Emerging Trends in 2024: AI, Public Nuisance, Right to Repair, PFAS Claims, and Federal Rule of Evidence 702

WASHINGTON, DC – As we enter a new year, it is essential to keep an eye on emerging trends that could shape the landscape of products liability and mass torts in 2024. These trends have the potential to impact various industries, from technology to consumer goods. Let’s take a closer look at five key developments that could have significant implications.

Firstly, the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a potential hotbed for mass tort claims. As AI becomes more prevalent, there may be cases of defective product design or defective code that could lead to lawsuits. The implications of these claims could be far-reaching and could impact the liability of manufacturers and designers.

Another trend to watch is the expansion of the use of Public Nuisance in mass tort cases. Public Nuisance, rooted in real property jurisprudence, is increasingly being used as a means of assigning liability. This trend is particularly evident as state attorneys general become more active in pursuing cases. Public health issues that do not fit neatly into the legal definition of strict liability are now at the center of several high-profile mass tort cases.

The debate over user safety versus the right to repair is expected to continue and gain momentum in state legislatures. This issue has gained prominence as consumers demand the ability to repair their own products and access necessary repair tools and information. The outcome of this debate could have significant implications for manufacturers and consumers alike.

Additionally, new claims related to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are emerging, targeting consumer goods manufacturers and sellers. These claims focus on false advertising, consumer protection violations, and deceptive marketing statements. As awareness of the potential health risks associated with PFAS grows, so too does the potential for legal action.

Finally, changes to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 could have a significant impact on the use of expert testimony in federal courts. The rule now requires the proponent of expert testimony to establish its admissibility by a preponderance of the evidence. Additionally, courts must ensure that an expert’s opinion is based on a reliable application of methodology to the facts at hand. These changes could lead to more rigorous scrutiny of expert witnesses and their testimony.

Overall, the year 2024 holds significant developments in the realm of products liability and mass torts. From the implications of AI to the ongoing debate over the right to repair, these trends could have far-reaching consequences for industries and consumers alike. It is crucial for businesses and legal professionals to stay abreast of these developments to effectively navigate the changing legal landscape.