Air Safety: The December 7, 1941 Air Defense of Pearl Harbor

1941 US Army Air Force Lieutenants

U.S. Army Air Force Lieutenants Harry Brown, Phillip Rasmussen, Ken Taylor, George Welch and Lewis Sanders

On December 7, 1941 most of the Army’s aircraft in Hawaii were neatly lined up at Hickam and Wheeler Fields, and were destroyed on the ground. But a few P-40 and P-36 fighters stationed at outlying airstrips on Oahu escaped. A number of Army pilots, some sleeping off a Saturday night of carousing, were awakened by the attack, hastily made their way to these primitive fields, and took off to undertake the air defense of Pearl Harbor that morning.

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New Slip, Trip and Fall OSHA Rule

work incidentToday, OSHA published a new final rule on slip, trip and fall hazardsin general industry. The rule, which runs a stunning 518 pages in the Federal Register, is titled “Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems).” The final rule takes effect January 17, 2017, ending a long-running rulemaking that last involved a proposed rule in 2010 and comments and hearing through 2011. By OSHA’s estimate, the rule will cover “112 million workers at seven million worksites.” Continue Reading

$20 Fishbowl = $4.5M Penalty: CPSC Civil Penalties Continue

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) continues to seek significant civil penalties from companies that fail to “immediately” report potential product safety problems in fishbowl1_0a timely fashion. The newest installment in this trend occurred when CPSC announced a $4.5 million civil penalty against PetSmart. CPSC stated that, between 2011 and 2014, “PetSmart received at least 19 reports of fish bowls cracking, breaking, or shattering during normal use, resulting in serious injuries to consumers in at least 12 cases.” However, CPSC went on to say that the company failed to “immediately notify CPSC of the defect or risk posed by the fish bowls.”  Moreover, CPSC claims that the company “failed to identify the correct amount and distribution dates of the fish bowls” during the initial recall of the product.

Under Federal law, once a reporting requirement arises under the Consumer Product Safety Act, it must be reported to CPSC “immediately” or within 24 hours of discovery.

The product originally sold in stores for approximately $20.

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Gun-Control Ballot Initiatives

Gun controlThree of the four states to consider tightening their gun-control laws pass new initiatives on Tuesday. Gun-control was on the ballot in Washington, Maine, Nevada, and California.

In California, which already has some of the nation’s most stringent gun laws, voters approved a measure that will outlaw possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, require permits to buy ammunition, and extend California’s program that allows authorities to seize firearms from owners who bought guns legally but are no longer allowed to own them. The gun-control measure, pushed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, was approved by 62 percent of voters as of Wednesday morning. The full text of the measure can be found here. Continue Reading

Recent Federal Circuit Decision Changes Landscape as to How Software Patents Are Examined

Patent GavelThe U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice decision changed the landscape as to how software patents specifically are examined, but the Alice decision also has had broader implications for other technology art areas. 35 U.S.C. Section 101 – Patentable Subject Matter Rejections – have historically been unheard of, but after the Alice decision, Section 101 rejections are commonplace. Also, Alice has been used to invalidate many already issued computer and software patents for claiming abstract ideas, but recent Federal Circuit decisions have given patent owners and those prosecuting patent applications ways to make counter arguments. The pendulum appears to be at least beginning to swing in the opposite direction with three separate Federal Circuit decisions this year that appear to highlight what the court views as making computer related technologies patent eligible.

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Air Safety: The Fate of EgyptAir Flight 804

airplaneOn May 19, 2016 at 9:09 p.m. local time (23:09 UMT)[1] EgyptAir Flight MS 804, an Airbus A320, departed Paris bound for Cairo carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew. Its scheduled arrival time was 01:15 UMT.  At 23:24 UMT the aircraft entered Greek airspace. Air traffic controllers last spoke with the pilot, who reported no problems, at 23:48 UMT.  At 00:26 UMT data reported by the ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) satellite communications system indicated smoke in the forward lavatory. One minute later, at 00:27 UMT, ACARS reported smoke in the avionics bay below the cockpit and a fault in the right side cockpit window. At the same time air traffic controllers attempted to contact the aircraft, but despite repeated efforts no response was received. The aircraft disappeared from radar at 00:29.

Radar returns indicated that the aircraft first deviated 90 degrees to the left of its flightpath, then made a full 360 degree circle to the right, while descending from 38,000 feet to 10,000 feet of altitude before disappearing at 00:30 UMT, approximately 175 miles north of the Egyptian Mediterranean coast.

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Product Liability Monitor – November 8, 2016

Product Liability Monitor

November 8, 2016
New Developments
Does Talc Cause Cancer? Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom
By Alan Hoffman

This year juries returned verdicts totaling nearly $200 million in three Missouri cases claiming that ovarian cancers is caused by using talcum powder products. By contrast, in September a New Jersey Superior Court excluded expert opinions offered to support such claims and granted defense motions for summary judgment in two pending cases. What scientific evidence is there concerning the causal connection, or lack of it, between talc use and ovarian cancer? [Continue Reading]

Autonomous Vehicles and Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
By Eric B. Krauss

The Three Laws of Robotics are not laws in the traditional sense. They are neither rules passed by a community to regulate its members nor scientific facts proven by observation to govern natural phenomena, but rather a work of literature, devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov. These “laws” reflect common-sense maxims for human relationships: that people should not harm others; that they should obey the standards of their communities; and that people should not engage in self-destructive behavior.  The difference between humans and computers is that humans have free will, while computer behavior is governed by software and programming devised by humans.[Continue Reading]

Court Dismisses the Sandy Hook Shooting Suit
By Dan Jaffe

On October 14, 2016 Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed the Sandy Hook shooting victims’ suit against Remington Arms Company and Bushmaster Firearms International. Judge Bellis held that the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901, et seq. (PLCAA), and did not fall within any exception to immunity from liability set forth in the PLCAA. [Continue Reading]

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Product Liability Monitor Archive
October 2016

New Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Process Provides Duty Savings Opportunities for Importers

Shipping Containers

The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) offers importers the opportunity to eliminate or reduce duties assessed on imported raw materials and intermediate products that are not produced in the United States or are unavailable domestically. The MTB’s goal is to aid U.S. manufacturers by reducing duties on inputs (raw materials, parts, etc.), thereby cutting domestic production costs and increasing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers. However, MTB duty benefits have also been granted to imported finished goods. For example, the last MTB granted duty benefits to certain shopping bags, basketballs and sports footwear. Duty savings for U.S. manufacturers under the MTB are anticipated to exceed $700 million annually. Interested importers should not miss the December 12, 2016, deadline to take advantage of these cost savings opportunities.

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After the Love Has Gone: Anticipating Data Issues in Your Contract Process

swing sunset loveAny agreement between two parties begins with the rosy optimism that the good times will last forever. In the world of technology licensing and development, however, we know this is rarely the case. While this blog has previously considered data security oversight by the board of directors of the company, it is also important for a company’s legal and procurement teams to establish a plan for the security, use, and transition of its data throughout the contracting process. These issues are particularly important in highly regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services.

While there are many types of data issues that a company may need to address in any contract negotiation, our team has found that the following issues require consideration in nearly every technology licensing and development agreement.

Read the full list on our Byte Back blog.

OSHA Issues Recommendations For Employer Safety and Health Programs

work incidentLast week, OSHA published its new “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs,” which advises employers to establish comprehensive internal safety and health programs and provides extensive guidelines and resources for doing so. In releasing the updated recommendations, OSHA argues that employers adopting such programs could reduce injuries and illnesses and promote sustainability.

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