AMICUS PROGRAM

PLAC's mission is to obtain fairness and balance in the common law of product liability.  The primary tool to accomplish this mission is PLAC's Amicus Curiae Program, often called "The heart and soul of PLAC."

PLAC believes the voice of product manufacturers deserves to be heard. We have a thoughtful point of view as it relates to products and believe it is crucial that the viewpoint of our manufacturers and suppliers be considered as the law is shaped. Our efforts also serve as a conduit for measured, intellectually-rigorous commentary on how rapidly changing areas of the law can create unintended consequences for product manufacturers, consumers and the vitality of our economy.

PLAC submits amicus briefs in state and federal courts in cases dealing with significant aspects of product liability law.  PLAC considers approximately 30 cases each year for amicus briefs, and accepts on the average about half of those cases.  We strongly believe that PLAC's Amicus Curiae Program is without peer.  Indeed, many outside sources have acknowledged the high standards of our program.  PLAC is committed to maintaining a world class amicus program.

PLAC's program is first rate because of the involvement of our entire membership.  While the focal point is Case Selection Committee (CSC), every member of PLAC can contribute by submitting cases for consideration.

Issues

Since 1983 PLAC has submitted more than 1,100 amicus briefs on behalf of our members. Issues that we have addressed include:

Recent Amicus Filings
  • Risk-Utility Test/Evidence of Industry Custom and Practice - California Supreme Court - Kim v. Toyota Motor Corp.
  • Statute of Limitations/Toxic Torts - California Supreme Court - Lopez v. Sony Electronics, Inc.
  • Preemption/Warnings - U.S. Supreme Court (petition) - Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht
  • Spoliation – Georgia Supreme Court - Koch v. Cooper Tire
  • Innovator Liability/Novel Theory/Warnings – California Supreme Court - T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Co.
  • Evidence of FDA Clearance - U.S. Supreme Court (petition) - Huskey v. Ethicon, Inc.
  • Design Defect Test - CO Supreme Court - Walker v. Ford Motor Co.

Featured Amicus Briefs:

PLAC recently filed a United States Supreme Court brief addressing the most significant unresolved issue about due process limits on state courts’ exercise of personal jurisdiction. In its recent jurisprudence, and most notably Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017), the Court made clear that a state may exercise specific jurisdiction over a non-resident corporation only when plaintiff’s claim “aris[es] out of or relat[es] to” defendant’s in-state conduct. In Ford Motor Company v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court and Ford Motor Company v. Bandemer, (Nos. 19-368, 19-369 consolidated), in-state plaintiffs brought product liability suits against an out-of-state vehicle manufacturer for injuries suffered in an in-state accident even though defendant had not designed, sold or manufactured the vehicle at issue in-state. The Montana and Minnesota Supreme Courts separately found jurisdiction because plaintiffs’ claims “related to” defendant’s in-state sales of similar vehicles, maintenance of dealership arrangements and the like. PLAC’s brief argued that under both the holdings and rationales of the Court’s jurisdictional cases, a court may exercise jurisdiction consistent with due process only if defendant’s in-state conduct forms an essential element of its alleged liability to plaintiff. Oral argument is scheduled for October 7, 2020

PLAC member David R. Geiger of Foley Hoag LLP and his colleague Stephen Stich authored PLAC’s brief.

Our efforts are intended to achieve balance and fairness to the application of existing law.   

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PLAC Corporate Member List
Amicus eGroup (Members Only)

20 Year Review of PLAC's Amicus Activities (1998-2019)

Amicus Curiae Year in Review (2018)


CSC Committee

Become a Brief Writer for PLAC

The committee is expanding its corps of brief writers. We especially want to encourage younger and diverse brief writers to apply to support our efforts. Please feel free to share this with colleagues who have the appropriate credentials and skillset. Please note that in order to be included on PLAC’s “short list” of brief writers, the attorney must be a member of the organization or in the process of applying for membership.

An application to become a brief writer is now on-line. Click here for the application.