench trial, the district court ordered J&J to pay $572 million, representing funding for one year of Oklahoma’s opioid abatement plan. Our previous report on the district court award can be found here. Due to a calculation error in the original award, the district court award was subsequently reduced to $465 million. According to the district court, J&J was liable under Oklahoma’s public nuisance statute for conducting false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns about prescription opioids.

Continue Reading Oklahoma Supreme Court Sets Aside $465 Million Public Nuisance Opioid Verdict