Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shell Settles Nigerian Human Rights Case for $15.5 Million

Article on cnnmoney.com -- Shell pays $15.5M in Nigeria suit: Oil company settles a claim that it violated human rights leading to the killings of a famous writer and other activists in 1995.  Here's an excerpt:

Shell has agreed to a $15.5 million settlement in a lawsuit that claimed the oil company supported civil rights abuses in Nigeria that led to the killings of a famous writer and other activists in 1995.

The family of writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and nine other people filed the suit in New York, alleging that Shell was partially responsible for the then-military regime's oppression of the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta. Saro-Wiwa and other activists were protesting what they saw as environmental abuses by Shell.

Shell, which said it "had no part in the violence that took place," called the settlement "a humanitarian gesture to set up a trust fund to benefit the Ogoni people."


June 9, 2009 in Environmental Torts, Mass Disasters | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tobacco Bill Giving FDA Regulatory Authority Progresses in Senate

As a follow-up to Byron's earlier post on the pending bill to give the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products, here's a link to the Associated Press story and to the bill itself.  The bill responds to the Supreme Court's opinion in FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120 (2000), which held that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act did not give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products.  Accordingly, the FDA could not promulgate regulations governing tobacco companies' advertising, labeling, or accessibility.  A similar bill passed in the House on April 2, 2009, and it is currently under consideration by the Senate.


June 9, 2009 in FDA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 8, 2009

NIH Study Questions Benefits of Stents and Diabetes Drugs Avandia and Actos

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Diabetes Study Questions Expensive Treatments: NIH Finds Patients With Heart Disease Fare Equally Well Without Stents and Drugs Such as Avandia, Actos, by Keith J. Winstein.  Here's an excerpt:

Aggressive use of expensive diabetes drugs and medical devices called stents did no better than cheaper treatments at preventing deaths, heart attacks or strokes in a large study of diabetics with heart disease.

The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and several drugmakers, is the latest to humble fancy new treatments by finding them no better than older medicines at preventing the deadly consequences of major diseases. The results add to a debate about alleged overuse of stents, made by companies including Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific Corp. and Johnson & Johnson, and controversial diabetes drugs from GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.


June 8, 2009 in FDA, Medical Devices - Misc., Pharmaceuticals - Misc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tobacco, the FDA, and Preemption

Op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal -- Tobacco and the Tort Bar, by Mark H. Berlind.  Here's an excerpt:

Congress is on the verge of passing sweeping legislation that would empower the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products. Antitobacco activists are cheering, while some tobacco companies are raising the specter of First Amendment violations. Lost in the debate is the fact that this bill will continue to allow consumers to sue manufacturers that fully comply with the FDA's content and labeling rules.


Today's legislation would impose strict limits on tobacco advertising and labeling, mandate stronger warning labels, and require advance FDA approval of any reduced-risk claims. It would also empower the FDA to change cigarettes' content to make them less addictive and lethal.

However, in a little-noticed provision, the bill also expressly provides that "no provision of this chapter . . . shall be construed to modify or otherwise affect . . . the liability of any person under the product liability law of any State." In other words, the regulatory regime that the legislation would establish can't protect companies from tort liability -- even if they rigorously follow every FDA rule.


June 8, 2009 in FDA, Preemption, Tobacco | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Motion to Dismiss Denied In 9/11 First Responders Litigation

The motion was made by two defendants in reliance on Bell Atlantic v. Twombly.  Judge Hellerstein's denial of the motion can be found here.

June 8, 2009 in 9/11 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cert Granted in Jurisdiction Case

The Supreme Court granted cert today in Hertz v. Friend, No. 08-1107. The question presented is what test applies for purposes of determining a corporation's principal place of business for diversity jurisdiction citizenship under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1332: the "place of operations test" or the "nerve center" test, where the corporation does substantially more business in one state compared to others?  (From BNA Law Week's Supreme Court Today). 


June 8, 2009 in Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)