Jere Beasley Report

The Jere Beasley Report April 2024


The Rule Of Law Must Be Respected And Upheld

Effective governance relies on strong laws, institutions, and processes that ensure accountability, stability, equality, and access to justice for all citizens. This principle, the “Rule of Law,” plays a crucial role in promoting respect for human rights and the institutions of government while reducing corruption and violent conflict.

The Rule of Law is the foundation of our Republic and the right to trial by jury is its cornerstone. The foundation is the most critical part of any structure. The importance of both the Rule of Law and the right to trial by jury is vital to the existence of our Republic.  The authors of our Constitution understood that basic truth.  The foundation must be solid, durable, and able to withstand all sorts of attacks. There have been many attacks on both the Rule of Law and the right to trial by jury over the years. But the United States of American has survived in every such instance.

Unfortunately, we are currently witnessing attacks on the Rule of Law once again. It’s critically important for all Americans to acknowledge that all persons and all corporate entities in our country are subject to the Rule of Law without exception. Neither wealth nor political power should make any difference. The Rule of Law must be respected and upheld. 

The United States is badly divided, and the Rule of Law is being disrespected by far too many individuals and groups. That results in further discord and eventually will lead to violence. It’s vitally important for the American people to wake up and demand that the Rule of Law be universally respected and upheld. The future of our Democracy depends on it. 


Talc Litigation Update

After nearly two years of delays, Judge Michael Kaplan dismissed Johnson & Johnson’s second bad-faith bankruptcy filing last fall.  You may have recently seen in the news that Johnson & Johnson has discussed the possibility of filing an unprecedented third attempt at bankruptcy. At this time, a third petition for bankruptcy has not been filed. We do not believe Johnson & Johnson’s financial circumstances have changed to justify a third bankruptcy, but we will continue to push to hold Johnson & Johnson accountable and fight any further attempts to misuse the bankruptcy system to force plaintiffs into an unfair resolution.

Since the bankruptcy dismissal last fall, we have continued to push to return these cases to the tort system.  The multidistrict litigation (MDL), a centralization of cases pending in federal court, continues to work towards initial trials anticipated to begin later this year. Additionally, Beasley Allen lawyers are working to get a number of cases pending in various state courts across the country back on their respective trial calendars.  At this time, we expect trials to take place in New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania state courts later this year. Beasley Allen started a trial in Sarasota, Florida on April 1st.  We anticipate California and Georgia state court trials will resume in early 2025.

You may have seen in the news that the first post-bankruptcy ovarian cancer trial began in Florida state court last month. Unfortunately, after three weeks of testimony and several days of deliberation, the jury in that case was unable to reach a unanimous verdict (as required by Florida courts). As a result, the judge declared a mistrial, and that case is scheduled to be retried this fall.

Beasley Allen’s Position On J&J’s Third Bankruptcy Scheme 

Barriers to justice – more than two years of unnecessary delays caused by Johnson & Johnson’s bad faith bankruptcy tactics – have now come down. As a result, women harmed by talcum powder are once again able to have jurors of their peers consider the damage, trauma, and pain they have suffered. Johnson & Johnson is responding with attacks on plaintiffs’ lawyers in a way that’s unbecoming for a company that markets itself as a “champion” for women. In fact, J&J’s conduct and attacks are downright repulsive! 

As stated above, Miami Judge William Thomas intends to retry the Sugarman v. Johnson & Johnson case in the wake of the recent mistrial this fall. The second case to be tried started in Florida on April 1st. Other J&J trials will begin very soon. 

The right to trial by jury is a civil right protected by the Constitution. That right also represents a beacon of hope for thousands of victims and their families, demonstrating the power of the legal system to hold corporations accountable for their wrongful actions. 

Contrary to J&J’s false attempts to portray itself as unbeaten in the courtroom, J&J fears the courtroom and juries. While specific causation in cancer cases can be challenging, jurors hearing the vast body of evidence revealing how J&J has handled talc are appropriately outraged. Besides the $2 billion-plus Ingham asbestos verdict, left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court, ovarian cancer trial juries have returned verdicts of $72 million, $55 million, $70 million, $110 million, and $417 million. However, we, as plaintiffs’ lawyers, can’t rest on our laurels. Instead, we must address the darker side of this battle for justice and be willing to endure whatever comes in the battle for justice. 

While we, as plaintiffs’ lawyers, celebrate the victory of being able to return to the courtroom, we still must talk about the elephant in the room. Johnson & Johnson isn’t just sitting back; the company is doubling down hard, trying every trick in the book to escape accountability. The company is vowing to file for bankruptcy again. They have actually changed the name of its talc subsidiary from LTL to LLT and moved it from North Carolina to Texas. If that’s not “gaming the system,” I don’t know what is. 

Reasonable people – not only J&J’s many victims and their lawyers, but also scholars and lawmakers – are shocked at how J&J continues to abuse the bankruptcy process by slavishly pursuing the questionable Texas two-step bankruptcy tactic. Bankruptcies are supposed to help companies that are genuinely in trouble, not to let a huge giant like J&J off the hook for its wrongful actions. This kind of maneuver by J&J could open the floodgates for other corporations to dodge responsibility for their wrongdoing. We can’t allow that to happen. That’s why the Rule of Law and the civil justice system are so important to victims of corporate wrongdoing and abuse in this ongoing battle. 

J&J isn’t just playing dirty with the bankruptcy card; it is also getting personal by targeting scientific experts and trying to disqualify key lawyers from the plaintiffs’ litigation team. J&J is trying to bully their way out of this battle by attacking the very people fighting to hold them accountable. This has ramifications not only for us lawyers, but also for all consumers in our country. If J&J manages to silence the scientists questioning the safety of its products, what’s next? It’s a slippery slope to a place where consumer safety takes a back seat to corporate greed and huge profits. 

A number of lawyers who were once open to settling with J&J are now said to be thinking twice. Can you blame them? After seeing J&J’s true colors, the idea of settling for pennies on the dollar feels like a bad joke, especially when the lawyers witness the company’s smear campaigns and underhanded tactics first-hand. 

