Under the Clean Water Act

environmental waterThe Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act) expressly forbids the discharge of pollutants without a permit. The term “discharge of pollutants” means the “addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source.” Any discharge of pollutants must be covered under a federal or state discharge permit (e.g., a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the discharge of dredged and fill material or a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the discharge of other pollutants); otherwise the discharge would be in violation of the CWA. If it does not constitute a discharge of pollutants, then the release does not violate the CWA.

A flurry of recent cases around the United States has created a circuit split over whether the CWA governs discharges to groundwater that eventually add pollutants to navigable waters. However, there are a few points these courts seem to agree on. Continue Reading CWA Series: Do Discharges to Groundwater Require a Permit? Depends on Who You Ask

Toxic Tort Monitor

June 18, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
New Tool for Non-Resident Defendants Seeking to Challenge Personal Jurisdiction in Illinois
By Dominque Savinelli

If you are a non-resident corporate defendant in Cook County, Illinois, you should become familiar with Campbell v. Acme Insulations, Inc., as it will undoubtedly serve as a useful blueprint for future challenges to the exercise of personal jurisdiction in that state. [Continue Reading]

United States Supreme Court to Consider the Bare Metal Defense
By Andrew Hahn

The United States Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari in Air and Liquid Systems Corp. et al. v. Devries et al. and is set to wade into the fiercely contested waters surrounding the bare metal defense under maritime law. Generally, the bare metal defense asserts that defendants that manufactured products composed of only metal, and no asbestos components, have no liability regarding asbestos-containing components later utilized in or on their products. The Court will directly address the question: “Can products-liability defendants be held liable under maritime law for injuries caused by products that they did not make, sell, or distribute?” [Continue Reading]

Missouri Supreme Court Holds that the Workers Compensation Additional Mesothelioma Benefit Provides Claims-Made Coverage Trigger
By Eric B. Krauss

In Accident Fund Ins. Co. v. Casey, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s determination that Respondent, the employer’s workers compensation insurer, was liable for Appellant’s claim for enhanced mesothelioma benefits. [Continue Reading]

“Take-Home More than Seashells”: Rhode Island Court Rules that Employer Owes Duty of Care to Protect Third-Party Non-Employees
By Ketajh Brown

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations—contemporarily nicknamed “the Ocean State” is known for famous clear-broth Quahog clam chowder, The Breakers Mansion, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and its Napatree Point Conservation Area beaches covered in seashells.  While tourists often take home Napatree’s brilliant and pristine shells, a recent Superior Court opinion of first impression addressed whether Rhode Island law imposes duty of care upon employers to protect third-party non-employees from take-home asbestos exposure. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
May 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]

Congress’ passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011 created a new process for challenging the validity of issued patents. This new process is filed with the very governmental agency that originally issued the patent. Called Inter Partes Review (IPR), hundreds of issued patents have been invalidated, in whole or in part, using the new proceeding. On April 24, 2018, the Supreme Court handed down two decisions directly relating to IPRs. In the first, it upheld the IPR process as constitutional. In the second, it provided additional direction to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“PTAB”), which oversees and decides IPRs. Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules on Two Cases involving Inter Partes Review

Toxic Tort Monitor

 

March 14, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editors: Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden
New Developments
Precluding a Second Bite at the Apple; Federal District Court Grants Summary Judgment on Basis of Doctrine of Collateral Estoppel
By Tierra Jones

In the interest of justice and courtroom efficiency, res judicata aims to prevent parties from re-litigating previously legally resolved issues and claims involving the same or similar parties. Two doctrines – claim preclusion and issue preclusion – are encompassed in res judicata. Issue preclusion, also known as the doctrine of collateral estoppel, is the narrower doctrine of the two. [Continue Reading]

Personal Jurisdiction and LLCs – Does Citizenship Matter?
By Jen Dlugosz

When deciding whether to remove a case when an LLC is a party it is necessary to look at the citizenship of the LLC’s members to determine whether there is diversity for subject matter jurisdiction. However, citizenship of LLC members is not a key component of personal jurisdiction. The tests for subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction, while sometimes muddled, are in fact distinct. Simply put, just because an LLC is a citizen in the jurisdiction, does not equate to personal jurisdiction over the LLC in that jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Eastern District of Missouri Denies Plaintiff’s Motion to Reconsider Personal Jurisdiction Ruling
By Natalie Holden

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently denied an asbestos plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s previous grant of defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
February 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

January 17, 2018
New Developments
A Review of 2017 Personal Jurisdiction Decisions
By Taylor Concannon

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court in cases such as BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California continued the trend that began in Goodyear and Daimler and reaffirmed its limits on personal jurisdiction for corporate defendants. [Continue Reading]

Summary of 2017 Talc Verdicts
By Natalie Holden

After several multi-million dollar verdicts in talc and ovarian cancer trials in 2016, 2017 proved to be a more interesting year, with some plaintiff verdicts and some defense verdicts. There are currently thousands of talc related claims pending across the United States. The defendants in this litigation maintain that the science does not support the claims that personal care powder products cause ovarian cancer. [Continue Reading]

Missouri Court of Appeals Reverses Defense Verdict Finding Trial Court’s Allowance of Four Defense Experts as Cumulative and an Abuse of Discretion
By Natalie Holden and Jen Dlugosz

