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June 6th, 2019

Attorneys General Stand Up to Expansive Public Nuisance Claims

On May 17, 2019, a group of 18 State Attorneys General submitted an amicus brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals criticizing public nuisance claims as a means by which to hold energy companies liable for climate change. The analysis in the brief highlights the weak legal foundation upon which such claims are based, . . . → Read More: Attorneys General Stand Up to Expansive Public Nuisance Claims

May 20th, 2019

Missouri Legislature Passes Some Improvements, Disappoints on Missouri Merchandising Practices Act Reform

The Missouri legislature adjourned on Friday, May 17, 2019, ending a session filled with mixed results. The legislature should be commended for passing important reforms such as seatbelt admissibility, venue reform, and e-Discovery legislation. ATRA applauds Governor Michael Parson, Senators Ed Emery, Caleb Rowden, Tony Luetkemeyer, and Dan Hegeman, as well as Representatives David Gregory, . . . → Read More: Missouri Legislature Passes Some Improvements, Disappoints on Missouri Merchandising Practices Act Reform

May 14th, 2019

California Courts: Drop Science At the Door

A California jury sent a clear message this week when it awarded more than $2 billion in damages to a couple in the most recent RoundUp® trial – science no longer matters when it comes to the safety of a product. A good lawyer can convince a jury of just about anything.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer . . . → Read More: California Courts: Drop Science At the Door

April 25th, 2019

Minnesota Appellate Court Upholds Sanctions Against BNSF Further Solidifying “Judicial Hellholes” Designation

A Minnesota appeals court issued a disappointing ruling earlier this week when it upheld sanctions against BNSF in a toxic fumes case. The court found that BNSF engaged in “pervasive” discovery misconduct that prejudiced the plaintiff. The case originated in the Hennepin County District Court and the trial judge’s actions helped solidify the Twin Cities . . . → Read More: Minnesota Appellate Court Upholds Sanctions Against BNSF Further Solidifying “Judicial Hellholes” Designation

April 8th, 2019

Florida Bills Would Diminish Patient Privacy

Two bills moving through the Florida legislature, if enacted, will further solidify the state’s unfortunate status as a “Judicial Hellhole.” While the courts can be faulted for much of this regrettable distinction, as we chronicle in our reports, the state’s legislature can make it worse by passing Senate Bill 1700 and its companion in the . . . → Read More: Florida Bills Would Diminish Patient Privacy

December 26th, 2018

ATRA Responds to Reuters Baby Powder “Exposé”: Lawsuits Should be Based on Science, Not Fearmongering

The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) today responded to a Reuters report that purports to show that the baby powder widely used for more than a century causes cancer. This one-sided “exposé” was clearly prepared in close consultation with plaintiffs’ lawyers, who have filed thousands of lawsuits with the hope that the sheer number of . . . → Read More: ATRA Responds to Reuters Baby Powder “Exposé”: Lawsuits Should be Based on Science, Not Fearmongering

December 4th, 2018

Supreme Court’s Adoption of Novel Theories of Liability, Abusive ‘No-Injury’ Litigation, Place California atop Latest ‘Judicial Hellholes’ List

Today, the American Tort Reform Foundation released its 2018-2019 Judicial Hellholes report. California tops the list, with Florida, New York City and St. Louis not far behind. “With both this annual report and year-round website, our Judicial Hellholes program since 2002 has documented troubling developments in jurisdictions where civil court judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally to the disadvantage of defendants,” American Tort Reform Association president Tiger Joyce said. This year’s Judicial Hellholes report names the following as the nation’s “most unfair” in their handling of civil litigation: California Florida New York City The City of St. Louis Louisiana Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas New Jersey Legislature Madison and St. Clair Counties, Ill. The Twin Cities, Minn. . . . → Read More: Supreme Court’s Adoption of Novel Theories of Liability, Abusive ‘No-Injury’ Litigation, Place California atop Latest ‘Judicial Hellholes’ List

August 7th, 2018

New Jersey Supreme Court Pumps the Brakes on ‘Junk Science’ and Adopts the Daubert Standard of Expert Testimony

At long last, New Jersey will no longer be considered an evidentiary outlier that permits plaintiff’s to bring meritless cases based on junk science. On August 1, 2018, the Supreme Court of New Jersey joined the vast majority of other states and adopted the Daubert standard for assessing the reliability of expert testimony.

The decision . . . → Read More: New Jersey Supreme Court Pumps the Brakes on ‘Junk Science’ and Adopts the Daubert Standard of Expert Testimony

July 9th, 2018

ATRA Announces Mid-Year Addition of Twin Cities to Judicial Hellholes List

Troubling trends in Twin Cities courtrooms, unprincipled actions by Minnesota’s attorney general and multiple vetoes of common sense reforms by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) have earned the Twin Cities of Minnesota the unenviable distinction of being named a rising jurisdiction on the Judicial Hellholes Watch List. There is a pervasive liability-expanding view that is spreading . . . → Read More: ATRA Announces Mid-Year Addition of Twin Cities to Judicial Hellholes List

May 29th, 2018

Disappointing Legislative Session Comes to a Close in Missouri

The Missouri Legislature adjourned on the evening of Friday, May 19, 2018, without passing significant legal reform legislation. Lawmakers gave many reasons for their failure that ranged from “we passed enough tort reform in 2017” to “we ran out of time.” These excuses ring hollow.

