Many business operations affected heavily by environmental regulations are considered “essential” and are up and running to ensure our country has the products and services it needs to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.  We are hearing that these businesses are straining under the pressure to maintain social distancing requirements, quarantine individuals exposed to the virus, sustain operations with reduced personnel, protect their personnel, and preserve their supply chain resources.  Although all companies understand the need to protect human health and the environment, it may be impossible to meet every deadline, take every reading, and make every inspection during this emergency.

Recognizing this reality, many Federal and state agencies are issuing enforcement relief and response policies providing guidance on how to respond if environmental or other regulatory requirements can’t be met.  Husch Blackwell has gathered Federal and state COVID-19 enforcement relief and response policies for environmental and motor carrier safety regulations.  A complete list of these policies is posted as a resource on our website.


Continue Reading COVID-19 Enforcement Relief and Response Policies

Last year, a St. Louis city jury sent shock waves across the world, awarding 22 plaintiffs nearly $5 billion in compensatory and punitive damages in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over claims its asbestos-contaminated talcum powder caused ovarian cancer in women who used the company’s product for years in the case of Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 1522-CC10417 (Mo. Cir. Ct. St. Louis City July 12, 2018). Prior to trial, Imerys Talc America Inc., a co-defendant supplier of talc to Johnson & Johnson, settled plaintiffs’ claims for at least $5 million.[1]

While previous ovarian cancer trials hinged on arguments that talc itself is carcinogenic, plaintiffs in Ingham argued their cancer was caused by asbestos particles mixed in with the talc. The impact of this verdict and similar previous decisions across the country has been damaging enough to prompt talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc., to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing a lack of financial clout to defend lawsuits alleging that Imerys’ talc caused ovarian cancer or asbestos-related mesothelioma.[2]
Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Looking Ahead: The Future of Ovarian Cancer Litigation

The Illinois Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Jones v. Pneumo Abex LLC, Nos. 123895, 124002 cons. (Ill. 2019), where Plaintiffs, John and Deborah Jones, sued brake lining company Pneumo Abex (“Abex”) and glass bottle maker Owens-Illinois (“O-I”) for injuries John Jones allegedly suffered due to asbestos exposure during his construction career. Although Jones never worked for Defendants and never used or was exposed to any product of Defendants, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants entered into a civil conspiracy with the asbestos industry at large including Johns-Manville, an insulation and roofing materials manufacturer, to conceal the harmful health effects of asbestos exposure. In their complaint, Plaintiffs relied solely on circumstantial evidence to support their allegations of a conspiratorial agreement, including. (1) an Abex funded study on asbestos dust with Saranac Laboratory (the “Saranac report”) where a mice study revealing tumors was omitted from the published report; (2) a 1953 Sales Agreement between O-I and Owens Corning Fiberglas Corp. (“OCF”) for the sale of Kaylo insulation; (3) “non-toxic” ads that were issued by O-I and later by OCF; (4) O-I’s sharing of two asbestos health articles from 1941, (5) a unilaterally sponsored O-I study of Kaylo insulation involving exposure to lab animals; and (6) overlapping directors and stock ownership of O-I in OCF.
Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Illinois Supreme Court Set to Rule on Asbestos Civil Conspiracy Claim

Husch Blackwell’s Caroline Chicoine is the current Vice Chair of the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Impact Studies committee. Recently, she helped the committee finish the term strong with two important studies regarding Generation Z and the economic impact of trademark-intensive industries in Latin America.

Do Gen Zers make up a big part of your customer base? Gen Zers will make up the largest group of consumers worldwide by 2020. These consumers were born between 1995 and 2010 and are currently between 18 and 23 years of age. If you find your customer base consists of Gen Zers, the International Trademark Association’s Impact Studies committee’s recent study, titled “Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products” is a must-read. The multi-country study investigates the behavior of Gen Zers when it comes to their relationship with brands and attitudes toward counterfeit products. A copy of the Comprehensive Global Report covering ten (10) countries around the world, as well as reports for each country can be found here. For a comprehensive global infographic summarizing the results of the study, see here.
Continue Reading Insight from INTA’s Gen Z Study Brings Expanded Reach for Campaign on Counterfeit Goods

In its decision Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court held, under maritime law, that manufacturers can be held liable for injuries caused by asbestos-containing parts manufactured and added to their products by third parties. The case, Air & Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries, involved Navy sailors who were allegedly exposed to asbestos that was used with certain equipment on the Navy vessels to which they were assigned. The sailors claimed this exposure ultimately caused their cancer. The sailors brought suit against the manufacturers of equipment such as pumps, blowers, and turbines, alleging that the manufacturers were negligent in failing to warn them about the dangers of asbestos.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: U.S. Supreme Court Narrows “Bare Metal Defense” for Maritime Asbestos Cases

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 &

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

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

Fresh off the heels enacting the California Consumer Privacy Act, California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed the country’s first law governing the security of Internet of Things or connected devices. The bill, SB 327, is entitled “Security of Connected Devices.”

Beginning on January 1, 2020, all manufacturers of connected devices will be required to equip the device with reasonable security features to protect against the unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of information that is collected or transmitted by the device.
Continue Reading California Steps into the Fray to Regulate the Security of Connected Devices