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GlobalTort

The Intersection Among Torts, Science, Corporate Law, Insurance & Bankruptcy

Fee Petition Filed by Plaintiffs in State Farm – Karmeier Case

Posted in Litigation Industry

Now online is the 1/3 fee petition from Hale  v. State Farm. et al., # 3:12- cv-00660, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.  As explained in an October 17, 2018 article in LAW360, the suit’s allegations assert thatState Farm “funneled millions into the campaign coffers of a candidate for an open seat on the [Illinois Supreme] court in order to buy his vote to overturn [a prior ruling] — and then lied about it in court filings, the suit claimed.”  Unfortunately, the motion says nothing about what will or will not be done to make public the testimony and documents collected in discovery. That seems incongruous when the fee petitioners claim this case is important for the public.

“Texas Court Smotes Church’s Promotion of Bad Medicine”

Posted in Humor

The October 3, 2018 post at Drug & Device blog is a must read. It’s a quick, humorous and pithy summary of a true story – a church-based scheme involving a “miracle water.” Amazing.

To tease you into reading, here’s the introduction:

“Take out your hymnal, and turn to Hawkins v. State, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 7863 (Texas Ct. App., 14th Dist. Sept. 27, 2018). Consider the case of Mr. Hawkins, hereinafter referred to as “the defendant,” but who self-identified as a bishop of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing.  A primary teaching of said church was the amazing curative power of “MMS,” which variously stands for Miracle Mineral Solution, Master Mineral Solution, or  Miracle Mineral Supplement. (We think of MMS as an abbreviation either for the more prosaic Multimedia Messaging Service or the sillier Make Me Smile.  But who are we to depart from church doctrine?).  MMS is a sodium chloride product typically used as a disinfectant.  It is an industrial bleaching agent.  The defendant held monthly seminars and taught his flock how to mix and consumer MMS.  And what bounty shall this marvelous MMS elixir deliver?  Why, nothing less than a cure for cancer, HIV, heart disease, autism, and Ebola.  So sayeth the defendant.”

Class Actions in Europe: “Collective re-dress: all talk and now trousers”

Posted in Class Actions, EU Developments, Litigation Industry

Some years back, a few people (including me, in 2010) bucked conventional wisdom and predicted the rise of class actions in Europe. See, for example, my 2010 post at https://www.globaltort.com/2010/03/be-careful-what-you-wish-for-in-litigation-might-that-rule-apply-to-the-iqbaltwombly-pleading-standard/.

In fact, class actions continue to expand in Europe. For a timely and useful article providing news on the latest possible expansion, see “Collective re-dress: all talk and now trousers.”  It’s online at Cooley.com.  Among other things, the article points out the following possible expansion:

  • “More sectors in scope: the Committee proposes to significantly extend the scope of representative actions to include a much larger number of legislative instruments, primarily focussed on product safety. These include the General Product Safety Directive, and the regimes relating to low voltage equipment, radio equipment, machinery, PPE, chemicals, cosmetics, toys, foods, medicines and medical devices.”

Toxic Trio – # 3 – Formaldehyde – Per Allianz and Praedicat

Posted in Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Science, Uncategorized

As pointed out in Tuesday’s post (September 18, 2018),  Praedicat and Allianz recently published facts and assessments on a “toxic” trio associated with some cosmetics. Again, this is an innovative effort, and deserves careful consideration. The third member of the “toxic trio” substances is formaldehyde. The facts and assessment of the future are – again – notable:

“Formaldehyde is listed as a known carcinogen by the US National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)…. However, formaldehyde is most commonly used to make resins – precursors to many plastic and adhesive chemicals – that are used in dozens of industrial processes that eventually produce hundreds of consumer products: pressed wood, disinfectants, clothing, adhesives, laminates, insulation, paper products, and personal care products. Formaldehyde is often a component of hair straighteners used both in salons and at home.

***

Using Praedicat’s model to evaluate the current consensus and projected evolution of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, we summarize the hypothesised bodily injuries linked to formaldehyde exposure in the table.”

 

Toxic Trio – # 2 – Toluene – Per Allianz and Praedicat

Posted in Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Science

As pointed out in Tuesday’s post (September 18, 2018),  Praedicat and Allianz recently published facts and assessments on a “toxic” trio associated with some cosmetics. This is an innovative effort, and one that deserves careful consideration. One of the “toxic trio” substances is toluene. The report includes the following data, and Praedicat’s assessment of where the science likely will go. The report includes the following:

“Toluene is … a solvent commonly found in paints, inks, adhesives, paint thinner, stain removers, fragrances, hand and nail care products, and a wide variety of personal care products. The value of the toluene market was $16.6bn in 2016 and significant growth is projected over the coming years. The wide-ranging use of toluene as a solvent in the personal care product applications listed above presents two potential exposure routes: dermal and inhalation.