So, what do we do about it? It’s clear that plaintiffs’ lawyers need to stand their ground now more than ever. Negotiating with companies operating with a stacked deck that exploit legal loopholes to skirt their responsibilities isn’t just unwise; it’s a betrayal of the victims Beasley Allen and other law firms represent. And when it comes to defending our experts and legal teams from attacks, that’s non-negotiable at Beasley Allen. Our firm is in this fight to ensure justice is served for our clients. We won’t allow those who would rather see us back down to prevail. 

The road ahead in the ongoing battle is tough, no doubt about it. But the stakes – fair compensation and justice for J&J’s victims, integrity in our legal system, and the safety of consumer products are too high to ignore. All lawyers for J&J victims must stick together, support each other, and keep pushing back against any company, which clearly includes J&J, that thinks it can bully its way out of accountability. 

We are asking other law firms representing J&J victims to stand with us in this battle. J&J may want to persuade lawyers that the litigation is all but over, but we know better. And we know that together, we can make a difference. Andy Birchfield and Mike Papantonio issued a challenge to other lawyers who represent J&J victims. On March 15, Andy and Mike issued a joint statement that incorporated the position taken by our firms, which is stated above. This is a battle that the American people can’t afford to lose. 

The Pay Of The CEO Of J&J Doubled After First Year 

It took just a year for Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato to reach the stratospheric compensation levels of his predecessor. The current CEO’s pay jumped 117% from $13.1 million in his first year to $28.4 million last year. This matched the compensation level of former CEO Alex Gorsky, which topped $29 million annually twice during his tenure.

Duato’s substantial pay increase mainly came from his equity awards, which nearly doubled from $8.3 million to $16 million. Additionally, his pension value rose by $6.2 million, compared to none in 2022. His bonus also increased from $3.1 million to $4.4 million, and his salary went up slightly from $1.49 million to $1.58 million.

J&J, a company that has attempted to use the bankruptcy laws to avoid paying valid claims, reclaimed its industry lead with $85 billion in revenue, a 6.5% increase from the previous year. J&J has met or surpassed its financial and strategic objectives. This is a huge company that is seeking bankruptcy protection. 

Source: Fierce Pharma

Judge Orders New Expert Testimony In J&J Talc MDL 

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp has ordered a new round of expert evidence examination in the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder multidistrict litigation, citing recent changes to the Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and some other developments since the previous expert evidence hearing in 2020. Judge Shipp’s decision will require both parties to refile their Daubert motions regarding the admissibility of expert testimony.

As our lawyer-readers know, Daubert hearings determine whether expert testimony is based on reliable scientific methods and can be admitted as evidence. In 2020, now-retired Judge Freda L. Wolfson allowed five plaintiffs’ experts to testify. But J&J is now asking for a new Daubert hearing.

Beasley Allen’s Leigh O’Dell, Co-Lead Plaintiffs’ Attorney, has confidence in the science linking talc products to ovarian cancer. According to Leigh and Co-Lead Plaintiffs’ Attorney Michelle Parfitt of Ashcraft & Gerel, that science “has only become clearer over time.”

Despite Judge Wolfson’s 2020 ruling, no bellwether trials have occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and J&J’s two talc bankruptcies. Leigh and Michelle say that J&J is seeking to further delay the trials through the new expert evidence examination. That appears clearly to be J&J’s goal. 

There have been new depositions, documents, and scientific literature that have emerged since 2021, much of which comes from talc litigation in state courts. The newer evidence strengthens the plaintiffs’ case because it affirms that talcum powder exposure can cause ovarian cancer.

Sources: Claims Journal, Reuters

Beasley Allen Talc Litigation Team

Beasley Allen lawyers Leigh O’Dell and Ted Meadows head our Talc Ovarian Cancer Litigation Team. They have been directly involved in all phases of the talc litigation from the beginning. It has been a tough battle but a critically important and necessary one. The team handles claims of ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder cases. Several key team members continue to focus on Johnson & Johnson’s blatant abuse of the bankruptcy system. That battle is not over. The team continues to fight for our clients in an effort to see that they obtain justice. The following Beasley Allen lawyers are members of the Talc Litigation Team: 

Leigh O’Dell, Ted Meadows, Kelli Alfreds, Ryan Beattie, Beau Darley, David Dearing, Liz Achtemeier, Jennifer Emmel, Lauren James, James Lampkin, Caty O’Quinn,  Cristina Rodriguez, Brittany Scott, Charlie Stern, Will Sutto and Matt Teague.

The Opioid Litigation

Alabama Reaches $220 Million Settlement With Opioid Distributors 

Beasley Allen is pleased to announce a $220 million settlement with opioid distributors Cardinal Health and Cencora (formerly AmerisourceBergen) to resolve the role of those companies in causing the opioid crisis in Alabama.  The case was successfully resolved after more than a year and a half of litigation in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Attorney General Steve Marshall led this successful litigation. 

This litigation was filed by lawyers from Beasley Allen, Prince Glover Hayes, and the Attorney General’s office. The State of Alabama had previously settled with Opioid distributor McKesson. By amending the original complaint prior to the dismissal of McKesson, the litigation team was allowed to move on to the next defendants without duplicative deposition and discovery by the State.  This move expedited the litigation tremendously, resulting in the settlement with Cardinal Health and Cencora.

The state’s litigation team worked tirelessly with the state’s witnesses and experts to get the case ready for trial.  Assistance by individuals at the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama Department of Public Health, the Board of Pharmacy, and the Board of Medical Examiners was a major factor in the case preparation. Our team of experts also played a major role in the success of the litigation. We could not have reached this result without all of those involved in the preparation of the case for trial. 

Attorney General Marshall made the determination early on that the amounts offered in the Opioid MDL would not adequately compensate for the damage suffered in the State of Alabama by the opioid crisis. The Attorney General was willing to take a chance and the settlements reached confirmed that he made the correct decision. 

