Category Archives: Personal Injury

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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

Oh What Fun It Is To Ride . . . A Hoverboard? This Year’s Must-Have Holiday Gift Poses Potential Litigation Risks for Manufacturers

In 1989, the Back to the Future franchise made several fanciful predictions about 2015.  One prediction may now be coming true: hoverboards have hit the streets — sort of.  The currently-available hoverboards, as opposed to the Hollywood fantasy ones, are more properly described as hands-free, self-balancing scooters.  Fueled by viral videos and celebrity social media … 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

Growing Concerns: Marijuana Industry Hit with Its First Ever Product Liability Lawsuit

The cannabis industry is taking a hit.  The nation’s first cannabis product liability lawsuit was filed in Colorado and challenges the cannabis industry’s production process. Flores v. LivWell Inc., was filed by two marijuana users alleging that the fungicide Eagle 20 was intentionally applied to thousands of marijuana plants at a Denver facility. Plaintiffs Brandan … Continue Reading

A Meaty Issue: Do Red and Processed Meats Cause Cancer?

Hot dogs, sausages, and corned beef now have something in common with asbestos, benzene, and ionizing radiation.  They are in the same class of cancer-causing substances, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  The organization’s October 26, 2015 press release states that a group of … Continue Reading

Monitoring Your Personal Environment with Wearable Technology

“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?

Less 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

The 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

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

What Happens When Hacking Hits the Road?

Last month, Wired reported that researchers hacked the dashboard entertainment system of a vehicle being driven on public streets. Once they had access, they used that entry point to remotely control vehicle systems through the onboard diagnostics port. The researchers warned that they could have easily hacked hundreds of thousands of vulnerable vehicles traveling the world’s highways. … Continue Reading

More Publications Retracted Due to Suspected Fraud

The 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

Despite 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

New 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

Earlier 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

“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

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

Scientific Articles and The Retraction Epidemic

Warning: 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

Noting 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

Heads-Up Play: AMA Adopts Concussion Policy for Youth Sports

On Tuesday June 9th, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a concussion policy for youth sports programs. The policy comes amid growing concerns surrounding head trauma both in sports at the professional and amateur levels. The Physicians News Digest reports that emergency room visits for sports-related concussions have increased more than 60 percent over the … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Ice Cream Recall Begets First Lawsuit

In April 2015, Blue Bell Creameries announced a full, nationwide recall of all its products.  It didn’t take long for a lawsuit to be filed. On Tuesday, the first lawsuit seeking to hold Blue Bell liable for illness caused by listeria-contaminated ice cream was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Texas. … Continue Reading

PA Employers Craft Arguments To Navigate Around Tooey

Pennsylvania 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

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
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