***

With exposure to toluene common from solvent-containing products, including personal care products, the potential for bodily injury is important to understand. Scientists have studied toluene fairly extensively, publishing 180 studies investigating its ability to cause bodily injury. As before, in the adjacent table we summarizes the consensus and projected evolution of the peer-reviewed scientific literature using Praedicat’s models.

The most innovative part of Praedicat’s work is assessing the current state of the science as to disease causation, and where it will go. From the 180 studies (and more factors), Praedicat assessed the science as follows:

Allianz and Praedicat Point Fingers at “Toxic Trio” in Cosmetics – #1 is dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

Posted in Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Science

A few far sighted liability insurers are paying attention to molecular science as to alleged or actual toxins, often aided by the ground-breaking work at Praedicat to assess the medical and scientific literature as to various actual or alleged toxins. See this February 7, 2014  post regarding Praedicat’s work and vision.

Some also are taking their concerns public. Thus, Allianz and Praedicat just issued a trio of publications reporting on concerns related to a so-called “toxic trio” as related to cosmetics and “personal care” products.  See:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180912005640/en/%E2%80%9CToxic-Trio%E2%80%9D-Cosmetics-Creates-Emerging-Liability-Risks

https://www.agcs.allianz.com/insights/white-papers-and-case-studies/emerging-liability-risks-toxic-trio/

https://www.agcs.allianz.com/assets/PDFs/risk%20bulletins/AGCS_Praedicat_Toxic_Trio_Risk_Bulletin.pdf

What’s the gist? The following:

“CHEMICAL DANGERS IN PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS ALLIANZ GLOBAL CORPORATE & SPECIALTY®Increasing scientific, regulatory, and consumer concerns means increasing risk for manufacturers and suppliers of various personal care products. The potential for synergistic effects of a so-called “toxic trio”of hazardous chemicals used in these products threatens to expose them to latent liabilities. This risk bulletin by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty and Praedicat, a leading science-based risk analytics company, reviews possible risk exposures and potential impacts of this trio of chemicals to businesses and the insurance industry.

Among the widely-used chemicals today, three have gained some notoriety, primarily for their use in nail varnish: dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde –or the so-called “toxic trio”which are prevalent in the personal care industry.”

As to DBP, they said, among other things:

“As a result, body lotions, perfumes, and nail varnishes containing DBP, because they are applied directly to the skin, have a clear dermal exposure route that theoretically allows DBP to enter the bloodstream, although until recently it was unclear whether it actually did so. Three separate peer-reviewed studies in the last decade have shown that it does [Janjua, N.R. 2008; Pan, T.L. 2014; Sugino, M. 2017]. Collectively, this research demonstrates that DBP can cross the skin but that the transport rate is likely to depend on the activity of certain enzymes that start the process of metabolizing DBP into its breakdown products.”

As to DBP, as shown by the chart below, Praedicat sees the science worsening for defendants as to causation as to “endocrine” system diseases and conditions. To me, the most innovative part of Praedicat’s work is assessing the current state of the science as to disease causation, and where it will go.

 

 

New Study Addresses More Germline (Inherited) Variants in Genes of Persons Afflicted by Mesothelioma

Posted in Asbestos, Cancer, Science

Use of genomic testing continues to increase to seek to explain the reasons for and drivers of cancer. Some aspects of the newest broad study related to inherited mutations in persons with mesothelioma are summarized by David Schwartz and me in a September 6, 2018 post at the ToxicoGenomica blog.

What Will Happen to the Discovery Record – State Farm Settles Lawsuit Regarding Campaign Contributions for Illinois Supreme Court Justice Karmeier

Posted in Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues

Campaign contributions – direct and indirect, and transparent or hidden – are frequent topics for charges and counter-charges of bias and illegal campaign finance. In that light, it’s interesting to read and think about why State Farm and plaintiffs agreed to a $250 million settlement that mooted a trial of the long-pending litigation regarding campaign contributions related to the election of a member of the Supreme Court of Illinois.  Articles are everywhere – e.g. here .  The articles, however, do not address the point of greatest interest to me. That is, what are the settlement terms regarding public access  – or not – to the complete record of discovery taken in the case.