The Fourth Circuit recently held that a premises owner in an asbestos case was not liable to a pipefitter based on insufficient evidence of exposure and the independent contractor exception to landowner liability.
Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment Based on North Carolina Independent Contractor Exception

HB 3360, vetoed by Gov. Pritzker on March 25, would have imposed 9 percent prejudgment interest on personal injury and wrongful death claims in Illinois. This is the governor’s first bill rejection in two years and his ninth veto since taking office.

HB 3360’s pathway to Gov. Pritzker’s desk was unusual: it was passed quickly and quietly during the Illinois legislature’s January lame duck session, where lawmakers worked through the night to get the bill finalized. The governor was expected to sign the bill as soon as it passed, but, surprisingly, a wait ensued after it reached his desk, suggesting that the bill would require some work. See our prior analysis of HB 3360’s provisions.

Continue Reading Governor Pritzker Vetoes HB 3360, But A Revised Version Will Soon Return to His Desk

Specific causation in an asbestos matter was addressed in a recent decision by the First Department of the New York Supreme Court. Notably, the decision is the first time an appellate court in New York affirmed a jury verdict in a case where a plaintiff’s mesothelioma was caused by alleged asbestos-containing talcum powder. This decision should have limited, if any, implication on national toxic tort litigation because of the distinct facts relating to the case, however, an analysis of the case can provide valuable lessons for defendants preparing for trial. Continue Reading Specific Causation Standard Further Addressed in New York

All legal practitioners should be familiar with the concept of personal jurisdiction and its two subsets: general jurisdiction and specific jurisdiction; both of which are juxtaposed with the inalienable Due Process Clause which effectively and simultaneously restricts a given court’s authority to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant. It is no surprise that civil litigators are trained to instantly analyze and determine where a defendant corporation is headquartered and incorporated to ascertain whether a particular court maintains general jurisdiction. A substantial amount of time in contemplation is involved when analyzing the “sufficient minimum contacts” needed to advance specific jurisdiction arguments, or whether claims alleged “arise out of or even relate to” those minimum contacts in the first place.

Continue Reading Specific Jurisdiction and “In-Forum Business Conduct” Further Defined by Landmark SCOTUS Decision

Virtual civil jury trials will be scheduled statewide in New Jersey starting April 5, 2021, with consent to proceed remotely not required as part of the state’s two-phase approach to virtual jury trials for all dockets and tracks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue Reading Virtual Civil Jury Trials Begin Without Consent in New Jersey Beginning April 5

In 2019, the Missouri legislature passed Senate Bill 224 (SB 224), effectively revising Missouri’s discovery rules to align them with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (See our 2019 post for analysis of SB 224’s changes to the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure.) The applicability of SB 224’s revisions remained unclear for some time, however, as the Missouri Supreme Court hesitated to adopt them into the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure.

Continue Reading SB 224 Adopted: Missouri Discovery Rules Follow Federal Footsteps

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s opinion in Carolyn Coffman et al v. Armstrong International, Inc., et al., at least implicitly, recognized a “bare metal defense” for the first time under Tennessee law. The Court addressed the issue of whether, under Tennessee law, equipment defendants “had a duty to warn of the dangers associated with the post-sale integration of asbestos-containing materials manufactured and sold by others.” The Court held that, under the Tennessee Products Liability Act (TPLA), Tenn. Code Ann. §29-28-101 through 108, the equipment defendants did not have a duty to warn end users about the post-sale incorporation of asbestos containing products manufactured by third parties. Continue Reading Tennessee Supreme Court Implicitly Adopts the “Bare Metal Defense”

The Illinois Supreme Court recently held that an increased risk of future harm is not an injury; tossing a class action suit which sought damages related to the City of Chicago’s replacement of water meters and water main pipes. The named Plaintiffs had filed the case on behalf of all Chicago residents who had water mains or meters replaced or installed between January 2008 and January 2017. The suit alleged negligence and inverse condemnation against the City of Chicago.

Continue Reading <i>Increased Risk of Future Harm </i> is Not an Injury: Illinois Supreme Court Dismisses Lead Exposure Class Action Against City of Chicago

In a fact-intensive decision issued on October 22, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court determined in Sergiu Tabirta v. James J. Cummings, et al. that the mere presence of an employee’s home office in Cook County was insufficient, by itself, to establish proper venue over his employer in the jurisdiction. Merely having an employee with a home office in the venue was insufficient under the circumstances to constitute “doing business” or maintaining an “other office” there to satisfy the requirements of Illinois’ venue statute. Continue Reading Illinois Venue Statute Not Triggered by Presence of Employee’s Home Office

On January 13, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed House Bill 3360 (Bill) which, if signed by Governor Pritzker, would impose a 9 percent per annum prejudgment interest rate in wrongful death and personal injury tort actions. Illinois law does not currently recognize prejudgment interest in such tort actions, only allowing a post-judgment interest rate of 9 percent per annum running from the date of the judgment’s entry through the date of satisfaction. 735 ILCS 5/2-1303(a). While 5 percent prejudgment interest is permitted in certain cases where liability is clear and damages are readily ascertainable, such interest has never been permitted in personal injury cases, as damages are too difficult to calculate in advance. Continue Reading Illinois Bill Imposing Prejudgment Interest Awaits Governor Pritzker’s Action