Missouri State Law Legal System ConceptMissouri House Speaker Todd Richardson and Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr worked together to lead discussion in the Missouri House surrounding the House Bill on tort reform (HB460). The unusual move brought the caucus in line, leading the House to adopt an amended version of the bill. Passed by a margin of 100-54, the bill now moves to the Missouri Senate where the process will begin again with senate committee hearings and floor debate.

For more information on Missouri legal updates, contact Jay Atkins or Lowell Pearson.

MissouriThe Supreme Court of Missouri recently issued an important decision in Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Dolan, holding that Missouri did not have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state corporation registered to do business in Missouri that was conducting “substantial and continuous” business in Missouri, where an alleged injury to a resident of another state arose due to conduct outside of Missouri.

Continue Reading Missouri Supreme Court Limits Personal Jurisdiction

 

Product Liability Monitor

March 9, 2017
New Developments
Missouri Products Law: Are The Times A-Changin’?
By Joe Guffey

Missouri, the home of Mark Twain and Harry S Truman, has in recent years become one of the most deeply red states politically. Yet it has also acquired a reputation as of one of the most plaintiff friendly forums nationally, thanks to its substantive law and to juries in the City of St. Louis (dubbed the Number 1 “Judicial Hellhole” by the defense-oriented American Tort Reform Association for 2017).

Some of that may be about to change following the 2016 election of Republican former Navy Seal Eric Greitens as Governor and heavy Republican majorities in the Missouri House and Senate. Several bills are now pending in the Legislature which could bring about significant changes in Missouri product liability law and practice. [Continue Reading]

Immunity for Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturers?
By Mark Pratzel

As autonomous automobile vehicle (AV) technology develops new legal issues and challenges continue to appear. An issue that has led to much debate is the potential impact of lawsuits, which some contend could hamper the growth of AV technology. [Continue Reading]

What is an Adequate Warning? Criteria and Application
By Dan Jaffe

Many courts have stated criteria for determining the adequacy of product safety warnings. The Tennessee Supreme Court established a particularly useful 5-part test in Pittman v Upjohn Co., 890 S.W.2d 425, 429 (Tenn. 1994).  As recently re-stated by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [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
February 2017

environment chemicalsOn August 30, 2016, after two years of rulemaking, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the agency that administers California’s Proposition 65, adopted amendments to the Proposition 65 regulations that govern the “safe harbor” language deemed to be “clear and reasonable” and thus Proposition 65-compliant. The new standards provide consumers with more detailed information regarding potential chemical exposures.  The new standards go into effect August 30, 2018.  Until the effective date, warnings may use either the current warning language under existing 2008 regulations or the new warning language.  Products manufactured prior to the effective date will not be subject to the new requirements, and warnings set forth in court-ordered settlements or consent judgments prior to the effective date will continue to be deemed “clear and reasonable” for the exposures covered by those judgments.

Continue Reading Changes to California’s Proposition 65 Warning Requirements

toxictortIn November 2015, the Madison County Circuit Court denied a motion by Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) to dismiss an asbestos case for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court found that Ford’s “substantial” business activities in the State of Illinois were such that it was at home in the state and subject to the court’s jurisdiction. Jeffs v. Anco Insulations, Inc. et al., No. 15-L-533 (Cir. Ct. Mad. Co. 2015). In February, the Fifth District Appellate Court issued an order denying Ford’s petition for leave to appeal the Circuit Court’s decision pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 306. A few months later, the Illinois Supreme Court granted Ford’s motion for a supervisory order with the Illinois Supreme Court under Rule 383, and ordered the Fifth District to hear the appeal. On December 14, the Fifth District heard oral arguments in the appeal of the Madison County Circuit Court’s decision in Jeffs v. Ford Motor Co., Case No. 5-15-0529. The panel during oral argument included Justice Richard Goldenhersh, Justice James Moore, and Justice Thomas Welch.

Continue Reading Fifth District Hears Oral Argument on Ford Motor Company’s Appeal of Personal Jurisdiction Ruling

Product Liability Monitor

December 13, 2016
New Developments
Auto Manufacturers Partner with Nauto to Improve Driverless Car Technology
By Shannon Peters

One of the main obstacles to the autonomous vehicle industry is “infrastructure,” but not in the sense typically associated with the term. Since autonomous vehicles come in all shapes, sizes, and powertrain types (gasoline, electric, and hybrid), and a wide range of degree of automation, the key infrastructure issue is not with the roads or the need for a worldwide network of guidance wires, rails, or charging stations, but ensuring the safe integration of autonomous vehicles into the world of human drivers.  Enter “Nauto.” [Continue Reading]