The Attorney General has been a real “champion” in this litigation. In announcing the settlement agreement, he stated: 

Today reaffirmed our decision to decline participation in the national opioid settlement with Cardinal and Cencora, as that proposal failed to adequately acknowledge the unique harms faced by Alabamians. While this settlement will not bring back those lost to this devastating epidemic, it presents a historic opportunity to ameliorate the harm that opioid abuse has caused in our communities and to finally move us out of this epidemic altogether.

The terms of the agreement call for Cardinal and Cencora to pay $220 million in abatement funds over ten years instead of a maximum of $180 million paid over 18 years that was offered in the federal multidistrict litigation.  Cardinal and Cencora will also pay fees and costs for the State’s lawyers. This allows the State to direct all settlement funds to opioid abatement. 

The Beasley Allen lawyers, along with lawyers from Prince Glover Hayes and the Attorney General’s Office, previously negotiated settlements with McKesson after two years of contentious litigation, totaling $141 million. An additional $70 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson was reached without having to file suit.   All of the Alabama settlements have terms that are far better than the terms of the MDL settlements.  

As in previous opioid settlements, the State will share the settlement funds with local governments and public hospitals. The State’s portion of the settlement funds will be deposited directly into the State’s General Fund.  

Beasley Allen Toxic Torts Section Head Rhon Jones, along with Josh Hayes, who led the state’s litigation efforts, added these comments: 

Our team worked tirelessly to ensure that the State received a fair and just outcome, and we hope that this settlement will serve as a step towards healing and recovery for our communities.

Along with Rhon, the State of Alabama was represented in this matter by Jeff Price, Matt Griffith, Elliot Bienenfeld and Gavin King, Elizabeth Weyerman and the late Rick Stratton of Beasley Allen; Josh Hayes and Bob Prince of Prince Glover Hayes; and Clay Crenshaw and Michael Dean of the Alabama Office of the Attorney General. 

The case is State of Alabama vs. Endo Health Solutions, Inc., et al., Case No. CV-2019-901174.00 (Ala. Cir. Ct. Montgomery County. 


Camp Lejeune Update

The court conducted status conferences in the Camp Lejeune litigation on March 5 and 19, 2024.   The majority of  Track One plaintiffs depositions have been taken, and those not taken have been set. Depositions of fact witnesses and family members of Track One plaintiffs are occurring, with depositions of treating physicians to follow.   Plaintiffs’ leadership has also filed a Motion to Compel Production of the ATSDR Water Modeling Project file, and a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  It’s important to remember that administrative claims need to be filed by August 10, 2024.   

A tremendous amount of work is being done in a short period of time by a very dedicated team of leadership lawyers from several different law firms.  Ed Bell and all of the lead and co-lead firms continue to provide exemplary leadership for the plaintiff’s team.  

Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs Argue Link To Specific Illnesses Isn’t Required

Parties involved in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit told a North Carolina federal court last month that a special standard set by Congress to prove their illnesses were caused by exposure to the water at the Marine base would be challenging as decades have passed since many veterans were first exposed. 

Due to the government’s delays, the evidence connecting the water exposure to the plaintiffs’ illnesses is either outdated or missing, explained the veterans and their families, supporting their request for a partial summary judgment. With witnesses no longer available and medical records of deceased plaintiffs hard to come by, counsel argued Congress did not require the plaintiffs to prove their diseases were directly caused by the contaminated water, contrary to the government’s position.

The legal battle has grown to nearly 1,500 cases in North Carolina following Congress’s signing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. This act removed obstacles for veterans and their families seeking compensation for water contamination at the base from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. It offers a way for those who lived around the base during this time to sue the government, especially after the government delayed for 10 years the publication of water contamination tests, letting the statute of limitations expire.

The lawsuits aim to connect 40 diseases, including bladder and kidney cancer, to the Camp Lejeune water, which was contaminated with high levels of chlorinated solvents, among other pollutants. In February, the government countered, saying veterans needed to prove their illnesses were directly caused by exposure, not just that they spent 30 days at the base and had an illness that could result from exposure.

The veterans and families are represented by plaintiffs’ leadership group including J. Edward Bell of the Bell Legal Group LLC, Zina Bash of Keller Postman LLC, Elizabeth J. Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, W. Michael Dowling of The Dowling Firm PLLC, Robin L. Greenwald of Weitz & Luxenberg PC, James A. Roberts III of Lewis & Roberts PLLC and Mona Lisa Wallace of Wallace & Graham PA. Beasley Allen is part of the leadership group as well, working hard for these veterans and their families.  

The government is represented by Adam Bain and Haroon Anwar of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division.

The case is Camp Lejeune Water Litigation v. U.S., case number 7:23-cv-00897, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Source: Law360

Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs Contend Jury Trial Are Allowed

Camp Lejeune water contamination plaintiffs have appealed a North Carolina federal court’s decision denying their request for a jury trial. They argue there is significant disagreement over the interpretation of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, particularly whether it permits jury trials. The plaintiffs seek the opportunity to clarify these legal ambiguities through an appeal.

The Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group (PLG) argues that this is the first time in U.S. history that a court has said a law that allows people to sue the government and mentions the right to a jury trial doesn’t mean they can actually have a jury trial. The PLG said the court’s detailed 34-page decision and extensive analysis show that the issue is not straightforward and conclusive.

The litigation involves about 1,500 lawsuits claiming that water contamination at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina caused various cancers and diseases. The contamination affected residents, workers, and others at the base between 1953 and 1987. 

The dispute over the right to a jury trial escalated in February when the court sided with the U.S. government, finding the CLJA does not explicitly grant the right to a jury trial. 

The plaintiffs have challenged this interpretation, arguing the issue presents a new legal question since this is the first application of the act in court. They contend the court’s decision did not just apply a legal principle mechanically but involved a detailed interpretation process. The plaintiffs say that process doesn’t jibe with the government’s “simplistic” characterization of the decision.

