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

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) may provide immunity to product manufacturers and premises owners who face liability from their administration or use of antivirals, drugs, biologics, diagnostics, devices, or vaccines used to treat, diagnose, cure, prevent, or mitigate COVID-19.
Continue Reading PREP Act Offers Immunity to Product Manufacturers and Premises Owners from COVID-19 Liability

The Eighth Circuit recently held that a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens filed 18 months after the start of litigation was untimely. According to the decision, if the forum was truly inconvenient, the defendants should have filed a motion to dismiss earlier than 18 months after the complaint was filed and before the end of discovery.
Continue Reading Eighth Circuit Reverses Dismissal Based on Forum Non Conveniens Motion

Heavy metals, such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury, are present in baby foods produced by U.S. baby food manufacturers according to a report released in February by the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. Heavy metals are considered dangerous to human health and are especially concerning for children and babies, who are more susceptible to the neurological effects associated with exposure to heavy metals.
Continue Reading Heavy Metals in Baby Food – Congressional Report Unleashes a Flood of Litigation

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”

Around the time that much of the United States was beginning to shut down in response to COVID-19, President Trump nominated Dr. Nancy B. Beck for Commissioner and Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). A review of Dr. Beck’s education and background shows that the vast majority of her career – over 15 years – has been spent in public service. Yet Dr. Beck’s nomination has been met with criticism of her roughly five years as a Director at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). For instance, the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued a press release which highlighted Dr. Beck’s time at the ACC and claimed that Dr. Beck was “doing the bidding of the chemical industry at the expense of the health and safety of the American public.” Likewise, the Washington Post and New York Times headlined articles about Dr. Beck with a description of her as a “chemical industry executive.” While it may be expected that Dr. Beck’s detractors would focus on her time at the ACC, media characterizations of her as a “chemical industry executive” do not accurately describe the whole of her professional efforts.

Continue Reading Early Criticism of President’s Nominee for CPSC Chair Neglects Much of Beck’s Education and Background

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a statement regarding the Commission’s efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. Though short, the statement makes clear that the CPSC is working to maximize technology to continue its work while also encouraging businesses to continue to report potentially unsafe products. The CPSC stated that it is

On September 5, 2018, the Appellate Court for the Fourth District of Illinois introduced heightened standards for plaintiffs to establish duty and causation in asbestos litigation through its reversal of a McLean County trial court’s decision denying a defendant’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. McKinney v. Hobart Bros. Co., 2018 IL App (4th) 170333, appeal denied, 116 N.E.3d 948 (Ill. 2019). In McKinney, the plaintiff sued Defendant Hobart Brothers Company (“Hobart”) alleging his eight-month workplace exposure to Hobart’s asbestos-containing welding rods in 1962 and 1963 caused his mesothelioma. The welding rods at issue allegedly contained asbestos fibers that were encapsulated. The plaintiff also alleged exposure to asbestos-containing automotive products that occurred during the course of his forty-year mechanic career. In reversing the trial judgment, the McKinney Court addressed three issues of expert testimony admissibility under Rule 213 and ultimately tightened the reins on exposure claims involving encapsulated asbestos fibers by requiring industry knowledge of harm for the manufacturer’s product at issue before imposing a duty and ushering in the “substantial factor” test for causation.
Continue Reading Toxic Tort Monitor: A “Substantial Factor” in Bringing About Change? Illinois’ McKinney Appellate Decision Raises Plaintiff Burdens for Duty and Causation

Toxic Tort Monitor

June 18, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
New Tool for Non-Resident Defendants Seeking to Challenge Personal Jurisdiction in Illinois
By Dominque Savinelli

If you are a non-resident corporate defendant in Cook County, Illinois, you should become familiar with Campbell v. Acme Insulations, Inc., as it will undoubtedly