Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Complicated Cleanup: The BP Oil Spill Litigation // Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation

The Symposium, hosted by the Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation, will be held on Thursday, May 8 and Friday, May 9, 2014 at Stanford Law School.
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect on April 20, 2010 claimed eleven lives and is considered one of the largest accidental marine oil spills in history. The litigation that emerged—ranging from governmental investigations into BP, Transocean, and Halliburton, to environmental suits, to individual claims—raises important questions about the nature of complex litigation.
Thursday, May 8 at 6:30 pm
Stanford Law Lounge
Dinner with Keynote Address by Kenneth Feinberg
Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator
The keynote speech will be given by Kenneth Feinberg, who served as the government-appointed administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He has been key to resolving many of the most challenging and widely known national disputes, serving as the Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, TARP Executive Compensation Fund, and One Fund—the victim assistance fund established in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Mr. Feinberg is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Virginia. He received his bachelors from the University of Massachusetts in 1967, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1970. 
Friday, May 9 from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
Room 190
Introduction by Kenneth Feinberg
Panel Discussions with:
Elizabeth Cabraser 
Kenneth Feinberg
Francis McGovern
Linda Mullenix
Byron Stier
Maya Steinitz
Moderated by:
Nora Engstrom
Deborah Hensler
Janet Alexander

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Telltale oil sheens across the Gulf || NPR

Telltale Rainbow Sheens Show Thousands Of Spills Across The Gulf

Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks -


Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks -

by Ellen Barry and Graham Bowley

NEW DELHI — The Sherpas always go first, edging up the deadly flank of Everest while international clients wait for days in the base camp below.
They set off in the dark, before the day’s warmth causes the ice to shift. They creep one by one across ladders propped over crevasses, burdened with food and supplies, all the while watching the great wall of a hanging glacier, hoping that this season will not be the year it falls.
On Friday, however, it did.
Around 6:30 a.m., as the Sherpas were tethered to ropes, a chunk of ice broke off, sending an avalanche of ice and snow down into the ice fields on the mountain’s south side and engulfing about 30 men. The toll, at 12 dead, was the worst in a single day in the history of Everest, climbers and mountaineering experts said. A 13th body was recovered Saturday; three men were still missing.
The disaster has focused attention on the Sherpas, members of an ethnic group known for their skill at high-altitude climbing, who put themselves at great risk for the foreign teams that pay them. Among their most dangerous tasks is fixing ropes, carrying supplies and establishing camps for the clients waiting below, exposing themselves to the mountains first.

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GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund -

GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund -

by Jessica Dye

(Reuters) - If General Motors Co creates a fund to compensate victims of its faulty ignition switches, an option that a top legal adviser suggested it is exploring, the company could give up strong defenses to a wave of lawsuits. But it could stand to gain even more.

By setting up a fund, GM could avert years of civil litigation and limit its financial and reputational harm.

GM has retained Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of high-profile catastrophes like the BP Plc oil spill and the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Feinberg told CNBC on Wednesday that GM is "asking me to help develop some sort of program that might be used to compensate eligible claimants."

Feinberg did not return a request for comment. A spokesman for GM, Jim Cain, said Feinberg is "highly respected for his handling of compensation issues, and we've hired him to explore and evaluate all options." That work is ongoing, and no decisions have been made, Cain said.

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FDA Works with China to Ensure Medical-Product Safety | FDA Voice

FDA Works with China to Ensure Medical-Product Safety | FDA Voice:

By: Christopher Hickey, Ph.D.
Americans benefit greatly from medical products produced by other countries. Approximately 40 percent of finished drugs in the United States come from overseas, as well as more than 50 percent of all medical devices. About 80 percent of the manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients are located outside the United States.
Christopher Hickey
Christopher Hickey, Ph.D., testifies April 3, 2014.
However, this rapid globalization of commerce presents challenges to regulators who oversee the safety and quality of medical products. Many of these challenges manifest themselves in China. As FDA’s country director for the People’s Republic of China, I testified on April 3, 2014 before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory panel created by Congress, on our work to ensure the safety and quality of medical products produced in China and imported into the United States.
China is the source of a large and growing volume of imported foods, medical products and ingredients. In the years spanning fiscal years 2007 and 2013, the total number of shipments of FDA-regulated products from China to the United States almost quadrupled.
- See more at:

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Friday, April 18, 2014


Did GM Pull A Pinto? | JONATHAN TURLEY: "The Parable of the Pinto may need to be updated. Almost 50 years after the Ford scandal, another Detroit CEO, Mary Barra, recently sat before a congressional committee answering withering questions about the Cobalt, a low-cost car produced by General Motors with a design flaw that the company acknowledges was responsible for more than a dozen deaths. For those of us who teach the Pinto case, the similarities are unsettling."