Source: Law360 

Judge Orders Preservation Of Camp Lejeune Water Files 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones Jr., who is overseeing the Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation discovery, has directed the federal government to maintain certain files in their original format. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry created the water project modeling files to show the extent and intensity of contamination at the Marine base, which lasted for decades and exposed servicemembers, their families, and workers to serious illnesses.

The plaintiffs requested that the judge mandate the submission of the files in their original format. They argued that the usual electronic format would require disassembling the files, disrupting their structure, and making important parts unusable.

The litigation involves over 1,500 individual lawsuits. The complaints allege exposure to harmful contaminants in the base’s water supply between 1953 and 1987. 

Judge Jones decided that while standard electronic documents can undergo conventional processing, the specific “exotic” files must remain in their native formats to ensure they remain intact and understandable. The plaintiffs emphasized the risk of data misinterpretation should the files be altered or fragmented. 

While the opposing parties acknowledged the documents’ importance, they disagreed over the method of producing them. Judge Jones ruled that the government must produce certain “exotic” files in their original form, ensuring all parties can access them without their structure and data being compromised. The judge denied the request for all files to be produced as exact copies but acknowledged the unique nature of certain data sets, mandating the preservation of their original format.

The plaintiffs are represented by Bell Legal Group LLC, Keller Postman LLC, Ward & Smith PA, the Dowling Firm PLLC, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, Beasley Allen and others.

The government is represented by Adam Bain and Haroon Anwar of the US Civil Division.

The case is Camp Lejeune Water Litigation v. US, case number 7:23-cv-00897, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Source: Law360

Camp Lejeune Litigation Team

Lawyers on our firm’s Camp Lejeune Litigation Team remain hard at work in the Camp Lejeune litigation. The number of cases being handled by the firm now exceed 10,000 with more clients coming in on a steady basis. There are numerous Beasley Allen Camp Lejeune webinars addressing the various issues in this litigation that are available at 

Currently, our firm has 9 lawyers and a large number of staff personnel working on this litigation, including Toxic Torts Section Head Rhon Jones. You can contact any of the lawyers on our litigation team if you need help with a claim or have questions. The lawyers include Lead Attorney Leslie LaMacchia, along with Will Sutton, Ryan Kral, Tucker Osborne, Marion Brummal, Khadiga Carr, Travis Chin and Wesley Merillat.


Meta Litigation update

Beasley Allen lawyers represent individuals suing the entities responsible for the creation and dissemination to the public of the Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube products, that fail to have adequate protections or warnings. This has caused hundreds, if not thousands, of adolescents to commit suicide, experience frequent periods of suicidal ideation, engage in various forms of self-harm, develop an eating disorder(s), suffer from severe depression and anxiety, among other harms, which can cause or contribute to additional diseases.          

Having cleared defendants’ unwarranted efforts to dismiss litigation in the Social Media Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding (JCCP) before the Los Angeles Superior Court, and the Social Media Addiction/Personal Injury Product Liability multidistrict litigation (MDL) before the Northern District of California, discovery against defendants is now well underway. Written discovery has already been exchanged and multiple depositions have been taken as of this writing. 

Negotiations are ongoing to establish the schedule for trial against the social media defendants in California state court. Jury selection is also scheduled to begin in a case in California federal court in October 2025.        

Judge Says Executives Not Blocked In Social Media MDL

A California federal magistrate judge warned social media companies last month that they must disclose relevant executive witnesses. The comments by U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter H. Kang came during a hearing in San Francisco over the latest discovery disputes in the consolidated personal injury litigation.

Previn Warren of Motley Rice LLC, on behalf of plaintiffs, told the judge that the defendants had excluded high-profile employees from their initial disclosures, naming only 3 of the 31 custodians associated with over 1,000 produced documents. He added that given the national significance of the case, he wondered whether the defense was “sitting on information.”

TikTok’s counsel argued at the hearing that the defense has a different view of the case, which narrows the universe of potentially relevant witnesses.

Judge Kang granted the defendants more time to identify witnesses, but he warned against last-minute requests. He made it clear that adding dozens of witnesses days before the discovery deadline could lead to exclusion at trial. That should have been well understood by all concerned. 

The judge made it clear that he would review the 70 pages of briefs and decide whether the states must produce the communications.

Meta’s motion to dismiss claims against Zuckerberg and the defendants, personal injury plaintiffs’ “non-priority claims,” and consumer protection and misrepresentation claims are still pending.

The case is In re: Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation, case number 4:22-md-03047, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Source: Law360

Meta Can’t Escape Suit Over Collection Of Taxpayers’ Data

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, faces a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company unlawfully collected sensitive information from H&R Block, TaxAct and TaxSlayer tax filing websites through Meta Pixel, a user tracking tool. 

The lawsuit accuses Meta of violating various eavesdropping and consumer protection laws across multiple states, including the federal Wiretap Act. The plaintiffs claim the private tax information they submitted to the e-filing sites was transmitted to Meta without their permission. The plaintiffs seek to represent a nationwide class of tax filers whose information Meta obtained from an online tax preparation provider and several state subclasses. 

U.S. District Court Judge P. Casey Pitts has upheld most of the claims made by eight plaintiffs. Wiretapping claims were the strongest, including those based on the California Invasion of Privacy Act, the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, the Missouri Wiretap Act and the federal Wiretap Act. The plaintiffs can also pursue their claim that Meta negligently breached its duty to protect their confidential financial information from unauthorized disclosure by offering its Pixel to third-party websites.

Meta has failed in its efforts to dismiss the lawsuit, and the case will proceed, with the plaintiffs seeking compensation for damages. The case highlights the importance of data privacy and raises questions about how tech companies collect and use sensitive information. It also underscores the need for stricter regulations to protect consumers’ privacy rights. The case outcome could have significant implications for data privacy and set a precedent for future lawsuits against tech companies that mishandle users’ sensitive information.

The plaintiffs are represented by Joel D. Smith of Smith Krivoshey PC, Neal Deckant of Bursor & Fisher PA, Lori G. Feldman of George Feldman McDonald PLLC, Rebecca A. Peterson and Kate M. Baxter-Kauf of Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, Marshal J. Hoda of The Hoda Law Firm PLLC, Patrick Yarborough of Foster Yarborough PLLC and John G. Emerson of Emerson Firm PLLC.

