Social media information that reflects a person’s physical condition, activity level, and emotional state is a particularly valuable source of discovery in product liability and personal injury cases. See, e.g., Forman v. Henkin, 30 N.Y.3d 656 (2018). Lawyers must take great care to collect that information ethically.
The Key to a Trade Secret Is Secrecy: Third Circuit Agrees Ownership Is Sufficient but Not Necessary to Maintain a Trade Secret Misappropriation Claim
In a case telling a “sorry story of disloyalty and deception piled upon deception,” the Third Circuit has held that licensees, not only owners, have standing to protect the confidentiality of trade secrets and the right to be compensated for their unlawful use and disclosure.
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Whether Asbestos-Containing Components Were Manufactured by Third Parties No Longer Matters in New Jersey
Aligning with neighboring New York, and clearing up conflict within the Appellate Division, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled equipment manufacturers can be held strictly liable on the basis of failure to warn for asbestos-containing component parts made or supplied by third parties. Whelan v. Armstrong Int’l, Inc., (N.J. 6/3/20).
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Vermont Federal Court Orders Ben & Jerry’s “Happy Cows” Lawsuit Out to Pasture
A Vermont federal court dismissed a lawsuit alleging consumer fraud, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment against Ben & Jerry’s because representations about its dairy from “happy cows” did not run afoul of the law. But the court granted the plaintiff twenty days to amend.
In Ehlers v. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-00194, a Vermont plaintiff sued defendants Conopco, Inc. d/b/a Unilever United States (Unilever) and its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. (Ben & Jerry’s) on behalf of a proposed class seeking compensatory damages and injunctive relief. The plaintiff alleged that statements on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cartons and website were materially misleading in violation of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) and constituted breach of an express warranty. The plaintiff also asserted a claim for unjust enrichment.
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Rejection of Improper “Attorneys’ Eyes Only” Disclosure Process Relating to Attorney-Client Privilege Challenges
The attorney-client privilege is one of “the most revered” privileges established to protect certain communications. The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held that it was improper for a trial court to order the disclosure of information, which a party claimed was privileged work product, on an “attorneys’ eyes only” basis to counsel for the opposing party.
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All in the Corporate Family: Attorney-Client Privilege Applies Between Parent and Subsidiaries
The District of New Jersey confirmed that members of a corporate family all are represented by the same in-house counsel, whether that counsel occupies an office within the parent company or within a subsidiary, because corporate family members are considered joint clients. Accordingly, emails sent between in-house counsel employed by a subsidiary and an executive or representative from a parent company are protected by the attorney-client privilege. See Trzaska v. L’Oreal USA, Inc., No. 2:15cv-02713 (D.N.J. January 6, 2020).
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