In Illinois, the collateral source rule bars defendants from submitting evidence that plaintiffs received compensation for their injuries from a collateral source. For example, if a plaintiff is injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, often the plaintiff’s insurance company will cover part of the plaintiff’s medical expenses even before the plaintiff files a lawsuit against the tortfeasor. In that example, the defense is prohibited from submitting evidence regarding that compensation. The purpose of this rule is to prevent defendants from reducing or eliminating the amount of damages they are liable for. On May 21, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court defined the outer limits of this rule in Mary Lewis, et al. v. Lead Industries Association, et al. (Atlantic Richfield Company, et al.),[1] holding that plaintiffs cannot use the collateral source rule to establish the injury element of a cause of action. The Lewis plaintiffs argued that the cost of the lead testing, which had been covered entirely by Medicaid, should be recoverable pursuant to the collateral source rule. The Court was unconvinced and ruled that pure economic loss claims in which a plaintiff cannot establish actual out-of-pocket expenses will fail and the collateral source rule will not provide the necessary support to overcome that hurdle in Illinois. Continue Reading Lewis Court Rejects the Use of the Collateral Source Rule to Establish Injury-in-Fact

Several state and federal courts have recently addressed a hot-button issue in product liability law: whether the manufacturer of a product that has an asbestos-containing replacement part that causes injury may be liable even if the manufacturer itself did not manufacture or supply the replacement part. Consider this example: a manufacturer produces a steam trap or boiler that contains an asbestos gasket that needs to be replaced from time to time. Third parties supply the replacement gaskets. Is the original product manufacturer liable for injuries allegedly caused by the asbestos-containing replacement gaskets? Continue Reading Whelan v. Armstrong Int’l, Inc.: Latest Asbestos Ruling Expands Manufacturer Liability for Injuries

In yesterday’s post, we described a scenario involving a simple traffic accident, asking you to estimate the average exposure at trial.

 

 

What is the average exposure at trial in this case, based on your counsel’s estimates of these various possible outcomes?

  1. $1.4 million
  2. $3.3 million
  3. $5.5 million
  4. $8.1 million

Continue Reading How to Value Important Cases: Magnitude Has the Answer

Legal success is driven by the correct perception of risk. Plaintiffs don’t want to leave emptyhanded, and defendants don’t want to pay more than necessary. Sometimes the facts favor only one side, but most of the time a party’s legal risks fall on a spectrum between these extremes.

Managing that spectrum effectively is critical. But when cases get complex, even great lawyers have a hard time placing values on them. We have a solution to this: MagnitudeSM, our new artificial intelligence tool that takes the good advice of your preferred lawyers about the merits of a claim and translates it into dollars. Continue Reading How to Value Important Cases: Introducing Magnitude

In a decision with potentially far-reaching consequences for class actions, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the ubiquitous practice of awarding a class representative an “incentive” payment as part of a class action settlement is impermissible. Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, Inc., No. 18-12344, ___ F.3d ____, 2020 WL 5553312 (11th Cir. Sept. 17, 2020). Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Rules That Class Representative Incentive Awards Are Impermissible

From apparel companies that have shifted from making clothing to making face masks, to distilleries and breweries that are now producing hand sanitizer, to consumer goods and auto makers manufacturing ventilators and respirators, manufacturers nationwide have shifted their production lines to meet what consumers need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue Reading Retooling in the Midst of COVID-19: Statutory Protections for Manufacturers

Many companies were caught off-guard in the spring when diagnoses of COVID-19 multiplied rapidly and forced businesses to close or drastically change their policies with little warning. Now companies that have reopened must prepare for the future. As we have seen in recent weeks, resurgences may occur at any time in different parts of the country. And epidemiologists have warned about a potential second wave of infections in the fall. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: Preparing for a Diagnosis or Resurgence in the Coming Months

In our last post, we discussed policy changes and new procedures that companies should consider as they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given the increase in cases in many parts of the country. But companies cannot change policies in a vacuum: they must clearly and effectively communicate these changes to employees, customers, and the public. Clear, written policies will be ineffective if they are not communicated effectively. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: Communicating COVID-19 Policies to All Stakeholders

Business closures have been immensely difficult for companies of all sizes during the COVID-19 pandemic. But reopening is proving difficult, too, especially given the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. As cases have surged in recent weeks in new parts of the country, businesses have been forced to reassess their operational plans in both the near- and long-term. Owners and executives are paying close attention both to customer and employee safety. And businesses must be mindful of potential legal ramifications of their decisions. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: What Businesses Should Be Thinking About

Attorneys have a duty to preserve evidence when bringing or defending claims.

In many jurisdictions, even accidental losses of evidence can lead to sanctions. For example, last year, an MMA fighter was sanctioned after a bottle of supplements critical to his suit against the manufacturer was lost in transit.[1] The court instructed the jury that it could draw an adverse inference based on the lost evidence.

Courts may also impose these sanctions where evidence is lost before a lawsuit is ever filed, if the litigation was foreseeable. Attorneys must therefore keep this duty to preserve evidence in mind after a dispute arises and remind clients to do the same. Continue Reading Practice Pointer: Potential Consequences for Inadvertent Spoliation of Evidence