Last week the Third Circuit made its most recent move in the Oberdorf v. Amazon case: asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court whether an e-commerce business – such as Amazon – is strictly liable for a defective product that was sold on its platform by a third-party vendor that the e-commerce business did not possess or own. Given the lack of clarity, and the “substantial public importance” of this issue, the Third Circuit asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to weigh in.
While various states and municipalities grapple with how to address the proliferation of e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI) and the related uptick in e-cigarette use among young people, Massachusetts has taken a drastic measure to protect its residents. On September 24, 2019, Massachusetts became the first state to ban the sale of all vaping products after Governor Charlie Barker issued an emergency order that took effect immediately and would remain in effect for four months. The Order states:
“The sale or display of all vaping products to consumers in retail establishments, online and through any other means, including all non-flavored and flavored vaping products, including mint and menthol, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and any other cannabinoid, is prohibited in the Commonwealth.”
Two individual former corporate officers of Chinese appliance manufacturer Gree Electric Appliances have been criminally indicted in the first-ever criminal prosecution for failure to report under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).
The CPSA grants the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the authority to pursue both civil and criminal penalties for violations of the statutes it enforces. As summarized in a Department of Justice press release, Section 15 of “[t]he Consumer Product Safety Act requires manufacturers, importers, and distributors of consumer products to report ‘immediately’ to the CPSC information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. This duty also applies to the individual directors, officers, and agents of those companies.”
Defendants faced with putative wide-reaching class action litigation are equipped with a variety of strategies for defeating class certification. One potential silver bullet, however, expires early, and defendants must deploy it even before a class certification motion is filed in order to wield it effectively. The United States District Court for the Central District of California’s recent decision granting summary judgment to Unilever United States, Inc. in a would-be class action concerning its St. Ives Apricot facial scrub underscores this strategy for (successfully) defeating class certification: Win the case on summary judgment first.
President Trump recently signed the SUPPORT, or Substance-Use Disorder Prevention That Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment, for Patients and Communities Act (the “Act”), aimed at curbing the overuse of opioids in the United States. The Act is far-reaching, and it includes changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other public health efforts. Certain sections, especially those in Title III, “FDA and Controlled Substance Provisions,” will have a direct impact on manufacturers of certain products used to treat chronic pain.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently held a public hearing to discuss its potential role in overseeing the safety of smart devices collectively referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). As Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled devices ranging from coffeemakers to thermostats to medical devices flood the marketplace, regulators and consumer safety advocates alike have raised concerns about whether the current framework of government regulations adequately protects consumers. While the hearing was only one step towards increased regulation, it did highlight possible steps the CPSC may take, as well as possible pitfalls raised by industry members and the legal community.