Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Product Liability Claims in Truck Rollover Case Applying Texas Statute of Repose

The Fifth Circuit held that the 15-year Texas statute of repose barred a family’s claims regarding the rollover of a truck.  The court was required to interpret the statutory language “date of the sale of the product,” finding that the repose period started when the automaker transferred the truck to the dealership, and not when it was first sold by the dealer to a customer.  The court also held that the Texas tolling exception for minors does not apply to the product liability statute of repose.

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In D.D.C., Remand Arguments Are “No Match” For Plain Language Supporting Snap Removal

Pre-service removal—known colloquially as “snap removal”—continues to be adopted in more jurisdictions. For a basic explanation of snap removal, see Faegre Drinker’s prior posts here.

In Doe v. Daversa Partners, 2021 WL 736734, at *3 (D.D.C. Feb. 25, 2021), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia joins the Second, Third, and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal affirming the practice of snap removal. Noting that the D.C. Circuit had not yet opined on the issue, the Daversa court provided a thorough analysis and rationale for refusing remand under the circumstances.

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Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Breast Implant Cases on Preemption Grounds

The Ninth Circuit has confirmed in quadrophonic sound that plaintiffs cannot avoid preemption by relying on vague and speculative allegations to establish a parallel claim.  The court affirmed the dismissal of four lawsuits by plaintiffs claiming they were injured by breast implants on the grounds that their claims are barred by the 1976 Medical Device Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (MDA).  Sewell v. Mentor Worldwide, LLC, et al., no. 19-56393; Vieira v. Mentor Worldwide, LLC, et al., no. 19-56394; Billetts v. Mentor Worldwide, LLC, et al., no. 19-56398; Nunn v. Mentor Worldwide, LLC, et al., no. 19-56391.

In each case, California plaintiffs alleged their breast implants were defective and caused them to experience fatigue, muscle pain, and migraines.  The district courts dismissed the complaints for failure to state a claim on grounds of preemption, and plaintiffs appealed.

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Failure to Fully Disclose Expert Opinions Results in Summary Judgment

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2) requires retained expert witnesses to provide an expert report which gives “a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the basis and reasons for them.”  Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B)(i).  If a party fails to disclose information required under Rule 26(a)(2), “the party is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.”  Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1).  As a plaintiff in the Western District of Washington recently learned, failure to adhere to Rule 26 can be fatal to a case.

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Cybersecurity Safeguards Implemented by Federal Judiciary for Filing Highly Sensitive Court Documents

The U.S. Federal Judiciary announced new safeguards and procedures to protect sensitive court records in light of a recent apparent cybersecurity breach.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security issued an emergency directive regarding “a known compromise involving SolarWinds Orion products that are currently being exploited by malicious actors.”  The judiciary was notified of this issue by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and suspended use of this IT network tool at the national and local levels.  An apparent compromise of the confidentiality of the Federal Judiciary’s CM/ECF system is now being investigated in connection with the breach.

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En Banc Eighth Circuit Reverses Precedent and Holds Forum-Defendant Rule Is a Nonjurisdictional Defect Plaintiffs Can Waive

As the new year loomed, the Eighth Circuit, sitting en banc, overruled its prior cases dealing with a specific application of the forum-defendant exception to removal on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Under the forum-defendant rule, a defendant who is a citizen of the forum state cannot remove a lawsuit from state court to federal court if the removal is solely on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Before this decision, the Eighth Circuit stood alone in holding that the forum-defendant rule was jurisdictional and could never be waived. The unanimous en banc court overruled its prior cases and aligned with all other federal circuits to consider the question, concluding that violation of the forum-defendant rule is not a jurisdictional defect and therefore must be raised as a basis for remanding a case back to state court within 30 days after removal or the argument is waived. Among other practical consequences of the decision, plaintiffs who believe a defendant has improperly removed a case in violation of the forum-defendant rule now must raise the violation in 30 days or risk waiving it.

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