Category Archives: Mass Tort

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New York Court of Appeals Addresses the Duty to Warn

Museum piece. Asbestos has long been used in construction but we now know that asbestos dust is a cause of lung cancer.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

SPOT_REAL ESTATE_iStock_000018815208_LargeLast 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

Schiff Hardin Partners Present on the Future of Mass Tort Litigation at Lloyd’s Old Library in London

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 9.48.02 AMTwo partners from Schiff Hardin LLP’s Product Liability & Mass Torts Practice Group spoke about the future of mass tort litigation in the United States at the Lloyd’s Old Library in London on October 20, 2015.  Paul A. Scrudato and Edward Casmere discussed the state of mass tort litigation and its future with a group … Continue Reading

Monitoring Your Personal Environment with Wearable Technology

iStock_000018276480_Medium“The dose makes the poison” is a maxim of toxicology. The phrase is attributed to Paracelsus, a true Renaissance Man and founder of the field who lived more than 500 years ago, long before the industrial, chemical/pharmaceutical, and technological revolutions.   In today’s society, we are exposed to various chemical substances on a daily basis. Some … Continue Reading

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS): Fad Allergy, Debilitating Disease, or What?

Gsm Antenna TransmitterLess than 1% of the population suffers from the serious gluten allergy known as celiac disease. Yet every time this writer goes out to dinner at least one dining companion passes on bread and pasta, claiming a self-diagnosed “gluten sensitivity” that manifests as a collection of nondescript symptoms, the major one being “fatigue.” The odd … Continue Reading

Diagnosing Mesothelioma Continues to Challenge Pathologists

iStock_000013096999_MediumThe difficulty of making a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis continues to stimulate discussion in the medical community. Last month, Dr. Aliya Husain from the Department of Pathology at the University of Chicago, and her colleague Qudsia Arif, published a short and direct article titled “Malignant Mesothelioma Diagnosis” in Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The published … Continue Reading

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

SONY DSCExposure 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

More Publications Retracted Due to Suspected Fraud

477868749The string of retractions of published peer-reviewed medical and scientific articles due concerns about fraud or suspected fraud continues. This week a major publisher of scientific and medical articles has confirmed that it is retracting 64 articles from 10 of its subscription journals based on concerns that the peer review process was “compromised.” The publisher, … Continue Reading

Update on Diagnosing Malignant Mesothelioma

533777463Despite how it might seem from the deluge of television advertisements the diagnosis of mesothelioma is very rare, and extremely difficult.   As discussed in a prior post, the diagnostic process can be fraught with complications depending on the type and amount of material available for evaluation. One of the most common problems is distinguishing an … Continue Reading

NYCAL Punitive Damages in Limbo

iStock_000038933620_LargeNew York’s Appellate Division, First Department, issued its decision yesterday on the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) punitive damages/Case Management Order (CMO) issue. While the Appellate Court held that Judge Heitler had the authority to modify the CMO to lift the deferral on punitive damages, it also found that she exceeded that authority to … Continue Reading

Potential Game Changer: Admiralty Jurisdiction Serves As A Basis For Removal

iStock_000060693576_LargeEarlier this week, the Seventh Circuit issued a ruling in Lu Junhong v. Boeing Co. that defendants can remove cases to federal court under admiralty jurisdiction alone. The ruling may very well change the dynamics of mass tort filings in so-called “magnet jurisdictions” like Madison County and Cook County. Junhong involved a group of Cook … Continue Reading

Three Ways to Spot Junk Science

Businessman in snow storm“Law lags science; it does not lead it.” Our legal system requires proof, and in many cases, only scientific evidence can provide it. With controversies swirling around about fraud and misconduct in scientific publications, how do product liability lawyers distinguish between credible scientific evidence and science that is, as Justice Scalia would say, “junky”?  Here are three ways to … Continue Reading

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

SONY DSCIn 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

Scientific Articles and The Retraction Epidemic

integrityWarning: That scientific article you just read may be completely bogus. Scientific articles can be retracted for numerous reasons – errors in data, errors in calculation, plagiarism, duplication of publication, and fraud or suspected fraud. An unmistakable trend in the increase of retractions due to one of those categories has emerged, and it is disturbing. … Continue Reading

MicroRNA Therapy Delivers Positive Result in Early Mesothelioma Treatment Test

iStock_000021133474_MediumNoting that the result is preliminary and must be evaluated in clinical trials, Australian researchers working with the Asbestos Disease Research Institute published a case report announcing significant improvement for a pleural mesothelioma patient treated with microRNA therapy.  The results were reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.… Continue Reading

Draft EPA Study Finds Fracking Has Not Led to Widespread Drinking Water Contamination

Niagara Falls New York in Black and WhiteThe EPA released a draft of its study, U.S. EPA Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources (External Review Draft), EPA, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-15/047, 2015, assessing the impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on drinking water in early June (the draft Assessment). According to the EPA’s press … Continue Reading

Scrutiny of Nail Salon Chemicals Raises Mass Tort Risk

126504560Recent reports purport to link certain chemicals used in nail salon products to serious health problems such as cancer, asthma, respiratory disease, and miscarriages.  Though past efforts to impose stricter regulations on these chemicals have been largely unsuccessful, a recent slew of New York Times articles have drawn significant attention to the issue.  In response, … Continue Reading

No Injury? No Problem.

485017745The 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

iStock_000031781574_LargeThe 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

PA Employers Craft Arguments To Navigate Around Tooey

iStock_000008525061_LargePennsylvania employers are raising arguments that may circumvent the effect of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision stripping them of the protections of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) for latent occupational diseases.  In the November 2013 decision in Tooey v. AK Steel Corp. (see the related post here), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed former employees with occupational diseases, like … Continue Reading

NY Judge Tosses Plaintiff’s Asbestos Causation Opinion

iStock_000021623262_Large“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

New Mesothelioma Drug Shows Promising Results

57280764Most recent news items about mesothelioma focus on asbestos litigation and lawyer advertising for clients to file cases, bankruptcy trust claims, or both.  A recent news story, however, focuses on a potential treatment option for patients with mesothelioma.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted a drug in development to treat malignant pleural … Continue Reading

Suffer From Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity? Better Call . . .

structure geometric of framework electricityFor those of you who are fans of Michael McKean of This is Spinal Tap (lead singer David St. Hubbins…remember?), you know that he has a recurring role as Saul Goodman’s brother Chuck, on AMC’s hit show Better Call Saul.  Chuck is an x-Big Law partner who is convinced he has electromagnetic sensitivity. So he says … Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning: Throwing Junk Science Where It Belongs

485017745Almost 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
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