Legislative & Judicial Updates

Mallet, legal code and scales of justice. Law concept, studio shotsLitigators have closely followed a recent decision that has provided needed guidance and has reshaped how asbestos liabilities are apportioned in strict liability cases. On February 19, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Roverano, et al., v. John Crane, Inc., et al., 6 EAP 2018 (Pa. Feb. 19, 2020), which held that in strict liability asbestos cases, damages are to be split per capita among remaining defendants, and that the Fair Share Act under 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102 does not require percentage apportionment of liability in strict liability cases. The decision further held that bankruptcy trusts may be included on the verdict sheet to bring more parties to the table for the purpose of apportioning liability only.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Rejects Fair Apportionment of Liability Among Strictly Liable Defendants Under the Fair Share Act

On January 21, 2020, the Fourth District Appellate Court reversed a $3.2 million asbestos jury verdict, holding Tremco, Incorporated (Tremco) was entitled to judgment notwithstanding the verdict where Plaintiff presented insufficient evidence of causation. Krumwiede v. Tremco, Inc., 2020 IL App (4th) 180434.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Illinois Appellate Court Overturns Asbestos Jury Verdict Based on Insufficient Evidence of Causation

Multiple state governors have issued orders for their residents to shelter at home and for non-essential businesses to close. We expect this to occur in most other states, if not all, in the near term. Although the directives vary from state to state, there is a focus on keeping “essential” businesses and functions operational. How do we know what businesses and services are “essential”?

That question is likely to be up for significant debate; however, guidance has been offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).  Christopher Krebs, Director of CISA, announced in a memorandum that CISA, in collaboration with other federal agencies and the private sector, have developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” This list is designed to assist state, local and tribal officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. 
Continue Reading As Shelter-in-Place Orders Spread, What Businesses are Essential?

The First District recently held that the district court had personal jurisdiction over a Texas-based company because of that company’s national advertising scheme and small repeat customer base in Illinois. In Schaefer v. Synergy Flight Center, et al., No. 1-18-1779, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant RAM Aircraft, L.P., negligently overhauled, repaired, and tested an aircraft’s left engine and other parts, and that the negligent repair caused the aircraft to crash in Illinois, killing its seven passengers. RAM was a Texas-based limited partnership that predominately made its income by overhauling aircraft engines. RAM performed its work in Texas and had no office or property in Illinois. RAM did, however, advertise in a nationally distributed magazine and Illinois customers historically accounted for 1-2.5% of its revenues.  The particular engine in question was overhauled by RAM in Texas, who shipped it to a company in Indiana, who then shipped it to an Illinois flight center for installation.

Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Illinois Asserts Personal Jurisdiction Based On National Advertising and Ongoing Relationship With Several In-State Customers

On May 17, 2019, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed legislation eliminating the state’s 25-year statute of repose under the Workers’ Compensation Act for latent diseases, overturning the prominent Supreme Court decision in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 2015 IL 118070 (2015), which established clear precedent that an employee’s exclusive remedy lies under either the Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Diseases Act. Under the old law, an employee did not have a civil tort cause of action against their employer. This new law now creates an exception to the traditional exclusive remedy provision that has been part of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation system for over 80 years.
Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: Illinois Governor Signs Law Creating Exception to Illinois Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity for Latent Injuries

On May 22, 2019, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), published the Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, better known as the Unified Agenda.

The Unified Agenda indicates that the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) promulgation of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Remote Identification of UAS is being delayed. The NPRM had been scheduled for July 2019 but is now slated for release in September 2019.


Continue Reading Remote ID Regulations for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are Delayed Until September 2019

The Trump Administration, through the EPA and Corps, announced its new regulatory definition for WOTUS on December 11, 2018. Shortly after the government shutdown ended earlier this year, the proposed rule appeared in the February 14, 2019, Federal Register and EPA held a public hearing in Kansas City, Kansas, on February 27th and 28th. Much

Shortly after the inauguration of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, legislation was introduced in both the Illinois House and Senate to essentially override the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 2015 IL 118070 (2015). In Folta, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the Worker’s Compensation Act and Occupational Diseases Act was the exclusive remedy to Illinois employees who suffered latent injuries such as mesothelioma.
Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: New Illinois Leadership Drives Passage of Legislation to Eliminate Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Remedy Defense to Illinois Employers

On February 26, 2019, in Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, the Supreme Court of the United States held that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f)’s 14-day deadline to request permission to appeal a district court’s order regarding class certification cannot be equitably tolled. The Supreme Court’s opinion left open the possibility that the 14-day deadline

In Part 1 of our Clean Water Act (CWA) Series, we reported on the circuit split between the Fourth, Sixth, and Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals regarding whether indirect discharges to Waters of the United States (WOTUS) through groundwater required a CWA permit. On February 19, 2019, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments