Product Liability Monitor

November 2, 2017
New Developments
Mr. Gorsuch Goes to Washington: Is Chevron Endangered?
By Tierra Jones

Since the Supreme Court’s 1984 holding in Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council (“Chevron”), courts have looked to federal administrative agencies in interpreting regulatory statutes. Under this doctrine, commonly referred to as “Chevron deference,” courts adopt

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

airplaneOn October 27, 2016 a chartered Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 carrying Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence and 36 others skidded off a wet runway at LaGuardia Airport on a rainy fall night. The incident gained some notoriety, not only because the candidate was aboard, but also because the cockpit voice recorder transcript revealed that, after the incident,  the captain said, “My career just ended,” and the co-pilot said, “We should have went around.”

Continue Reading Air Safety: “My Career Just Ended!”

Product Liability Monitor

July 14, 2017
New Developments
Rats! Eco-Friendly Soy-Based Insulation Could Spell Trouble Down the Road
By Sarah Rashid

A new “eco-friendly” biodegradable material used to insulate wiring in newer cars could make for trouble — and lawsuits — down the road for car manufacturers. This insulation is made from soybeans, making it more environmentally friendly

airplane jetOn May 31, 2014, a Gulfstream IV executive jet overran the runway at Hanscom Airport in suburban Boston from which it had attempted to takeoff. It hurtled into a ravine off the end of the runway, crashed and burst into flames. The three crew members and four passengers all perished in the resulting fireball. The accident received widespread media attention because the passengers included Lewis Katz, a wealthy businessman, philanthropist and co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was returning with his guests from an education fundraising event hosted by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Continue Reading Air Safety: Free and Correct?: The Lesson of the Bedford Incident

airplaneOn May 19, 2016 at 9:09 p.m. local time (23:09 UMT)[1] EgyptAir Flight MS 804, an Airbus A320, departed Paris bound for Cairo carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew. Its scheduled arrival time was 01:15 UMT.  At 23:24 UMT the aircraft entered Greek airspace. Air traffic controllers last spoke with the pilot, who reported no problems, at 23:48 UMT.  At 00:26 UMT data reported by the ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) satellite communications system indicated smoke in the forward lavatory. One minute later, at 00:27 UMT, ACARS reported smoke in the avionics bay below the cockpit and a fault in the right side cockpit window. At the same time air traffic controllers attempted to contact the aircraft, but despite repeated efforts no response was received. The aircraft disappeared from radar at 00:29.

Radar returns indicated that the aircraft first deviated 90 degrees to the left of its flightpath, then made a full 360 degree circle to the right, while descending from 38,000 feet to 10,000 feet of altitude before disappearing at 00:30 UMT, approximately 175 miles north of the Egyptian Mediterranean coast.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The Fate of EgyptAir Flight 804

On March 5, 2015 Delta Flight 1086, an MD-80 en route from Atlanta to New York, skidded off Runway 13 at LaGuardia airport, coming to rest on a dike alongside the runway with its nose hanging over the waters of Flushing Bay. Delta 108629 of the 127 passengers and crew on board sustained minor injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged. Both cockpit crew were highly experienced MD-80 pilots with thousands of hours logged in the aircraft, and the captain had made many landings at LaGuardia under winter conditions.

How did this accident happen?

Continue Reading Air Safety: Catch 22

airplaneSully, the new film starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood, opened recently to great box office success. It tells the dramatic story of the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the successful forced landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles after a bird strike and failure of both engines of their Airbus A320.  The film accurately recreates the event, but also includes a wholly fictional confrontation between Sullenberger and fictional National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators in which the investigators challenge Sullenberger’s actions during the event.

What actually happened?

Continue Reading Air Safety: “Sully” — Hollywood Versus History

Product Liability Monitor

August 9, 2016
New Developments
GM’s Ignition Switch Litigation Woes Continue
By Shannon Peters

“Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.” That must be what GM’s executives (and counsel) were thinking when the Second Circuit handed down its recent decision overturning portions of the 2015 Bankruptcy Court decision that could have

“For centuries, humans all around the world have dreamed of flying to space,” says Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. “Now, at last, space travel is open to all of us…for the first time in history, space exploration is a possibility for everyone who dares to dream of it.”

Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong after landing the X-15 on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base (NASA Dryden Research Center)

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip 2, under development by Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, offers flights above 100 kilometers (62 miles) at speeds reaching 2,600 mph after being carried aloft and launched from its White Knight mother ship. A seat on SpaceShip 2 costs $250,000.

SpaceShip 2 aims to duplicate the feats of the X-15 rocket planes conceived and built during the 1950s. Virgin Galactic acknowledges its debt to “the iconic X-15 program that so inspired our own vehicles.”

Continue Reading Back to the Future: SpaceShip 2 and the X-15