Kirk Hartley

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These are interesting times, as a nominally Republican President calls for more lawsuits against domestic and overseas drug makers. The headline is from an August 16, 2018 article in the WSJ.
Asbestos litigation continues to include fairly frequent arguments and decisions regarding suits against recently dissolved entities. The dissolutions may or may not be legal, and can be adverse for both underlying plaintiffs and co-defendants. Unfortunately, the complaints sometimes are not well pleaded. That problem lead to a recent dismissal of Saberhagen Holdings in a case in Washington state. A link to the opinion and a summary are provided in a July 24, 2018 post at
After months of procedural wrangling and negotiations about settlement, the asbestos plaintiff’s bar has now attacked the Bestwall/Georgia-Pacific chapter 11 as a “bad faith” filing. The motion is online. The motion sets out a broad attack. Among other things, the motion focuses attention on GP’s one-day use of a Texas statute to divide up the assets, risks and liabilities related to the Georgia-Pacific business, including its asbestos-risks. The motion also alleges that Georgia-Pacific may…
Some day I would love to find a law review or treatise capturing and summarizing the various industries which hold legislative immunity from lawsuits. One immediately thinks, for example, of Congress’ awful decision to immunize the tobacco industry from lawsuits. Airline immunity from lawsuits also comes to mind. The topics come to mind because a blog post pointed out a new California Supreme Court ruling which applies a federal statute to grant an online platforms …
It’s certainly been interesting to watch the last several years of opinions from the Delaware Supreme Court. A July 2018 opinion adds to the list of interesting opinions because it limits the circumstances under which business judgment deference will be allowed. The opinion is Elizabeth Morrison v. Ray Berry et. al., which was first issued on July 9, 2018, and then revised on July 27. The opinion is drawing ample commentary from corporate lawyers and litigators.…
Time and again,  litigators experience hassles with a witness obtaining notarization of a signature. That sometimes leads to submission of affidavits that are technically not proper, and related angst. But is such an affidavit a declaration under penalty of perjury, if the “penalty of perjury” language is used?  Yes, said an Illinois federal court  See Snyder v. Wal-Mart Stores, No. 18 C 583 (April 2, 2018). Hat tip to Steven Garmisa for flagging the case in…
September and October 2018 trials are approaching for federal court litigation regarding State Farm’s 2004 contributions used for messaging said to be related to the campaign for office of Justice Karmeier of the Illinois Supreme Court. In a recent ruling, the district judge (Herndon) struck two of plaintiff’s expert opinions related to the contributions. The ruling is summarized in a July 24, 2018 article at the Madison County Record.…
One litigation industry industry problem is that foolish actions by one litigant can harm many other similarly situated litigants. This reality arises for parties on either side of the versus. A new example from the corporate defense side arises from the “bad faith” actions of Fitbit and MoFo (Morrison & Foerster) related to a consumer fraud arbitration. In short, Fitbit forced a would be class action into arbitration but then refused to arbitrate, after sending…
In September, 2016, multidisciplinary colleagues and I published and sold our second, in-depth and multidisciplinary analysis of the changes to and new directions in asbestos litigation.  The paper was anchored around law and science innovations, and implications for mass tort claiming. For that effort, I teamed with David Schwartz and other science people at Innovative Science Solutions, and William Wilt, a creative actuary and insurance company analyst who leads a business known as Assured Research. This…