Wednesday, May 1, 2013
A Philadelphia judge has held that a rule allowing venue over out-of-state doctors in any county in Pennsylvania is constitutional. Amaris Elliott-Engel has the full story for The Legal Intelligencer (behind a pay wall).
Monday, April 8, 2013
The National Law Journal reports that consumers have filed economic loss claims against Ford based on the risk of sudden unintended acceleration. The national class action has been filed in federal court in West Virginia. Unsurprisingly, the claims exclude potential personal injury or wrongful death claims. Rather, the claims sound in contract and include Magnuson-Moss, state warranty, consumer protection and unfair trade practices claims. The full article is behind a free registration wall.
I have written about these risk-based claims in Against Liability for Private Risk-Exposure.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The National Law Journal reports that a Massachusetts trial court has granted summary judgment in a defamation suit brought by Boston rock band founder Donald Scholz against the Boston Herald and two journalists. According to the article, the Herald articles "insinuated that [lead singer Brad] Delp's rocky relationship with Scholz drove [Delp] to take his own life." The trial court found that Scholz could not prove defamation because the statements constituted "non-actionable opinion."
The full article is behind a free registration wall.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Randy Maniloff of White & Williams writes a free bi-weekly insurance news letter, Coverage Opinions. In his latest issue (pdf), Maniloff explored whether insurance liabilty coverage should be covered within the first-year Torts class. He asked a third year student at Penn to analyze how Katko v. Briney (the infamous spring gun case) would have played out if the Brineys had homeowners insurance coverage. Very interesting and worth a read.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
A front page article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal reported on a WSJ investigation into the state of asbestos litigation. The article, "Asbestos Claims Rise, So Do Worries About Fraud," is behind a pay wall. In part, the article reports:
The Wall Street Journal reviewed trust claims and court cases of roughly 850,000 people filed since the late 1980s until as recently as 2012.
The analysis found numerous apparent anomalies: More than 2,000 applicants to the Manville trust said they were exposed to asbestos working in industrial jobs before they were 12 years old.
Hundreds of others claimed to have the most-severe form of asbestos-related cancer in paperwork filed to Manville but said they had lesser cancers to other trusts or in court cases.
The Manville trust declined to comment on individual cases, citing privacy concerns. The trust's general counsel, David Austern, said the trust tightened its oversight after a 2005 claims scandal, adding: "We audit periodically and haven't found any fraud."
Accompanying the article is a neat graphic showing the connections between various law firms and the asbestos bankruptcy trusts.
Monday, March 11, 2013
The National Law Journal reports that a California trial judge has denied summary judgment in the Michael Jackson wrongful death case. Jackson's mother and children have sued the concert promoter, AEG Live LLC, for negligence in hiring and supervising Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's physician. Trial is scheduled to being April 2nd. The full story is behind a free registration wall.
Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the alert.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
In an interlocutory appeal, the Idaho Supreme Court declined to adopt the "baseball rule," limiting a stadium operator's liability for foul balls. The case, Rountree v. Boise Ball (pdf), involved a Boise Hawks minor league game. Bud Rountree was hit in the eye by a foul ball, and sued the stadium owners and the Boise Hawks for negligence. On interlocutory appeal, the Idaho Supreme Court held that "[w]hether watching baseball is inherently dangerous, and the degrees of fault to be apportioned to Rountree and Boise Baseball, are questions for the jury." A Retuers report has more.
Monday, March 4, 2013
An amicus brief by Pacific Legal Foundation alerted me to an interesting case in the Maryland appellate courts. In Georgia Pacific LLC v. Farrar, the family member of an employee who worked near other workers using asbestos sued an asbestos manufacturer for failure to warn of the risks of asbestos. The worker, the plaintiff's grandfather, did not himself work with asbestos. Thus, the case raises the question of whether the duty to warn extends to a bystander of a bystander. The Court of Special Appeals held that the manufacturer did have a duty to warn, and the case is now before the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Forbes reports that Pfizer is asking the Alabama Supreme Court to reconsider its decision holding Pfizer liable for failing to warn a consumer who took a generic version of the drug Reglan. The article points out the regulation, not litigation, may answer this one:
Meanwhile, though, the issue may be decided by the FDA. The agency recently disclosed plans to revise its regulations so that generic drugmakers can update product labeling and warn patients about risks associated with their drugs. If the FDA were to make such a change, generic drugmakers could be sued in state courts – if they become aware of evidence of serious side effects, but do not take action to update the product labeling (back story).
