Category Archives: Toxic Tort

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Government Turf: Will the CPSC Investigate Rubber Infill?

99937843Calls for a government-led investigation of the potential negative health effects of crumb rubber turf are getting louder, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is listening. Crumb rubber turf infill consists of black pellets of ground-up rubber, and it’s become increasingly popular in the construction of sports fields. Some are concerned, however, that crumb rubber turf … Continue Reading

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

SPOT_LIT_ANTITRUST_iStock_000018612885_LargeThe 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

119781394On 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

Colgate-Palmolive Company Smacked with $13M Talc Verdict

iStock_000060693576_LargeOn 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

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

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

iStock_000046993926_MediumA 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

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

CPSC Proposes Expansion of Ban On Substance Used in Children’s Toys

184720417The Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed a permanent ban on certain phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles. Phthalates, a family of chemical plasticizer, give plastic products more flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.  They can be found in a number of everyday products, including toys and furniture. Phthalate exposure has been associated with birth defects, … Continue Reading

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

475084443Mass 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

Groups Debate the Health Effects of Crumb Rubber Infill for Artificial Turf

511620103Are synthetic turf playing fields exposing children to unsafe levels of harmful chemicals putting them at risk of illness and disease?  That is a question that has percolated over the last several years, and one that received high-profile media attention in 2014.  The issue centers around the possible connection between crumb rubber infill – little … Continue Reading
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