Product Liability Monitor

May 10, 2017
New Developments
Discovery Sanctions Sanctioned
By Alan Hoffman

On April 18, 2017 the United States Supreme Court did something unusual: it decided a discovery issue. In Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger (2017), it reversed a $2.7 million sanctions order for bad faith discovery misconduct. And in Sec. Nat’l Bank of Sioux City v. Day, 800 F.3d 936 (8th Cir., 2015), another recent high profile discovery case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a sanctions order requiring a lawyer to write and produce a training film on deposition conduct as a punishment for “obstructive deposition practices.” Each of these decisions held that the sanctions exceeded the court’s inherent authority. [Continue Reading]

Tesla Autopilot Goes to Court
By Mark Pratzel

Tesla is facing its first U.S. product liability litigation challenging its Autopilot autonomous vehicle (AV) technology in a putative class action filed in Federal Court in San Jose, California. The three named plaintiffs are owners of Tesla Model S cars in Colorado, Florida, and New Jersey, who paid between $81,200 and $113,200 for their vehicles, including a $5,000 premium for Tesla’s “Enhanced Autopilot” 2.0 AV software. Each plaintiff claims that both the Autopilot “Standard Safety Features” and Enhanced Autopilot features were non-functional at delivery and remained so when suit was filed. The plaintiffs claim that Tesla sold 47,000 vehicles with “dangerously defective” software, at least half of which were supposed to have Enhanced Autopilot. They refer to it derisively as “vaporware,” which they define as “computer software that is advertised but still nonexistent.” [Continue Reading]

“Innocent Seller” Statutes: More Warnings, Less Protection
By Dan Jaffe

In Davis v. Dunham’s Athleisure Corp. (E.D. Mo., 2017), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently ruled that a firearms retailer was not entitled to the protection of Missouri’s “innocent seller” statute because it gave additional warnings and directions to the buyer beyond the manufacturer’s warnings. In Davis, the plaintiff bought a used rifle from the defendant retailer, Dunham’s Athleisure Corporation. The rifle was sold to Dunham’s by Century International Arms, Inc.  Plaintiff was injured when the rifle exploded. Dunham’s moved for dismissal under the Missouri “innocent seller” statute, §537.762.1, RSMo. [Continue Reading]

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
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
April 2017

ipadI recently conducted a deposition from my office, while opposing counsel (and a court reporter) were at the opposing counsel’s offices across town, and our witness was at a third location in Louisiana – all via iPad!

We used the VidyoMobile app, which brings high-quality video conferencing to popular devices such as your iPad or smartphone. It was very easy to use – I just downloaded the app, got a link, and logged in. I could see all the parties at once (on a split screen) and no one had to travel.

The app allows for secure sharing and recording of documents, which makes it simple for court reporting and sharing sensitive information. Some court reporting services have already moved entirely to using the Vidyo-as-a-Service platform, which integrates with the VidyoMobile app.

Use of the app is predicated on having a Vidyo account, so one of the parties in your deposition (either your firm, opposing counsel, or selected court reporting service) will need to have one, but if you are looking for a fast and travel-free solution, you should definitely check it out. Download the app: iOS or Android

Toxic Tort Monitor

May 2, 2016
New Developments
Northern District of Illinois Decision on Take-Home Exposure Liability has Limited Application
By Lindsay McClure-Hartman

The Northern District of Illinois in Neumann v. Borg-Warner Morse Tec LLC, No. 15-C-10507, 2016 WL 930662 (N.D. Ill. March 10, 2016), recently granted a motion to dismiss on the basis that a product manufacturer does not owe a duty to a plaintiff in a take-home exposure case. [Continue Reading]

Timing is Everything: Defendant Union Carbide’s Statute of Limitations Argument Rejected in Cook County Asbestos Case
By Jenna Marie Stupar

On February 18, 2016, a Cook County trial court denied Defendant Union Carbide Corporation’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Contreras v. Georgia Pacific et al. (No 13 L 6487). The court held that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to when the Statute of Limitations began to run and refused to grant the motion. [Continue Reading]

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That Appointment of a Registered Agent Alone is Insufficient For Exercise of General Jurisdiction of a Foreign Corporation
By Jen Dlugosz

On April 18, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court held that registration of a corporation under the Delaware registration statutes does not subject a corporation to personal jurisdiction for any cause of action in the state. [Continue Reading]

April 2016 Asbestos Verdicts Summary
By Jen Dlugosz

[Read the Verdicts Summary]

Editor of the Month
Managing the day-to-day toxic tort litigation for several manufacturing Lindsay McClure-Hartmanclients, Lindsay McClure-Hartman specializes in defending asbestos exposure claims against premises owners and solvent exposure claims against petrochemical manufacturers. She routinely deposes exposure witnesses, develops trial strategies and tactics and advises clients regarding dose, causation and medical diagnosis issues. As part of this practice, Lindsay advises clients on minimizing litigation spend and risk in some of the most dangerous venues for corporate defendants, including California, Illinois, Missouri, New York and West Virginia.
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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Asbestos Practice
Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]
Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
April 2016

SubpoenaHusch Blackwell Partner Edward Manzo, of the firm’s Technology, Manufacturing and Transportation group, recently obtained one of the first approved subpoenas by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to take third-party testimony in a patent trial (Luv N’ Care Ltd. V Munchkin, Inc.).

“It’s very rare for the PTAB to allow any third-party discovery. By statute, the Board has to deliver its Final Decision within one year, and it reserves the last three months for writing its opinion, leaving only nine months from institution to final oral argument. This is a very fast track administrative trial of patent validity,” Manzo said. “Because of this mandated speed, there’s virtually no discovery, no interrogatories, no requests to produce, etc. You get to take the deposition of your opponent’s testifying expert, and that’s about it. Otherwise, you couldn’t finish in the required one year. In this particular case, the Board allowed us to take a very focused deposition of a third party.”

Manzo is part of the firm’s Patents team. See the full report as published in the Federal Circuit Bar Association.