Category Archives: Court Rulings/Decisions

Subscribe to Court Rulings/Decisions RSS Feed

Who Won? The Verdict in the AndroGel Trial

A Chicago jury awarded a single plaintiff $150 million in punitive damages, finding that AbbVie, Inc. fraudulently misrepresented the safety risks of its drug used to treat low testosterone, AndroGel. But the jury also decided in AbbVie’s favor on the plaintiff’s strict liability and negligence claims—meaning that they determined that AndroGel did not cause the plaintiff’s … Continue Reading

No Delay for Proposition 65 Listing of Glyphosate

For the past several months, Monsanto has been in court challenging California’s decision to add the chemical glyphosate—the active ingredient in its herbicide Roundup—to the Proposition 65 list. It recently faced a setback when the California Supreme Court rejected Monsanto’s request to stay a lower court’s decision to include glyphosate among the 960 chemicals on … Continue Reading

Checking Out of Hotel California: The U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Plaintiffs Cannot Sue Companies Anywhere They Do Business

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California (BMS), an action brought in California state court that included some non-California plaintiffs alleging injuries not suffered in California. The Supreme Court – for the second time this term – narrowed where plaintiffs can constitutionally sue companies. The … Continue Reading

Safe Crossing: The U.S. Supreme Court Gets State Courts on Track with Daimler

On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell (BNSF), another case that defines the constitutional limits of general personal jurisdiction over companies. The major issue in BNSF was whether a railroad company had a substantial enough presence in Montana for the Montana courts to assert general … Continue Reading

It’s a Federal Question: Can Defendants Remove Under the Grable Doctrine?

A Missouri federal court recently retained jurisdiction over state-law claims under the rarely used “Grable doctrine.” The doctrine arose from a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case, and supports removal when (1) a plaintiff’s state-law claim raises a disputed and substantial federal question, and (2) removal would not disturb the balance between state and federal judicial … Continue Reading

It’s Not Personal: Companies Can’t Be Sued Everywhere

The highest courts in two states have made it more difficult for plaintiffs to sue companies in state courts of their choosing. The Oregon and Missouri Supreme Courts recently dismissed claims against companies for lack of jurisdiction where the companies were not incorporated or headquartered in the forum state, or were not sued because of … Continue Reading

Hotel California: Supreme Court Will Review Whether Plaintiffs Can Check in to California Courts from Afar

On January 9, 2017, the United States Supreme Court granted review over a case from the California Supreme Court that could affect whether plaintiffs can bring product liability and mass tort claims in states where they don’t live and didn’t suffer an injury. In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Addresses the Duty to Warn

On June 28, 2016, the Court of Appeals decided the following question: Does a manufacturer have a duty to warn about asbestos-containing parts made by someone else but used with its non-asbestos product? The Court answered, “Sometimes,” under a relatively narrow set of circumstances. The plaintiff in Dummitt v. Crane Co., a Navy boiler technician … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Says Offering to Settle Cannot Moot Class Action Suits

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that an offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 made to the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit, in addition to a separate free-standing settlement offer in the same amount, does not render the lawsuit moot. In Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857, 2016 … Continue Reading

Trial Victory for Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc.

On November 10, 2015, a Charleston, West Virginia jury returned a unanimous verdict for defendant Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc., finding the company’s High Rise booster seat to be neither defective nor responsible for the death of a four-year-old child. Tragically, the child died from injuries sustained in a horrific, multiple-rollover accident that occurred on a … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Ruling On Scientific Evidence Closes Some Doors But Opens Others

Exposure to potentially harmful substances at some level is a fact of modern life. These substances are everywhere — in the air we breathe, in the food we eat, and in the water we drink — and many of these substances are naturally occurring. It is impossible to have zero exposure to all of them. … Continue Reading

Fracking-Related Personal Injury Tort Claim Allowed to Proceed in Oklahoma Court

In its June 30, 2015 opinion, Landra v. New Dominion, LLC, the Oklahoma Supreme Court held that a personal injury tort action alleging that fracking-related activity caused an earthquake that then caused the plaintiff’s injuries can proceed in an Oklahoma district court. The Oklahoma Supreme Court made no factual or legal findings with respect to … Continue Reading

No Injury? No Problem.

