crash site
The crash site near Mason City, Iowa

In the early morning of February 3, 1959, a Beech Bonanza carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) crashed shortly after takeoff from the Mason City, Iowa airport, killing all on board. The accident entered aviation history and American popular culture.

In early 1959 Buddy Holly’s band was playing a “Winter Dance Tour” across the wintry upper Midwest. The travel logistics were less than ideal, involving long drives in an-ill equipped bus, in sub-freezing and sometimes sub-zero temperatures. Holly and Richardson were both ill, and Holly decided to charter a flight to the band’s next stop in Moorhead, Minnesota to avoid another lengthy road trip after playing the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on the night of February 2.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The Night the Music Died

Product Liability Monitor

February 8, 2017
New Developments
Autonomous Vehicle Technology Regulation In the Trump Administration
By Eric B. Krauss

Last autumn President Obama revealed his administration’s plan for autonomous driving technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) published fifteen guidelines in September, 2016, that were almost widely lauded as striking the right balance between safety and technological progress.   Consumer, automotive and technology interests—with the notable exception of Apple—seemed pleased that the government espoused policies that did not overregulate and stifle innovation, yet provided enough potential federal oversight to prevent a state law quagmire. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recognized that the emerging technology faced tremendous burdens, and federal guidelines would bring some uniformity to the fifty states’ differing regulations. Support for the Obama administration guidelines was near-universal and cost to the industry was minimal. [Continue Reading]

Defective and Dangerous Spacecraft
By Alan Hoffman

On January 27, 1967, the Apollo 1 spacecraft burst into flames during a ground test at Cape Canaveral. Three astronauts—Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee—died in the conflagration.  The fire and the loss of the astronauts traumatized NASA, which had a six year record of spaceflight without loss of life. [Continue Reading]

Product Liability Defense: New Resources and the Changing Platform
By Dan Jaffe

At many law firms and companies information technology is the moving force changing and enhancing the resource platform supporting product liability defense efforts. These rapidly improving technologies can reduce costs while increasing the amount and quality of available information needed to support the liability defense of products. Automated systems allow lawyers’ tasks to be performed with greater efficiency. Law practice is similar in this respect to other service businesses in which information technology has had a profound impact on workplace organization as well as the type and amount of skilled labor needed to accomplish the enterprise’s goals and objectives. [Continue Reading]

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Product Liability Practice
Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]
Product Liability Monitor Archive
December 2016

The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has taken two unrelated sanctions actions against Iran over the past several days:

SDN Designations in Response to Ballistic Missiles Tests

world health globeEffective February 3, 2017, OFAC imposed sanctions against 13 individuals and 12 entities with ties to Iran’s ballistic missile program. OFAC added these individuals and entities to its list of Specially Designated Nationals (the “SDN list”) freezing all  of their assets held in the U.S. and prohibiting persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in trade with the sanctioned individuals and entities. These sanctions also apply to non-U.S. persons on a secondary basis. In a press release, OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith stated “Iran’s continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States” and also added “We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior.”

Continue Reading OFAC Sanctions Iran Missile Program Supporters and Imposes New Medical Device Licensing Requirements

Treasury DepartmentAs previously reported here, former President Obama in December 2016 issued an amendment to Executive Order (“EO”) 13694, which imposed sanctions on the Russian Federal Security Service (a.k.a Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti and/or FSB) (“FSB”), other Russian entities and officers of those entities. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) also placed FSB and those entities and individuals on its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN List”).  These sanctions prohibited persons subject to US jurisdiction from transacting business with the FSB and the other entities and individuals named in EO 13694 and the SDN List designations.

Continue Reading OFAC Issues General License Authorizing Limited Interactions With Russia’s FSB

Shanghai ChinaThe newly passed Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China will take effect in June 2017, and it is expected to have a significant impact on multinationals doing business in mainland China. The law affects both domestic and foreign companies operating on the Chinese mainland and covers a wide range of activities including the use of the internet, information and communications technologies, personal data, national security and more.

The difficulties with determining the steps needed to comply with such sweeping changes are only complicated by the fact that a large number of key terms in the law have yet to be clearly defined. As a result, China’s new Cybersecurity Law will continue to evolve as the national government interprets it.

Here are some key provisions to follow in the coming months.

Continue Reading Costs and Unanswered Questions of China’s New Cybersecurity Regime

chemical factoryOn January 13, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its much anticipated proposed reset to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory in the Federal Register. The new TSCA amendments require EPA to subdivide the existing inventory into lists of active and inactive substances. The proposed rule sets out reporting and procedural requirements for chemical manufacturers and processors to notify the Agency which chemicals should be considered active.

The proposal requires “retrospective” notification for substances listed on the TSCA Inventory that were manufactured in or imported into the US for non-exempt business purposes between June 21, 2006 and June 21, 2016. Properly notified substances would be designated by EPA as active. Substances on the inventory that do not receive a valid notice will be designated as inactive. Inactive substances may not be manufactured, imported, or processed for a non-exempt commercial purpose under TSCA. EPA is also proposing “forward-looking” procedures for converting inactive substances to active substances in the event a company intends to resume manufacture, import, or processing of an inactive substance.

Continue Reading EPA Proposes Process for Manufacturers to Keep Chemicals in Commerce

airplane jetOn May 31, 2014, a Gulfstream IV executive jet overran the runway at Hanscom Airport in suburban Boston from which it had attempted to takeoff. It hurtled into a ravine off the end of the runway, crashed and burst into flames. The three crew members and four passengers all perished in the resulting fireball. The accident received widespread media attention because the passengers included Lewis Katz, a wealthy businessman, philanthropist and co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was returning with his guests from an education fundraising event hosted by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Continue Reading Air Safety: Free and Correct?: The Lesson of the Bedford Incident

globeIn the last few days of his Administration, President Obama and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) took actions that, on at least a temporary basis, will authorize financial transactions with and most exports of goods and services to Sudan and the Sudanese Government. These actions take effect on Tuesday, January 17, but any U.S. persons seeking to trade with Sudan under the expanded authorizations should be aware that these new authorizations are subject to various conditions and could be revoked or modified based on future actions by the Government of Sudan and/or President-Elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration.

Continue Reading OFAC Eases Sanctions on Sudan

shipping containersFollowing the recent release of a joint analysis report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and sanctions issued by the Obama Administration on December 29, 2016 (as previously reported here), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by adding five (5) Russian entities to the Entity List.  The entities identified below have been determined to have been involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States:

Continue Reading Commerce Targets Russian Hackers with Additions to Entity List

taxAs party goers rang in 2017 this past holiday weekend, owners of Bitcoins had additional reason to celebrate as the value of the digital currency soared past $1,000 USD on Monday. The surge in Bitcoin price, up from just $200 USD in January 2015, may provide additional fodder for the IRS, who has its crosshairs set on Bitcoin users who do not properly report their income related to the buying, selling, and/or exchanging of the digital currency.

Continue Reading Bitcoin Value Surpasses $1,000: A Two-Sided Coin for Users