I-1082 = Higher Taxes On Washington Small Business

I don’t know of a lot of small businesses in Washington who can afford to see their premiums go up by 28%: As written, I-1082 would virtually eliminate oversight of workers’ compensation claims, leaving injured workers in the lurch. I-1082 is also a terrible hit on small business owners — increasing their tax burden at

Are All 15-Passenger Vans Defective?

Some auto experts think that all 15-passenger vans are defectively designed because they have a propensity to roll over.  This quote raised my eyebrow: “The rollover rate for fully loaded or nearly loaded 15-passenger vans is about three times the rollover ratio of vans with fewer than five passengers,” the report said. Source: Consumer Groups: Type of Van

Biller gets cleared to use Toyota documents

It’s no exaggeration to say that the entire product liability bar is dying to know what is in the Biller documents:  An arbitrator has ruled that a former Toyota Motor Corp. attorney can use internal company documents to press his claim that he was hired to “plan and carry out discovery fraud” on behalf of

Dehumidifiers Recalled Due To Fire Hazard

98,00 dehumidifiers were recalled due to the risk of fire: The company has received four reports of fires involving dehumidifiers, including Goldstar model No. GHD30Y7, which were sold at Home Depot outlets, model No. DH305Y7, sold at Walmart stores, and Comfort-Aire BHD-301-C dehumidifiers, sold at Heat Controller Inc. Source: LG Electronics dehumidifiers recalled – UPI.com

Motorola Workers Allege That Chemicals Caused Birth Defects

A lawsuit filed in Cook County, Illinois alleges that Motorola knowingly exposed workers to dangerous chemicals, and as a result of those exposures, the workers’ children had birth defects: According to the lawsuit, their collective employment period stretches between 1965 and 2007. The filing enumerates a variety of physical disabilities and developmental problems suffered by

Judge Finds Asbestos Liability for Insurers in Unusual Defendant Class Action

More than 20,000 individuals who have asbestos-related tort claims pending against the Robert A. Keasbey Co. scored a major victory Tuesday, as Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Braun ruled that the defunct insulation giant’s insurers may be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars in coverage.

The ruling came in an unusual defendant class action — in which the class constitutes a defendant, not the plaintiff — initiated by the Keasbey Co.’s primary insurers, plaintiffs Continental Casualty Coverage and American Casualty Co. of Reading, Pa.

In their class action, the insurers sought a declaratory judgment holding that their policies were exhausted by $8.7 million in previously made payments. In the alternative, they argued, numerous equitable doctrines precluded the defendant class members from pursuing their claims.

Braun disagreed, and found that the insurers may be liable for upwards of $250 million.

Oops. Details here from the New York Law Journal via Law.com. The Court’s decision is here.

Asbestos Attorney Accepts 10-Year Term in Plea Deal

Louis Robles, a nationally prominent Miami plaintiffs attorney who was charged with stealing millions of dollars from thousands of asbestos clients nationwide, has accepted a plea deal that calls for him to serve 10 years in prison and provide full restitution to his victims. The plea deal is the latest chapter in the spectacular fall of the class action and mass tort lawyer, who at one time had 40 lawyers on his staff and more than 12,000 class action clients.

Details here from the Daily Business Review via Law.com.

Ohio Judge Finds Calif. Firm Submitted Fraudulent Asbestos Claim Forms

An Ohio state court judge upbraided the Brayton Purcell law firm in Novato, Calif., and one of its partners Thursday, finding that they lied to the court, submitted fraudulent asbestos claim forms and broke other rules.

As a result, the judge said in a published ruling that they had forfeited pro hac vice privileges to practice law in the asbestos litigation hotbed of Ohio’s Cuyahoga County.

Judge Harry Hanna’s ruling offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a heated discovery fight, one that portrays the plaintiffs firm and partner Christopher Andreas as sloppy and deceitful in their representation of the estate of Harry Kananian, who died from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

The decision won’t put an end to the underlying claims Kananian’s estate brought against Lorillard Tobacco, maker of Kent cigarettes. But it jeopardizes the ability of Andreas and the Brayton firm to practice in the Ohio county, which includes Cleveland; whether the ruling will sully their reputations elsewhere is unclear.

Details here from The Recorder via Law.com.

3rd Circuit Revives Case Against Asbestos Class Action Lawyers

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a proposed class action suit against a group of lawyers from southern states brought by more than 2,600 former clients from northern states who say they were cheated out of their fair share of $400 million in asbestos personal injury settlements in the Mississippi state courts when the lawyers gave larger payouts to southern plaintiffs.

Reversing a lower court’s decision that dismissed the suit, Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth issued a stern lecture to lawyers about the duty of loyalty.

“We are embarrassed to have to explain a matter so elementary to the legal profession that it speaks for itself: All attorneys in a co-counsel relationship individually owe each and every client the duty of loyalty. For it to be otherwise is inconceivable,” Roth wrote in Huber v. Taylor.

The case provides a rare glimpse into the high-stakes world of asbestos litigation in which plaintiffs are termed “inventory” and settlements often involve hundreds or even thousands of cases.

Details here from The Legal Intelligencer via Law.com.