Product Liability Monitor

July 14, 2017
New Developments
Rats! Eco-Friendly Soy-Based Insulation Could Spell Trouble Down the Road
By Sarah Rashid

A new “eco-friendly” biodegradable material used to insulate wiring in newer cars could make for trouble — and lawsuits — down the road for car manufacturers. This insulation is made from soybeans, making it more environmentally friendly and cheaper for car manufacturers. But it has a downside: it serves as an attractive, tasty treat for rats, mice, squirrel, rabbits, and other rodents. [Continue Reading]

The Benefits And Risks Of Autonomous Vehicles
By Leslie Gutierrez

On June 15, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that will allow autonomous vehicles (AVs) to operate on the state’s roads. Texas is now one of 17 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, plus Washington D.C.) that have passed legislation related to AVs. Governors in Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin have also issued executive orders related to AVs. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has formed a committee to determine AV best practices, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee formed a similar interagency work group. [Continue Reading]

Speak, Corporation!
By Alan Hoffman

Mitt Romney famously told a heckler during his Presidential campaign, “Corporations are people, my friend.” While corporations are not people, they and other organizations surely are legal persons capable of suing and being sued. But how to take the deposition of a corporation or organization which can only speak through employees or representatives? [Continue Reading]

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
June 2017

Container ShipCurrent bills (HR 2593, S. 1119) authorizing appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission contain substantive terms which seem to forecast the path the regulatory agency is taking with respect to both tariff requirements and regulation of ocean transportation intermediaries.

Tariff References

The bills address some meaningful changes to the current antiquated tariff system. Combined with the FMC’s new Regulatory Reform Task Force, and the corresponding Notice of Inquiry issued by the FMC seeking specifics from the shipping public for deregulation, it appears the FMC  may be taking a clear stance on tariffs. Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Michael Khouri, has made several public statements which confirm the conclusion that tariffs have no place in the current ocean transportation marketplace.

Continue Reading The Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 2017: A Death Knell for Tariffs and Closer Carrier Scrutiny?

jetSixty-five years ago, on May 2, 1952, aviation history was made when a de Havilland Comet departed London for Johannesburg, South Africa—the world’s first passenger jet air service. It was a proud moment for Britain and its aircraft industry.

Post-war air travel was dominated by the American-made Lockheed Constellation and Douglas DC-6, and airlines—including British Overseas Airways Corporation, the UK’s flagship international carrier–lined up to buy them. British manufacturers made a bold decision to leapfrog over the piston-powered, propeller-driven American airliners by adopting turbine power. England led the United States in wartime jet engine technology, and hoped to take advantage of this by beating America with the first jet transport.

Continue Reading Air Safety: A Falling Comet

shipping containersOn May 31, 2017, Petitioners DAK Americas LLC, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, America, and Auriga polymers Inc. filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Fine Denier Polyester Staple Fiber from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Continue Reading Petition Summary: Fine Denier Polyester Staple Fiber from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam

airportThe recent US ban on laptops and tablets electronic devices from carry-on luggage from flights from 10 Middle Eastern Airports, and a more limited UK ban, have been widely condemned by the aviation press and the airline industry as arbitrary, ineffective and counterproductive. There is no factual basis for the airports selected, the UK list differs from the US, and the bans can be evaded by taking a connecting flight from elsewhere.[1]

These issues raise a more fundamental question: Does the enormous cost and burden imposed upon the airlines and the traveling public by the all-encompassing TSA airport security regime provide any real benefit?

Continue Reading Air Safety: Do Away with TSA?

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]

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
March 2017

airplane jetThe U.S. Department of Transportation recently revised the SIFL rates that are used to value an employee’s personal use of a company aircraft, as required by the Internal Revenue Code Section 61 and the Federal Tax Regulations Section 1.61-21(g). The Department announced that the following rates will apply for the 6-month period January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017:

Continue Reading DOT Revises the Standard Industry Fare Level (SIFL) for First 6 Months of 2017

Shipping containersOn March 28, 2017, Petitioners Charter Steel, Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., Keystone Consolidated Industries, Inc., and Nucor Corporation filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Carbon and Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Belarus, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the Republic of South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

The merchandise covered by these investigations are certain hot-rolled products of carbon steel and alloy steel, in coils, of approximately round cross section, less than 19.00 mm in actual solid cross-sectional diameter. Specifically excluded are steel products possessing the above-noted physical characteristics and meeting the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) definitions for (a) stainless steel; (b) tool steel; (c) high-nickel steel; (d) ball bearing steel; or (e) concrete reinforcing bars and rods. Also excluded are free cutting steel (also known as free machining steel) products (i.e., products that contain by weight one or more of the following elements: 0.1 percent or more of lead, 0.05 percent or more of bismuth, 0.08 percent or more of sulfur, more than 0.04 percent of phosphorous, more than 0.05 percent of selenium, or more than 0.01 percent of tellurium). All products meeting the physical description of subject merchandise that are not specifically excluded are included in this scope.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Carbon and Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Belarus, Italy, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the UAE and the UK

Shipping containersOn March 23, 2017, Petitioners the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition and its individual members filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

The product covered by these petitions is biodiesel, which is a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, including waste oils or greases, and other biologically-based oil or fat sources. The petitions cover biodiesel in pure form (“B100”) as well as fuel mixtures containing at least 99 percent biodiesel by volume (“B99”). For fuel mixtures containing less than 99 percent biodiesel by volume, only the biodiesel component of the mixture is covered by the scope of the petitions.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Biodiesel From Argentina And Indonesia