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]

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
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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 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. Below are three major takeaways from DOJ’s action:

Continue Reading Department of Justice Acts to Fight Asbestos Trust Fraud

environment landscape natureAttorney Megan Caldwell recently blogged about two recent agency enforcement memoranda impacting the enforcement of environmental violations. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) have issued memos make changes in how agencies will focus on their roles in regards to enforcement. These changes may affect your company’s approach to compliance with certain agency guidance documents as well as your emphasis on relationships with state environmental agencies versus the EPA. You can read the full blog post on our Emerging Energy Insights blog.

Scales of JusticeAll too often, corporations and executives trying to “do the right thing” find little preventative guidance coming from the Department of Justice. Companies seeking to ensure their corporate compliance programs are robust enough to withstand government scrutiny frequently must resort to reviewing the United States Sentencing Guidelines or prior Non-Prosecution Agreements or Deferred Prosecution Agreements for guidance.

Recently, though, the DOJ Fraud Section quietly issued additional information about how DOJ prosecutors evaluate a company’s compliance program in “conducting an investigation of a corporate entity, determining whether to bring charges, and negotiating plea or other agreements.” The guidance was issued on February 8, 2017, and was not accompanied by so much as a press release or other public statement. Titled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” it can be found in full here.

Continue Reading DOJ’s New Guidance on Compliance Programs

taxAs party goers rang in 2017 this past holiday weekend, owners of Bitcoins had additional reason to celebrate as the value of the digital currency soared past $1,000 USD on Monday. The surge in Bitcoin price, up from just $200 USD in January 2015, may provide additional fodder for the IRS, who has its crosshairs set on Bitcoin users who do not properly report their income related to the buying, selling, and/or exchanging of the digital currency.

Continue Reading Bitcoin Value Surpasses $1,000: A Two-Sided Coin for Users

On December 17, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that its Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) will increase efforts to work with the mining U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate and prosecute crimes related to workplace violations. According to the DOJ’s Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, “On an average day in America, 13 workers die on the job, thousands are injured and 150 succumb to diseases they obtained from exposure to carcinogens and other toxic and hazardous substances while they worked.” As such, Ms. Yates said the DOJ is “redoubling its efforts to hold accountable those who unlawfully jeopardize workers’ health and safety.”

Continue Reading DOJ Looks to Increase Criminal Prosecutions for Workplace Violations

On July 18 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed Texas EquuSearch’s challenge of the FAA’s directive that it stop flying search-and-rescue missions using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)/drones.  In doing so, the Appellate panel, siding with the Justice Department/FAA, reasoned that the FAA’s email at issue was simply a warning and not subject to judicial review. The court said it lacked authority to review a claim in which “an agency merely expresses its view of what the law requires of a party.”

Continue Reading Court Dismisses Texas EquuSearch’s Challenge to FAA’s No-Fly Warning

In an unprecedented dedication of resources by a law firm, Husch Blackwell launched the Human Trafficking Legal Clinic to maximize efforts in the fight against human trafficking. The legal clinic is the first of its kind in the country.

Through the clinic, the firm represents all types of human trafficking victims — international and domestic, adults and children — in commercial sex and forced labor trafficking cases referred to the firm by the U.S. Department of Justice, state prosecutor’s offices, and law enforcement.

More than 40 of the firm’s partners and associates volunteer to provide services for the clinic on a pro bono basis. In addition, the firm provides outreach and training on topics of human trafficking.