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

In Murphy v. Viad Corporation, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan recently considered the issue of specific personal jurisdiction in the context of asbestos claims under the standard set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States in its recent decision in Ford Motor Co. v. Mont. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court. In doing so, the Court reinforced that specific jurisdiction cannot be established where the products at issue were never sold or marketed in that forum.
Continue Reading Michigan Court Weighs In On Specific Personal Jurisdiction

Pump manufacturer Nash Engineering Company appears to have recently become the latest casualty of asbestos litigation. On October 19, 2021, Nash Engineering filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut. If Nash Engineering’s petition for relief is approved, this will spell the end of the 100-year-old corporation. Nash Engineering now joins a list of more than 60 other companies that have been forced to declare bankruptcy due to the burden of their asbestos-related liabilities.
Continue Reading Is Nash Engineering the Latest Company Bankrupted by Asbestos Litigation?

In the most recent round of the long-running litigation over hearing protection supplied by manufacturing giant 3M and used by U.S. Military personnel from 2002 until 2015, Plaintiffs have obtained large verdicts in 3 out of 4 bellwether cases against 3M.

Continue Reading Bellwether Military Earplug Verdicts Underscore Importance of Establishing the Government-Contractor Defense

On October 1, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Senate Bill No. 447 into law, which permits a deceased individual’s personal representatives or successors-in-interest to recover damages for the decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement in a lawsuit. Prior to this law, those suing on behalf of a deceased individual were limited solely to damages for the decedent’s injuries and punitive damages, if warranted. They could not previously recover for the decedent’s pain and suffering.
Continue Reading California Permits Pain and Suffering Damages for Survival Actions