Category Archives: Litigation Strategies

Beginnings of Success Using Federal Racketeering Statute to Combat Fraudulent Lawsuits

As this blog reported earlier this month, national freight and railroad company, CSX Transportation, recently succeeded in using the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to obtain triple damages from a Pennsylvania law firm that brought a slew of fraudulent asbestos lawsuits against it. Now, multinational energy corporation, Chevron, looks to follow on the heels of CSX’s success in an action against noted Manhattan plaintiffs’ attorney, Steven Donziger, for bringing an allegedly fraudulent environmental lawsuit against the company in Ecuador…

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Rough Justice Is Not Justice: Public Citizen’s Challenge to Third Circuit Ascertainability Rule

As we discussed recently, successful class certification in the Third Circuit requires a showing that the proposed class is ascertainable in an objective, reliable, and administratively feasible way.  Several recent decisions from the Third Circuit have reaffirmed that, if the proposed class cannot be objectively defined, and class membership cannot be reliably and feasibly determined, then class certification is not appropriate. In one of those recent cases – Carrera v. Bayer Corp., 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 17479 August 21, 2013) – Public Citizen…

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CSX Awarded Triple Damages on Allegations of Fraudulent Asbestos Claims

The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of West Virginia recently tripled a jury’s near $430,000 jury verdict pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against two former members of Pittsburgh’s Robert Peirce & Associates, an asbestos plaintiff’s firm, and radiologist Ray Harron. CSX Transportation brought suit five years ago alleging that attorneys Robert Peirce and Louis Raimond conspired with Harron, who lost his medical license in 2007 amid accusations of fraudulent diagnoses, to manufacture hundreds of claims, eleven of…

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Merely Reaching Trial On CFA Claim Does Not Guarantee Award of Fees

Surely, you haven’t forgotten our riveting post earlier this year involving the NJ Supreme Court’s consideration of a case concerning attorneys’ fees awardable in CFA claims.  In its decision yesterday in Perez v. Swim-Well Pools, et als., the court held that a trial court’s determination that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a bona fide ascertainable loss claim- whether on motion for summary judgment or on motion for involuntary dismissal at the close of plaintiff’s evidence at trial – barred plaintiff from recovering attorneys’ fees. A plaintiff…

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Reliable Evidence Required To Show Class Ascertainability

The Third Circuit recently reaffirmed its prior pronouncement that an “essential prerequisite” to class certification is a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the class is ascertainable in a way that is both “objective,” as well as “reliable and administratively feasible.”  In doing so, the Court stated bluntly that class membership cannot be based on the “say-so” of putative class members. In Hayes v. Wal-Mart StoresInc., 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 15959 (August 2, 2013), the Third Circuit granted an…

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Target Corporation Hit with Spoliation Charge

On June 27, 2013, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that Target Corporation had improperly destroyed evidence in a lawsuit involving a customer who had purchased an air mattress, but instead received a box containing harmful chemicals.  See, Cody v. Target Corp., 2013 Wisc. App. LEXIS 545 (Wisc. Ct. App. June 27, 2013).  The customer, Cheryl Cody, claimed that she had returned the box to Target and informed the company that it had made her and her family physically ill.  Despite this notice of injury,…

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How To Avoid Litigating (At Least Some Cases) In The Philadelphia Court Of Common Pleas

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a 100 square-foot room in Wilmington, Delaware that is subleased by GSK Holdings establishes Delaware citizenship for GSK LLC.  GSK LLC is the U.S. operating division of GSK, with a 650,000 square-foot office headquarters and 1,800 employees in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs in Johnson v. SmithKline Beecham brought negligence and strict liability claims against GSK in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  GSK removed the case to federal court.  The…

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General Mills Prevails In Putative Class Action Lawsuit

The maker of a wide variety of food products, General Mills, was named as the defendant in a putative class action lawsuit in August 2012.  The foundation for the class action lawsuit was the contention that the food manufacturer misrepresented and deceptively marketed its Nature Valley granola products by claiming they were “all natural.”  According to the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, Nature Valley granola products were made using a wide variety of non-natural ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup.  All the…

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Energy Drink Maker’s Attempt To Dismiss Class Action Suit Crashes

The plaintiff claimed he did not receive an immediate bolt of energy after ingesting the 5-hour ENERGY drink made by Innovation Ventures LLC.  Moreover, when the drink finally “kicked in,” the effects only lasted for 30 minutes.  Subsequently, he experienced a “crash,” in addition to dizziness, nausea, and headaches. The plaintiff alleges the drink maker deceptively advertised its product by promising “Hours of energy now – No crash later,” or “Feel it in minutes.” Innovation Ventures LLC attempted to dismiss the proposed class action by…

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Securing Favorable Results With Properly Authenticated Electronic Evidence

From dedicated transportation companies to cable television service providers, organizations are deploying increasingly sophisticated technology to monitor the movement and status of their vehicles and employees.  A recent appellate opinion demonstrates that a company’s ability to retain and authenticate the data it collects can provide a crucial path to securing favorable results in civil litigation.  Alfano v. Schaud involved a civil rights complaint against a police officer.  Plaintiff alleged that he was detained without good cause for an unreasonable period of time. In support of…

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