Washington, DC, 20001
Law Reporter and Trial News
Selected news from Trial News, the Products Liability Law Reporter, Professional Negligence Law Reporter, Class Action Law Reporter, and Motor Vehicle Law Reporter
Missouri Supreme Court invalidates punitive damages caps on common law claims
OCTOBER 2, 2014 Trial News
In a case that arose out of an auto dealer’s alleged fraudulent misrepresentation, the Missouri Supreme Court recently held that limits on punitive damages for common law torts are unlawful under the state constitution.
FedEx drivers improperly classified as independent contractors
SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 Trial News
In two companion decisions, the Ninth Circuit held that FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., improperly labeled its delivery drivers independent contractors rather than employees, illegally depriving them of certain benefits and rights. Plaintiff attorneys said the decisions’ effect may extend to other industries that rely on similar independent contractor business models.
Two schools cited for unnecessary restraint, seclusion of children
SEPTEMBER 2014 PNLR E-Newsletter
Two Virginia schools for students with emotional and behavioral issues restrained or secluded students hundreds of times in nonemergency situations, the Department of Education recently found. A ProPublica analysis released in June found that children were held down, handcuffed, duct-taped, locked in dark rooms, and otherwise restrained more than 267,000 times in the 2012 school year.
Cymbalta users sue over undisclosed withdrawal side effects
SEPTEMBER 2014 PLLR E-Newsletter
Almost two dozen consumers who suffered moderate to severe side effects when they tried to stop using the antidepressant Cymbalta recently sued drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. The plaintiffs claim the company knew the drug caused withdrawal symptoms in nearly half those who discontinued it but significantly downplayed the risks in warning labels.
Minnesota Supreme Court rejects Twombly and Iqbal pleading standard
SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 Trial News
The Minnesota Supreme Court has expressly rejected the federal pleading standard that the U.S. Supreme Court established in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal and held that Minnesota’s traditional pleading standard applies.
As agencies crack down on mortgage-relief scams, homeowners settle claims against law firm
SEPTEMBER 2014 Class Action Law Reporter
Colorado homeowners who fought foreclosure in the height of the mortgage crisis have settled a class action against a law firm that regularly charged inflated fees to post foreclosure notices. The federal government and states across the country are pursuing law firms that have scammed homeowners out of millions of dollars, including some that promised homeowners could pay to join “mass joinder” lawsuits that would force banks to modify their loans.
Patients infected by tainted saline that nurse substituted for stolen pain meds
AUGUST 2014 PNLR E-Newsletter
A hospital patient who suffered horrific pain and a blood infection necessitating an arm amputation after a nurse took her pain medication and substituted contaminated saline has sued the hospital for medical negligence. At least 25 patients were sickened by the contaminated saline in 2010, including one who died. Several have lawsuits pending against the hospital.
Debt-relief firms scamming student loan borrowers
AUGUST 7, 2014 Trial News
Debt settlement companies have now targeted student loan borrowers, charging them for nonexistent services or free government services. Federal and state regulators have stepped in, and the Illinois Attorney General has filed lawsuits against two companies.
Supreme Court helps ERISA plaintiffs but leaves issues unresolved
AUGUST 2014 Class Action Law Reporter
Following a significant Supreme Court decision eliminating the defense-friendly “presumption of prudence” in Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) cases, the Fifth Circuit has revived a lawsuit against BP, P.L.C., by employees who suffered financial losses when their BP stock plummeted after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Plaintiff's experts were improperly excluded in contaminated baby formula case
JULY 2014 PLLR E-Newsletter
The Eighth Circuit has ruled that a trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying the plaintiff experts’ opinions, which blamed an infant’s permanent brain damage on contaminated formula. The case will now go to trial.
Plaintiff attorneys say Halliburton will make defendants' burden heavier
JULY 2014 Class Action Law Reporter
Despite the defense bar’s comments to the contrary, plaintiff attorneys consider the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., to be a significant victory for investors because the Court not only declined to overrule the fraud-on-the-market doctrine but also said defendants must prove there was no price impact.
Parents of teen killed in car crash claim stores sold alcohol to minor despite notice he was underage
JUNE 2014 Motor Vehicle Law Reporter
The parents of a teenager killed when her intoxicated boyfriend crashed his car have sued two convenience stores, alleging they illegally sold alcohol to a minor despite warnings that he was under 21 on his fake driver’s license and in a database.
Device used in gynecological surgeries could spread cancer
JUNE 19, 2014 Trial News
As many as two dozen products liability cases have been filed against manufacturers of laparoscopic power morcellators, which are used to slice and remove uterine fibroids. Plaintiffs allege the devices can spread a dangerous hidden cancer from the uterus to other parts of the body.
VA has long known of deadly delays for sick and injured veterans
JUNE 2014 PNLR E-Newsletter
Recent revelations about Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals’ systemic efforts to hide long waiting times for veterans’ health care appointments have shocked the public, but government reports and whistleblower accounts show the VA has known for years that patients are dying as they wait for care.