The case is In Re: Meta Pixel Tax Filing Cases, case number 5:22-cv-07557, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Source: Law360

Social Media Giants Sued For Disruptive Impact On Canada’s Largest School System

Beasley Allen, in partnership with Neinstein LLP, a Toronto-based civil litigation firm, is leading the legal action against tech giants Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Snapchat and TikTok on behalf of Ontario’s largest school boards.

The $4.5 billion lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. It alleges that social media products have disrupted student learning and the education system by reprogramming how children think, behave and learn.

Beasley Allen and the Neinstein firm contended that social media products have been negligently designed for compulsive use, causing massive strains on the four school boards’ finite resources, including increased IT costs, additional administrative resources and the need for in-school mental health programming and personnel.

The litigation aims to equip school boards with the resources necessary to support student programming and services while addressing the school-based problems caused by social media giants. Beasley Allen’s Joseph VanZandt said:

As a law firm that has been at the forefront of social media lawsuits, Beasley Allen is committed to holding social media companies accountable for not just harms in the United States, but for their actions internationally. These lawsuits continue to warn social media companies that they will be held accountable for their actions, not only by the adolescents they have harmed but also by those who support our youth. Beasley Allen seeks to ensure that our Canadian clients receive the support and resources they need to hold these companies accountable.

Joseph serves as co-lead counsel in the largest U.S.-based litigation against the social media giants, the California state court consolidated action (JCCP) based in Los Angeles. That litigation consists of over 620 personal injury plaintiffs from 40 states and 546 school district plaintiffs from 35 states. Joseph also serves on the Plaintiff Steering Committee for the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Beasley Allen began filing social media personal injury lawsuits nationwide in 2022 for adolescents harmed by social media addiction. Additionally, our firm represents hundreds of school districts and government entities across the United States in claims of nuisance and negligence resulting from social media’s harmful impact.

Congressional Hearing Dealing With Social Media Issues

Social media companies are dealing with pressures to change their algorithms and models as lawsuits brought by parents, schools and states alleging social harms to our youth proceed in federal and state courts throughout our country. These lawsuits pose the critical question of whether the content-driving algorithms utilized on these social media platforms can be legally treated as “products” for which the companies can be held liable. Social media companies have generally enjoyed protection for their platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which was passed in 1996 to immunize internet publishers from liability for third-party content.

It should be noted that lawmakers, social media representatives and executives repeatedly referred to the platforms as “products” throughout a January 31, 2024 Congressional hearing on how social media is negatively impacting our nation’s youth. For example, during his opening statement, Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Meta, stated that it was trying to make a “product that’s useful to people.” Snapchat’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, also said that “People use [the] face filters and different tools to make media and photos and videos that are fun and interesting across a lot of the different products.” Clearly, the people running these social media platforms view what they offer to the public as a “product.”

These statements are a deviation from arguments made in court by lawyers that the companies shouldn’t be liable for harms associated with their platforms since they aren’t “products,” but rather online publishers protected by Section 230. There are still uncertainties on whether this congressional hearing could have any impact on the actual legal arguments being made in the state and federal court cases, which have now moved into discovery after surviving motions to dismiss. A court has found that certain functions of the platforms are comparable to tangible property. 

Nevertheless, there continues to be a significant amount of pressure on members of Congress to make significant changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and to seriously consider the statements made at the January 31, 2024 congressional hearing that these social media platforms are “products” and should be subject to product laws.

Beasley Allen is honored to represent the victims of the tech giants’ harmful product designs. Our lawyers are involved in this litigation both at the individual case level and the Attorney General case level.

The Beasley Allen Social Media Litigation Teams

Joseph VanZandt, who leads our firm’s Social Media Personal Injury Litigation Team, is co-lead counsel for the Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding (JCCP) for the plaintiffs in California State Court. Joseph is also a member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, helping lead the federal social media multidistrict litigation (MDL). The two Beasley Allen litigation teams handling the social media cases are set out below.

Social Media Personal Injury Team

If you need more information on the personal injury segment of our social media litigation, or need help on a case, contact a lawyer on the firm’s Social Medial Personal Injury Litigation Team.

Joseph (who heads the team) Jennifer Emmel, Suzanne Clark, Clinton Richardson, Sydney Everett, Davis and Seth Harding. Andy Birchfield, who heads our Mass Torts Section, also works with the team.

Social Media Attorney General Litigation Team

The Attorney General and non-personal injury aspects of the Social Media Litigation are handled at Beasley Allen by lawyers in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, Ali Hawthorne, Rebecca Gilliland and Zina Nour. 


Ford Settles Georgia Auto Crash Death Suit Days Ahead Of Trial

Beasley Allen lawyers settled a case in Georgia against Ford Motor Co. a week before the case was set for trial. The suit alleged Ford was liable for a rollover crash that killed a teenage motorist. Ford and the plaintiffs, Felicia Christian and Jullia Alexandria Morris, filed a notice in a Georgia federal court saying they had reached a settlement. The court was asked to remove the case from the trial calendar.

In May 2017, 19-year-old Jalin Lawson was driving his grandfather’s 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac with Jullia Morris as a passenger. The truck experienced partial rear tire tread separation, resulting in loss of control and rollover that killed Lawson and injured Jullia Morris.

Christian sued Ford, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the auto center that installed the tire, and Lawson’s grandfather. Goodyear was the only defendant granted summary judgment. Christian and Morris dismissed the state court case and then re-filed the lawsuit against Ford in federal court. 

Ford filed a motion for summary judgment in July 2023, claiming that Georgia’s repose statute barred the lawsuit. Ford also argued that the plaintiff’s design defect theories lacked evidence and that the claims of failure to warn consumers were a “repackaged” version of the design defect claims.

