Newspaper headlines report a new economic trend—manufacturing is returning to the United States. The country’s industrial production grew by 0.7 percent in July, its biggest jump since November 2014. This number represents everything made by factories, mines, and utilities. Before companies start slapping “Made in the USA” labels on their wares, they need to make sure they are familiar with the legal requirements to do so.

The Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) monitors the marketplace and aims to keep businesses from misleading consumers. Within the FTC’s jurisdiction is regulating “Made in the USA” claims.
Continue Reading Made in the USA (For the Most Part)

Millions of Americans rely on implantable medical devices to stay alive. These battery-operated devices communicate through wireless transmissions — and can be hacked like any other wireless device. For example, a wireless pacemaker regulates a person’s heartbeat and records the heart’s activity, and then transmits this information to doctors who can reprogram the pacemaker. The interconnectivity between medical devices and clinical systems leaves wireless medical devices vulnerable to security breaches.
Continue Reading Hacking Health Care: When Cybersecurity Can Mean Life or Death

“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 spot junk science before it trashes your case:
Continue Reading Three Ways to Spot Junk Science

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 finds standing when a plaintiff suffers a harm that is actual, distinct, palpable, and concrete; attenuated and hypothetical injuries do not constitute an injury-in-fact. The implications of the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Spokeo v. Robins have grabbed the attention of companies in nearly every industry. Their concern, as expressed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – granting standing to plaintiffs who have not suffered an injury-in-fact will open the flood gates to no-injury class actions brought under statutes that authorize a private right of action. But, in truth, the implications to businesses could extend beyond this.
Continue Reading No Injury? No Problem.

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 public through the available forms of media and communications, what jurors are allowed to hear in courts of law is very different. Courts require much tougher standards before admitting scientific evidence. Good science proposes a hypothesis then sets about to try and disprove it – – not just seek “proof” supporting the hypothesis. Good science results from research, application of the scientific method, and peer review. Courts look to these criteria when determining whether to admit scientific evidence under the Frye or Daubert standards. Judges thereby serve a “gate-keeping function[] to differentiate serious science from ‘junk science.’”   

But outside of the courtroom there are no judicial gatekeepers. As a result junk science has crept its way into the headlines. So how can the public differentiate between legitimate science and junk science? One answer is to trust credited experts, not sensationalized headlines. Three recent examples highlight the pitfalls of jumping to conclusions: 
Continue Reading Spring Cleaning: Throwing Junk Science Where It Belongs