Product Liability Monitor

June 9, 2017
New Developments
Lung Cancer Without Asbestosis? The Effects of Smoking
By Mark Zellmer

In the medical and scientific literature, a finding of asbestosis is clear evidence that asbestos at least contributed to cause a person’s lung cancer. Many medical experts regard a finding of asbestosis as essential to any finding that asbestos caused any lung cancer. Other experts look for sufficient exposure to cause asbestosis, even if not evident from radiology or pathology. Still others take a position contrary to both views. [Continue Reading]

Defend Trade Secrets Act: Protecting Product Manufacturers and Sellers’ Confidential Information
By Dan Jaffe

Manufacturers and sellers of products can use the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) to effectively protect their trade secrets. The DTSA was enacted on May 11, 2016, extending the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. §§ 1831, et seq.). DTSA creates a federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation whereby “[a]n owner of a trade secret that is misappropriated may bring a civil action . . . if the trade secret is related to a product or service used in or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.” [Continue Reading]

Protective Orders in Product Cases
By Alan Hoffman

Discovery in product liability cases often involves inquiry into and disclosure of a firm’s confidential internal product information and documents not available to competitors or the public that it has a legitimate interest in protecting. Plaintiffs frequently serve broad brush stroke discovery in an effort to avoid in missing documents, information and witnesses that might prove relevant to prosecuting their claims. Defense counsel must act quickly and effectively to defend their clients’ valid interests, and seek to limit the scope of discovery as much as possible to avoid costly and burdensome discovery disruptive to their clients’ normal course of business. [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
May 2017

 

Product Liability Monitor

April 10, 2017
New Developments
I Like It, But Do I Trust It? Drivers Weigh In on Autonomous Vehicle Technology
By Shannon Peters

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recently released the results of a survey of American drivers which yielded an interesting conclusion:  Americans want autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies in their next vehicle, but they are not sold on fully self-driving cars.The AAA survey indicates that 75 percent of Americans would be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, and more than half would feel less safe sharing the roads with a self-driving car. Not surprisingly, younger generations are slightly less afraid of this developing technology than their older counterparts. [Continue Reading]

Walking the Lone Pine Trail
By Alan Hoffman

Lone Pine orders take their name from Lore v. Lone Pine Corp. They are most often entered in toxic tort litigation, requiring plaintiffs to provide some prima facie evidence to support causation or other claims based on expert opinion. Typically, such orders call for expert affidavits or other evidence supporting a claimed connection between the plaintiff’s condition and defendants’ products. [Continue Reading]

Due Process Limits on Personal Jurisdiction
By Dan Jaffe

In recent years the United States Supreme Court has strengthened the due process protections for defendants against suits in states with which they have no meaningful contacts. In J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. NiCastro, the plaintiff sued the British manufacturer of a metal-shearing machine in New Jersey, where he was injured. The defendant neither marketed nor sold its products in that State. It sold its machines nationwide through an independent U.S. distributor, but defendant’s representatives were never present in New Jersey. In any event, no more than four of its machines ended up in New Jersey. The Court held that exercise of judicial power over a defendant is unlawful unless the defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State. [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
March 2017

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

October 7, 2016
New Developments
The Duty to Warn in New York
By Dan Jaffe

New York’s highest court recently held in two asbestos cases (Dummit v. A. W. Chesterton and Suttner v. A. W. Chesterton) that a manufacturer of valves had a duty to warn of the hazards arising from the use of its valves with asbestos-bearing gaskets and packing materials which it neither manufactured nor distributed. Both cases involved valves manufactured by Crane Company. Crane’s valves did not contain asbestos or other hazardous materials, but they could not practically function in a high-pressure, high-heat environment without asbestos-containing gaskets, insulation and packing. [Continue Reading]

Federal Guidelines for Autonomous Vehicles
By Mark Pratzel

On September 20, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) issued the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, first Federal policy on automated vehicles. Focused on “highly automated vehicles” (HAV), the guidelines show that the Federal government sees automated car technology as a safer alternative to cars driven by humans. “We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and exhausting,” said Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic Council, noting that automated vehicles “will save time, money and lives.” [Continue Reading]

