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Showing 10 posts in Product Liability.

California Continues Hazardous Waste Enforcement Campaign Against Retailers With Two New Multi-Million Dollar Settlements

The first quarter of 2015 brought two significant settlements against retailers for alleged violations of California’s hazardous waste laws.  The settlements are the latest in a string of similar California enforcement actions that have seen total penalties of over $150 million levied against retailers in the last five years involving waste products.  Through settlement orders, California prosecutors continue to impose increasingly onerous obligations for employee training, hazardous waste determinations, mandatory third party auditing, and other oversight of hazardous waste compliance programs that go above and beyond the regulatory requirements.  This puts a premium on retailers to develop and maintain a robust hazardous waste compliance program that can withstand enforcement scrutiny.  Read More ›

Recycling Company Fined $4.5 Million for Illegal Export of Electronic Waste; Executives Receive Prison Sentences

Executive Recycling, Inc., a U.S. electronic waste recycling business, and two company executives were sentenced this month by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez for defrauding customers and illegally shipping electronic waste (“e-waste”) overseas. The corporation was fined $4.5 million and sentenced to 3 years on probation. CEO and owner Brandon Richter was ordered to serve 30 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release. Judge Martinez also ordered Richter to pay approximately $77,000 in fines and restitution and to forfeit over $140,000 in assets. Richter and Executive Recycling received their sentences one week after the corporation’s Vice President of Operations, Tor Olson, was sentenced to 14 months in prison and fined $20,000. Read More ›

Indiana Court Presumes Lack of Defect Due to Manufacturer’s Compliance with Federal Pesticide Law

Compliance with federal pesticide law and state labeling requirements entitles a pesticide registrant to a presumption that the product is not defective under Indiana law, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals. See Gresser v. Dow Chemical Co., No. 79A02-1111-CT-1014 (Ind. Ct. App. Apr. 30, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Gresser.pdf.   Read More ›

Ninth Circuit Further Limits Climate-Nuisance Suits

Further limiting available grounds for plaintiffs to seek redress for injuries allegedly due to climate change, on September 21st, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of an action brought by the Native Village of Kivalina and the City of Kivalina (collectively “Kivalina”) against multiple oil, energy and utility companies (the “Energy Companies”). Native Vill. of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp. (Kivalina II), No. 09-17490 (9th Cir. Sept. 21, 2012). Consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut (“AEP”), 131 S.Ct. 2527 (2011), the panel found that the plaintiffs’ federal common law nuisance claims were displaced by the Clean Air Act. Id. at 13-16. The decision was perhaps most notable for concluding that federal common law claims seeking damages for alleged climate-related injuries – in addition to claims seeking injunctive relief, as the Supreme Court held in AEP – are displaced by federal statutory law. Read More ›

California Green Chemistry: Public Comment Period for DTSC’s Proposed Safer Consumer Products Regulations Extended Until October 11, 2012

On July 27, 2012, the California Department of Toxic Substances (“DTSC”) released its proposed Safe Consumer Product Regulations (“Proposed Rule”) for notice and comment.  (Click here for full text of Proposed Rule.) The Proposed Rule represents the culmination of a multi-year effort to develop regulations to implement California’s 2008 Green Chemistry legislation.  The Proposed Rule includes changes from previous pre-proposal drafts which are intended to address public concerns regarding protections for confidential business information, clarity of prioritization of chemicals of concern, the perceived unworkability of timelines for preparation of alternatives analyses, and concerns about the de minimis threshold level.  With the issuance of the Proposed Rule, DTSC opened a 45-day notice and comment period.  Read More ›

California Appellate Court Rejects Tort Claims Against Component Part Suppliers

In a decision that may help solidify toxic tort defenses for suppliers and manufacturers of intermediate goods, a California Appeals Court ruled that a metal worker could not hold component part suppliers liable for negligence or strict liability as a result of injuries allegedly sustained by his use of or exposure to their metal products. Maxton v. Western States Metals, et al., Slip Op. B227000 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 1, 2012), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Maxton.pdfIn dismissing plaintiff’s claims, the court found that no "extraordinary circumstances" existed—such as the presence of contaminated or inherently dangerous raw materials—and therefore the defendant suppliers could not be held liable.  Read More ›

Louisiana Appellate Court Finds Plaintiffs Need Not Own Property at Issue to Recover Damages

In a decision that may expand the duty owed by manufacturers and sellers in products liability actions, a Louisiana state appeals court held that buyers and processors of crawfish do not have to show ownership of the damaged property – in this case, crawfish – to maintain a viable products liability claim for economic loss. Phillips v. G&H Seed Co., No. 10-1405 (La. Ct. App. Mar. 7, 2012), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Craw.pdf. The Louisiana Court of Appeal, Third Circuit, sitting en banc at the direction of the State Supreme Court, reversed a trial court’s summary judgment ruling that had dismissed the claims of crawfish buyers and processors because they could not establish a proprietary interest in the crawfish. Phillips, slip op. at 1-2.   Read More ›

Eleventh Circuit Dismisses Workplace Exposure Suit Under Learned Intermediary Doctrine

Emphasizing the importance of an intermediary’s knowledge of the potential dangers of toxic chemicals in the workplace, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a claim by current and former employees of Lockheed Martin against manufacturers of beryllium parts.   Read More ›

D.C. Trial Court Rejects Product Liability, Related Claims Alleging Corrosive Drinking Water

Underscoring that regulatory standards and compliance can sometimes provide a defense against liability, particularly where the alleged product defects have nothing to do with the intended uses of the product, Beveridge & Diamond successfully defended a major water utility against claims that the drinking water it delivered caused pinhole leaks in plumbing.   Read More ›