Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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When Santa Brings a Dud

Most holiday seasons, an “it” toy stands at the top of children’s wish lists. With this instant rise in popularity frequently comes a corresponding rise in consumer complaints. Years ago, the consumer complaints might get some media attention—but that attention usually focused on the consumer competition to acquire the demand-exceeds-supply product. Now, people turn to … Continue Reading

Government Turf: Will the CPSC Investigate Rubber Infill?

Calls 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

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

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

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

CPSC Engages in Productive Discussion Following PL&MT Blog Post on Fast Track Program

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has responded to the June 27, 2015 PL&MT Blog’s post Falling off the Fast Track: CPSC’s New “Stop Sale” Demand by Jonathan Judge.  The post was republished by the National Law Review and the CPSC’s comments can be found here.  The back-and-forth is very productive and enlightening.  This post contains … 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

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

Ninth Circuit Opens the Door to a Federal Forum for Environmental Mass Torts

The 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

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

A 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

Spring Cleaning: Throwing Junk Science Where It Belongs

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 … Continue Reading

Retailers Slammed for Unpaid Taxes on Shipping and Handling Charges

Seller beware!  Hundreds of retailers that sell to Illinois purchasers have been sued for failing to properly collect sales and use tax.  In nearly every case, the plaintiff, an Illinois law firm, claims that the seller failed to collect the tax on shipping and handling charges billed to Illinois purchasers. These types of lawsuits often … Continue Reading

Food Safety Fears Prompt Proposed Overhaul of Federal Agencies

On the heels of a listeria outbreak associated with caramel apples and a similar proposal by two members of Congress, President Obama has proposed forming a single, centralized federal food safety agency. More than a dozen federal agencies now have authority over food safety issues, although the FDA currently holds the most responsibility. The various … Continue Reading

New Study Suggests Need For Rethinking Cancer Causation

According to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published by Johns Hopkins University researchers, the majority of human cancers may be caused by the random genetic mutations that arise from normal DNA replication.  Put more bluntly, the research suggests that the “bad luck” of random mutations plays a predominant role … Continue Reading

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

Mass 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

Strategies for Efficiently Managing Complex Litigation

Over the past two years, Schiff Hardin partner Neil Lloyd has written a series of articles for Bloomberg BNA’s US Law Week focused on ways to decrease clients’ legal spend by more efficiently managing complex litigation.  In the latest article, published January 13, 2015, Lloyd discusses two strategies for more efficiently handling depositions of organizations … Continue Reading

Boxing Your Ears: CrossFit’s Noise Conundrum

CrossFit, the widely popular fitness methodology, has a noise problem.  Each day, loyal CrossFitters flock to their local gym, or “box,” for the workout of the day (WOD).  In line with CrossFit’s philosophy of constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity, these WODs often involve high repetitions of pull-ups, kettlebell swings, box jumps and … Continue Reading

Manufacturers Await Decision on Whether Federal Aviation Act Precludes Design Defect Claims

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals will soon be deciding an issue that could dramatically impact the liabilities aircraft product manufacturers may face.  Specifically, the court will address the question of whether a certificate issued by the FAA precludes design defect claims against aircraft product manufacturers.  The appeal stems from the U.S. District Court for the … Continue Reading