Somehow missed blogging this when it happened last fall: “An Oklahoma judge who ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its role in the state’s opioid epidemic admitted in court on Tuesday that he made a $107 million math error. Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland County said the portion of the award devoted to a treatment program for addicted babies should have been $107,683, not $107,683,000.” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal last October; earlier here and here on Oklahoma opioids public nuisance case] Not unrelated: “A dozen law firms are set to earn nearly $160 million in contingency fees in 15 opioid settlements involving two counties in Ohio and the state of Oklahoma, according to Law.com’s review of the contracts at issue in those settlements and emails provided by government officials.” [Amanda Bronstad, Law.com]
- Oakland jury tells Monsanto to pay $2 billion over claim that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, though the consensus among scientists is that it doesn’t [Tina Bellon, Reuters, earlier] Both sides in glyphosate trial bombarded Bay Area residents with local paid messaging; did Monsanto use geofencing to run ads on phones inside the courthouse itself? [Scott Greenfield, ABA Journal] Was judge in previous Bay Area glyphosate case swayed by P.R. campaign aimed at her? [Daniel Fisher, Legal NewsLine]
- “Police say Rodriguez was looking at her phone while walking across tracks” [AP/KOIN; Oregon woman suing rail companies over injury]
- Liability reform in Florida, so often stymied in the past, may have clearer road ahead with arrival of new state high court majority [John Haughey, Florida Watchdog]
- Not just mesh, either: “Top 5 Eyebrow-Raising Provisions in Mesh Attorneys’ Retainer Agreements” [Elizabeth Chamblee Burch]
- What is a Maryland General Assembly session without a special fast-track bill to hot-wire money to the benefit of asbestos lawyer Peter Angelos? But this year’s ran aground [Josh Kurtz, Maryland Matters; John O’Brien, Legal NewsLine]
- Car accident scam in eastern Connecticut reaped estimated $600,000 from as many as 50 staged crashes [AP/WTIC]
Does the naturally occurring mineral talc, found in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, cause ovarian cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute last month:
The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society:
It has been suggested that talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary.
Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase. Many case-control studies have found a small increase in risk. But these types of studies can be biased because they often rely on a person’s memory of talc use many years earlier. Two prospective cohort studies, which would not have the same type of potential bias, have not found an increased risk.
For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small. Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real. Research in this area continues.
On the other hand, some experts believe the risks are higher. Our contemporary American legal way of handling this disagreement is to submit the question in a series of high-stakes trials in venues selected by plaintiff’s lawyers, in which juries will listen to a battle of hired experts. On Aug. 21 a Los Angeles jury told Johnson and Johnson to pay $417,000,000 to Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old California woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. [ Margaret Cronin Fisk and Edvard Pettersson/Bloomberg, ABA Journal, Amanda Bronstad/NLJ, Alison Kodjak/NPR, Eric Lieberman/Daily Caller]
Mrs. Garrison’s suit, in Anderson County, S.C., says she was in a Target store parking lot “when her daughter picked up a hypodermic needle. Garrison swatted it out of her hand and was stuck in her own palm. Garrison was bedridden because of medication prescribed because of the potential risk of HIV.” A jury awarded $4.6 million. [Insurance Journal]
- Jury tells Marriott to pay $55 million after stalker takes nude video of TV personality from adjoining hotel room [Business Insider]
- R.I.P. John Sullivan, long-time advocate for lawsuit reform in California [Sacramento Bee]
- Colleges, speed cameras, and surveillance on buses in my latest Maryland policy roundup; paid leave, publicly financed conference centers and criminalizing drinking hosts in the one before that;
- AAJ, the trial lawyers lobby, “panned companies’ method of fighting class actions as unfair after member accused it of using the same strategy” [John O’Brien, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]
- In the 1920s, battling chain stores was part of the mission of the Ku Klux Klan [Atlas Obscura]
- Class-action lawyer Goodson, “husband of Supreme Court justice, recommended 2 firms that got state auditor contract” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]
- “Indian court issues summons to Hindu monkey god Hanuman” Again? [Lowering the Bar]
Cybex International, a manufacturer of exercise equipment, has agreed to pay $19.5 million to a Buffalo-area woman “who was injured by a piece of Cybex equipment when she improperly used a leg machine to stretch her shoulder.” A jury had awarded $66 million and a New York appellate court upheld the verdict, while reducing the sum to $44 million. [Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York; Lintoid/Seeking Alpha and more; Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association]
“A Mississippi court has reversed a $322 million asbestos verdict against Union Carbide — believed to be the largest in U.S. history — after the judge failed to disclose his own father had pending asbestos litigation against the same company. … The jury ruled for Brown even though nine treating physicians, an independent medical examiner and an X-ray technician all testified that the plaintiff had no symptoms of asbestos-related disease.” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes; earlier here, here and here]
- “Battle of the tort reform flicks”: trial-bar-backed “Hot Coffee” documentary said to be more entertaining than U.S. Chamber-backed “InJustice” [TortsProf, Abnormal Use, Daily Caller, Frank/PoL, Above the Law, Fisher, LNL] Memo to liberal studio heads: c’mon, now’s the time to greenlight more business-bashing flicks [Alyssa Rosenberg, TP]
- Interlock makers join forces with MADD to lobby for new federal DUI mandates [Luke Rosiak, Wash Times] More: Greenfield.
- Consumer found liable after posting gripes about driveway contractor on Craigslist [Minneapolis Star-Tribune] P.S.: Default judgment, not merits [h/t ABA Journal]
- Angelos law firm obtains $1 billion+ punitive award in Exxon Baltimore gasoline leak case, bringing total to $1.5 billion+ [AP, earlier]
- Taiwan: “Jail Time (And $7000 Fine) for Saying a Restaurant’s Dishes Were ‘Too Salty'” [Volokh]
- Headed for SCOTUS? Sixth Circuit panel strikes down Michigan law banning discrimination in higher ed admissions and other state activities [Gail Heriot, Daily Caller; Hans Bader, CEI]
- Court in British Columbia includes C$30,000 in damage award for injury plaintiff’s purchase of medical marijuana for pain management [Erik Magraken]