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MDL Mass Tort & Class Action Monitor

Developed to serve primarily as a litigation scouting report for plaintiff and defense counsel, insurers and legal service providers, HarrisMartin’s MDL Mass Tort & Class Action Monitor covers significant new filings and decisions in the JPML, MDL and related mass tort arenas. The quick delivery of breaking news and additional features will keep you within close range of every development occurring in the high-stakes environment of mass torts litigation — where minutes can make a difference. The MDL Mass Tort & Class Action Monitor is an online-only offering that includes frequent email updates and is available at no charge to annual and event sponsors of HarrisMartin’s CLE Conferences.


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Issue #37, March 2020

HHS Extends Broad Immunity for Liability Arising From COVID-19 Countermeasures

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has conferred broad-based tort immunity for drug and medical device makers and others engaging in “activities related to medical countermeasures against COVID-19.”


Class Action Complaint Filed Against China, Says Country’s Slow Response to COVID-19 Caused Worldwide Pandemic

A class action complaint has been filed on behalf of United States business owners against the People’s Republic of China, saying that country’s “slow” response to the rapidly spreading Coronavirus has not only caused personal injuries and deaths, but has caused “business suffering” as well.


Plaintiffs Seek MDL Docket for DevaCurl Hair Products

Plaintiffs in an action accusing Deva Concepts LLC of failing to warn consumers that their hair products can cause hair loss and/or balding have asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to create a federal docket for pending and future cases.


Zantac MDL Judge Appoints Joanna O’Connor to Serve as Defendants’ Liaison Counsel

The Florida federal court chosen to oversee the national multidistrict litigation docket for Zantac personal injury claims has appointed Joanne M. O’Connor to serve as Defendants’ Liaison Counsel, according to a recent pretrial order.


Jury Awards $100,000 in Punitive Damages at Conclusion of Bellwether VW ‘Clean Diesel’ Trial

A California federal jury has awarded five plaintiffs $100,000 in punitive damages at the conclusion of the first bellwether Volkswagen “clean diesel” trial, following its award of $5,747 in economic damages against Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America Inc.


50 Companies Express Concern About Court’s ‘Gatekeeping’ Function in Letter to Administrative Office of U.S. Courts

The chief legal officers of 50 companies have expressed concern that federal courts have not been fully executing or enforcing the “gatekeeping” obligation, instead allowing juries “a role in deciding whether an expert’s opinions have the requisite scientific support without first ensuring that the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods and is reliably applied.”


Calif. Federal Jury Awards Economic Damages in VW ‘Clean Diesel’ Bellwether Trial

A California federal jury has awarded economic damages to five of the 10 plaintiffs in the first portion of a bellwether Volkswagen “clean diesel” trial, which will now proceed to the punitive damages phase.


Boston Scientific Sanctioned for Withholding Witness Info in Whistleblower Action

A Minnesota federal magistrate judge has imposed discovery sanctions on Boston Scientific Corp. in a qui tam action accusing it of selling defective cardiac defibrillators, ruling that the company improperly failed to provide witness information in its Rule 26 disclosures until the final hours of discovery.


Plaintiffs in VW ‘Clean Diesel’ Litigation Move for Mistrial

Plaintiffs have moved for a mistrial in the Volkswagen “clean diesel” litigation, arguing that the California federal judge overseeing the proceedings has made prejudicial and one-sided comments that have unfairly influenced the jury against the plaintiffs’ position.


Fla. Sup. Court Adopts Proposed Amendments to Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases

The Florida Supreme Court has adopted proposed amendments to standard jury instructions in civil cases, requiring a jury to consider state-of-the-art of scientific and technical knowledge and other circumstances that existed at the time of the product’s manufacture when deciding whether a product is defective.


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