On September 5, 2018, the Appellate Court for the Fourth District of Illinois introduced heightened standards for plaintiffs to establish duty and causation in asbestos litigation through its reversal of a McLean County trial court’s decision denying a defendant’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. McKinney v. Hobart Bros. Co., 2018 IL App (4th) 170333, appeal denied, 116 N.E.3d 948 (Ill. 2019). In McKinney, the plaintiff sued Defendant Hobart Brothers Company (“Hobart”) alleging his eight-month workplace exposure to Hobart’s asbestos-containing welding rods in 1962 and 1963 caused his mesothelioma. The welding rods at issue allegedly contained asbestos fibers that were encapsulated. The plaintiff also alleged exposure to asbestos-containing automotive products that occurred during the course of his forty-year mechanic career. In reversing the trial judgment, the McKinney Court addressed three issues of expert testimony admissibility under Rule 213 and ultimately tightened the reins on exposure claims involving encapsulated asbestos fibers by requiring industry knowledge of harm for the manufacturer’s product at issue before imposing a duty and ushering in the “substantial factor” test for causation.
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Product Liability Monitor

October 11, 2017
New Developments
America’s Opioid Epidemic: Who Will Be Held Accountable?
By Ally Schwab

In recent years America has seen an increasing number of opioid-involved deaths and is currently experiencing what the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) describes as an “opioid epidemic.” This crisis has been devastating to many communities and individuals, and

Product Liability Monitor

December 13, 2016
New Developments
Auto Manufacturers Partner with Nauto to Improve Driverless Car Technology
By Shannon Peters

One of the main obstacles to the autonomous vehicle industry is “infrastructure,” but not in the sense typically associated with the term. Since autonomous vehicles come in all shapes, sizes, and powertrain types (gasoline, electric, and hybrid),

Toxic Tort Monitor

August 3, 2016
New Developments
Northern District of Illinois Denies Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration in Take-Home Exposure Case
By Jen Dlugosz

In May 2016, we reported the Northern District of Illinois’ decision in Neumann v. Borg-Warner Morse Tec LLC, No. 15-C-10507, 2016 WL 930662 (N.D. Ill. March 10, 2016). Following that ruling, plaintiff moved

Toxic Tort Monitor

May 2, 2016
New Developments
Northern District of Illinois Decision on Take-Home Exposure Liability has Limited Application
By Lindsay McClure-Hartman

The Northern District of Illinois in Neumann v. Borg-Warner Morse Tec LLC, No. 15-C-10507, 2016 WL 930662 (N.D. Ill. March 10, 2016), recently granted a motion to dismiss on the basis that a product

California courts have forged a shield for product manufacturers faced with liability stemming from the foreseeable but unintended use of their product in conjunction with another manufacturer’s product. Consistent with a recent decision by the California Supreme Court, a California appellate court concluded that a manufacturer is generally not liable in strict liability or negligence for harm caused by another manufacturer’s product, despite the fact that the two products are compatible to be used together.
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In December 2002, Gary Prokup, a 200-hour, non-instrument rated private pilot, purchased a new SR22 aircraft from Cirrus, the manufacturer.  Included with the price of the aircraft, Cirrus offered a new owner transition training program, an obligation which Cirrus subcontracted to the University of North Dakota Flight Foundation (UNDAF).  Prokup registered for and took the training.
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