We have written extensively on this blog about personal jurisdiction and how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California changed the rules regarding specific jurisdiction. Continue Reading Home Is Where the Forum State Legislates It Is: Pennsylvania Courts Find “Consent” to General Jurisdiction When Companies Register to Do Business There

Reportedly, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is notifying companies of what could be considered a data breach, an unauthorized release of confidential information that did not go through the procedures of 15 U.S.C. § 2055” – known colloquially as “6(b),” because they are found in Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). Continue Reading CPSC Unauthorized Disclosure Notifications: What to Do

When California enacted SB 327 last year, it became the first state to regulate Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which refer to physical devices that are connected to the internet. Beginning next January, the new law will require manufacturers of IoT devices sold in California to implement reasonable security features that protect the software, data, and information contained within them. While the law regulates only the minimum security standards for IoT devices, its definition of a “connected device” (i.e., an IoT device) may impact product liability claims because “connected devices” are physical objects and not technology. SB 327’s definition suggests that manufacturers of the software in IoT devices may not be held strictly liable for software defects, because the law aligns with and reinforces the view of most courts that software is not a product, but a service. Continue Reading Product Liability in the Internet of Things

Just over 50 years ago, Congress passed the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Act, with the intent to make it more efficient for parties to litigate factually similar but geographically dispersed complex cases. While the statute today is virtually unchanged from the original version, what has changed is the number of cases in MDLs. Ten years ago, MDLs represented only 15 percent of the civil caseload. By 2018, however, that number had more than tripled, and MDLs accounted for almost 47 percent of the total civil caseload in the United States.[1] Product liability MDLs alone make up almost 90 percent of pending MDLs.[2]

As the number of MDLs has grown, so has the focus on the MDL process and whether the process is working. One frequent criticism is that a significant percent – between 30-40 percent – of cases filed in any MDL turn out (often at the settlement stage) to be unsupportable.[3] Why is this the case? Likely in part because the MDL process does not have an effective mechanism to weed out non-meritorious cases early. This post addresses the meritless claim problem and analyzes some proposed solutions. Continue Reading Meritless Claims Create Inefficiencies in Multidistrict Litigation

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will hold a public hearing next month to solicit ways to improve www.saferproducts.gov, the agency’s public consumer product information database. Mandated by Congress and not meaningfully altered since its launch nearly eight years ago, the database provides a centralized location for consumers and stakeholders to report potential product-safety incidents and conduct searches for product-safety reports or recalls. Its current form was approved on a party-line commission vote after heated debate. Continue Reading Improving the CPSC Consumer Product Safety Database: Your Feedback Wanted

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been reopened for a week – possibly a third of the window between government shutdowns – and things seem to be quickly returning to normal. The agency has released messaging campaigns on both generator safety and TV anchoring, taking advantage of bitterly cold weather and what football fans hope will be a bitterly contested Super Bowl. But behind this appearance of normalcy, a key remaining question is how the agency will approach what must be a significant backlog of product reports. Continue Reading How the CPSC May Recover from Shutdown

Slack fill litigation can be frustrating for businesses – at times even infuriating. For companies yet to find themselves on the wrong side of a slack fill lawsuit, the claim often boils down to, “I thought there was more in the package even though the label said exactly what I was buying.” Slack fill claims have proliferated in recent years, driven in large part by how easy it has been for class action plaintiffs’ lawyers to plead a claim that will at least survive to the discovery phase – the expense of which causes many businesses to settle even frivolous cases. Yet in a rare breath of fresh air, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed California Assembly Bill 2632, which will amend California’s slack fill statutes to give companies a new tool for avoiding slack fill claims. Continue Reading Three Slack Fill Regulatory Changes for Manufacturers to Watch

It’s a typical marketing story: Not too long ago, manufacturers marketed coconut oil as a heat-tolerant alternative to other cooking oils. They further promoted it by noting that it was more sustainably harvested than palm oil and could replace butter for people avoiding dairy.

But then coconut oil marketing took a turn. People—not the manufacturers but social media influencers—started to talk about coconut oil in a different way. Influencers claimed that coconut oil was a “miracle cure” for a variety of health and other problems. Continue Reading How Manufacturers Can Work With Social Media Influencers