Toxic Tort Monitor

December 18, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
This will be our final Toxic Tort Monitor for 2018. Thank you for continuing to subscribe to these updates. We wish you all happy holidays. Have a joyful new year!
Cook County Jury Returns a Defense Verdict in Mesothelioma Trial
By Andrew Hahn

On December 14, 2018, a Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant Welco in a mesothelioma trial. Welco was the only remaining defendant at trial. Plaintiffs argued that decedent, a career member of the drywall trade, worked with Welco products for one month in 1965 in Chicago, Illinois. Plaintiffs further argued that Welco was negligent for its failure to warn its consumers of the dangers of asbestos in its joint compound. [Continue Reading]

Department of Justice Continues to Prioritize Asbestos Trust Fraud
By

Over the last few months, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has signaled that fighting fraud, waste, and abuse in asbestos trusts is a priority. Our previous article on this subject highlighted DOJ’s September 13, 2018 Statement of Interest filed in the bankruptcy case of Kaiser Gypsum Company, which asserted that the proposed trust plans lack adequate safeguards and indicated that DOJ would object unless the final plan better ensures transparency and prevents fraud. Since that filing, DOJ has continued to intervene in asbestos trust proceedings. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
October/November 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]

internationaltradeblog

In today’s trade climate, its imperative to stay abreast of changes that impact business. Keeping current can be a challenge for any company moving goods across borders.

Husch Blackwell’s International Trade & Supply Chain team is excited to launch a new resource for original insight. Our new blog provides timely and accurate information, drawing on years of collective legal knowledge at key regulatory agencies so that you understand what changes mean for your business. Our blog addresses compliance concerns, international agreements, news and insights on trends, laws, deadlines and events.

Subscribe to International Trade Insights today to receive the latest in trade policy and international updates.

 

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met to discuss trade relations between the two countries. Following their meeting, President Trump indicated that he would postpone increasing the tariff rate to 25% on certain Chinese goods worth up to $200 billion currently covered under Section 301 List 3. This increase was originally slated for January 1, 2019 (see our previous post here).  The 10% duties on that $200 million in goods will remain in effect, however, as will the 25% tariffs on the goods worth about $50 billion, which appear on the first and second list of additional duties. According to the White House press statement, the parties agreed to “endeavor” on a 90-day period, until March 1, 2019, to discuss the restructuring of China’s trade policies and come to an agreement. Continue Reading President Trump Holds Off on Increase of Section 301 Tariffs

The Department of Commerce published its opportunity to request annual review of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders with anniversary months in December.

Please see here for the published Federal Register.  Contact Jeffrey Neeley, Nithya Nagarajan, or Stephen Brophy if your company is affected by these reviews.

Immediately before the G-20 Summit Meeting on November 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, and Mexican President Nieto ceremonially signed the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Although each leader signed the Agreement, this does not mean that it will go into effect, as the Agreement must now be approved by the legislature of each country. In regard to the U.S. legislative process, the next steps will be a 60 day period to submit a list of changes to U.S. law that are required for the Agreement to take effect. At the same time, the Agreement must also be reviewed by the U.S. International Trade Commission to assess the impact the agreement will have on GDP, exports and imports, employment, and U.S. consumer interests. The Commission has 105 days after the signing, or until March 15, 2019, to deliver its report to Congress.

Despite moving forward with the signature of the trade agreement, the U.S. continues to have steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Canada and Mexico pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Prime Minister Trudeau optimistically indicated that Canada and the U.S. will work towards removing these tariffs in the near future.

We will continue to monitor this situation. For more information, please contact Robert Stang,  Jeffrey NeeleyBeau Jackson, or Nithya Nagarajan.

In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, New York, California and a number of other jurisdictions, both local and state, have passed new laws aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace. The New York laws require written sexual harassment prevention policy, assurance that all current and new employees, and even applicants for employment, receive a copy of the policy, and mandate annual sexual harassment training for all employees. In addition, New York law now provides that employers can be liable for sexual harassment of nonemployees in the workplace, such as contractors, vendors and subcontractors. Recent legislation prohibits employers from using mandatory arbitration provisions in employment contracts or nondisclosure agreements except when this is the victim preference. Let me suggest that there are some important lessons to be learned from these laws. Continue Reading Lessons From Changes to New York State’s Sexual Harassment Laws

Under the Clean Water Act

environmental waterThe Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act) expressly forbids the discharge of pollutants without a permit. The term “discharge of pollutants” means the “addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source.” Any discharge of pollutants must be covered under a federal or state discharge permit (e.g., a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the discharge of dredged and fill material or a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the discharge of other pollutants); otherwise the discharge would be in violation of the CWA. If it does not constitute a discharge of pollutants, then the release does not violate the CWA.

A flurry of recent cases around the United States has created a circuit split over whether the CWA governs discharges to groundwater that eventually add pollutants to navigable waters. However, there are a few points these courts seem to agree on. Continue Reading CWA Series: Do Discharges to Groundwater Require a Permit? Depends on Who You Ask

Toxic Tort Monitor

November 12, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
Federal Court in Washington Holds Risks of Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Were Not Foreseeable Prior to 1955
By Paul Cranley

In a recent decision of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the court held that the dangers of secondary asbestos exposure were not foreseeable in and before 1955. In particular, the Court held that the evidence presented by the plaintiffs in favor or their “take-home exposure” theory was insufficient to allow a jury to find that prior to 1955, defendant Union Pacific “knew or should have known of the risk that secondary asbestos exposure posed to its employees’ family members.” [Continue Reading]

Cook County Jury Awards $6M in Plaintiff’s Verdict
By Jen Dlugosz

In October, a Cook County jury awarded a $6 million dollars to the family of a deceased pipefitter in a mesothelioma trial. John Crane, Inc. was the only remaining defendant at trial. Plaintiff alleged that the decedent, a union pipefitter, worked with and around John Crane products. John Crane argued at trial that the decedent did not testify that any of the defendant’s gaskets or packings contained asbestos. [Continue Reading]

Department of Justice Acts to Fight Asbestos Trust Fraud
By

On September 13, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its first ever Statement of Interest in the bankruptcy of an asbestos company, signaling that DOJ intends to prioritize fraud and mismanagement relating to asbestos trusts. The Statement, filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina in the Chapter 11 proceedings for Kaiser Gypsum Company, asserts that the proposed trust plans lack adequate safeguards and indicates that DOJ will object unless the final plan better ensures transparency and prevents fraud. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
August/September 2018

Read the full Toxic Tort Monitor Archive

Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube
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]

 

On November 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended the expiration date for certain Ukraine-related general licenses related to EN+ Group plc (EN+), United Company RUSAL PLC (RUSAL), and GAZ Group (GAZ).  The expiration date of General Licenses 13G (Authorizing Certain Transactions Necessary to Divest or Transfer Debt, Equity, or Other Holdings in Certain Blocked Persons), 14C (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with United Company RUSAL PLC), 15B (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with GAZ Group), and 16C (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with EN+ Group PLC or JSC EuroSibEnergo) was extended from December 12, 2018 to January 7, 2019.  U.S. persons participating in transactions or activities authorized by these general licenses should provide a detailed report to OFAC within 10 business days of January 7, 2019 (by January 21, 2019).

Continue Reading OFAC Extends Expiration Date for EN+, RUSAL, and GAZ Ukraine-related General Licenses