Bad Mouthed Baby Doll

Posted on October 4, 2011 02:22 by Michael Walker

We must be doing our jobs as products defense attorneys if this is what the plaintiffs' bar is beginning to resort to. This story was featured in the ABA Journal and I found it quite amusing. It appears that Arkansas attorney, Joey McCutchen, is on a campaign against Toys R Us due to the store's decision to sell a talking children's doll that Mr. McCutchen claims speaks profanity. As part of his campaign against the store he has produced a YouTube video that he alleges is "proof" that the doll speaks the phrase "crazy b-tch", as opposed to the "realistic baby sounds" the doll is advertised to be able to make. The dolls were being sold in Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee. In the video he urges Toys R Us to cease selling the dolls. While the article does not mention whether Mr. McCutchen plans on commencing suit, if the viewers' comments on the video provide insight as to a potential jury pool, let's hope for his sake he does not. 

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As the summer months are upon us, I thought this article from Bloomberg.com outlining new regulations that will be imposed on sunscreen manufacturers would be interesting to discuss. It appears that beginning next year, sunscreen manufacturers will be subject to stricter regulations with respect to how they are allowed to label and market their products. It appears that these new regulations are being imposed by the FDA in light of the rise in the number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer in recent years.

Under the new regulations only those sunscreens that are shown to protect against both ultraviolet A and B rays and with SPF values of 15 or higher may be marketed as reducing the risk of cancer. Further, sunscreens that fail the test for ultraviolet A and B rays or have an SPF value of less than 15, must carry a warning stating that they haven’t been shown to prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.

While the article does not mention any litigation regarding these products, it will be interesting to see if news of the newer, stricter warning requirements will lead to suits against the manufacturers from potential plaintiffs who had used the products with the older warnings and labels. Also, will there be preemption issues with any litigation that occurs after the implementation of the new regulations?

 

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Categories: Product Liability

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Four Loko Wrongful Death Suit

Posted on May 25, 2011 05:06 by Michael Walker

This article was recently printed in the Chicago Tribune and discusses yet another law suit against the manufacturer of the alcoholic beverage Four Loko. We had discussed the rise of these suits in a previous blog.

This new case is a wrongful death suit brought against Phusion Projects, Four Loko’s manufacturer, alleging that a 15 year old boy was struck by a car after drinking two of these beverages and becoming disoriented. It appears this accident occurred subsequent to Phusion’s decision to remove caffeine, taurine and guarana from its product. Presumably, it was these ingredients that, when combined with alcohol, made the product dangerous as they were alleged to mask the effects of alcohol. As such, it will be interesting to see what new defenses will be used by Phusion’s attorneys in light of Phusion’s decision to remove the aforementioned ingredients from its product.

 

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An article currently appearing on Blog Of The Legal Times discusses a documentary film that was made regarding the infamous law suit involving the woman  who spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself, sustained serious third-degree burns to her body and then recovered millions for her injuries in a law suit against McDonald’s based upon the fact that the coffee was too hot. It appears the documentary attempts to explore why the case received so much media attention while also attempting to discredit the notion that this case is a prime example of how citizens have begun to take advantage of America’s legal system. Of course, the article and movie are from a plaintiff’s point of view and essentially hint to the fact that it was the corporate defendants who started the media campaign in an effort to dissuade potential plaintiff’s from having their day in court. 

In my opinion, this case received the media attention it did, not because it exemplifies how the American legal system has run amok, but because it highlights a growing notion in this country wherein it is acceptable to throw personal accountability for one’s actions right out of the window. Given the facts of this case, one would think that the plaintiff was at fault, at least in part, for causing her accident. While there was no doubt she was seriously injured, the jury failed to consider the comparative/contributory negligence (or personal accountability) of the plaintiff in causing her accident. Did this verdict reveal the beginnings of the "it couldn’t have been my fault"mentality trickling into the legal system, resulting in jury's failing to hold people accountable for their own negligent 

 

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Categories: Law Suit

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The Dangers of Moving a Case Offshore

Posted on August 16, 2010 05:42 by Michael Walker

Interesting story involving Chevron in Equador and potential remedies you may have as a defense attorney to combat U.S. plaintiff's attorneys partaking in "sharp" practice in foreign, corrupt judicial systems. This case appears to be similar to that of Dole in Nicarugua.

The defense attorneys for Chevron in this case had an alien tort claim removed from U.S. courts on forum non conveniens grounds. The U.S. plaintiff's attorneys then sought an astronomical amount of damages in Equadorian court. Chevron's attorneys sought to discredit the Latin American court by returning to U.S. courts and alleging fraud.

Chevron's attorneys were aided by an American film maker who was producing a documentary about the case. Portions of the film that were initially released to the public captured the Equadorian judge handling the case on film discussing damages with an outside party. Further footage that was ordered to be turned over by a U.S. court suggested that the "independent" damages expert appointed by the Equadorian Court was colluding with the plaintiff's attorneys in drafting his report wherein he recommended approximately $27 billion in damages.

Are these cases establishing precedent by which defendants use U.S. courts to monitor litigation in foreign courts, even after they have removed the case from U.S. courts on forum non conveniens grounds? Will cases such as these begin to alter the way U.S. courts decide applications to remove cases from U.S. courts based upon forum non conveniens?

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Categories: Foreign Judicial Systems

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