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Cigarette packaging in China—not going far enough : The Lancet

Cigarette packaging in China—not going far enough : The Lancet:

A WHO reportTobacco Health Warnings in China: Evidence of Effectiveness and Implications for Action, published on April 8, summarises evidence on the effectiveness of China's written health warnings on tobacco packaging. It concludes that China failed to comply with Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which defines packaging and labelling of tobacco products. The report calls for policy makers to accelerate the implementation of pictorial warnings in the packaging of tobacco products and public education targets set out in China's National Tobacco Control Plan.
China signed the WHO FCTC in 2003 and ratified it in 2005, but did not commit to implement large, visible, rotating warnings covering at least 50% of the primary display areas in the country's principal language within 3 years of ratification. The reason is that China's State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, a government body, not only leads tobacco control efforts (including the changes to health warnings on cigarette packaging), but is also responsible for maintaining the country's tobacco industry, which presents a serious conflict of interest. According to the report, the present weakly worded text-only Chinese health warnings are ineffective. Chinese warnings only cover 30% of the bottom of the front and back of the pack, rather than covering at least 50% of the top of both sides as recommended in Article 11 of the FCTC. Furthermore, the font size of Chinese warnings is small and poorly visible against the background. Overall, these do not comply with the WHO FCTC's requirement of being “large, clear and visible”. In addition, China seems to apply double standards since it does adhere to packaging regulations when selling products to Australia, Singapore, the European Union, or even Hong Kong. So why not in mainland China?

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Information by Drug Class > New Safety Measures Announced for Extended-release and Long-acting Opioids

Information by Drug Class > New Safety Measures Announced for Extended-release and Long-acting Opioids:

"[4-16-2014] FDA approved class-wide labeling changes for all extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesics announced on September 10, 2013, and responded to two petitions regarding labeling for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS).

[9/10/2013] FDA announced a set of significant measures to enhance the safe and appropriate use of extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioids. These actions include proposed class-wide safety labeling changes and new postmarket requirements for all ER/LA opioid analgesics. FDA also responded to two citizen petitions."

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Torts War Stories - Mark Lanier

In multiple parts Houston trial lawyer Mark Lanier talks to a Harvard Law School class about how to try cases. He's telling War Stories
This is part 6 - the Ernst Texas Vioxx trial and Part 7 and Part 8 the McDarby case in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as Q&A.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A $9 Billion Punitive Damages Verdict in Actos Drug Trial (How much is too much?) – New York Personal Injury Law Blog

A $9 Billion Punitive Damages Verdict in Actos Drug Trial (How much is too much?) – New York Personal Injury Law Blog:

by Eric Turkewitz

We once again see a whopping punitive damages verdict and need to discuss: Just how much is too much? For the reasons that follow, I think that a ratio of punitive:compensatory damages of 100:1 or greater are sustainable based on current opinions from the Supreme Court.
At issue for the moment is a $9 Billion punitive damage award against Japan’sTakeda Pharmaceutical and Eli Lilly this week. The case concerned the diabetes drug Actos, and the manufacturer’s failure to warn that it increases the chances of bladder cancer. There was also a $1.5M compensatory damage award.
The punitive award spanking was no doubt influenced by the defendants’ destruction of documents. Juries tend to hate it when people destroy important documents.
It isn’t my objective to analyze the details of the trial, which I did not follow, only to go back and try to forecast what the judge might do with the punitive damage award, and more importantly, what the appellate judges will do if the matter doesn’t settle.
But there really isn’t a straight answer. In the most significant Supreme Court ruling on the subject, State Farm v. Campbell, the majority opinion by Justice Kennedy gave three conflicting statements on the subject. He cited first, for instance, to the older case of BMW v. Gore, that:
[W]e concluded that an award of more than four times the amount of compensatory damages might be close to the line of constitutional impropriety**********

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