Jake Brown Husch Blackwell Meghan Brennan Husch BlackwellWorking with startups recently inspired two Husch Blackwell attorneys to develop an innovation solution of their own. In 2018, Husch Blackwell hosted its first firmwide Legal Innovation Challenge. Approximately 20 teams submitted ideas and went through a rigorous selection process.

Associates Meghan Brennan and Jake Brown work with a variety of clients, including startups. When they came together for Husch Blackwell’s Legal Innovation Challenge, they found a mutual interest in streamlining the initial intake process for startup clients. Together they envisioned a diagnostic tool to assess the legal needs of growing companies. Clients can complete a quick 10-minute questionnaire that will help the attorney develop a road map for company growth and future legal needs. Continue Reading Startups Drive Firm Innovation

On February 26, 2019, in Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, the Supreme Court of the United States held that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f)’s 14-day deadline to request permission to appeal a district court’s order regarding class certification cannot be equitably tolled. The Supreme Court’s opinion left open the possibility that the 14-day deadline under Rule 23(f) can begin to run after the disposition of a timely motion for reconsideration, because that reconsideration order itself may be an order granting or denying class certification. Read more on the Food & Ag Law Insights blog.

In Part 1 of our Clean Water Act (CWA) Series, we reported on the circuit split between the Fourth, Sixth, and Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals regarding whether indirect discharges to Waters of the United States (WOTUS) through groundwater required a CWA permit. On February 19, 2019, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments regarding “Whether the CWA requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater.” Read more about this case history and the legal arguments on the Emerging Energy Insights blog.

Toxic Tort Monitor

February 20, 2019 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
Missouri’s Game-Changing Opinion on Venue in Multi-Plaintiff Tort Litigation
By Dominique Savinelli and Tim Larkin

On February 13, 2019, the Supreme Court of Missouri dealt a significant blow against improper forum shopping by plaintiffs in mass tort litigation. The Johnson & Johnson “talc cases” currently venued in St. Louis city involve many plaintiffs whose claimed injuries arose outside that city, but for strategic reasons they prefer that venue. Typically, these cases include a single “local” plaintiff whose injury first occurred in St. Louis city. The remaining plaintiffs (sometimes dozens) are joined pursuant to Rule 52.05 and claim venue solely based on joinder with the “local” plaintiff(s). [Continue Reading]

Supreme Court of Virginia Recognizes Employer Liability for “Take Home” Exposure
By Michael Klebanov

Recently, a divided Supreme Court of Virginia, in a 4-3 decision, recognized an employer’s liability for “take home” exposure. In Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., the Supreme Court held that employers can be liable for their employees unknowingly bringing home asbestos dust and exposing cohabitating family members to asbestos (i.e., “take home” liability). [Continue Reading]

Seventh Circuit Holds Government Contractor only Required to Provide Short and Plain Statement Asserting Basis for Removal
By Kayla Foley

In a recent decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a defendant’s removal of an asbestos case was valid, even though it did not provide evidence supporting its federal contractor defense. In Betzner v. the A.O. Smith Corporation, the Betzners filed suit in Madison County, Illinois alleging that Bruce Betzner was exposed to asbestos fibers manufactured by Boeing during the course of his employment. Boeing filed a notice of removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a), or the federal officer removal statute. [Continue Reading]

Upcoming Events
DRI – Toxic Torts and Environmental Law
March 14-15, 2019
New Orleans, LA

Several of our toxic tort litigators are attending this DRI seminar; we hope to see you there!

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
December 2018

Read the full Toxic Tort Monitor Archive

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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]

The FAA has continued to publish a variety of new opportunities and restrictions for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilots after the waves of actual and threatened shutdowns receded. At the end of January, Megan Herr described the FAA’s proposals for allowing UAS operations at night, and operations over people without needing a Part 107 waiver. The public comment period on these proposed rules ends on April 15, 2019.

