droneThe U. S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) announced a diverse set of winners for the 10 openings in USDOT’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Integration Pilot Program (“IPP”). As advertised, the program’s selectees consist of state, local and tribal governments (“Selectees”) that will partner with private sector entities to accelerate UAS integration into the national airspace system. Continue Reading USDOT Selects Ten Drone Integration Sites

Container ShipOn May 22, 2018, Worthington Industries and Manchester Tank & Equipment Co. filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of Steel Propane Cylinders from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and Thailand. Continue Reading Petition Summary: Steel Propane Cylinders From China, Taiwan, and Thailand

courtThis week, the Federal Circuit resolved three issues left in TC Heartland’s wake. TC Heartland held that 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) uniquely governs venue in patent cases and is not coterminous with the scope of § 1391. The first prong of § 1400(b) creates venue in the judicial district where the defendant resides, which the Supreme Court held to be the state of incorporation for a domestic corporation. But, this begs the question: what about when the state has multiple judicial districts? Also, whose law governs burden under § 1400(b), and where does that burden lie? In the year after TC Heartland, district courts across the country split on these issues. Continue Reading Updates in the Federal Circuit Following TC Heartland

Toxic Tort Monitor

 

May 15, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editors: Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden
New Developments
Order of Operations: Maryland’s Highest Court Analysis of the Statute of Repose and Discovery Rule’s Applicability to Asbestos Cases
By Soham Desai

On March 28, 2018, the Court of Appeals of Maryland, Maryland’s highest court, was asked to: (1) determine whether the state’s statute of repose was ambiguous as to when an injury and cause of action “arise” within the scope of the statute and, (2) discuss the applicability of the discovery rule in relation to the manifestation of a latent disease. The Court found that, in a case involving a steamfitter’s alleged asbestos exposure, the plaintiff’s claims were not barred as the date of his last exposure to asbestos containing products determined whether the statute of repose applied. [Continue Reading]

Pennsylvania Court Finds That an Employer’s Take-Home Duty Can Extend to Girlfriends of Former Employees
By Sarah Rashid

A Pennsylvania District Court recently denied a defendant’s motion for summary judgment of the issue of duty, finding that that an employer’s take home duty may in certain situations extend to the girlfriend of a former employee. Plaintiff Brenda Schwartz and her husband, Paul Schwartz (“Plaintiffs”), brought a negligence action against Defendant Accuratus Corporation (“Defendant”), alleging that Mrs. Schwartz had contracted chronic beryllium disease (“CBD”) from exposure to beryllium brought home on Mr. Schwartz’s clothes while he was an employee of Defendant. Mrs. Schwartz also claims exposure to beryllium from Mr. Schwartz’s roommate, Gregory Altemose, who was also an employee of Defendant. [Continue Reading]

District Court in Washington Reverses Course on Personal Jurisdiction?
By Jackson Otto

In recent years federal courts have clarified and narrowed the scope of personal jurisdiction as it applies to nonresident defendants, particularly in mass tort and toxic exposure cases. However, a recent decision coming out of Washington appears to buck this trend. In Donald Varney and Maria Varney v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington had an opportunity to decide motions brought by Defendants Taco, Inc. and Aurora Pump Company to dismiss for failure to state a claim, for lack of standing, to strike Plaintiffs’ request for pre-judgment interest, and most notably for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court denied each of the Defendants’ motions. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
April 2018

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Toxic Tort Litigation 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]

Congress’ passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011 created a new process for challenging the validity of issued patents. This new process is filed with the very governmental agency that originally issued the patent. Called Inter Partes Review (IPR), hundreds of issued patents have been invalidated, in whole or in part, using the new proceeding. On April 24, 2018, the Supreme Court handed down two decisions directly relating to IPRs. In the first, it upheld the IPR process as constitutional. In the second, it provided additional direction to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“PTAB”), which oversees and decides IPRs. Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules on Two Cases involving Inter Partes Review

President Trump announced today, May 8, 2018, that the United States will withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal and will begin reimposing previously waived sanctions on Iran.  The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was signed by the U.S. in July 2015 along with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Iran.  The White House issued a statement which explained that “President Trump is terminating United States participation in the JCPOA, as it failed to protect America’s national security interests.”

Continue Reading President Trump Announces Decision to Withdraw from Iran Nuclear Deal and Reimposition of Previously Waived Sanctions

It’s no surprise that disruption is the new buzz phrase in manufacturing today. With consumer demand for speed, concerns over evolving technology, and a volatile political landscape among the range of obstacles that threaten their bottom line, manufacturers are once again staring down an industrial revolution. Today’s professionals however, are trained to think about change in a linear way that makes it difficult to recognize when new disruptions are occurring.

If you are a professional who would benefit from a better understanding of today’s disruptive technologies, then we invite you to join us along with digital transformation expert and keynote Drew Carter, for a thought-provoking discussion on ways to better understand disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing. Register to attend the Manufacturing & Distribution Summit on May 3 in St. Louis or May 9 in Kansas City.

Stainless steel factoryOn April 30, 2018, the President issued two new Proclamations regarding the 232 tariffs imposed on imports of steel and aluminum articles into the United States.  The new Proclamations modify the previous steel and aluminum Proclamations with respect to imports from Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.

Continue Reading President Continues 232 Exemptions for Certain Countries, Announces Quota on Imports of Steel from South Korea

On April 15, 2018, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued a denial order against ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (collectively “ZTE”), effectively banning U.S. companies from providing components to ZTE  because the company had failed to comply with the terms of a disciplinary agreement reached in March 2017 arising from violations of U.S. export control restrictions against Iran and North Korea. It is estimated that U.S. companies provide nearly 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE products. ZTE’s U.S. subsidiary advertises that it has been ranked by independent industry analysts as the fourth-largest supplier of mobile devices in the U.S. overall and second-largest supplier of prepaid devices.

Continue Reading U.S. Commerce Department Rescinds Export Privileges for China’s ZTE

Shipping containersOn April 17, 2018, Cambria Company LLC filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of Quartz Surface Products from the People’s Republic of China.

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

The merchandise covered by the investigation is certain quartz surface products. Quartz surface products consist of slabs and other surfaces created from a mixture of materials that includes predominately silica (e.g., quartz, quartz powder, cristobalite) as well as a resin binder (e.g., an unsaturated polyester). The incorporation of other materials, including but not limited to pigments, cement or other additives, does not remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation. Quartz surface products are typically sold as slabs with a total surface area of approximately 45 to 60 square feet and a nominal thickness of 1 centimeter, 2 centimeters, or 3 centimeters. However, the scope of this investigation includes products of all sizes, thicknesses, and shapes. Quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether polished or unpolished, cut or uncut, fabricated or not fabricated, cured or uncured, edged or not edged, finished or unfinished, thermoformed or not thermoformed, further processed or not further processed, packaged or unpackaged, and regardless of the type of surface finish. Continue Reading Petition Summary: Quartz Surface Products from China