Product Liability/Mass Torts
Last week was a tough one for defense lawyer William Stern of Morrison & Foerster, as judges on opposite sides of the country continued to sift through a flood of labeling class actions against the food and beverage industry.
Merck and its lawyers at Skadden struck out last week in a Kentucky case challenging the practice of state prosecutors outsourcing enforcement duties to contingency-fee counsel. Litigation over the practice is far from settled, however, as appellate courts in at least two other states continue to weigh the issue.
For years U.S. District Judge Harold Baer in Manhattan has been using his power to appoint plaintiffs counsel as a means to cajole lawyers to find more women and minorities to lead class action lawsuits. Now another New York judge has followed his lead in a suit against Bayer AG.
Sheila Birnbaum may soon get a chance to show off as the newly-minted co-chief of the mass torts and product liability practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Or maybe not.
A flurry of press releases trumpeted a victory for Johnson & Johnson this week in the second bellwether trial in litigation over allegedly defective hip implants. One of the most prominent wasn't issued by J&J or by the lawyers on either side, however. Instead, it came from a company called Legal-Bay that advances cash to mass tort plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs lawyers are still making hay with claims sparked by a Nevada Hepatitis C scare tied to sloppy use of the sedative Propofol. The latest target, UnitedHealth Group, was socked with a $500 million punitive damages verdict this week by a state court jury in Las Vegas. The verdict is the biggest so far this year.
In a 6-1 decision, the Florida Supreme Court preserved findings from a defunct class action against tobacco companies and rejected their claims that they were denied due process by trial rules and jury instructions. The decision is the court's first significant review of its landmark 2006 ruling in Engle v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.
A magistrate judge has found that Apple may have violated a discovery order in a user-privacy class action by failing to produce key documents, including emails from deceased CEO Steve Jobs. On Thursday, U.S. district judge Lucy Koh said that she "concurred" with the magistrate's finding.
A Los Angeles jury has awarded a retired prison guard more than $8.3 million in the first trial against DePuy Orthopaedics over its recalled ASR XL hip implants.