On February 13th and 15th the FAA published two important restrictions for UAS operations. Continue Reading A Busy Start to 2019 for the FAA Regarding Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Yesterday, our Beau Jackson, Robert Stang and Linda Tiller joined manufacturers, distributors and service providers in Kansas City for a discussion about the impact of tariffs on the business community. This insightful program included economic, industry and legal perspectives on current trade conditions and the various implications of recently-imposed tariffs. Pictured at right, Beau Jackson closed the event with these key takeaways:

  1. The United States is 80% a “consumer” economy – compared to a global average of approximately 40% (and 60% in Germany). Yet, U.S. trade policy seems to focus on raw materials and industrial manufacturing, rather than consumer-driven considerations.
  2. Finding qualified labor is a much more pressing and difficult issue for manufacturers than tariffs or trade policy
  3. Rising logistics and supply chain costs have become just as troublesome to companies as tariffs
  4. Carrier consolidation and new alliances in the shipping industry continue to adversely impact companies that import and export, and is complicating matters at U.S. ports of entry
  5. Tariff avoidance led to an import surge in late 2018, which furthered port congestion, inflated storage costs and has created large inventory surpluses that could soon have macroeconomic implications
  6. Supply Chain “Recalibration” – companies  and sourcing agents are trying to avoid China by finding new sources in Southeast Asia (particularly Vietnam and the Philippines)
  7. The recent government shutdown had a tangible impact on the day-to-day fundamentals of trade
  8. Good infrastructure, just like product quality and reputation, has been instrumental in fostering a robust U.S. economy.  Modernizing infrastructure is a must for the U.S. to remain competitive.

 

According to Lex Machina’s 2018 Trade Secret Litigation Report, the number of trade secret cases pursued in U.S. federal courts has increased rapidly since the 2016 enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), which granted federal court subject matter jurisdiction over claims raised under the Act. Last year provided a number of interesting precedential decisions on various topics within the realm of trade secrets law, many of which will no doubt shape litigation tactics (and expectations) going forward. One decision of particular note came from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals addressed to the issue of whether unjust enrichment claims were entitled to a jury determination.  Although the case did not specifically deal with claims raised under the DTSA, it nonetheless could impact who is entitled to determine certain types of monetary remedies requested in trade secret cases.

Continue Reading Be Careful What You Ask For: Unjust Enrichment in Trade Secret Misappropriation

Even though the FAA Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) was hamstrung during the partial government shutdown, the Administration released two draft documents that will soon be published in the Federal Register. Both rulemaking documents would relax regulations on the use of small unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”) for commercial purposes under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 107 (“Part 107”).

Continue Reading The FAA Takes Two More Steps Towards UAS Integration

On Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order sustaining Johnson & Johnson’s (“J&J”) last-minute Petition for writ of prohibition to stay the trial in Vickie Forrest et al. v. Johnson & Johnson et al., Cause No.1522-CC00419-01, pending in the in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri.  Although the Supreme Court sets forth no reasoning for the stay in its one paragraph en banc order, the trial, which was set to start on January 22, 2019, will not take place until the Court weighs in on J&J’s argument that conducting a single trial of multiple claims from multiple Plaintiffs – most of whom had potentially been improperly joined – is unfair to the defendants and even potentially in violation of J&J’s constitutional due process rights. State ex rel. Johnson & Johnson et al. v. The Honorable Rex M. Burlison, Cause No. SC97637. The Forrest case is one of an onslaught of talc cancer cases brought in the St. Louis City Circuit Court on behalf of multiple plaintiffs against J&J.  Forrest, and twelve other women, are alleging that their different subtypes of ovarian or gynecological cancers were caused by their use of J&J’s talcum powder products, which allegedly contained asbestos. Continue Reading MO Supreme Court Grants J& J’s Writ of Prohibition in Talc Cancer Case

environment chemicalsCalifornia’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed further amendments to clarify the new Prop 65 regulations that went into effect August 30, 2018, which focused on how to provide “clear and reasonable” warnings under Prop 65. Under the new regulations, manufacturers, producers, packagers, importers, suppliers, and distributors have primary responsibility for complying with Prop 65 requirements; and retail sellers have responsibility for placement and maintenance of consumer product exposure warnings only in limited situations. OEHHA’s latest proposed amendments clarify parties’ responsibilities along the often complex supply chain: Continue Reading California Proposes Additional Amendments for Proposition 65 Regulations