Ohio Board of Professional Conduct Places Restrictions on Settlements Which Include Secrecy Agreements

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The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct recently opined that: “A settlement agreement that prohibits a lawyer’s disclosure of information contained in a court record is an impermissible restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice. A lawyer may not participate in either the offer or acceptance of a settlement agreement that includes a prohibition on a lawyer’s disclosure of information contained …

Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility Places Restrictions on Settlements which Include Secrecy Agreements

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The Tennessee Board issued an Ethics Opinion which advises that: “It is improper for an attorney to propose or accept a provision in a settlement agreement that requires the attorney to be bound by a confidentiality clause that prohibits a lawyer from future use of information learned during the representation or disclosure of information that is publicly available or that …

Massachusetts Supreme Court Finds Pharmacy Has Duty to Advise Prescribing Physician of Need for Prior Authorization

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Prior authorization was necessary in order for the plaintiff to obtain insurance coverage for Topamax, a medication she needed to control life-threatening seizures. The plaintiff’s insurance company paid for her Topamax prescription twice without issue, but once she reached her nineteenth birthday, the insurer refused to pay for the prescription because it had not received the prior authorization form required …

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Argument that National Labor Relations Act Prohibits Employers from Enforcing Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements with Employees

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“Should employees and employers be allowed to agree that any disputes between them will be resolved through one-on-one arbitration? Or should employees always be permitted to bring their claims in class or collective actions, no matter what they agreed with their employers? “As a matter of policy these questions are surely debatable. But as a matter of law the answer …

While Reversing Jury Verdict Due to Attorney Conduct, U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Plaintiffs on Personal Jurisdiction, Preemption, and Product Defect in Medical Device Case

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Plaintiffs who received metal-on-metal hip implants, suffered complications, and required revision surgery, received jury verdict of $502 million against the manufacturer and its parent company. The District Court applied Texas’ statutory exemplary-damages cap, which reduced the $360 million punitive award to $9.6 million. On appeal, the U.S. Fifth Circuit held that: (i) metal-on-plastic hip implants were viable alternative design, (ii) …

Supreme Court of Washington Reverses Denial of Class Certification in Wage and Hour Case

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Nurses filed putative class action against hospital for failure to provide rest and meal breaks required under State Law.  The trial court denied certification, but the Washington Supreme Court reversed. “The trial court ruled that the nurses could not satisfy the predominance requirement because of the individual issues regarding nurse type and shift length. But the court failed to explain …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Verdict Against Unmanned Utility Vehicle Manufacturer, Allowing Evidence of Other Incidents and Affirming Jury Instruction on Alternative Feasible Design

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Plaintiff suffered permanent injuries when an unmanned utility vehicle, the “Workhorse”, ran her over. A key turns on the Workhorse’s electrical system, but it does not start the engine. Rather, there is a microswitch in the accelerator pedal which turns on the engine and propels the vehicle. The Workhorse also has a two-part brake pedal: The lower pedal is the …

ABA Issues Formal Opinion Regarding an Attorney’s Duty to Inform the Client of a Material Error in Representation

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Recognizing that errors occur along a continuum, an error is material if a disinterested lawyer would conclude that it is (a) reasonably likely to harm or prejudice a client; or (b) of such a nature that it would reasonably cause a client to consider terminating the representation even in the absence of harm or prejudice. More fully: “A lawyer’s responsibility …

U.S. Second Circuit Finds that Group Policyholders Have Article III Standing to Pursue Claims for the Purchase of Illegal Policies, Even If Coverage Is Enforceable

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Plaintiff group policyholders brought suit against HealthExtras for marketing “policies” that did not comply with the requirements of the New York Insurance Code. The District Court dismissed the case for lack of standing.  While plaintiffs’ claims were premised on the contention that the policies were illegal, courts, under New York insurance law, enforce such contracts as if they did include …

Superior Court Judge in Arizona Grants Center for Auto Safety’s Motion to Unseal Records from Goodyear G159 Tire Cases

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The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) intervened into a wrongful death suit against Goodyear arising from defects in its G159 tire.  The Court granted CAS’s motion to unseal a large portion of the records that had been previously subject to a protective order, in that case and in several other similar cases. “In the course of the ruling adopting the Protective Order, …