Product Liability

  • September 19, 2014

    Calif. Pols Seek Probe Of PG&E's Relationship With Watchdog

    California state and local politicians urged the state attorney general to investigate inappropriate communications between PG&E Corp. and the California Public Utilities Commission over a penalty case stemming from the fatal 2010 pipeline explosion and PG&E rate cases on Friday, the same day conservation groups asked the attorney general to review whether the CPUC colluded with utilities.

  • September 19, 2014

    Ex-BP Exec Faces Renewed Obstruction Charge In Spill Case

    A Louisiana federal jury Friday updated its criminal indictment against an ex-BP PLC executive accused of lying about how much oil was escaping from a well damaged by the Deepwater Horizon explosion, after the Fifth Circuit revived a charge of obstruction of Congress.

  • September 19, 2014

    Syngenta GMO Corn Taints Exports To China, Class Suit Says

    For the third time in a week, Syngenta faces suit over its genetically modified corn, this time in a class action led by Stracener Farming Co. that claims its shipments to China were rejected because Syngenta had released genetically modified seed into the U.S. corn supply.

  • September 19, 2014

    FDA Tweaks Food Safety Rules To Ease Food Producers' Woes

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced revisions to four key rules it proposed as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act that would ease the requirements on food producers that have been arguing that some of the new rules impose burdensome and costly measures on them.

  • September 19, 2014

    Sanctions, $1M Fee Award Nixed In Texas State Farm Dispute

    A Texas appeals court on Friday reversed a $1 million award of attorneys' fees and “death penalty” sanctions assessed against a couple who allegedly doctored photos of flooding damage to collect insurance money from State Farm Lloyds, finding the penalties excessive.

  • September 19, 2014

    Buyer Class In $261M Olive Oil Row Wins Cert. In Co.’s Ch. 11

    A New York bankruptcy judge on Friday certified a nationwide class of consumers whose stayed $261 million suit accused Kangadis Food Inc. of duping consumers into believing its olive oil was 100 percent pure when it was actually derived from olive pomace, an industrially produced and chemically derived fat.

  • September 19, 2014

    Whirlpool Moldy Washer Class Action Heads To Trial

    An Ohio federal judge on Friday rejected Whirlpool Corp.'s efforts to dismiss a class action over allegedly defective washers that gather mold, allowing the case to proceed to trial after the appliance maker's tortuous and ultimately futile attempts to disband the class.

  • September 19, 2014

    FDA Chides Cipher Over Drug Ad's Superiority Claims

    Canada-based Cipher Pharmaceuticals Inc. improperly advertised that its distinctive formulation of cholesterol drug fenofibrate makes the product more effective than versions sold by rival companies, according to a Thursday disciplinary letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • September 19, 2014

    7th Circ. Cancels $10 RadioShack Coupon Settlement

    The Seventh Circuit on Friday nixed a class action settlement over RadioShack Corp. printing expiration dates of customer credit cards on their receipts, criticizing a plan to give customers a $10 coupon, which only .5 percent of the class actually claimed.

  • September 19, 2014

    Starbucks Chair Suit Revived By Calif. Appeals Court

    A California state appeals court has revived a warranty lawsuit brought by Starbucks Corp. against Outdoor Lifestyle Inc. over allegedly defective chairs purchased by the coffee giant, saying Starbucks’ interpretation of the underlying forum selection clause in the warranty agreement is correct.

  • September 19, 2014

    Bankruptcy Judge Won’t Block $2.9M W.Va. Spill Settlement

    A West Virginia bankruptcy judge on Tuesday rejected a water company’s objection to Freedom Industries Inc.’s $2.9 million class action settlement over a chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water in West Virginia, finding the agreement is reasonable.

  • September 19, 2014

    GM MDL Judge OKs Discovery On Post-2009 Accidents, Cars

    A New York federal judge on Friday allowed plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation over General Motors Co.'s ignition switch defect to pursue discovery in injury cases that involve accidents that took place after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, and in economic loss cases that involve post-2009 vehicles. 

  • September 19, 2014

    Fracking Studies Put Energy Cos. On Firmer Ground

    A pair of studies released this week concluding that hydraulic fracturing isn’t linked to groundwater contamination could further shift the emphasis of federal and state regulators to the fracked wells themselves, which can foul water supplies if they’re faulty, and put a major dent in lawsuits that claim groundwater contamination was caused by fracking, experts say.

  • September 19, 2014

    Peanut Execs Found Guilty In Landmark Salmonella Trial

    Three former Peanut Corp. of America officials, including its former CEO, were convicted Friday of charges stemming from their roles in enabling the sale of the contaminated peanut products behind a salmonella outbreak that killed at least nine people.

  • September 19, 2014

    GM Not Liable For Pre-Ch. 11 Settlement, 2nd Circ. Says

    The Second Circuit on Friday said General Motors LLC isn't on the hook for a settlement reached in a class action against its pre-bankruptcy predecessor over allegedly faulty transmissions, upholding a district court's ruling that the settlement wasn't an assumed liability under the bankruptcy sale order.

