postalTransportation contractors fill half of the first 10 spots on the Top 150 list of postal service supplies for fiscal year 2016, which ended September 30, 2016. Federal Express Corporation tops the list again, a position it has held since 2002. Overall, the Postal Service spent $14 billion on outside purchases, about half of it on transportation. David P. Hendel, leader of the firm’s Postal Service Contracting team, compiles the list annually based on data received under the Freedom of Information Act. Visit last week’s blog post on our Contractor’s Perspective blog to access the list and read more.

compassOn the second anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Air flight MH370, this blog explored the known facts and concluded, “Unless and until the wreckage is located on the ocean floor and the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder data recovered, the most plausible scenario is deliberate human action, most likely by one of the cockpit crew.”

Thereafter, the search area was refined, but in January, 2017 further search efforts were ended. As a result, recovery of the vital “black boxes” is highly unlikely.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The Fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370—Revisited

 

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

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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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
December 2016

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

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

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.

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

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.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The Fate of EgyptAir Flight 804

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