In Shallow v. Follwell, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District, Division Four, held that the trial court abused its discretion by permitting the “unfairly cumulative and prejudicial repetition of expert opinions from [defense] expert witnesses.” [Continue Reading]

Texas Court of Appeals Denies Rehearing in Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company v. Rogers
By Joe Ellis, Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden

In Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company v. Rogers, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued an important decision regarding the calculation of exemplary damages awarded under the Texas statute governing the exemplary damages cap to calculate a judgment amount in the case of an employer defendant found grossly negligent where the deceased employee claimed exposure to asbestos. [Continue Reading]

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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]

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Product Liability Monitor

December 4, 2017
New Developments
Missouri Adopts Daubert: What It Means in Product Liability Cases
By Theresa Mullineaux

In March 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed House Bill 153, which amended Mo. Rev. Stat. § 490.065, and effectively adopted Daubert standards for Missouri cases, effective in August 2017. As a result, Missouri now follows similar standards to those applied in Federal courts and the majority of other state courts for expert evidence.[1] HB 153 establishes a four factor standard: [Continue Reading]

Defending Depositions
By Alan Hoffman

A previous post discussed preparing witnesses for their depositions. After a witness has been prepared for deposition it is the lawyer’s job to protect the witness, the client, and the record—a task that has many challenges, perils and pitfalls, but particularly so in products cases which often involve complicated design, risk-benefit, “safety” and warnings issues. Here are some suggestions for product lawyers and witnesses. [Continue Reading]

The Ninth Circuit versus CAFA’s Removal Provisions in Products Liability Litigation
By Soham Desai

The 2005 Class Action Fairness Act created federal jurisdiction based on minimum diversity for certain class and mass actions in an effort to preclude artfully maneuvering to defeat diversity jurisdiction. Actions with at least 100 plaintiffs, minimal diversity between the parties, and an amount in controversy exceeding $5 million dollars may be removed to federal court. In response, plaintiffs’ attorneys began subdividing their cases into groups of less than 100 plaintiffs in order to avoid removal under CAFA. [Continue Reading]

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice

Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]

Product Liability Monitor Archive
November 2017

Inter Partes Review (IPR), created by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), 125 Stat. 284 (2011), has become a prominent part of patent litigation. Accused infringers can challenge asserted patents based on printed prior art by petitioning the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to “institute” an IPR “trial.” An IPR before the PTAB is an administrative proceeding with no right to a jury trial on patent validity. If instituted, non-Article III judges receive evidence and arguments and determine whether the patent is valid. Many IPRs arise out of pending District court patent infringement litigation and parties to an IPR proceeding can be estopped from re-litigating issues that were raised or could have been raised in the PTAB. At the discretion of the federal judge, district court litigation may be stayed pending the outcome of the IPR. Ultimately, IPRs can be less expensive than district court validity determinations and often contribute to efficient resolution of patent disputes. Continue Reading Will “Oil States” Upend IPRs?

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 the reasonable interpretation of the relevant federal agency when application of statutory provisions is uncertain and the agency’s interpretation is reasonable. The Supreme Court went further in National Cable & Telecommunications Ass’n, holding that when the Chevron test is satisfied, “an agency’s interpretation should prevail even when a court has adopted a contrary interpretation in the past.” [Continue Reading]

Artificial Intelligence: A New Frontier for Product Liability Claims?
By David Dean

Long considered the domain of science fiction, recent years have seen numerous applications of artificial intelligence begin to enter the mainstream. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have brought artificially intelligent personal assistants into our pockets and our living rooms. Google Translate applies machine learning to language translation, with near-human accuracy. IBM’s Watson is working with medical doctors in New York City to review patient records and recommend cancer treatment options. The first autonomous technology vehicles are already on the road. [Continue Reading]

Preparing for Depositions
By Alan Hoffman

Preparing witnesses for their depositions is an important task in discovery, and particularly so in product liability cases.  Product knowledge and expertise is often scattered, and sometimes reside in former employees. Loaded questions about “safety,” design choices, warnings and directions are often perplexing for witnesses. [Continue Reading]

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice

Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]

Product Liability Monitor Archive
October 2017

gavel courtOn October 17, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri reversed a $72 million judgment that was previously rendered against Johnson & Johnson, relying on a United States Supreme Court decision that was issued earlier this year. In June, the Supreme Court of the United States narrowed the scope of specific personal jurisdiction in Bristol Myers Squib Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, 137 S.Ct. 1773 (2017), holding that that each plaintiff in a multi-plaintiff case must establish personal jurisdiction over the defendant for his or her individual claim. Applying the Supreme Court’s decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the plaintiff’s verdict that was issued in February 2016 in Estate of Fox v. Johnson & Johnson, No. ED104580.  Continue Reading Missouri Appellate Court Reverses Verdict in Johnson & Johnson Talc Case

courthouseIf your employees are part of the 25 million who have arbitration agreements that agree to bring claims in individual arbitration alone, then you will want to watch for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis. The Court heard arguments in the case last Monday and several of the Justices offered glimpses into the polarized positions on the Bench concerning whether the National Labor Relations Act prohibits agreements that preclude joint, class, or collective claims in the courts or in arbitration. You can learn more about the unique aspects of the arguments and the concerns of the Justices in this blog on Husch Blackwell’s Labor Relations Law Insider.