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
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.
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 – Mallory’s 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.
Under the now widely-adopted Daubert standard, courts evaluate expert testimony based on the principles and methodology underlying the expert witness’s opinion. Admissibility of expert testimony is not governed by whether the factual underpinnings of the opinion are sound, or the conclusions correct, but rather by the relevancy and reliability of the methods applied in forming said opinion. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently illustrated these principles in Johnson v. Orton.
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).
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.