As blockchain grows in popularity, people continue to look for practical ways to incorporate the technology into their organizations. Some view blockchain as a silver bullet that can conquer any problem. Others view blockchain as a more complicated method for essentially implementing a database, thus offering little more than a solution looking for a problem. So, should your organization use blockchain technology?

Continue Reading Husch Blackwell’s Blockchain Basics – Part 2: Should You Use Blockchain Technology?

The Illinois Supreme Court recently reversed and remanded the appellate court’s ruling in Jones v. Pneumo Abex LLC, Nos. 123895, 124002 cons. (Ill. 2019), holding the Fifth District failed to follow long-standing Illinois precedent rejecting identical civil conspiracy claims. The Supreme Court held the appellate court erred by distinguishing the present case, decided on summary judgment, from McClure v. Owens Corning Fiberglas Corp., 188 Ill. 2d 102 (1999), a case decided on a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The Court stated that, as under the current facts, “[i]f all relevant evidence is before the court and upon such evidence there would be nothing left to go to a jury so that the court would be required to enter a directed verdict, denying summary judgment to permit further proceedings to take place would serve no purpose.”

Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Cites Established Precedent in Rejecting Asbestos Civil Conspiracy Claims

On the heels of Johnson & Johnson’s latest defense verdict in a talc ovarian cancer case in St. Louis City in December 2019 – the fourth consecutive verdict in its favor – comes another study that supports Johnson & Johnson’s long held position. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the article entitled Association of Powder Use in the Genital Area With Risk of Ovarian Cancer found no statistically significant association between the use of powder in the genital area and incident ovarian cancer.

Continue Reading A Scientific Update: Ovarian Cancer and “Tainted Talc”

New Jersey based pharmaceutical, medical and consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson has found itself at the center of national litigation conversation over the last few years due to explosive verdicts rendered against it over allegations that its talcum powder causes ovarian cancer and asbestos-related respiratory illnesses. In 2016 and 2017, Johnson & Johnson saw four verdicts in St. Louis ovarian cancer cases alone, with verdicts rendered in favor of the female plaintiffs of approximately $55 million, $70 million, $72 million and $110 million. Perhaps most shocking, however, was a $4.69 billion verdict obtained by twenty-two (22) different women suffering from ovarian cancer. In addition to $550 million in compensatory damages, the jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.14 billion in punitive damages. Despite the trial itself exceeding six weeks, the St. Louis jurors reportedly reached their conclusion and verdict in less than one day. A Los Angeles jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a California woman $417 million in damages in 2017, including $347 million in punitive damages.

Continue Reading Summary of 2019 Talc Verdicts

Recently, three asbestos cases, Lege, Chabaud, and Gaddy, have produced significant verdicts in Louisiana. Interestingly, Chabaud, a case of disputed asbestosis, produced the largest reported award for an asbestos personal injury claim in Louisiana history. Below is a brief summary of each of these matters.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Three Louisiana Juries Award Significant Verdicts in Asbestos Exposure Cases

The United States Supreme Court recently amended Federal Rule of Evidence Rule 807, the residual exception to the hearsay rule. These amendments significantly broaden the scope of the exception, which may lead to the admission of more hearsay statements under this rule.

Rule 807 provides for the admission of certain hearsay statements that are not admissible under the enumerated exceptions found in Rules 803 and 804. The previous version of the rule allowed for the admission of an otherwise inadmissible hearsay statement when the proponent could demonstrate that the statement was trustworthy, material, and more probative on the point for which it was offered than any other evidence the proponent could obtain through reasonable efforts, and that the admission of the statement was in the interests of justice.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Changes to Federal Rules of Evidence Broaden Hearsay Exception

What is blockchain technology? Technically precise definitions found on Google define it as “a distributed, decentralized, public ledger.” But, what does that mean? In its most basic and general form, simply think of blockchain technology as a new method of securely storing and processing data. At its core, blockchain technology is simply a new ledger technology that can store information.

Continue Reading Husch Blackwell’s Blockchain Basics – Part 1: What is Blockchain Technology and How Does it Work?

On November 26, 2019, in Eileen Riebel, et al. v. 3M Company, et al. (Case No. 2015-L-002124), Cook County Judge Clare E. McWilliams granted a premises defendant’s personal jurisdiction motion in an asbestos matter finding that a contractual relationship between an out-of-state premises defendant and a decedent’s Illinois-based employer, by itself, was not sufficient to establish specific personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant and did not meet the requisite minimum contacts with the state.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Cook County Court Finds Asbestos Plaintiff Failed to Establish Specific Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-of-State Premises Defendant

As the decade draws to an end and we approach the 2020’s, a popular social media trend called “the decade challenge” emerged. People are encouraged to post a photo of themselves from 2009 next to a recent photo of themselves now in 2019 to show how much they changed in a ten-year span. While I have refrained from willingly subjecting myself to that level of embarrassment—“styles change,” I tell myself—it is hard not to wonder what things will look like when people participate in the next decade challenge (2029). What will the technological innovations be that define the 2020’s? While it is difficult to predict, experts guarantee that blockchain technology will surely be one of them.

Continue Reading Blockchain’s #DecadeChallenge: Husch Blackwell is Your (Curious Citizens, Business Owners, and World Leaders) Source for Blockchain Technology Information Heading into 2020 and Beyond

In Kardos v. Armstrong Pumps Inc. et al., 2019 PA Super 324, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently ruled that where a party is given the opportunity to cross-examine a witness who later becomes unavailable due to his death, such testimony meets the hearsay exception and is admissible evidence.

Decedent Nicholas Kardos was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2016. On March 10, 2016, Mr. Kardos filed a lawsuit against numerous manufacturers, suppliers, and users of asbestos products. In September 2016, Mr. Kardos executed an affidavit related to his work history and exposures to asbestos, after a site visit of a prior worksite. In October 2016, Mr. Kardos was deposed over three days, including cross-examination by defendants regarding his work history and exposures to asbestos containing products. Mr. Kardos passed away on November 3, 2016, before any party re-noticed the deposition.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Consider This When Afforded the Opportunity to Cross-Examine