U.S. District Court Judge Clay D. Land denied Ford’s motion in December, stating that a jury would need to decide if Ford was negligent in designing the vehicle and if the automaker had an obligation to warn consumers not to drive the vehicle on six-year or older tires. The trial was scheduled for March 11. In an important order, Judge Land also ruled that all of the prior incidents involving the Ford Explorer Sport Trac would be admissible at trial. The amount of the settlement is confidential. 

The plaintiffs are represented by Greg Allen, Stephanie Monplaisir, Chris Glover, and Alyssa Baskam of Beasley Allen; Shane Seaborn and Charles Hudson of Penn & Seaborn, and Jesse G. Bowles III of Bowles & Bowles.

The case is Christian et al. v. Ford Motor Co., case number 4:22-cv-00062, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

Source: Law360

A Good Settlement For Beasley Allen Client In A Georgia Case

Ben Keen, a lawyer in our Atlanta office, recently secured a settlement in the amount of $1,500,000 in a case involving injuries sustained by a pedestrian. Ben’s client was attempting to cross the street at an intersection and was properly using a crosswalk. The defendant driver, who was operating a tractor-trailer at the direction of his employer, was positioned on an access road that was perpendicular to the intersection. 

While approaching the intersection, the driver observed the plaintiff on the sidewalk near the crosswalk. The driver was faced with a red light, came to a complete stop, and then proceeded to make a right turn on red. A red traffic signal at the intersection provides a walk signal for pedestrians who intend to walk across the crosswalk. Thus, Ben’s client, the plaintiff, had the right of way. 

After the plaintiff entered the crosswalk, the driver began navigating a right turn on red. The defendant’s tractor made initial contact with the plaintiff’s hand. As the plaintiff tried to avoid being run over, she fell to the ground and incurred a tibial plateau fracture. The driver observed the plaintiff on the ground in his side mirrors as he checked the swing of his trailer and subsequently stopped his tractor-trailer. 

While the driver’s actions caused the chain reaction that led to the plaintiff’s injuries, the defendants denied liability. It was clear that while the driver observed the plaintiff at the crosswalk, he ignored her. The driver knew that the plaintiff was near the crosswalk and within her legal right to enter the crosswalk. But he ignored her and focused on the vehicles that were approaching in the direction he intended to travel. 

The driver did so because he had a red light; he knew he had to execute a buttonhook turn and further that his trailer would block the lanes of approaching vehicles. Therefore, and at the plaintiff’s expense, the driver made an abrupt right-hand turn on a red light, striking the plaintiff who had entered the crosswalk. Had the driver simply waited for his traffic signal to change to green, this accident would not have occurred. Ben did an excellent job in handling this case for a deserving client.

Electric Transportation Popularity Creates High Potential For Tire Development

One of the driving forces behind innovation in vehicle technology is an across-the-board demand among consumers for greater vehicle safety. To achieve this goal, the motor vehicle industry continues to invest time, effort, and money into developing new vehicle technologies. These technologies will have to cope with and anticipate the continued rise of electric transportation methods and the safety challenges that these may bring. 

Increased usage of electric vehicles (EVs) means that new tire technologies will focus on load-carrying capacity, improvements in rolling resistance, and attempts to reduce the overall noise inside the vehicle cabin. Many manufacturers are also trying to make their tires more environmentally friendly without compromising tire service life.

Because EVs often sport higher torque, EV tires have the potential to wear out at accelerated rates. Manufacturers are focusing on combating this issue as more people start using this form of transportation. Many manufacturers think they can achieve these goals by increasing electronic technology inside the tires themselves. This method will allow manufacturers to learn more about tire wear and efficiency—and update and develop new technologies accordingly. 

Ultimately, the fact that EVs and conventional vehicles often differ in weight and torque level means that developments in tire technology must take place with these differences in mind. 

The Hidden Danger Of Reclining Seats

As warmer weather rapidly approaches, families are making plans to hit the road for summer travel. With long car rides often come long car naps, but passengers should be aware of the dangers associated with reclining vehicle seats. Modern vehicle seats are designed with comfort and convenience in mind. 

This consumer-centric approach often leads passengers to justifiably assume that if they wear their seatbelt and use the seat as advertised, reclining function included, then the seat must be safe. This is unfortunately not the case. 

Once a seatback is reclined, the standard seatbelt becomes much less effective, if not completely useless, because the shoulder harness of the belt moves away from the body. The seatbelt is designed to be worn snugly against the body to couple the body to the seat. 

For this restraint plan to work effectively, the body must be securely seated in the chair at an upright angle so that the belt may have an object to hold the body to. Still, millions of Americans travel in reclined positions, thus placing themselves in danger. 

The general public’s lack of knowledge on this topic is not to be blamed on ignorance. Automobile manufacturers actively lobby against regulation of seatback recline standards despite having been aware of the dangers of reclining seats for six decades.  

At a 1964 Stapp Car Crash Conference, two safety-equipment engineers presented a report analyzing the effect lap belts have on reclined-seat occupants.  

The report discussed sled testing in which the seatback was reclined almost fully.  When the sled stopped suddenly, the test dummy submarined under the lap belt, or slid from beneath the belt, almost 10 inches, driving the belt into the dummy’s abdominal cavity.  

In 1988, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a safety study where one of the issues was the effect of reclining seatbacks.  The NTSB examined 167 collisions involving passengers who had worn three-point restraints.  The result showed that three-point restraints offered good protection only if worn properly.  An occupant who wears a seatbelt while his seat is reclined is not “centered” in the belt, rendering the belt ineffective for spreading crash forces over the body.  

The NTSB stated that the protection offered by any type of seatbelt is compromised when the seat is reclined presenting a “potentially dangerous combination in a moving vehicle.”  The NTSB noted that “since vehicles had been marketed with reclining seats, most adults and children were tempted to combine belt use with a reclined seat.”  

The study concluded that “at best, lap/shoulder belts, indeed, any type of seatbelt, offered reduced effectiveness when used with a reclined seat.  At worst, a lap/shoulder belt in a reclined seat may be a potentially dangerous combination in a moving vehicle – proper fit is impossible.”  

