Saturday, May 17, 2014

Federal regulators impose sanctions on GM

Yesterday federal regulators imposed the biggest punishment they could on G.M. and condemned it over its failure to promptly report a defect linked to 13 deaths. G.M. will pay a $35 million penalty — the maximum allowed and the largest ever imposed on an automaker — and will be required to make wide-ranging changes to its safety practices that will be supervised by the government, another first for an automaker. The New York Times has more on the story here.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Another article about the possible compensation system for victims of injuries caused by GM cars

A few days ago I posted a couple of comments on the fact that GM has hired Kenneth Feinberg to consider the possibility of creating a compensation fund for victims of injuries caused by GM cars.  See here, here and here.

Now the New York Times has published a new story reporting that "the lawyer hired by General Motors to explore compensating victims of cars with a defective ignition switch met on Friday with a representative of hundreds of people and their families who say they were affected by accidents involving the vehicles.

UPDATE:  About an hour after I posted this, published this story about the same subject.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tennessee adopts statute of repose for legal malpractice actions

The state of Tennessee has adopted a five-year statute of repose for legal malpractice claims that will go into effect July 1.  A one year statute of limitations still applies and the discovery rule is still applicable to those claims. However, the new statute of repose cuts off the right of the claimant five years after the negligent act or omission occurred, except for cases of fraudulent concealment in which the claim must be brought one year from the moment of discovery of the fraud.  Day on Torts has more information and a link to the new statute here.

Could a botched execution give rise to a torts claim?

As you have probably heard of or read about by now, there was a disturbing report of an execution gone wrong in Oklahoma just over a week ago.  Could that event give rise to a tort claim?  Eric Turkewitz, of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, comments here.

Comment on constitutional tort cases before the Supreme Court

As is true most years, the US Supreme Court is again considering a number of constitutional tort cases, in which plaintiffs seek compensation for claimed violations of their constitutional rights.  Given that one of the goals of tort law is to deter wrongful behavior, it is worth asking whether recognizing constitutional tort claims advances the goal.  A new article by Professor Joanna Schwartz raises questions about whether these lawsuits actually do serve a deterrent function, and also casts some doubts on the purpose of the qualified immunity doctrine that courts employ to protect public employees.   You can find the article here and you can read a comment on it at the SCOTUS blog.

Court of appeals for the third circuit affirms dismissal claims against generic drug manufacturers on preemption grounds

The Third Circuit recently affirmed a trial court’s order dismissing a claim against a number of generic drug manufacturers in a case related to the drug Fosamax. The Court found the claims were preempted because recognizing the claims would be incompatible with federal law or rules. To avoid the claim, the defendants would have had to acted in ways that was not allowed under federal law. The defendants could not, for example, have changed the products labeling (because they are required by federal law to use the same labeling used by the brand manufacturers) or have changed the design of the product (for the same reason). Given the applicable federal law requirements, the only other alternative for the defendants would have been to stop selling their product. Unless it is decided that the product is so dangerous it should have never been put on the market to begin with, it is unlikely a court will recognize a claim. The Abnormal Use blog has more here including a link to more information.

Interestingly, as you probably remember, the FDA has proposed a new rule that would allow generic drug manufacturers to change or update warning labels even if the brand name manufacturers don't do it.  For more on that issue go here, here and here or go here and scroll down for more stories.