Imagine you try to flush a wipe that is branded flushable and discover it won’t flush. You are angry enough to sue the manufacturer for damages for “consumer fraud,” but should you also be able to force the manufacturer to change the label, even though your experience means you now know the “truth” about the product?
Continue Reading Flush with Uncertainty: Do Plaintiffs Have Standing to Seek Injunctive Relief for “Consumer Fraud” When They Are No Longer “Defrauded”?

Parties engaged in multidistrict litigation (MDL) face a crucial decision: which case or cases should be tried first? For both plaintiffs and defendants, bellwethers — the first trial or trials from the similar cases making up the MDL — can determine how the rest of the cases proceed. One current headlining case — the prescription opioid MDL pending before Judge Polster in federal district court in Ohio — shows both how hard it is to select bellwethers and why bellwethers matter.
Continue Reading Selecting Cases for Early Trials in Multidistrict Litigation: Which Way Will the Bellwethers Go?

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

During the holidays, many Americans flock to nearby stores to buy presents and decorations. And given today’s global economy, many of those products are made by foreign manufacturers. But what happens if the product fails in a manner that could give rise to potential legal liability? That raises the question of when a domestic plaintiff can sue the manufacturer of a product manufactured outside the United States.

Therein lies the artificial Christmas tree conundrum. Historically, plaintiffs would turn to the “stream of commerce” doctrine to seek personal jurisdiction over product manufacturers and distributors that are not present in the forum state. Sometimes they were successful, but sometimes they were not. And the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California[1] is further muddying the waters.
Continue Reading Santa May Reach All 50 States, but Personal Jurisdiction May Not

Manufacturers start with good intentions. They endeavor to create and develop safe products, advertise them accurately, and equip consumers with sufficient warnings and instructions to enable safe and proper use of their products. But despite these efforts, consumers will occasionally find ways to misuse or abuse products in ways that the manufacturer neither intended nor, in some cases, even contemplated.

Continue Reading When Do Manufacturers Need to Anticipate Misuses – and Abuses – of Their Products?

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 posts, these battery-powered scooters are quickly becoming the must-have gift of the holiday season.

As the popularity of these hoverboards increases, however, so too does the potential for claims against manufacturers and sellers.  Over the last three months, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has reportedly learned about nearly 20 separate injuries from hoverboard-related accidents, ranging from sprains and contusions to broken bones and at least one head injury.  
Continue Reading Oh What Fun It Is To Ride . . . A Hoverboard? This Year’s Must-Have Holiday Gift Poses Potential Litigation Risks for Manufacturers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally announced its proposed rules governing the commercial use of drones.  The proposed rules, which have been long-awaited by members of the emerging multi-billion dollar unmanned aerial vehicle industry, pave the way for the commercial use of drones in the United States.  The proposed rules, released on February 15, 2015, are applicable to all commercial drones under 55 pounds.  The rules would require such drones to operate only in daylight hours below a 500 foot altitude ceiling and under a 100 mph airspeed limit.

The proposed rule would also prohibit the operation of commercial drones in the vicinity of other aircraft or known flight paths and, significantly, would prohibit the operation of drones above any people not involved in the operation of the drone.  One restriction in particular is likely to receive significant attention during the upcoming comment section for the proposed rule.  That proposal requires that drones only be operated within the unaided visual-line-of-site of their operators. Such a limitation, combined with a proposed prohibition of dropping any objects from a drone, is certain to impact various publicized plans for commercial drone delivery services.
Continue Reading FAA Clears Way for Commercial Drone Use

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed new regulations on electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”), including banning the sale of such products to children under age 18.  But according to more than two dozen state attorneys general, the FDA’s proposed regulations do not go far enough.
Continue Reading Proposed New E-Cigarette Regulations Not Sufficient For More Than Two Dozen State Attorneys General