  • September 19, 2014

    Drugmakers Face Liability For Abusing FDA Safety Controls

    New legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives would let generic-drug makers sue for heavy damages if brand-name manufacturers, under the guise of drug-safety restrictions, refuse to supply products needed for the testing and approval of copycat medications.

  • September 19, 2014

    FCA Free Speech Defense Tested In DOJ-PhRMA Fight

    A fiery feud in California federal court between the U.S. Department of Justice and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America shows the gloves are finally off in a fight that will shape the future of False Claims Act litigation, experts say, with opposing sides clashing over whether the First Amendment always shields honest off-label promotion.

  • September 19, 2014

    Pa. Justices Snub Appeal Over Indemnity For Torts

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday shot down an appeal sought by National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh challenging a decision that general liability coverage providers are required to defend product liability claims brought against their policyholders.

  • September 19, 2014

    GM Hid Old Pickups' Sidesaddle Gas Tank Defect: Suit

    General Motors LLC didn’t notify owners of its older model 1973-87 pickup trucks that the vehicles’ sidesaddle gas tanks were vulnerable to damage in the event of a collision, putting drivers’ safety at risk and increasing the chance of gas tank fires, according to a complaint filed in Georgia federal court.

  • September 18, 2014

    Boeing Beats Worker Asbestos Suit In Wash. High Court

    The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday found that a state law prevents the estate of a former Boeing Co. worker from suing the aircraft maker for his mesothelioma, finding that the plaintiffs hadn't shown that Boeing knew the injury would certainly occur.

Expert Analysis

  • No Need For Expert Testimony In Successor Liability Cases

    Robin Silver

    In the typical successor liability case, expert testimony adds no value to analysis. It simply serves to usurp the court’s function. Parties should think twice before designating an expert and should strongly consider moving to strike any experts designated by opposing parties as legally improper, say Robin Silver and Alexander Creticos of Miles & Stockbridge PC.

  • TAA Case Is Study On Contractors' FCA Vulnerability

    Donna Lee Yesner

    Cox v. Smith & Nephew Inc. highlights the vulnerability of medical device manufacturers that source products from nondesignated countries under the Trade Agreements Act to potential False Claims Act liability and the need for diligence in ascertaining the country of origin for goods under government contract, say Donna Yesner and Stephen Ruscus of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

  • Avoiding Open-Ended Liability From Autonomous Vehicles

    Michael Preciado

    Technology and automobile companies concerned about outdated software-related accidents should consider drafting statutes of repose applicable to autonomous vehicle liability — they would protect insurance companies too as they are generally drafted to stabilize the industry by eliminating stale claims from open-ended liability, says Michael Preciado of Snell & Wilmer LLP.

  • Takeaways For Texas Contractors Post-Barzoukas

    Pierre Grosdidier

    Taken together, Barzoukas v. Foundation Design Ltd. and two prior Texas cases on the economic loss rule suggest that establishing an owner as subcontract third-party beneficiary might be a possible line of defense for a subcontractor that invokes the rule when trying to shield itself from owner negligence claims, say Pierre Grosdidier and Mike Stewart of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Class Ascertainability Continues To Become More Concrete

    David C. Kistler

    In the most recent example of a district court addressing ascertainability based on the Third Circuit's Marcus, Hayes and Carrera rulings, the matter of Paulsboro Derailment Cases demonstrates that, outside of consumer fraud class actions, plaintiffs can still overcome ascertainability, say David Kistler and Rachel Gallagher of Blank Rome LLP.

  • BP Damages Will Be Punishing, Though Not Punitive

    B.D. Daniel

    After the Phase One rulings in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation, any oil spill plaintiff still seeking punitive damages from BP PLC will face a gauntlet of legal obstacles, which is good reason to doubt BP will ever pay punitive damages in personal injury cases — a small consolation given BP's potential liability for civil penalties, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.

  • OPINION: Pro Bono May Help Diversity Recruiting Efforts

    David A. Lash

    A recent Law360 article about the perennial BigLaw concern over how to recruit and retain female and ethnically diverse attorneys addressed a new approach being taken by some law firms — going beyond traditional mentoring programs by creating a sponsorship relationship. Pro bono can also play a part, say David Lash and Merle Vaughn of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.

  • Permissive Joinder Trend In GM Cases Benefits Plaintiffs

    Bob Langdon

    Cases filed against General Motors Co. over faulty ignition switches in states with permissive joinder may yield damages closer to those caused by auto accidents from defective vehicles compared with claimants that try their luck under Kenneth Feinberg's settlement plan, says Bob Langdon of Langdon & Emison.

  • How Research Efficiency Impacts Law Firm Profitability

    David Houlihan

    For a law firm, excess time dedicated to legal research generates waste, either in the form of artificially reduced billable hours or, particularly in flat or contingency fee projects, as overhead eroding the profitability of legal work. By measuring five factors, firms will begin to understand their own opportunities for improving profits, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Be Wary Of Inadvertent Waivers In Contamination Claims

    Richard F. Ricci

    A New Jersey appellate court's ruling in Favorito v. Puritan Oil Company Inc. provides valuable lessons in how to — and how not to — prosecute claims for damages based on contamination migrating from one property to another, say Richard Ricci and Nikki Adame Winningham of Lowenstein Sandler LLP.