Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BP Oil Spill Fund's Final Phase

John Schwartz of the New York Times has an article in this morning's paper detailing the final settlement phase of the BP Oil Spill.  The claims handling process includes a three-year program that requires anyone who agrees to a final settlement to give up the right to sue BP and other companies involved with the spill.  Although the claims process is much quicker and, on the whole, has far fewer transaction costs than traditional litigation, we don't yet know what kind of long-term health effects the spill will have.    As was the case in asbestos, it's hard to predict what the latent health effects might be.

Of note in the article is a link to the 12-page document laying out the claims process as well as a 48-page memo by John Goldberg (Harvard), which argues that claims from people and businesses near the beaches but not directly affected by the spill would not be entitled to recover through the traditional litigation process.

ECB

November 24, 2010 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Environmental Torts, Mass Disasters | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Economic Claims Against Toyota Move Forward

Last week, District Judge James Selna refused to dismiss the economic injury claims by Toyota owners who alleged that the unintended acceleration problems caused a decrease in their cars' value.  The multi-district litigation includes more than 200 economic injury class actions and around 100 personal injury and wrongful death claims.  Judge Selna will consider Toyota's motion to dismiss the cases alleging wrongful injury and death on December 9.  Here's a link to the National Law Journal story.

ECB

November 23, 2010 in Current Affairs, Vehicles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Discussion of Ken Feinberg's Pay in BP Gulf Oil Spill Fund

Moira Herbst of Reuters has a short, but thoughtful piece analyzing the issues at play for a private claims administrator running a quasi-public claims fund.  It's easy to sympathize in the abstract with Ken Feinberg's difficult situation in exploring what's appropriate in his unprecedented role; but with his firm being compensated at an average of $1,000 per hour (according to Herbst's analysis), he's not ultimately likely to get much sympathy.

BGS

November 22, 2010 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Environmental Torts, Ethics, Lawyers, Mass Disasters, Settlement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Two Families in Fatal Toyota Accident Join to Sue Toyota for Unintended Acceleration

The family who lost a son and granddaughter in the accident has come together with the man driving the Toyota to file a suit against Toyota for unintended acceleration.  Jan Crawford of CBS has the story.

BGS

November 22, 2010 in Products Liability, Vehicles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New York Jurors Find Merck Not Liable in Fosamax Bellwether Trial

Merck has won the second of three bellwether trials on Fosamax, Graves v. Merck & Co., 1:06-cv-05513 (S.D.N.Y.).  Judith Graves, a Florida resident, sued the company and alleged that Fosamax (an osteoporosis drug) caused her jawbone to deteriorate.  The jury asked the judge for the date of the first report from which Merck could have known of an association between Fosamax and jawbone problems and found that the report appeared six months after the plaintiff's problems started.  Accordingly, jurors might've decided that Merck couldn't have known about the risks in time to warn the plaintiff.

Merck faces more than 1,500 claims in federal and state courts alleging various defects in Fosamax.  So far it has won two of the three cases that have gone to a jury trial; the third awarded damages of $8 million to the plaintiff, which was reduced to $1.5 million.

The New York Times article on the trial is available here, and the Wall Street Journal article is available here.  TheStreet provides the most detailed coverage, which is available here.

ECB

November 21, 2010 in Pharmaceuticals - Misc., Procedure, Products Liability, Trial | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)