Despite this knowledge, the Automotive Industry continues to work to prevent important safety warnings from reaching consumers. 

Beasley Allen lawyers are currently working to hold automobile manufacturers accountable and to educate the public on hidden dangers in vehicles. The industry knows that the motoring public does not understand or recognize the danger of reclining the seat while the vehicle is in motion, yet blames the public for their own injuries, taking a “they should have known” approach. People are being injured and killed as a direct result of the inaction and misdirection of the automobile manufacturing industry. 

False Park – A Deceptively Dangerous Defect

The term “false park” is a deceptively dangerous defect that can be caused by a myriad of issues with the design of the car. In layman’s terms, it happens when a driver, believing the car to be in park because the car is stopped and no longer moving, takes his/her foot off the brake, opens the door, and gets out of the car. There is a delay, but eventually, the car moves again unexpectedly.  

We have seen instances where the car rolls away, running over a pedestrian or the driver who is now frantically trying to stop the car. A pedestrian can be seriously injured or killed by the rollaway car.  The driver or even a passenger in the car who is trying to frantically stop it can be pinned and crushed by the car.  

In engineering terms, false park means the unintended movement of a car after attempting or intending to put a car in park. It is a widely known hazard in the automotive industry with simple alternative designs that can eliminate the danger.  

What is supposed to happen when a car is placed in the park position?  An engineer at Robson Forensic describes the process as follows:

When the shift select system is placed in Park, a vehicle should be immobilized, safeguarding persons and property from the dangerous forces of a moving, likely driverless, vehicle. Shifting to Park initiates three primary processes to restrain the vehicle.

  1. The transmission shifts to neutral, isolating engine forces from the drivetrain (axles and tires),
  2. A parking pawl engages within the transmission to prevent movement of the drivetrain.
  3. An electronic parking brake is automatically applied, in vehicles so equipped.

The combination of these processes is effective at immobilizing vehicles under normal and expected operating conditions. Unintended movement of a parked vehicle requires either a failure of a vehicle system, user error, or some combination of the two.

Some of the more common types of problems that result in unintended movement when a driver believes he/she has placed the car in park are driver mis-shifts and park-to-reverse events. Mis-shifts happen when a driver places the car in a gear he/she did not intend. Normally, in these types of cases, the error is discovered quickly by the driver because when he/she removes his/her foot from the brake, the car will immediately move alerting the driver.  

However, there are instances where the mis-shift may not be discovered. The car, due to the terrain it is on, such as a pothole or a sandy surface, can be held in place temporarily, and the car may not move when the driver takes his/her foot off the brake. After a delay, which may allow the driver to get out of the car, the car can suddenly and violently move, striking the driver, passenger or pedestrian.   

The other type of event is called “park to reverse.” This occurs when the shifter is placed between gears unbeknownst to the driver.  In this instance, the car will give the appearance of being in “park.”  The driver sees it in the “park” position, and the car is stationary, thus reinforcing the driver’s belief that the car is actually in “park.”   Then, after a delay, the car slips back into or reengages the reverse position, and the car moves unexpectedly and suddenly.  Again, if the driver has exited the vehicle or there is a pedestrian behind the car, the vehicle can hit them, seriously injuring or killing the individual. 

There are economically feasible alternative designs – simple ones – that can prevent these types of events- that can prevent the unintended movement of the car, whether it be from a “park to reverse” issue or driver error issue.  Most newer model vehicles with electronic safety systems can be designed with a simple feature that automatically puts the car in park when a driver opens the door and takes his/her foot off the brake. The vehicles can be designed with systems that “automatically set the vehicle to Park if the driver’s seatbelt is unlatched and the driver’s side door opens while the vehicle is in another gear or having a warning sound go off under these same conditions to alert the driver.”  

However, it must be understood that this article only scratches the surface of the “false park” problem and is not intended to cover all design problems with it.  With newer designs of cars where functions and features are more driven by algorithms, the coding of these functions could have errors in them. But the key is that automakers have the ability to prevent unintended movement of a car under the false park scenarios. It is one of the most important safety requirements in automotive design. Absent these basic safeguards, the “false park” defect is a known danger that can cause serious injury and death because of the unintended movement of the car. 

If you need more information or need help with a case, contact Dana Taunton, a lawyer in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at [email protected]

Source: Robson Forensic

Tesla To Pay $60.8 Million Verdict In Motorcycle Crash

An Indiana state court jury returned a $60.8 million verdict last month in favor of a motorcyclist who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after being broadsided by a truck driven by a Tesla employee. The jury found the driver, Tesla technician Kyle Kaszuba, 70 percent liable for the 2017 accident that left plaintiff Chris Dugan, then 37, with the mental capacity of a 10-year-old and a partial foot amputation. 

The accident happened when Kaszuba turned left across double yellow lines into a gas station’s lot to avoid a long line in the designated turn lane. He was accused of making a reckless turn to save time and hitting Dugan, who was riding a motorcycle without a helmet.

Tesla denied any liability, arguing that Dugan was driving closely behind another vehicle and that his sudden acceleration just prior to the crash made it impossible to see him. 

During the liability phase, Tesla argued that motorists frequently made the exact turn into the same adjoining lot and characterized the crash as a tragic accident. They suggested awarding $4.7 million in economic damages and, in addition, an unspecified percentage of non-economic damages.

The final award in the case against Tesla was less than what was asked for at the close of the case. Reportedly, Tesla had rejected settlement demands from the plaintiff’s lawyers ranging from $10 million to $20 million. This decision was attributed to the company’s policy of having Elon Musk approve any settlements exceeding $10 million.

The case is Christopher Dugan v. Tesla Inc., case number 49D04-1705-CT-018411 in Marion County Superior Court.

Source: CVN News

Tesla Trial To Test Limits Of Autonomous Cars’ Future

The upcoming California trial involving Tesla and the family of Walter Huang, who died in a crash while using Autopilot, could have significant implications for the auto industry’s approach to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and the development of fully autonomous transportation. The trial will raise questions about the legal standards for negligence and strict liability in judging a driver’s behavior and redefining who or what is considered the driver when ADAS is activated.