What Is A Reasonable Alternative Design?
By Alan Hoffman

At the heart of the concept of defective product design embodied in the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Product Liability is the availability of a reasonable alternative design which could have reduced or avoided a risk of harm. However, a product may be defective, even if no reasonable alternative design exists, if it fails to provide reasonable instructions or warnings of a foreseeable risk of harm. A recent decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court illustrates the application of these principles. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Mark Pratzel Mark Pratzeldefends clients in matters involving construction, toxic tort, product liability, premises liability and personal injury law. Representing clients in the manufacturing, technology and chemical industries, he concentrates his practice in cases alleging industrial explosions and exposure to asbestos. Mark also represents a variety of corporate clients in a broad range of litigation matters involving contracts, regulatory issues and product literature.
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]
Product Liability Monitor Archive
September 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

October 5, 2016
New Developments
Illinois Supreme Court finds Six Person Jury Demand Unconstitutional
By Jen Dlugosz

On June 1, 2015, Public Act 1132 (the “Act”) became effective. The Act reduced the size of civil juries in Illinois to 6 persons from 12 persons, thus litigants demanding a jury after June 1, 2015 could no longer demand a 12-person jury. The Act also increased the amount paid per day to jurors. Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court found the Act unconstitutional. [Continue Reading]

Arizona Court of Appeals Rejects Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Claim
By David Dean

An Arizona court of appeals recently held that no duty was owed to a family member who contracted mesothelioma due to alleged take-home exposure. In Quiroz v. Alcoa, Inc., et al., No. 1 CA-CV 15-0083 (2016), the Arizona Court of Appeals was asked to decide whether an employer owes a duty of care to the family member of an employee who contracts mesothelioma due to asbestos brought home on the employee’s work clothing. Noting that the question was a matter of first impression in Arizona, the Court held that no duty was owed, and affirmed summary judgment for the employer. [Continue Reading]

Third Circuit Finds Corporate Defendants in Asbestos Lawsuit Waived Personal Jurisdiction Defense
By Jenna Marie Stupar

On August 18, the Third Circuit reversed a ruling in the District Court of Pennsylvania that dismissed an asbestos suit against corporate defendants the Matson Navigation Company, Inc. (“Matson”) and American President Line, Ltd. (“American”) for lack of personal jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Upcoming Events
DRI – Asbestos Medicine
November 10-11, 2016
New Orleans, LA

Mark Zellmer will be speaking at this DRI seminar; we hope to see you there!

Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
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
September 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

September 2, 2016
New Developments
Toward a Defense of Mesothelioma Cases on Causation: Low Doses and Genetics
By Mark Zellmer

Today’s defendants in asbestos litigation often face plaintiffs’ claims that they have contracted mesothelioma from exposure to low or even doubtful doses of asbestos. If the mesothelioma looks to be spontaneous (idiopathic) or the result of an exposure so low that it will not cause the disease or the mesothelioma, genetics may provide the alternate explanation to satisfy the jury about why plaintiff or decedent has mesothelioma. [Continue Reading]

California Supreme Court Exercises Personal Jurisdiction Over Pharmaceutical Manufacturer
By Jen Dlugosz

This week the California Supreme Court ruled that Bristol-Myers Squibb (“BMS”) is subject to personal jurisdiction of the California courts on the basis of specific jurisdiction. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court (Anderson), S221038, slip op. (Cal. Aug. 29, 2016).  This decision upheld the Court of Appeals decision that found that BMS’s activities in California were “insufficient to subject it to general jurisdiction in the state but that, given the nature of the action and BMS’s activities in California,” California courts may properly exercise specific personal jurisdiction over BMS in this matter. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Mark Zellmer is a Mark ZellmerHusch Blackwell partner and handles asbestos litigation throughout the nation and acts as national counsel for various firm clients. Over the last several years, he has concentrated much of his litigation work, publishing and speaking on the subjects of the causation and epidemiology of mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. He has published and spoken extensively on the asbestos litigation, including concepts of asbestos medicine, the interplay of workers’ compensation and asbestos litigation in civil courts, application of OSHA to asbestos litigation and numerous other topics.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
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]
Upcoming Events
DRI – Asbestos Medicine
November 10-11, 2016
New Orleans, LA

Mark Zellmer will be speaking at this DRI seminar; we hope to see you there!

