Author Archives: Product Liability Playbook

Australian Court Awards $8 Million Against KFC

Samaan v Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd., (case number 2012 NSWSC 381), in the New South Wales Supreme Court. On April 27, 2012, the New South Wales Supreme Court awarded $8 million to the family of a girl who suffered brain damage after allegedly contracting salmonella from a KFC chicken product. The plaintiff alleged that KFC sold the chicken product under circumstances where it knew or should have known that the chicken product was likely to be contaminated or unsafe, and failed to take…

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The Consumer Food and Product Safety Information Act Introduced in the House of Representatives

On April 26, 2012, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga) introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would require federal enforcement agencies to make consumer information regarding food and product recalls more detailed and accessible to the public.  The Consumer Food and Product Safety Information Act (H.R. 4759) would require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among other agencies, to create a system to advise the public about product recalls, to centrally collect and distribute product safety information,…

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Use of ‘Protective Coding Technology’ Approved for Use in E-Discovery Phase of Sex Bias Class Action

A U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York has approved the use of predictive coding technology during the electronic discovery phase of a sex bias class action against Publicis Groupe SA.  The suit, brought by a putative class of female employees, allegations that Publicis, while employing mostly female workers, gave male employees a bulk of the management positions within the company. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew L. Carter approved the decision of Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck which approved the use of…

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Court of International Trade Upholds U.S. Customs and Border Protection Classification of Uggs Boots

In an action brought in the United States Court of International Trade, Judge Gregory Carman recently dismissed a claim brought by Deckers Outdoor Corporation, the manufacturers of Ugg boots.  Deckers had challenged the assessment of a 37.5 percent tariff by the customs officials on their Classic Crochet boots.  Customs officials had classified the popular boots as “slip-ons,” as opposed to footwear that contained outer rubber or plastic soles and was valued at more than $12 a pair.  This classification would have meant a 9 percent …

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Japanese Automotive Parts Manufacturer Slapped with $20 Million Fine

USA v. Fujikura Ltd., case number 2:12-cr-20254, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. As a result of the U.S. Department of Justice investigation in to anti-competitive conduct in the automotive industry, a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer has been charged with conspiring to fix and maintain prices of various automotive components sold to U.S. car manufacturers from at least January 2006 to February of 2010. In a criminal investigation filed April 23, 2012, federal prosecutors accused executives of Fujikura Ltd. of…

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False Advertising Claim Against Hyundai Allowed To Move Forward

A federal court in California tentatively allowed a potential class action claim against Hyundai’s American subsidiary to move forward past the motion to dismiss stage.  The case stems from factual assertions included in Hyundai’s advertising campaign for its Elantra sedan.  As part of the advertising campaign, Hyundai asserted that the Elantra got 40 miles per gallon on the highway.  However, according to the plaintiff, who is representing a putative class, the Elantra got far fewer miles per gallon during real world driving.  Based upon this…

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New York Adopts Stringent Rules Regarding Litigation Hold Requirements

Recently, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, unanimously adopted a rule promulgated by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York which requires a party to cease destruction of potentially relevant evidence by issuing a litigation hold letter when the party reasonably anticipates litigation—the failure to do so resulting in a high risk of sanctions.  This case marks the first adoption of Zubulake by a New York appellate court. The Zubulake standard has been increasingly adopted in jurisdictions throughout…

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Jurors’ Use Of Social Media At Trial

Hardly a day passes without a report of the impact of social media on the law.  From divorce cases, which lead the charge in the use of Facebook information in court, to criminal law enforcement , workers compensation, and personal injury matters , there is no doubt that the use of evidence obtained from social media is widespread and gaining in general acceptance.   The power of social media to influence a case extends beyond its evidentiary value and the federal judiciary is…

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Discovery of Social Networking Content

Social media has become an increasingly important source of information from the inception of litigation through trial. Despite the wide spread use of social networking sites by individuals and corporations alike, reported opinions addressing the discovery of information maintained on social networking sites is scarce. Recently, a Pennsylvania state trial court issued an opinion granting defendant’s motion to compel the discovery of information maintained on Facebook by personal injury plaintiffs. Largent v. Reed  is the third decision by the Pennsylvania trial courts granting discovery of…

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