Product Liability

  • March 1, 2015

    Jury Sides With Yamaha At $17M Rhino ATV Trial

    A California jury on Friday found for Yamaha Motor Corp. in a $16.7 million trial over claims by a woman that defects in a Yamaha Rhino off-road vehicle in which she was a passenger caused an accident that resulted in the amputation of her right leg.

  • February 27, 2015

    Ford Throttle Defect Class Action Revived By 9th Circ.

    The Ninth Circuit ruled Friday that a lower court erred in denying class certification to Ford Freestyle owners who claim the automaker failed to disclose an acceleration defect in 150,000 vehicles, but rejected a request to order that the class be certified.

  • February 27, 2015

    Volvo Seeks Atty Sanctions In $5M Car Defect Class Action

    Volvo Cars of North America LLC on Friday urged a Pennsylvania federal judge to sanction a plaintiffs’ attorney for misleadingly altering a document in a $5 million class action accusing the company of selling cars with an allegedly fatal side-impact protection defect.

  • February 27, 2015

    Automakers Slam Renewed House Vehicle Safety Bill

    A bill geared at reforming automobile safety standards in the wake of the notorious General Motors Co. ignition switch and Takata Corp. air bag recalls was reintroduced Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives, drawing opposition from automakers who claim the bill will lean on new vehicle taxes for funding.

  • February 27, 2015

    Smoker's Widow Gets $340K Verdict In Engle Progeny Suit

    A Florida federal jury on Thursday reached a $340,000 verdict in a suit brought by the widow of a former smoker and cited negligence on the part of Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. as having contributed to the man's death, a day after the companies agreed to settle about 400 similar cases for $100 million.

  • February 27, 2015

    Judge Won't Boost Firm's Cut Of Volkswagen Oil MDL Fees

    A Massachusetts federal judge on Friday refused to increase Chimicles & Tikellis LLP’s cut of a $15.5 million fee award in the Volkswagen AG and Audi AG oil sludge buildup multidistrict litigation, days after other class counsel firms asked the judge to recant his criticism they should be "ashamed" of their “internal rancor.”

  • February 27, 2015

    NFL Players Won't Take A Knee On Revised $765M Settlement

    Several former professional football players objected Friday to an amended $765 million proposed settlement in multidistrict litigation regarding concussions with the National Football League, saying the amendments create a situation in which players with a certain brain condition would have incentive to commit suicide before the cutoff date for benefits.

  • February 27, 2015

    Texas Judge Dismisses Fen-Phen Conspiracy Suit As SLAPP

    A Houston judge this week dismissed a lawsuit filed by the law firm Fleming Nolen & Jez LLP under the state's anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation statute, after it alleged two other Houston firms and five attorneys conspired to intimidate and harass the managing partner into settling fen-phen diet drug related litigation.

  • February 27, 2015

    BP Asks 5th Circ. To Allow Clawbacks From $9.2B Settlement

    BP Exploration and Production Inc. on Thursday asked the Fifth Circuit for permission to claw back payouts it made under a since-overturned claims calculation that’s part of a $9.2 billion Deepwater Horizon settlement, saying individual releases don’t bar BP from obtaining restitution.

  • February 27, 2015

    Christie Slammed For $250M Deal In $9B Exxon Pollution Row

    Gov. Chris Christie’s administration came under fire on Friday for inking a reported $250 million settlement with ExxonMobil Corp. in a decadelong legal battle over more than $8.9 billion in estimated environmental damage from contamination at two refinery sites in northern New Jersey.

  • February 27, 2015

    Samsung Smart TV Remote Can Leak Acid, Class Action Says

    A Samsung remote with a full-sized keyboard designed for smart TVs uses an outdated design that can cause batteries to overheat and leak dangerous acid, a proposed consumer class action alleged Thursday in California federal court.

  • February 27, 2015

    Pa. Gov. Urges Obama To Beef Up Oil Rail Transport Safety

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday urged President Barack Obama to push for stricter oversight of the transportation of oil by rail, including the prompt issuance of tougher safety regulations crafted in the wake of several fiery derailments involving crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken Shale.

  • February 27, 2015

    500K Dodges, Jeeps Recalled For Fuel Pump Issues

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said Friday it is recalling close to half a million Dodge and Jeep sport utility vehicles globally over potentially defective fuel-pump relays that can cause the cars to stall or fail to start up.

  • February 27, 2015

    Property Owners Win Cert. In General Mills Superfund Action

    A Minnesota federal judge on Friday certified a class of property owners who accuse General Mills Inc. of allowing carcinogens from a Superfund site to seep into a nearby Minneapolis neighborhood, saying the plaintiffs all sought the same remedy for same alleged damages.

  • February 27, 2015

    PG&E Can't Escape SF Fishermen's Toxic Waste Suit

    A California federal judge on Thursday denied Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s attempt to nix a commercial fishermen group's lawsuit accusing the utility of contaminating the San Francisco Bay and its environs with residual pollutants from former manufactured gas plants, finding that the complaint adequately pled the group's injury.

  • February 27, 2015

    Pom Ruling Shows Path For Health Ads To Pass FTC Muster

    The D.C. Circuit recently backed the Federal Trade Commission's findings that Pom Wonderful LLC used deceptive claims in advertising the health benefits of its products, setting a more explicit bar that advertisers will need to clear if they want to avoid regulatory backlash for making specific disease prevention claims.