Monday, February 25, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
The answer is maybe. Neil Foster (Newcastle) sends word of an interesting English Court of Appeals case: Tamiz v. Google Inc. The court found that, in some circumstances, Google could be liable for defamatory comments made on a blog hosted by Google: "Thus, if Google Inc allows defamatory material to remain on a Blogger blog after it has been notified of the presence of that material, it might be inferred to have associated itself with, or to have made itself responsible for, the continued presence of that material on the blog and thereby to have become a publisher of the material."
Monday, February 18, 2013
Claims regarding the meningitis outbreak tied to injectable steroids has been consolidated in a MDL before Judge F. Dennis Saylor of the District of Massachusetts. The National Law Journal has the full story (behind a free registration wall).
Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the alert.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Professor Russ Brown of the University of Alberta has been appointed as a Justice to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. Brown taught Torts, Civil Procedure, Property and Wills. His research focused within tort law on economic loss and causation.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Pennsylvania Record reports that rules changes to the mass torts program at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas have resulted in a 70% drop in mass tort filings.
Monday, February 11, 2013
On Friday, Georgia state Senator Brandon Beach introduced a bill that would create a hearings-system to handle medical malpractice claims. The proposed system would be similar to the worker's comp system:
[The bill] would create a system in which patients take complaints of doctor or hospital mistakes to a panel of physicians for hearings rather than filing lawsuits in court. If the panel concludes compensation is warranted, it pays out of a fund all providers pay into, like the no-fault system that covers on-the-job injuries.
The Augusta Chronicle has more.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
For the 3rd time in 11 years, Sen. Stan Edelstein attempted to repeal South Dakota's alienation of affections law. This time he was aided by a high-profile trial against a state's attorney in which the jury ultimately rejected the plaintiff's claims. Media coverage was extensive and included specific and intimate details of the relationships involved. The trial changed some minds, but not enough. The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the bill on a 4-3 vote. South Dakota will remain one of a handful of states retaining the heart balm tort. Argus.com has the story.
Monday, January 28, 2013
The Legal Intelligencer reports that Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Nitza Alejandro has denied Johnson & Johnson's McNeil-PPC's post-trial motions in a case involving over the counter Children's Motrin. In the case, a jury awarded $10 million to a young girl who suffered Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis after taking Children's Motrin. The full story is behind a free registration wall.
Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the alert.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Plaintiff hunter suffered blindness, brain trauma, and extensive scarring. He was injured by another hunter, who had been barred from having a gun because of a prior conviction. The judge awarded over $4 million in damages. The case was argued by Schmidt Kramer's Joe Chapman (Widener Law '08). The story (pdf) is here: Download Hobbins Verdict -- Daily Item, 1-18-13.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Symeon Symeonides has published his annual chocie of law survey. The abstract provides:
This is the Twenty-Sixth Annual Survey of American Choice-of-Law Cases. It is intended as a
service to fellow teachers and students of conflicts law, in the United States
Of the 4,300 cases decided in 2012 by
state and federal courts, this Survey reviews 1,225 appellate cases, focusing
on those cases that may contribute something new to the development or
understanding of conflicts law, particularly choice of law. Highlights include:
▸ Numerous exemplifying the valiant efforts of state courts, and
some lower federal courts, to protect consumers, employees, and other
presumptively weak parties from the Supreme Court’s ever-expanding
interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act;
▸ A few cases enforcing choice-of-law clauses unfavorable to
their drafters, and many more cases involving deadly combinations of
choice-of-law and choice-of-forum clauses;
▸ Several interesting products liability cases, and other tort
conflicts, including maritime torts and workers’ compensation claims by
professional football players;
▸ The first appellate case interpreting the recent amendments
of the anti-terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA);
▸ The first cases holding unconstitutional the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA);
▸ A Massachusetts case holding that an undissolved Vermont
same-sex union was an impediment to a subsequent same-sex marriage in
▸ An Arizona case holding that a Canadian same-sex marriage
was against Arizona’s public policy, but—unlike other cases—also holding that
the trial court had jurisdiction to annul the marriage and divide the parties’
▸ The first case in decades upholding a foreign marriage by
▸ A case upholding, on First Amendment grounds, an injunction
against Oklahoma’s “Anti-Shari’a” Amendment; and
▸ A case refusing to recognize a Japanese divorce, custody,
and child support judgment rendered in a bilateral proceeding because the
husband did not receive notice of a subsequent guardianship proceeding.