Sunday, March 1, 2020

Article on the use of public nuisance claims as product liability cases

Back in 2010 I posted a link to an article on the tort of "public nuisance" that stated:
The National Law Journal has published a short article on the tort of "public nuisance" interestingly called "The tort that refuses to die." Here is the first paragraph: "The tort of public nuisance has seen its fortunes rise and fall dramatically during the past several years. It was once hailed by the legal literati as the next big tort. More than one court described it as a monster threatening to devour tort law because of its propensity for reaching conduct that other tort theories could not. . . . Recent events confirm that analogy to a degree. Public nuisance resembles nothing so much as a zombie — a mindless creature perhaps not particularly dangerous at first glance but incredibly difficult to kill once and for all." The authors then discuss how the recent reversal of a case against former lead paint manufacturers alleging that lead paint was a public nuisance in Rhode Island, suggested public nuisance would not be an effective legal theory. But there have been many other cases that have challenged this conclusion. The article can be found here ..."
 I am bringing this up again today because I just read a new short article discussing the use of public nuisance claims related to opioid products, which starts as follows:  "Manufacturers are used to defending strict product liability actions when plaintiffs claim that their products are defective. But in the opioid litigation, plaintiffs have filed something else: more than 2,500 public nuisance cases so far."

The article is titled Trending in Tort Law: Transforming Product Liability Claims into Public Nuisance Actions and you can read it here.

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