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Companies facing product liability, complex commercial and toxic exposure litigation turn to trial attorney Cameron Turner for innovative and effective solutions. Mr …

Showing 5 posts by Cameron D. Turner.

The Future of E-Cigarette Litigation: Is There One?

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I. Introduction

While e-cigarette smoking, or vaping, as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes is generally regarded as a healthier option, some claim that the long-term effects of vaping are unknown and that inevitably researchers (and habitual vapers) will learn that e-cigarettes have their own risks and hazards. Plaintiffs’ attorneys seem to see tort litigation over e-cigarettes as a “when” and not an “if”. Thus far, the lawsuits against e-cigarette manufacturers have primarily been filed by governments and center on consumer fraud allegations and the manufacturer’s advertising techniques, particularly alleging that young people are the targets of the advertising. Other lawsuits have revolved around specific defective products, as some e-cigarettes catch fire or explode due to a malfunctioning battery, or inadequate safety controls or warnings, as children are poisoned from accidentally ingesting e-liquids.[1] What the lawsuits have yet to allege is that e-cigarette smoking caused a specific plaintiff to develop an illness, and certainly e-cigarette litigation has not yet developed into the latest mass tort. This article will review the various risks that are being evaluated with respect to e-cigarette smoking and whether the science is moving in a direction where e-cigarette mass tort litigation is inevitable. More »

Re-Opening States and Businesses and the Role OSHA May Play

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As a handful of states declare their intentions to lift stay-at-home orders and allow some or all businesses to re-open, the federal government has largely taken a hands-off approach, citing federalism and a deference to governors who better understand the threat of COVID-19 in their respective states. While President Trump and his medical experts have warned that re-opening for business is ill-advised, some states seem determined to ignore the warnings and do just that.  Yet, even if states allow businesses to re-open, state government lacks the power of course to force individual businesses to open, employees to go to work or the public to patronize open businesses. These are all difficult personal decisions, balancing economic needs and the perceived threat to one’s personal health and the health of others. One factor that has not received much attention but that could impact the economic component of the equation, not to mention the role of the federal government in state and business owner decisions, is the potential for OSHA to get involved if it feels that employers who elect to conduct business are failing to adequately protect employees. The idea is hardly far-fetched, as OSHA has already published influenza pandemic guidelines. This article will review those guidelines, how they could be modified to apply to the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential impact OSHA might have on business owner decisions whether to re-open for business during an ongoing pandemic.  More »

COVID-19 Pandemic Negligence Claims Update: Developing Legal Immunity for Health Care Professionals

I. Introduction

On March 27, 2020, the bipartisan federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was enacted with the goal of providing economic aid to families, businesses, health care providers, and state governments. While the Act received a wealth of media attention relative to its much-needed economic stimulus, little publicity was given to the immunity it grants to volunteer health care providers during the current public health crisis. Earlier in March, we discussed the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Negligence Claims, noting the potential for rapid development of legal immunity in the face of uncertainty created by Coronavirus. Now, just two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state governments have begun to take action to protect their health care providers from liability, and we summarize these early efforts below. More »

COVID-19 Pandemic Negligence Claims: What is the Standard of Care When There is No Precedent?

I. Introduction

While the world is rightly focused on stemming the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the future holds a lot of uncertainty and unanswered questions.  How bad will the pandemic become and how many lives will be lost?  Will the world see waves of COVID-19 outbreaks in the future?  Will medical researchers develop a treatment or vaccine to manage COVID-19?  How long will humans have to engage in social distancing?  How will the current pandemic impact the world economy, and will we fall into a global recession?  Far down the list of questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is whether the crisis will result in a flood of negligence claims filed by individuals afflicted with coronavirus illnesses against a host of potential defendants, including medical providers, nursing homes and senior care facilities, businesses and premises owners, individuals, private schools and universities, and personal protective equipment manufacturers, to name a few of the potential targets.  More likely than not, the answer to this question is that yes, negligence claims against these and other classes of defendants will follow.  The thought of that probably leaves a lot of people uncomfortable, since many of these potential defendants are the ones working tirelessly to treat those suffering from coronavirus illnesses and to protect the rest of society from getting sick. 

How these negligence claims will be treated remains to be seen, and while the black letter law for negligence is well-developed in the United States, never has negligence law been examined in the era of modern litigation in a situation like the current one, where quick action is necessary, so many lives are at risk and those who are most vulnerable to liability are also those acting in good faith and selflessly to help others.  The standard of care applied to defendants named in COVID-19 negligence claims will play a major role in the outcome of these future cases and will greatly impact the ability of defendants named in those cases to minimize their liability.  More »

Missouri Joinder/Venue Reform Bill Heading to Governor for His Signature

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On May 1, the Missouri House passed reform legislation that would impact venue and joinder rules in tort actions in the State of Missouri.  The legislation will be presented to Governor Parsons now for approval.  The bill provides that a rebuttable presumption exists that a plaintiff resides (and thus venue is proper) where the plaintiff is registered to vote at time of his or her injury.  If the plaintiff resides outside of Missouri, venue is proper where an individual defendant resides.  More »

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