Among the much-needed reforms considered were venue reform, amendments to . . . → Read More: Disappointing Legislative Session Comes to a Close in Missouri

May 14th, 2018

West Virginia High Court Soundly Rejects Trial Bar’s Theory of Innovator Liability

On May 11, 2018, the West Virginia Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in the case of McNair v. Johnson & Johnson. The court joined at least 36 other courts, including six federal courts and various state courts in rejecting innovator liability, recognizing that it would disrupt the innovators’ ability to invest further in innovation . . . → Read More: West Virginia High Court Soundly Rejects Trial Bar’s Theory of Innovator Liability

May 11th, 2018

Former NY Speaker Sheldon Silver Convicted of Federal Corruption Charges in Second Trial

As reported by the New York Times, Sheldon Silver, former Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly, was found guilty of federal corruption charges on Friday, May 11, 2018, almost exactly a year after his initial conviction was thrown out.

In 2015, Silver was convicted of obtaining approximately $4 million in payments characterized as . . . → Read More: Former NY Speaker Sheldon Silver Convicted of Federal Corruption Charges in Second Trial

April 27th, 2018

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Overturns $502 Million J&J Verdict after Finding ‘Unequivocally Deceptive’ Conduct by Plaintiffs’ Lawyer

On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a half-billion dollar verdict against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics and ordered a new trial in a bellwether products liability case that involved DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implant devices.

Writing for the three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith said that U.S. . . . → Read More: 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Overturns $502 Million J&J Verdict after Finding ‘Unequivocally Deceptive’ Conduct by Plaintiffs’ Lawyer

April 10th, 2018

Intent on Making State a Judicial Hellhole- Maryland High Court Holds Statute of Repose Does Not Apply to Asbestos Claims

The Maryland Court of Appeals recently overturned the state appellate court’s Duffy v. CBS Corp. decision. In the case, which involved asbestos claims for wrongful death, the appellate court held that the state’s twenty-year statute of repose for improvements to real property barred an asbestos claim brought for exposure to the substance in 1970. In . . . → Read More: Intent on Making State a Judicial Hellhole- Maryland High Court Holds Statute of Repose Does Not Apply to Asbestos Claims

March 22nd, 2018

ATRA Disappointed in Massachusetts Supreme Court’s Decision to Adopt Expansive Theory of “Innovator Liability”

On March 16, 2018, in a very disappointing decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Court adopted an expansive theory of civil liability known as “innovator liability.” The state joins perennial Judicial Hellhole, California, as the only other state to adopt this dangerous theory of liability. The Alabama Supreme Court adopted “innovator liability” in 2014, but the decision . . . → Read More: ATRA Disappointed in Massachusetts Supreme Court’s Decision to Adopt Expansive Theory of “Innovator Liability”

March 8th, 2018

California Federal Court Finds ‘Insufficient Evidence’ to Require Warning Labels on Roundup Products

On February 26, 2018, a federal judge in the District Court for the Eastern District of California halted a Prop 65 requirement that Monsanto place warning labels on its Roundup products, deciding that there was “insufficient evidence” the popular weed killer causes cancer. . . . → Read More: California Federal Court Finds ‘Insufficient Evidence’ to Require Warning Labels on Roundup Products

March 1st, 2018

Attorney General Sessions Discusses DOJ Efforts to Combat Opioid Abuse

On Tuesday, we heard more about the ongoing efforts to combat opioid abuse and efforts to combat this important public health problem. U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed a variety of topics, including lawsuits already underway around the country. It is noteworthy that, during a discussion of litigation issues with journalists, General Sessions rejected the . . . → Read More: Attorney General Sessions Discusses DOJ Efforts to Combat Opioid Abuse

February 14th, 2018

Evidence of Trial Lawyer Corruption Comes to Light in South Carolina

On Sunday, February 11, 2018, the Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina reported new email evidence suggesting misconduct regarding a tort reform bill in 2011. The emails in question were uncovered by prosecutors and involve Rick Quinn, a former state representative who in Decemeber of 2017 plead guilty to State house corruption charges. They . . . → Read More: Evidence of Trial Lawyer Corruption Comes to Light in South Carolina

February 6th, 2018

“CREATES Act” is Nothing but a Giveaway to Well-Heeled Personal Injury Lawyers

The United States Senate is currently considering legislation that would benefit trial lawyers at the expense of consumers and innovative drug manufacturers. Proponents claim the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (“CREATES”) Act (Pat Leahy D-VT) would provide a more efficient path for generic drug manufacturers to bring their product to market. In reality, the legislation is nothing but a giveaway to greedy personal injury lawyers and generic drug manufacturers. . . . → Read More: “CREATES Act” is Nothing but a Giveaway to Well-Heeled Personal Injury Lawyers

January 19th, 2018

Garden State’s New Governor Faces Bellwether Choice on ‘Pay Equity’ Legislation

New Jersey, already ranked 6th among the nation’s worst Judicial Hellholes, has a newly inaugurated governor who’s wasted no time signaling his intention to expand growth-stifling civil liability still further . . . → Read More: Garden State’s New Governor Faces Bellwether Choice on ‘Pay Equity’ Legislation