On November 5, 2021, Cook County’s HIPAA Qualified Protective Order (“QPO”) was considerably reconstructed in light of the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Haage v.  Zavala, 2021 IL 125918.  Illinois litigators were alerted of these new changes through a Law Division-issued order, titled General Administrative Order 21-3 (“GAO”), and a corresponding standard QPO.  According to the GAO, to the extent that any previously entered QPO conflicts with the new one, the new QPO controls, and motions to vacate, amend, and/or modify are not required. As explained below, these changes, which affect virtually all Cook County cases involving bodily injuries, will make fact investigation and damages substantiation significantly more difficult for defendants. Continue Reading Cook County Issues Revised HIPAA Order, Narrowing the Utility of Medical Provider Subpoenas

Pump manufacturer Nash Engineering Company appears to have recently become the latest casualty of asbestos litigation. On October 19, 2021, Nash Engineering filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut. If Nash Engineering’s petition for relief is approved, this will spell the end of the 100-year-old corporation. Nash Engineering now joins a list of more than 60 other companies that have been forced to declare bankruptcy due to the burden of their asbestos-related liabilities. Continue Reading Is Nash Engineering the Latest Company Bankrupted by Asbestos Litigation?

In the most recent round of the long-running litigation over hearing protection supplied by manufacturing giant 3M and used by U.S. Military personnel from 2002 until 2015, Plaintiffs have obtained large verdicts in 3 out of 4 bellwether cases against 3M.

Continue Reading Bellwether Military Earplug Verdicts Underscore Importance of Establishing the Government-Contractor Defense

On September 21, 2021, in Cooper Tire & Rubber Company v. McCall, the Georgia Supreme Court reaffirmed the broad holding that any corporation registered to do business in Georgia is subject to general personal jurisdiction in Georgia courts. This expansive interpretation, especially in light of recent United States Supreme Court jurisprudence, was handed down despite growing concern about a corporate defendant’s federal rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Continue Reading Georgia Supreme Court Reaffirms Consent by Registration Theory of Personal Jurisdiction

On October 1, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Senate Bill No. 447 into law, which permits a deceased individual’s personal representatives or successors-in-interest to recover damages for the decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement in a lawsuit. Prior to this law, those suing on behalf of a deceased individual were limited solely to damages for the decedent’s injuries and punitive damages, if warranted. They could not previously recover for the decedent’s pain and suffering.

The new law applies to actions that were granted a specified preference before January 1, 2022, and to future actions that are filed on or after January 1, 2022 and before January 1, 2026. Claimants who recover damages for a decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement must submit a copy of the judgment or settlement to the Judicial Council of California within sixty days of obtaining that judgment or settlement. They must also submit a cover sheet detailing the date the action was filed, the date it ended, and the amount and type of damages awarded to them through the action.

In passing this new law, California joins forty-five other states in permitting personal representatives to recover damages for a decedent’s pain and suffering. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Idaho do not allow a deceased individual’s successors-in-interest to recover for the decedent’s pain and suffering.

On September 1, 2021, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s decision in the matter of Jolly v. General Electric, et al. in which it had (1) denied defendants’ motion for a JNOV, (2) granted a new trial nisi additur, and (3) denied motions to quash subpoenas requiring defendants’ corporate representatives to appear and testify at trial.  The appeal was brought by two defendants, Fisher Controls International, LLC and Crosby Valve, LLC (hereinafter “Defendants”) who had received an adverse verdict following trial in July 2017. Most notably, the circuit court had granted the Plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial nisi additur and increased the total jury verdict from $300,000 to $1.87 million. This article examines several holdings in the Jolly opinion which present future implications for asbestos litigation in South Carolina, particularly with regard to the causation standard, the sophisticated intermediary doctrine, additur, and the setoff of verdicts.

Continue Reading South Carolina Court of Appeals Approves Cumulative Dose Theory, Increased Verdict For Plaintiffs

On September 27, 2021, after 18 days of trial and a mere hour of deliberations, a City of St. Louis, Missouri jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) on claims of three women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Forrest v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1522-CC00419-02 (Mo. Cir. Ct., St. Louis Cty.). Notably, in 2018, a City of St. Louis jury returned a staggering $4.7 billion verdict in favor of 22 woman who claimed that J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer.  Continue Reading Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Third Post-Pandemic Ovarian Cancer Talc Trial

In July of 2021, after more than five months of silence, President Biden finally announced his nominations to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), which included Alexander Hoehn-Saric, as Commissioner and Chair, Richard Trumka Jr., as Commissioner, and Mary T. Boyle, as Commissioner. Continue Reading U.S. Senate Committee Approves Biden’s CPSC Nominations

On June 1, 2021, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) appeal to overturn a $2.12 billion dollar damages award to 22 female plaintiffs who alleged their ovarian cancer was caused by J&J’s talcum powder products. This is a significant setback for defendants in defending consolidated multi-plaintiff mass tort trials and a juries ability to award large punitive damage awards. Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Declines to Hear Talcum Powder Appeal

Utah’s Supreme Court recently issued an opinion which dramatically expands premise owners’ liability for asbestos-related injuries. On August 5, 2021, the Court reversed Utah’s Court of Appeals and held that a lawsuit could proceed against two premises owners on the theory that asbestos dust from their facilities was brought home on the clothing of a non-employee contractor, causing his spouse to develop mesothelioma. For the first time, premises owners or operators may be liable for injuries alleged by anyone living under the same roof as one of their former contractors. Continue Reading Utah Expands Premise-Owner Liability To Take-Home Asbestos Plaintiffs