Emerging Trends in 2024: Products Liability & Mass Torts Point to AI Risks, Public Nuisance Claims, Right to Repair Debates, PFAS Lawsuits, and Changes to Expert Testimony Rule

Los Angeles, California – As we enter 2024, it is crucial to keep an eye on the emerging trends in products liability and mass torts. These developments have the potential to significantly impact the legal landscape and shape the future of litigation. Let’s explore five key trends that demand our attention this year.

Firstly, the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents a new frontier for mass tort claims. The increased utilization of AI in various industries may lead to defects in product design or faulty code, resulting in potential mass tort litigation. As this technology continues to expand, it is essential for manufacturers and developers to prioritize safety and ensure the reliability of AI systems.

Secondly, we are witnessing a growing reliance on the concept of Public Nuisance as a means of assigning liability in mass tort cases. This trend is particularly prevalent as state attorneys generals become more active in pursuing legal action. Public Nuisance, originally rooted in real property jurisprudence, is now at the center of high-profile mass tort cases involving public health issues. These cases often challenge the conventional definition of strict liability and emphasize the potential impact on the general public’s well-being.

The ongoing debate over user safety versus the right to repair is another significant trend that will continue to gain momentum in state legislatures throughout the country. As technology advances and products become more complex, consumers are demanding more control over repairing and modifying their own devices. Balancing these interests will be a key challenge for lawmakers.

Furthermore, a new wave of claims related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is emerging. These claims target consumer goods manufacturers and sellers, focusing on alleged false advertising, consumer protection violations, and deceptive marketing practices. With increasing consumer awareness of the potential dangers associated with PFAS, companies must be vigilant in ensuring accurate and transparent communication regarding their products.

Lastly, changes to the Federal Rule of Evidence 702 will likely have a profound impact on the use of expert testimony in federal courts. The revised rule requires proponents of expert testimony to establish its admissibility by a preponderance of evidence, and ensures that an expert’s opinion is based on a reliable application of methodology to the specific facts of the case. These changes aim to promote the reliability and validity of expert testimony in court proceedings.

In conclusion, the landscape of products liability and mass torts is continually evolving, and it is crucial to stay updated on the latest trends and developments. From the potential risks associated with AI to the expanding use of Public Nuisance as a legal doctrine, these trends shape the future of litigation. As attorneys, manufacturers, and consumers, we must navigate these changes and adapt to a dynamic legal environment.