Confidentiality and the Public Interest
By Dan Jaffe

Public Justice, a public interest advocacy organization, recently posted over one million pages of Remington Arms Company internal documents on a publically available searchable online database. These documents concern the “Walker” trigger mechanism of the Remington Model 700 rifle, which has been the subject of more than 100 lawsuits, and is allegedly implicated in at least 24 deaths. [Continue Reading]

What is an Adequate Warning?
By Alan Hoffman

In Miasa Barron, et al. v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., the Missouri Court of Appeals recently affirmed a verdict by a St. Louis jury awarding $15 million in compensatory damages and $23 million punitive damages for birth defects caused by the antiepileptic drug Depakote.  While there were other issues, the central liability question was whether Abbott adequately warned about the dangers of birth defects from using Depakote during pregnancy. [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
November 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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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
October 2016

booksIn counseling employers on how to implement the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Act, we have noticed many employers have overlooked two important requirements—one of which easily can be audited without the employer even knowing.

Notice Posting

First, Illinois employers must post the English version of this notice in a conspicuous location on their premises, along with the Spanish version if they employ Spanish-speaking employees.

Handbook Language

Second, and importantly, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) has made clear that under this new law, Illinois employers who maintain an employee handbook must include information regarding employees’ pregnancy rights in their employee handbook. While neither the Act nor the IDHR specifies what language must be included in employee handbooks, we recommend including the following language:

Pregnancy Rights

Employees who are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or have a medical or common condition related to pregnancy have the right to:

  • Request a reasonable accommodation for their pregnancy, such as more frequent bathroom breaks, assistance with heavy work, a private space for expressing milk, or time off to recover from their pregnancy;
  • Reject an accommodation offered by the Company for their pregnancy that they do not desire; and
  • Continue working during their pregnancy if a reasonable accommodation is available that would allow them to continue performing their job.

The Company will not discriminate against employees because of their pregnancy and will not retaliate against employees because they requested a reasonable accommodation. The Company will not fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to provide employees with reasonable accommodations because of their pregnancy.

For more information on pregnancy-related rights, visit www.illinois.gov/dhr.

Contact us

For more information on how this Illinois law affects your organization, contact Sonni Nolan or Kayt Kopen or another member of Husch Blackwell’s Labor & Employment group.

 

droneBoth the House of Representatives and the Senate have now voted to pass, and the President has now signed, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016 (the “Act”).  The Act, which averts a shutdown of the FAA, funds the agency through September 30, 2017.  Importantly, the Act contains a number of provisions related to unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), including FAA requirements to:

  • Publish guidance regarding the application for, and expedited approval of, exemptions or certificates of authorization or waiver for the use of UAS by civil or public operators in response to emergencies;
  • Continue developing a research plan for the deployment of a traffic management system for UAS;
  • Establish a pilot program for airspace hazard mitigation at airports and other critical infrastructure using UAS detection systems; and
  • Develop a program, in coordination with NASA, to test and model the collision of UAS with various sized aircraft in a number of operational settings.

Click here for more information regarding Husch Blackwell’s UAS team or contact Tom Gemmell, or David Agee.

Product Liability Monitor

June 7, 2016
New Developments
Driverless Cars and the Law
By Mark Pratzel

As driverless car technology evolves, questions continue to arise regarding its legal repercussions. Google, one of the leading forces behind autonomous cars, predicts that they will be available to the public by 2020.  Nissan and Tesla are also developing self-driven car technology.  And consumers support the new technology.  A recent Pew Research Center study indicated that nearly half of Americans would ride in a driverless car. [Continue Reading]

The Sandy Hook Firearm Litigation
By Joe Guffey

On the morning of December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle modeled on the military M-16, which he used to kill 26 persons and wound others. The shootings received extensive nationwide media coverage. [Continue Reading]

Federal Preemption of Aircraft Design Defect Claims
By Alan Hoffman

In Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp., 45 F.Supp.3d 431 (M.D. Pa. 2014), a wrongful death suit arising from the crash of a Cessna 172 claiming defects in the carburetor of its Lycoming engine and the related manuals and instructions, the plaintiff alleged that Lycoming violated various design requirements for the engine type certificate, and failed to report failures, malfunctions or defects as required by the Federal Air Regulations. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Alan Hoffman concentrates his practice in the Alan Hoffman areas of product liability, tort and business litigation with the firm’s St. Louis office. He handles a wide variety of product liability and personal injury litigation, including chemical and toxic tort; premises liability; firearms and ammunition; maritime; aviation; and rail cases. He has defended chemical manufacturing clients in exposure and product liability cases. Alan also has been an active pilot for more than 40 years and has a unique knowledge of aviation law.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
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]