  • February 26, 2015

    Target Hit With Class Action In Calif. Over Supplements

    A Target Corp. herbal supplement buyer slammed the retailer with a putative class action in California federal court Wednesday alleging it violated false advertising laws by selling store-branded Up & Up supplements like St. John's wort that contained no trace of the key ingredients listed on the labels.

  • February 26, 2015

    3 Deepwater Attys Disqualified Over Improper Referral Fees

    A Louisiana federal judge sanctioned three attorneys on Thursday for misconduct in connection with BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon settlement, disqualifying them from participating in the settlement program and referring their case to the court’s disciplinary committee.

  • February 26, 2015

    ConAgra Can't Trim Suit From Salmonella Outbreak MDL

    A Georgia federal judge on Thursday refused to toss a suit in multidistrict litigation over salmonella-contaminated peanut butter made by ConAgra Foods Inc., saying that the plaintiff had enough circumstantial evidence for a jury to conclude that the company’s peanut butter made her ill.

  • February 26, 2015

    AIG Unit Off Hook For Plane Worker's $6M Deal Over Lost Leg

    An American International Group Inc. unit doesn't have to defend or indemnify EVA Airways Corp. in a suit over a plane wheel's severing of an EVA employee's leg, a California federal judge ruled Thursday, saying the insurer's policy wasn't triggered because the case settled for $5.75 million — within another policy's limits.

Expert Analysis

  • Scanning The Post-Burlington Northern CERCLA Landscape

    John J. DiChello Jr.

    While there is no bright-line rule for determining the existence or absence of intent for purposes of arranger liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, several factors identified by circuit courts should serve as useful guideposts for businesses seeking to reduce their exposure to arranger liability, says John DiChello Jr. of Blank Rome LLP.

  • Fla. Exculpatory Clauses Enjoy Their Moment In The Sun

    Robert L. Rogers III

    The Supreme Court of Florida's ruling in Sanislo v. Give Kids the World Inc. is an important victory for purveyors of amusements, not-for-profit organizations and other businesses that require customers to sign releases or waivers. Sanislo suggests that such businesses will not be punished for failing to itemize the potential causes of action that might be asserted against them, says Robert Rogers III of Holland & Knight LLP.

  • Additional-Insured Concerns Surface In Deepwater Horizon

    Micah E. Skidmore

    The Texas Supreme Court's recent ruling in the matter of Deepwater Horizon will inevitably prompt more questions regarding the importance of “certificates of insurance” as well as how explicit a reference within an insurance policy must be or what nexus that reference must have with a coverage limitation before additional-insured status is circumscribed, says Micah Skidmore of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Sheldon Silver May Be Able To Beat This

    Edward J. Loya Jr.

    As difficult as the corruption case against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver might seem, a closer review suggests that Silver and his lawyers may have a shot at a successful defense — particularly in light of the fact that the government at this stage cannot present the testimony of a single witness who has pled guilty to participating in the alleged unlawful “schemes,” says Edward J. Loya Jr., counsel at Venab... (continued)

  • Emerging Trends In Corporate Sustainability Reporting

    Sara K. Orr

    Recently, a potential new legal trend has emerged in which plaintiffs are filing product liability and securities class actions against companies by invoking claims related to environmental, social and governance or sustainability statements. This development demonstrates the risks associated with issuing ESG statements as some consumers and investors will not hesitate to litigate their accuracy or materiality, say Sara Orr and Bar... (continued)

  • Plaintiffs Look Beyond Labels And Toward Product Testing

    James P. Muehlberger

    Food and nutraceutical companies are increasingly facing a new type of purported class action, one where plaintiffs arrive armed with results from alleged product testing. Knowing how to respond to a product testing claim is vital, particularly now with product testing websites and crowdfunded research, say James Muehlberger and Jeff Lingwall of Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP.

  • In-House Counsel's Dirty 'Little' Secret: Data Leakage

    Jennifer Topper

    Not every data breach is a massive headline-grabbing theft of consumer credit card information. As significant as these events may seem, the more dangerous and prevalent threats are the least visible — occurring through "data leakage." Put simply, this is raw meat awaiting a strike by the plaintiff’s bar, says legal industry adviser Jennifer Topper.

  • Get Ready For The 2nd Wave Of Food Labeling Litigation

    Ann P. Havelka

    Kumar v. Salov North America Corp. is an example of the second wave of food labeling litigation. Now, companies should also be aware that their products could be independently tested for compliance with all labeling claims and regulatory standards — even small deviations may be the basis for a lawsuit and courts may not require a plaintiff’s purchase be tested, say Ann Havelka and Jeff Lingwall of Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP.

  • What Pom Wonderful V. FTC Means For Class Actions

    Michelle Gillette

    After the D.C. Circuit's ruling in Pom Wonderful LLC v. Federal Trade Commission, the fact that a company has medical studies but not a randomized controlled trial to support its health claims does not mean that class action plaintiffs automatically prevail on allegations of false advertising. However, just as the lack of a RCT is not itself a fatal blow, companies should not view a supportive RCT as a “get-out-of-litigation-free” ... (continued)

  • Takeaways From NY's Dietary Supplement Investigation

    Matthew J. Kelly Jr.

    Two takeaways from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's recent investigation into retail dietary supplements are that there is a danger unproven science can be used to attack a company's stores and public image and that retailers should keep track of their suppliers, which includes making sure testing records called for in any sales contract are current, say attorneys at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP.