TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Soutwestern Law School Asbestos Symposium Articles

Sheila mentioned them in the Roundup yesterday, and I want to highlight the Southwestern asbestos symposium articles over at Mass Torts Prof.  Alan Calnan and Byron Stier put together a fantastic conference.  The articles lineup includes:  Mark Behrens & William Anderson, Helen Freedman, Michael Green, Phil Harley, David Owen, Keith Hylton, James Henderson, Gregory Keating, Richard Nagareda, Howard Erichson, Joseph Sanders, Anita Bernstein, Neil Vidmar, Judy Sloan, and Barbara Rothstein.


February 7, 2009 in Conferences, Products Liability, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pain-and-Suffering Awards for Hip and Pelvis Injuries

Over at New York Injury Cases Blog, John Hochfelder has an intriguing post demonstrating the variability of pain-and-suffering awards for hip and pelvis injuries.


February 7, 2009 in Damages | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Personal Injury Roundup No. 23 (2/6/09)

Here's this weeks news from the world of torts...

Reform, Legislation, Policy

  • Speculation on who is to be named FDC Chief, leading contenders include Dr. Robert Califf, a Duke University cardiologist, or Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore's health commissioner. (In Vivo)
  • But Daschle withdrawal may delay appointment of FDA Chief.  (Reuters, Consumer Reports)
  • In Today Show interview, Obama criticizes FDA and promises "quick review" of FDA operations.  (WaPo, Boston Globe, NYTimes/AP)
  • "Who is Plan B for HHS?"  (Politico)
  • Big Pharma fears ban on direct-to-consumer advertising.  (Time)
  • Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduces bill to split FDA into two agencies, with new agency focused solely on food safety.  (Reuters)
  • Georgia state Senator Bill Cowsert introduces SB 101 and SB 108, which would implement Governor Sonny Perdue's proposals (1) to preempt claims against drug and medical device manufacturers where the product has FDA approval and (2) to impose a loser-pays requirement, respectively. 
  • Tort reform bill introduced in South Carolina.  (Torts Prof)

New Lawsuits

  • The Hartford files declaratory judgment action against Peanut Corp. of American (presumably to avoid covering liability in the sure-to-be-filed peanut butter salmonella cases).  (Marler, ForbesMass Tort Profs)
  • Indeed, because of Hartford suit, plaintiffs add Kellogg to suits already filed against Peanut Corp.  (Newsday)
  • Parents of former Marine sue VA.  (Newsday)
  • Beating victim sues Six Flags.  (Torts Prof)
  • West Virginia towns sue coal companies over bad water.  (AP)
  • FTC sues drug companies for conspiring to delay entry of generics into market.  (CNN Money)

Trials, Settlements & Other Ends


  • Louisiana Court of Appeals affirms judgment for DuPont in chemical release case.  (Mass Tort Defense)
  • Pfizer loses appeal in Alien Tort Claims Act case, which alleges Pfizer failed to inform patients of risks during use of experimental drug in bacterial meningitis outbreak in Nigeria.  (American Law/, WSJ Law Blog, Intl Law Profs)
  • California Supreme Court sets oral argument date in In re Tobacco II for Tuesday, March 3, 2009.  (Life Sciences Legal Update)
  • Sixth Circuit affirms denial of class certification in chemical spill case.  (Mass Tort Defense)


  • Southwestern University Law Review has published its symposium issue on "Perspectives on Asbestos Litigation." (MassTorts Prof)  


February 6, 2009 in Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gift Cards to Pay Class Action LAWYERS

Often class action plaintiffs are paid in gift cards.  Is it only fair their lawyers receive the same?  So says Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein.  Via Olson/Overlawyered linking Metropolitan News-Enterprise and California Civil Justice Blog.


February 5, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fletcher Comments on Tort Liability for Human Rights Abuses

Yesterday's NYT "Room for Debate" column included a section by George Fletcher (Columbia) on the role American law can play in prosecuting war crimes via the Alien Tort Claims Act.


February 5, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

DuPont Wins Case, Even After Class Certification and Significant Concessions

Details are at the Mass Tort Defense blog, which is (surprise!) a defense-oriented blog about mass torts, authored by an attorney at Dechert.  In the case, DuPont acknowledged significant elements for liability and a class was certified, but the defense still prevailed on causation.


February 4, 2009 in Experts & Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Top 10 Recent Torts & Products Liability SSRN Downloads

Among papers posted in the last 60 days, the top 10 papers for the SSRN Torts & Products Liability Journal are:

1. Overreaction to Fearsome Risks
Cass R. Sunstein and Richard J. Zeckhauser
Harvard University - Harvard Law School and Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government
Date Posted: December 24, 2008

2.  Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2008:  Twenty-Second Annual Survey
Symeon C. Symeonides
Willamette University - College of Law
Date Posted: January 2, 2009

3.  Internet Law in a Nutshell
Michael L. Rustad
Suffolk University Law School
Date Posted: January 17, 2009

4.  Liability Insurance at the Tort-Crime Boundary
Tom Baker
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Date Posted: December 10, 2008

5.   The Rome II Regulation on the Law Applicable to Non-Contractual Obligations:  The European Private International Law Tradition Continued - Introductory Observations, Scope, System, and General Rules
Xandra E. Kramer
Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law
Date Posted: December 11, 2008

6.  The Many Faces of Fault in Contract Law:  Or How to Do Economics Rights, Without Really Trying
Richard A. Epstein
University of Chicago - Law School
Date Posted: December 8, 2008

7.  The Effects of Tort Reform on Medical Malpractice Insurers' Ultimate Losses
Patricia Born, W. Kip Viscusi and Tom Baker

California State University, Northridge - Department of Finance, Real Estate, & Insurance , Vanderbilt University - Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School
Date Posted: December 27, 2008

8. Choice of Law in Cross-Border Torts
Symeon C. Symeonides
Willamette University - College of Law
Date Posted: January 15, 2009

9. The Prosser Notebook:  Classroom as Biography and Intellectual History
Christopher J. Robinette
Widener University - School of Law
Date Posted: January 21, 2009

10.  Intentional Diminishment, the Non-Identity Problem, and Legal Liability
I. Glenn Cohen
Harvard Law School
Date Posted: January 21, 2009


February 4, 2009 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sebok on Dismissal of 9/11 Property Damage Claims

In his latest Findlaw column, Tony Sebok analyzes Judge Hellerstein's decision (pdf) dismissing claims by World Trade Center Properties against American Airlines for damage caused to WTC Tower Two.  Remember, American's Flight 11 crashed into WTC Tower One, not Tower Two.   A United airlines plane struck Tower Two.   As Sebok notes, "So how did WTCP seek to also bring American before a jury for the loss of Tower Two, despite that Tower's only having been struck by a United plane? It argued as follows: Had American alerted the government as soon as it knew its plane had been seized, the government would have had enough time to scramble jets to shoot down United Flight 175 before it struck Tower Two."  Sebok explains that Judge Hellerstein rejected both causation and duty under this theory, and concludes Judge Hellerstein "got it right."


February 3, 2009 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pro and Con on Proposed Georgia Tort Reform

Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran two op-eds on Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's proposal to impose a loser-pays rule and limit liability for drug companies (prior posts here and here).   In the "pro" piece, Dan Pero, President of American Justice Partnership, argues that both reforms are necessary "to protect state jobs, attract new investment and make Georgia a better place to do business."  In the "con" piece, Jay Cook, president of the board of directors of the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation and a past president of the State Bar of Georgia, questions the efficacy of the FDA, and therefore argues that the proposals undermine public safety.


February 3, 2009 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Two Suits Against Pfizer Revived

One Alien Torts Claim suit and one Celebrex-related securities claim, both against Pfizer, were revived recently.  The WSJ Law Blog has details and links.


February 2, 2009 in Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

David Michaels on WHMP

David Michaels (who will be presenting the Clason Lecture at Western New England College School of Law this Thursday at noon) will appear on WHMP's Bill Dwight Show in Northampton, Massachusetts, this morning at 9:15 or so.  The station does not have an online stream, but I expect the interview will be posted on the show's blog at some point.


February 2, 2009 in Experts & Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Beating Victim Sues Six Flags Over Georgia

The AJC has details; essentially, the plaintiff was allegedly beaten by a group of Six Flags seasonal employees.  The location of where the fight started is disputed.


February 1, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)