Thank you to all who participated in The Red Bee Group’s survey examining how lawyers, paralegals and staff are adapting to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and exploring the resources and support they find the most helpful. To view the results of this survey, click here.
Global Litigation After the Coronavirus Pandemic - Preparing now for this new influx of lawsuits may position both small and large companies to be on stronger footing after the dust from the coronavirus pandemic settles. To read this article by PLAC member Mary-Christine (“M.C.”) Sungaila, and Marco A. Pulido, click here.
"Litigators' Immunity From Non-Client Lawsuits"
In their zeal to represent clients with winning excellence, litigators often say or do things that hurt non-clients such as adverse parties and counsel as well as third person non-parties. For policy reasons, the law provides litigators with immunity from civil liability to non-clients. The doctrine often is called the "Litigation Privilege".
Is the immunity from civil suit "absolute" or "qualified"? What if the attorney violates an ethical rule? Does the immunity still hold? Where is the line to be drawn and non-client suits to be permitted? And, oh yes, then there's that pesky N.Y. Judiciary Law Section 487 to keep in mind. The questions are important since surveys suggest that some 20% of lawsuits filed versus lawyers are brought by non-client claimants.
The column briefly surveys the landscape, provides information sources for further research and focuses on a hot-off-the-press Texas Supreme Court decision where a products liability defense firm and experts it hired were independently sued and accused of spoliation of evidence.
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PLAC is a specialty bar association focusing on complex litigation and regulatory issues in the area of product development and product liability. Our not-for-profit association of product manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and select regulatory, litigation and appellate professionals who work to shape the common law of product liability and complex regulation, provide guidance on changing regulations, and strategically help corporations manage risk throughout the entire product lifecycle. PLAC is a unique resource for companies who must defend their products’ integrity and their companies’ reputation.
PLAC submitted an amicus brief in support of defendant's petition for certiorari in an aviation product liability preemption case.
For over two decades, the lower courts have wrestled with the question whether the Federal Aviation Act and regulations preempt the field as to aviation safety standards. In this case, the Third Circuit rejected field preemption but suggested that the District Court consider conflict preemption instead. The trial court granted summary judgment on conflict preemption, but a different panel reversed on appeal (with one judge dissenting). In so doing, the Third Circuit disregarded the Supreme Court's recent holdings in PLIVA v. Mensing, 564 U.S. 604 (2011) and Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. v. Bartlett, 570 U.S. 472 (2013). Both cases held that [t]he question for 'impossibility' is whether the private party could independently do under federal law what state law requires of it." In the current matter, the applicable regulations require that any alteration to the design of the airplane, the engine, or the carburetor required prior approval of the FAA. Nevertheless, the Third Circuit held that compliance with state and federal law was not impossible because defendant "has made numerous changes to the type certificate . . ., which the FAA approved in short order").
PLAC's brief in support of the defendant supported cert on both field and conflict preemption. The National Association of Manufacturers joined PLAC's brief.
PLAC's mission is to obtain fairness and balance in the common law of product liability. A primary tool to accomplish this mission is PLAC's Amicus Curiae Program, often called “The heart and soul of PLAC.”
PLAC has filed more than 1,100 amicus briefs, written by some of the nation’s top appellate practitioners. Our briefs have been accepted in virtually every state and federal court in the U.S. They are routinely acknowledged, quoted, and praised by courts in published opinions.
PLAC’s amicus briefs help shape the law for all manufacturers on important issues.
Fall 2020 Conference: PLAC's Fall Conference will be held at the new Four Seasons Philadelphia September 30 - October 2, 2020 in Philadelphia, PA.
May 28 at 12:00pm ET: The New 2020 Product Liability Litigation Report
May 28 at 2:00pm ET: Juries & COVID-19: Learning From the Past for Trials in the Future
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