The President swore in a new face to the Commission for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on June 30, 2022. Mary T. Boyle, however, is not an entirely new face as she served in various positions within the CPSC for more than a decade. She formerly served in various leadership rules, including CPSC’s Executive

In a 4-3 decision, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion that significantly narrowed Iowa’s new statutory asbestos defense – holding the defense only protects asbestos product defendants who did not manufacture or sell the asbestos in question. See Beverage v. Alcoa, Inc., No. 19-1852, 2022 WL 2182351 (Iowa June 17, 2022). This statutory asbestos defense was part of Iowa’s 2017 tort reform.


Continue Reading Asbestos Defendants Beware: Iowa’s Tort Reform Was Apparently Weaker Than We Thought

An Alameda County Judge set a hearing on a motion for protective order in a pending asbestos case in which the plaintiffs sought to prevent the defendants of unapproved genetic testing. In the case of John C. Lohmann and Suzanne L. Lohmann vs. Aaon, Inc., et al., the plaintiffs filed suit in Alameda Superior Court against several defendants alleging that Mr. Lohmann developed mesothelioma as a result of his career working in the refrigeration maintenance field from 1970 to 2021 in California. The defense experts sought to use the plaintiff’s medical data for non-litigation purposes without the plaintiffs’ permission because they believed the information will advance science and no pathologist/associated scientist would ethically agree to limitations. As part of the case, defense counsel moved for discovery of Mr. Lohmann’s original pathology material and subpoenaed the providers. The court ordered production of those materials. The plaintiffs contend that production of pathology and genetic material in litigation does not permit outside, personal research and analysis. Multiple defendants, on the other hand, argue that evidence produced in litigation enters the public domain and is not protected by discovery law.
Continue Reading No Decision on Genetic Testing Dispute in Asbestos Case in Alameda County, California

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

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

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

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

In July of 2021, after more than five months of silence, President Biden finally announced his nominations to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), which included Alexander Hoehn-Saric, as Commissioner and Chair, Richard Trumka Jr., as Commissioner, and Mary T. Boyle, as Commissioner.
Continue Reading U.S. Senate Committee Approves Biden’s CPSC Nominations

On June 1, 2021, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) appeal to overturn a $2.12 billion dollar damages award to 22 female plaintiffs who alleged their ovarian cancer was caused by J&J’s talcum powder products. This is a significant setback for defendants in defending consolidated multi-plaintiff mass tort trials and a juries ability to award large punitive damage awards.
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Declines to Hear Talcum Powder Appeal

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) may provide immunity to product manufacturers and premises owners who face liability from their administration or use of antivirals, drugs, biologics, diagnostics, devices, or vaccines used to treat, diagnose, cure, prevent, or mitigate COVID-19.
Continue Reading PREP Act Offers Immunity to Product Manufacturers and Premises Owners from COVID-19 Liability