The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Spokeo v. Robins, a case that has the potential to redefine standing in federal court. The Ninth Circuit’s February 2014 decision permitted plaintiff Thomas Robins to establish standing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) with nothing more than a speculative injury. This contravenes Supreme Court precedent, which … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Opens the Door to a Federal Forum for Environmental Mass Torts

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Allen v. The Boeing Company may pave the way for removal of more mass tort claims to federal court. Allen held that an environmental mass tort occurring over many years is removable under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), finding the “local single event” rule did not apply. In … Continue Reading

Defense Wins Jury Verdict in Alleged Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Case in Chicago

On Friday afternoon, a jury in the Northern District of Illinois returned a verdict for defendants Owens-Illinois, Inc. and ExxonMobil, rejecting plaintiff Charles Krik’s claim that his lung cancer developed as a result of a “synergistic effect” between his alleged asbestos exposure and his cigarette smoking. The jury found, as argued by the defendants, that … Continue Reading

Illinois Court Adopts Bright Line Rule for Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death Suit

In Moon v. Rhode, 2015 IL App (3d) 130613, the Illinois Appellate Court announced a bright line rule: a wrongful death action against a physician must be brought within two years of the knowledge of the death, regardless of when the executor learned of an allegedly wrongful cause.  The Court noted that a wrongful death … Continue Reading

Colgate-Palmolive Company Smacked with $13M Talc Verdict

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles jury found that Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder caused plaintiff Judith Winkel’s mesothelioma. The jury awarded Mr. and Mrs. Winkel $13 million in damages, finding for plaintiffs on design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn, and negligence liability theories. Following the verdict, the parties reached a settlement before the … Continue Reading

Distribution Agreement Doesn’t Show Conspiracy Between Manufacturer and Distributor

Conspiracy liability and other forms of vicarious liability are especially dangerous to manufacturers because of the risk of being held responsible for a product the company did not make or sell. Even when a company is in the chain of distribution, the prospect of being held responsible for another company’s conduct is daunting, especially when … Continue Reading

NY Judge Tosses Plaintiff’s Asbestos Causation Opinion

“The times they are a-changin” wrote Bob Dylan in 1964. Is New York City – recently dubbed by the American Tort Reform Association the Number 1 “Judicial Hellhole” in large part because of its pro-plaintiff bent in asbestos litigation – “a-changin” too? First, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was indicted for various allegedly bad judgments in connection … Continue Reading

Schiff Hardin Lawyers Author ABA’s Annual Update of Recent Developments in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law

A team of Schiff Hardin attorneys compiled the chapter on “Recent Developments in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law” for the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal published in the winter of 2015 (Vol. 50:2) on the evolving landscape of the environmental and toxic tort areas of law. The Schiff team was led by partners … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines to Weigh in on Generic Preemption

The United States Supreme Court has decided not to review Pliva v. Huck, an Iowa Supreme Court decision that held federal law does not preempt failure to update claims against generic drug manufacturers. Pliva challenged the ruling on the ground such claims were covered under the federal preemption memorialized in the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning: Throwing Junk Science Where It Belongs

Almost every day we are bombarded with reports of scientific studies purportedly proving that exposure to, or consumption of, some substance will cause us harm. Recent examples include claims that vaccines cause autism, BPA kills, and genetically modified foods engender disease. While there is little to no filter on what “science” is presented to the general … Continue Reading

The Rise of Issue Class Certification Presents New Risks For Mass Tort and Consumer Product Defendants

Mass tort and consumer product class actions are on the rise as courts grow more willing to certify classes solely on the issue of liability. In the past, certification of such class actions was rare, because courts generally forced the named plaintiff to demonstrate that common issues predominated across an entire claim before any portion of … Continue Reading
LexBlog