On November 4, 2022, the New York  City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) coordinating Judge Adam Silvera issued a long-awaited decision denying defendants’ motion to sever punitive damages in asbestos claims filed in NYCAL. Defendants had urged the Court to amend NYCAL’s current Case Management Order (CMO) to indefinitely postpone plaintiffs’ ability to seek punitive damages against defendants, as was the case in the original NYCAL CMO and a procedure that had been in place for over 2 decades up until 2017.

Continue Reading NYCAL Defendants Lose Requested Case Management Order Amendment Severing Punitive Damages

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 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

HB 3360, vetoed by Gov. Pritzker on March 25, would have imposed 9 percent prejudgment interest on personal injury and wrongful death claims in Illinois. This is the governor’s first bill rejection in two years and his ninth veto since taking office.

HB 3360’s pathway to Gov. Pritzker’s desk was unusual: it was passed quickly and quietly during the Illinois legislature’s January lame duck session, where lawmakers worked through the night to get the bill finalized. The governor was expected to sign the bill as soon as it passed, but, surprisingly, a wait ensued after it reached his desk, suggesting that the bill would require some work. See our prior analysis of HB 3360’s provisions.

Continue Reading Governor Pritzker Vetoes HB 3360, But A Revised Version Will Soon Return to His Desk

The Illinois Supreme Court recently held that an increased risk of future harm is not an injury; tossing a class action suit which sought damages related to the City of Chicago’s replacement of water meters and water main pipes. The named Plaintiffs had filed the case on behalf of all Chicago residents who had water mains or meters replaced or installed between January 2008 and January 2017. The suit alleged negligence and inverse condemnation against the City of Chicago.

Continue Reading Increased Risk of Future Harm is Not an Injury: Illinois Supreme Court Dismisses Lead Exposure Class Action Against City of Chicago

On January 13, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed House Bill 3360 (Bill) which, if signed by Governor Pritzker, would impose a 9 percent per annum prejudgment interest rate in wrongful death and personal injury tort actions. Illinois law does not currently recognize prejudgment interest in such tort actions, only allowing a post-judgment interest rate of 9 percent per annum running from the date of the judgment’s entry through the date of satisfaction. 735 ILCS 5/2-1303(a). While 5 percent prejudgment interest is permitted in certain cases where liability is clear and damages are readily ascertainable, such interest has never been permitted in personal injury cases, as damages are too difficult to calculate in advance.
Continue Reading Illinois Bill Imposing Prejudgment Interest Awaits Governor Pritzker’s Action

The statute of limitations on asbestos claims was recently reevaluated by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In Palmer v. Walker Jamal Company, the court reinforces that the clock begins when the plaintiff learns they have an asbestos-related disease, rather than when they identify a specific product as a potential cause.
Continue Reading Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims: MN Supreme Court Reinforces

Mallet, legal code and scales of justice. Law concept, studio shotsIn July, a Delaware Superior Court judge ordered affidavits of a deceased plaintiff admitted under the residual exception to hearsay, finding that the affidavits were sufficiently trustworthy for purposes of admissibility under D.R.E. 807.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Affidavits of Deceased Plaintiff Admitted Under Residual Exception to Hearsay

In May, the Illinois Supreme Court significantly revised its rules related to remote proceedings – including court appearances, video conferences, and civil trials. These changes aim to improve the administration of justice by increasing efficiency and decreasing costs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes became effective immediately.
Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Illinois Overhauls Rules Related to Remote Proceedings

In April, the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana upheld the reduction of a large toxic tort verdict in James Gaddy, et al. v. Taylor-Seidenbach, Inc., et al., No. CV 19-12926. Plaintiff sought reconsideration of the remitted verdict which reduced the jury’s initial award of general damages from $7.5 million to $3 million.
Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Louisiana Upholds Reduction of a Large Toxic Tort Verdict