New Developments in Silicosis Litigation: Strategies for Companies Using Silica in Manufacturing Operations

New York, NY – Dechert Re:Torts, a monthly newsletter specializing in product liability and mass torts litigation, covers various news and developments in the field. In this issue, there are several hot topics of interest, including a temporary stay order issued by Cal/OSHA for workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica, the ongoing debate over opioid public nuisance claims, the ethical and legal challenges in obscured litigation funding, the inadequacy of “proxy” testing in PFAS litigation, and the increasing scrutiny on tech companies by regulators and legislators.

The issue begins by addressing the growing number of silicosis lawsuits targeting the engineered stone countertop industry. The article highlights the need for companies to familiarize themselves with defense strategies related to silica-containing products should the trend in litigation continue.

Next, the newsletter delves into the question of whether West Virginia law permits a public nuisance claim against national pharmaceutical companies involved in the opioid litigation. Federal appellate courts, such as the Fourth Circuit, have raised the possibility of certifying this question to state supreme courts to ensure the correct interpretation of the law.

In another article, the ethical and legal quandaries surrounding obscured litigation funding are explored. A recent dispute between Houston lawyer Bill Ramey and patent litigation funder AiPi Inc. sheds light on the often opaque world of litigation funding. The article emphasizes the need for increased transparency and disclosure requirements to address potential conflicts of interest and ensure informed decision-making.

The topic then shifts to the use of “proxy” testing in PFAS litigation. The article highlights a recent decision from the Northern District of California that dismissed a case where plaintiffs relied on fluorine testing as a proxy for the presence of PFAS. The court found the plaintiffs’ allegations to be insufficient and underscored the need for more robust evidence in such cases.

Lastly, the newsletter discusses the increasing focus on tech companies by regulators and legislators, particularly regarding their interaction with children. The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced bills aimed at regulating child privacy online, and the Federal Trade Commission has proposed significant changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. These developments reflect a growing concern over the potential harm caused by social media and technology use, as well as the need for stricter rules to protect minors’ data.

Overall, Dechert Re:Torts provides insightful coverage of key issues in product liability and mass torts litigation. The newsletter offers analysis and commentary on ongoing legal developments, aiming to keep readers informed about important topics impacting various industries.