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

Toxic Tort Monitor

 

April 16, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editors: Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden
New Developments
Cook County Circuit Court Denies Personal Jurisdiction Motion in Asbestos Case
By Anne McLeod

The Circuit court in Cook County, Illinois has recently clarified one of the limitations on which it applies personal jurisdiction and venue protections to Defendants in asbestos cases. In John C. Clark v. A.W. Chesterton Company, et al., the Court performed personal jurisdictional analyses of general and specific jurisdiction, and also analyzed Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for forum non conveniens. While the Defendant in this case won the argument on general jurisdiction, it lost the arguments on specific jurisdiction and forum non conveniens. The court reasoned that Plaintiff’s “take-home” exposure to asbestos brought both the Defendant’s actions and the alleged resulting injury into Illinois. [Continue Reading]

“Sue-me State” or “Show-me State”: The Latest Push for Asbestos Exposure Tort Reform in Missouri
By Ketajh Brown

The stage is set for a heated showdown between GOP leaders and bipartisan critics over implementation of HB 1645. If adopted by the Senate, the bill would alter several provisions related to a plaintiff’s ability to bring asbestos tort claims. The main contention sparked by HB 1645 requires plaintiff-side attorneys to identify and file claims against all potentially liable defendants or bankruptcy trusts at the onset of lawsuits alleging injury from asbestos exposure. The idea behind this segment of the bill is twofold: (1) to embed built-in transparency preconditions allowing asbestos claim resolution with minimal delay; and (2) thwart the practice of “double-dipping” by granting injured plaintiffs compensation from one defendant at a time—before pursuing claims against additional defendants. [Continue Reading]

Another Take on “Take-Home” Exposure in California: Foglia v. Moore Dry Dock Co.
By Theresa Mullineaux

A California appellate court recently upheld the trial court’s granting of summary judgment in a secondary exposure asbestos case where Plaintiffs could offer no admissible evidence that decedent’s father worked around asbestos-containing materials. The trial court excluded plaintiff’s testimony regarding his father’s work because he acknowledged he had no personal knowledge and also sustained defendant’s objections to an affidavit of decedent’s aunt who likewise had no personal knowledge of decedent’s father’s work. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
March 2018

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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]

Globe showing AsiaThe Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will conduct a review to determine if India, Indonesia and Kazakhstan are meeting the eligibility criteria of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. The reviews are part of the administration’s new triennial process to assess beneficiary country eligibility under the GSP program which was announced in October 2017. The first assessment covered 25 Asian and Pacific Island countries. Based on its assessment as well as petitions filed by interested parties, USTR has decided to review the eligibility of these three countries. USTR intends to publish a Federal Register notice announcing dates for comments and a hearing.

The next GSP assessment will begin in the fall of 2018 and will cover GSP beneficiary countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.

For more information, please contact Cortney Morgan, Stephen Brophy, Robert Stang, Jeffrey Neeley, or Nithya Nagarajan.

globe AsiaThe Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on Sunday that it would be imposing duties on 128 different U.S. products beginning today, April 2. They provided the list of products last week, particularly targeting U.S. agriculture. The tariffs are on an estimated $3 billion worth of goods.

There will be a tariff of 15% on commodities such as fruits and nuts, wine, seamless steel pipes and modified ethanol. The 15% tariff will apply to 120 tariff lines, including the following: Continue Reading China Announces New Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Goods

Stainless steel factoryThe Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it had reached an agreement with South Korea to provide the country with a long term exemption from the 25 percent tariff on steel products imposed by the President under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862). Instead, U.S. imports of steel from South Korea will be subject to a product-specific quota equivalent to 70 percent of the average annual import volume of such products during the period 2015-17. Further details on the quota have not been released and the President has raised doubts about whether or when it will go into effect by stating in a speech that he might hold up the deal until after a deal is made with North Korea on denuclearization.

The apparent agreement on steel was part of a larger agreement to amend and modify the Korean-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).  A USTR Fact Sheet on the agreement can be found here.

For further information, please contact Nithya Nagarajan, Stephen Brophy, or Jeffrey Neeley.

North America MapOn March 23, 2018, the President signed into law the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018” which, in addition to authorizing certain full-year federal appropriations, also included the renewal for the Generalized System of Preferences through December 31, 2020. The Generalized System of Preferences (commonly referred to as GSP) allows duty-free entry for over 5,000 goods from a wide range of designated beneficiary countries. The program was authorized by the Trade Act of 1974 to promote economic growth in developing countries and was implemented on January 1, 1976.

Continue Reading Congress Renews Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with Retroactive Effect

Container ShipOn March 28, 2018, GEO Specialty Chemicals, Inc. and Chattem Chemicals, Inc. filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of glycine from the People’s Republic of China, India, Thailand, and Japan.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Glycine from China, India, Japan, and Thailand

Stainless steel factoryCountry Exemptions

On March 22, 2018, the President issued new Proclamations temporarily exempting imports from certain countries from the steel and aluminum tariffs that were announced in Proclamations 9704 and 9705 of March 8, 2018. The President had previously exempted imports from Canada and Mexico and the new Proclamations add exemptions for imports from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, European Union member countries, and South Korea. However, the Proclamations make clear that the exemptions, including the exemptions for Canada and Mexico, are temporary and that tariffs will go into effect on imports from an exempted country on May 1, 2018 unless the country has reached an agreement with the United States on an alternative means to remove the threat to national security posed by imports of steel articles from the country. If any agreements are reached and any countries are exempted on a long term basis, the President will consider adjustments to the tariff level imposed on non-exempt countries.

In the meantime, the President may consider quotas on imports from exempt countries. If a quota is imposed, the quota amount imposed will take into account all imports of steel and aluminum since January 1, 2018.

While the country exemptions may extend beyond May 1, depending on the progress on trade negotiations, there is no guarantee of such extensions.

Continue Reading President Exempts Countries from Steel and Aluminum Tariffs, Makes Product Exclusions Retroactive