Toxic Tort Monitor

August 3, 2016
New Developments
Northern District of Illinois Denies Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration in Take-Home Exposure Case
By Jen Dlugosz

In May 2016, we reported the Northern District of Illinois’ decision in Neumann v. Borg-Warner Morse Tec LLC, No. 15-C-10507, 2016 WL 930662 (N.D. Ill. March 10, 2016). Following that ruling, plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the court’s ruling under FRCP 54(b). This summer, the court issued its decision denying plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and granting Rule 12(c) motions to dismiss brought by six other defendants on the basis of the court’s prior ruling. [Continue Reading]

Take-Home Toxic Tort Cases: New Jersey Supreme Court Explains Duty of Care
By Jenna Marie Stupar and Madison Mapes

On July 6, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion holding that, in certain cases, the duty of care in take-home exposure cases could be expanded to plaintiffs beyond spouses of employees working with toxins in Schwartz v. Accartus Corporation.  The Court found that an employer’s scope of duty of care in such cases requires a fact specific analysis, including assessing the risk and foreseeability of injury.  The Court did not definitively decide whether the Schwartz plaintiff was owed a duty of care.  Instead, the Court provided that judges must weigh numerous factors including foreseeability, fairness, and predictability in making a duty of care determination.[Continue Reading]

Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
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
July 2016

The Environmental Working Group (“EWG”), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, issued a report on July 21, 2016 recommending the ten chemicals it thinks should be assessed first under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

chemical chart
“10 Chemicals EPA Should Act on Now” Source: EWG, via EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan

Continue Reading Environmental Working Group Recommends Ten Chemicals EPA Should Assess First Under Amended TSCA

Toxic Tort Monitor

July 1, 2016
New Developments
Fifth District Ordered to Hear Ford Motor Company’s Appeal on Personal Jurisdiction Motion
By Jenna Marie Stupar and Nicho Kelly

In November, the Madison County Circuit Court denied a motion by Ford Motor Company to dismiss an asbestos case for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court found that Ford’s “substantial” business activities were such that it was at home in Illinois and subject to the court’s jurisdiction. Jeffs v. Anco Insulations, Inc. et al, No. 15-L-533 (Cir. Ct. Mad. Co. 2015).  Last month, 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. [Continue Reading]

Spring 2016 Asbestos Verdict Summary 
By Jen Dlugosz

In the spring of 2016, there were several significant asbestos verdicts nationwide.  [Continue Reading]

Husch Blackwell Expands into Wisconsin; Combination Adds Depth and Capabilities to Industry-Focused Firm

Husch Blackwell and Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. (WHD), a leading Wisconsin business and litigation law firm, will combine effective July 15, 2016. The move strengthens both firms’ commitment to providing industry knowledge and experience to clients. The combined firm will retain the Husch Blackwell name and will continue to operate in all markets where both firms currently have offices. With the addition of WHD’s offices in Milwaukee, Madison and Waukesha County, Wis., as well as Chicago, the combined firm will have more than 700 attorneys and offices in 19 cities. Husch Blackwell and WHD had combined annual revenues of approximately $346 million in 2015, placing the firm among the Am Law 100, The American Lawyer’s annual ranking of the nation’s 100 top-grossing law firms.

Editor of the Month
A vigorous defender Eric Carlsonof his clients’ interests, Eric Carlson counsels companies and business executives in product liability, toxic tort and other business litigation. He communicates effectively with clients in order to understand what they need and develops case-specific defense strategies. He is a member of the Husch Blackwell Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation team.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
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
June 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

June 2, 2016
New Developments
Southern District of Illinois Rules it Does Not Have Personal Jurisdiction Over Defendant in Asbestos Case
By Jenna Marie Stupar

This March, the Southern District of Illinois ruled in favor of Defendant The William Powell Company (“Powell”) on its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Missouri Borrowing Statute: Applying Illinois’ Two-Year Statute of Limitations and Sinking Time-Barred Claims on Their Voyage across the Mississippi River 
By Eric Carlson

In the Wolfe v. Armstrong International, Inc. case pending in Missouri Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis, various defendants obtained dismissal by arguing their wrongful death claims brought in Missouri were governed by the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and that the Missouri borrowing statute required application of Illinois’ two-year statute of limitations, rather than Missouri’s three-year statute of limitations. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Jenna Stupar joined Husch Blackwell stupar-jennain 2015 after serving as a summer associate for the firm in 2014. She focuses her practice on toxic tort, product liability, and commercial litigation matters.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
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
May 2016