Toxic Tort Monitor

February 20, 2019 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
Missouri’s Game-Changing Opinion on Venue in Multi-Plaintiff Tort Litigation
By Dominique Savinelli and Tim Larkin

On February 13, 2019, the Supreme Court of Missouri dealt a significant blow against improper forum shopping by plaintiffs in mass tort litigation. The Johnson & Johnson “talc cases” currently venued in St. Louis city involve many plaintiffs whose claimed injuries arose outside that city, but for strategic reasons they prefer that venue. Typically, these cases include a single “local” plaintiff whose injury first occurred in St. Louis city. The remaining plaintiffs (sometimes dozens) are joined pursuant to Rule 52.05 and claim venue solely based on joinder with the “local” plaintiff(s). [Continue Reading]

Supreme Court of Virginia Recognizes Employer Liability for “Take Home” Exposure
By Michael Klebanov

Recently, a divided Supreme Court of Virginia, in a 4-3 decision, recognized an employer’s liability for “take home” exposure. In Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., the Supreme Court held that employers can be liable for their employees unknowingly bringing home asbestos dust and exposing cohabitating family members to asbestos (i.e., “take home” liability). [Continue Reading]

Seventh Circuit Holds Government Contractor only Required to Provide Short and Plain Statement Asserting Basis for Removal
By Kayla Foley

In a recent decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a defendant’s removal of an asbestos case was valid, even though it did not provide evidence supporting its federal contractor defense. In Betzner v. the A.O. Smith Corporation, the Betzners filed suit in Madison County, Illinois alleging that Bruce Betzner was exposed to asbestos fibers manufactured by Boeing during the course of his employment. Boeing filed a notice of removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a), or the federal officer removal statute. [Continue Reading]

Upcoming Events
DRI – Toxic Torts and Environmental Law
March 14-15, 2019
New Orleans, LA

Several of our toxic tort litigators are attending this DRI seminar; we hope to see you there!

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
December 2018

Read the full Toxic Tort Monitor Archive

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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]

The proverbial hacksaw inside a prisoner’s birthday cake has been supplanted by a new technological trend for bringing contraband into the jailhouse – Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”). As early as 2015, a fight broke out at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio when a drone carrying tobacco, marijuana, and heroin crashed into a yard inside the facility. That same year, a drone trafficking hacksaw blades, a cellphone, and Super Glue crashed into a maximum security prison in Oklahoma. Similar plots have been attempted in more than a dozen states nationwide, leading states like North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas to ban drone flights over correctional facilities. Perhaps to save us from another pre-emption fight over UAS operational restrictions, the federal government is now following suit.

On June 7, 2018 the FAA announced temporary flight restrictions over federal correctional facilities and certain U.S. Coast Guard facilities. The inclusion of Coast Guard facilities has no connection to the smuggling concerns faced by correctional facilities. Rather, the addition of Coast Guard facilities is simply an expansion of the FAA’s existing flight restrictions at select national security sensitive facilities that are operated by the Departments of Defense and Energy.

The new restrictions went into effect on June 20, 2018 and prohibit UAS operations between the surface and 400 feet above ground in the vicinity of thirty-three Coast Guard and correctional facilities. The restrictions are in effect 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The correctional facilities located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Coast Guard facilities are in Maryland, Massachusetts, California, North Carolina, Alaska, Florida, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Failure to comply with FAA and state UAS regulations (including temporary flight restrictions) can lead to significant civil and criminal penalties. Software developers must ensure their products are updated to appropriately avoid these restricted areas, and operators would be wise to check the FAA’s Know Before You Fly app before beginning their missions.

You can reach Husch Blackwell’s experienced team of UAS attorneys by contacting Erik Dullea and Chris Sundberg, who are happy to help your business more effectively utilize UAS technology and stay out of trouble with the FAA.