Huang’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2019, accusing Tesla of carelessly marketing Autopilot and creating a false belief that its vehicles can safely drive themselves. The case raises two main product liability questions: whether the product itself is defectively designed, making it unreasonably dangerous, and whether the company’s marketing created an unsafe situation by encouraging drivers to trust too much in the software.

Despite Huang being distracted by his phone, his family contends that Autopilot steered the vehicle into a dangerous area and accelerated into a fixed object without taking appropriate actions to avoid the crash. Tesla argues that it clearly discloses and warns customers that its ADAS systems require a fully attentive driver who is prepared to take over at any moment.

The case also highlights how Tesla executives may have boasted about Autopilot in a way that suggests they knew the system was prone to misuse. The outcome of this trial could require the auto industry to rethink its approach to ADAS and autonomous vehicle development as they navigate the balance between risk and innovation in a murky regulatory environment. The outcome of this trial will definitely have an impact on this important safety issue. 

Source: Law360

Georgia Lawmakers Pass Bill Prohibiting Direct-Action Suits Against Trucking Insurers

The Georgia House of Representatives and Senate approved a bill to end direct-action lawsuits against trucking insurers. Senate Bill 426 passed the Senate by a vote of 46 to 2 and it passed the House with a 172 to 0 vote. Gov. Brian Kemp has not signed the legislation at press time. However, he is expected to do so, and thus, a change in the law in Georgia will take place.

Georgia had been one of four states that allowed direct lawsuits against insurance companies after an accident involving a trucking company. The new law bars such lawsuits, except in cases where the trucking company has gone bankrupt, or the driver cannot be found. 

NHTSA Investigates Emergency Braking Problems In Select Honda Models 

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a preliminary investigation into certain Honda vehicles due to issues with emergency braking.  The problem is observed in the 2019-2022 models of the Honda Insight, a hybrid electric car, and the Honda Passport SUV, potentially impacting 250,712 vehicles.  According to NHTSA, this safety issue has caused 46 complaints, including three crashes or fires and two injuries.

The NHTSA report warns that the inadvertent activation of the automatic emergency braking system can increase the risk of collisions, leading to injuries and property damage. Honda has already been in touch with the agency regarding the issue and has pledged full cooperation during the investigation process. The company is also reviewing the available information internally to identify the root cause of the problem.

The preliminary evaluation marks the first phase of an NHTSA investigation, which involves a thorough review of consumer complaints or manufacturer service bulletins that suggest a safety defect may exist. During this phase, the agency will determine if a full investigation is necessary to identify and correct the problem. 

NHTSA says it will work closely with Honda to assess public safety risks and ensure appropriate steps are taken to address any safety defects. Beasley Allen lawyers will monitor this situation for further developments. 

Source: Claims Journal

Toyota Recalls 380,000 Trucks – Risk Of Crash Over Axle Problem

Toyota Motor is recalling approximately 380,000 trucks in the United States due to an axle issue that could increase the risk of a crash. The recall covers Tacoma vehicles of model years 2022 and 2023. The issue lies with the axle shaft separation which can impact the vehicle’s stability and brake performance due to debris causing improperly secured fasteners.

According to a filing by Toyota with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), dealers will inspect the rear axle assembly and retighten the axle retaining nuts. If any damaged axle components are found, they will be repaired or replaced as needed.

So far, Toyota has received no reports of warranty claims or field reports of incidents related to the recall. The company opened an investigation into the issue after finding an issue involving an axle housing in late October. 

During the investigation, Toyota said that the company and its supplier found issues within the supplier’s inspection process for completed axle assemblies.

In addition to this recall, Toyota has recently issued three other recalls in the United States. These include recalling 280,000 Tundra, Tundra Hybrid, Lexus vehicles, and 2023-2024 Sequoia Hybrid models because of unexpected movement when the vehicle is in neutral, and the brakes are not applied. Dealers will apply a software update to resolve the issue.

Source: Claims Journal

Jeep Grand Chrysler Recall: Over 330,000 Vehicles At Rick Of Potential Steering Issues 

Chrysler has issued a recall for more than 330,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees due to a steering wheel problem that could lead to drivers losing control of their vehicles. This was the third recall by the automaker within a week.

The recall is specifically for 338,238 of Chrysler’s 2021-2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L and 2022-2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee models, according to the documents posted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The steering wheel issue can potentially cause a significant safety hazard. Fortunately, there have been no crashes or injuries that have been reported. 

Chrysler was to start contacting customers beginning on April 12 to arrange to repair the affected vehicles. 

In addition, the automaker has recalled just over 199,000 Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee vehicles for a software error that may cause the defrosting and defogging system to malfunction. 

Due to non-compliance with federal requirements for high-beam lights, the automaker has also recalled 9,000 Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L vehicles from the 2023 and 2024 model years. Dealers will reconfigure the high beams for free, regulators said. 

These recalls show the importance of regular safety checks and prompt action by automakers to ensure customers’ safety.

Sources:, Associated Press


Recent Report Cites Rise In Product Liability Cases

According to a recent litigation report by Lex Machina, the number of product liability cases nationwide has been increasing. Lex Machina’s annual report says that 5,826 cases related to product liability were filed in federal courts in 2022. Ron Porter, the report’s editor and a legal data expert, explained that such cases have increased in recent years.

The report examined trends in product liability lawsuits in federal and appellate courts between 2018 and 2022, focusing on key metrics such as case filings, venues, judges, law firms, parties, timing, case resolutions, findings, and damages.

The report also looked at how specific large-scale litigation events can cause spikes and dips in the number of product liability cases. The following are some of the highlights:

  • In 2022, 5,826 product liability cases (excluding MDL Associated cases) were litigated in federal district courts.
  • Approved Class Action Settlement Damages totaled $214 million between 2018 and 2022, while $201 million in total damages were awarded as Punitive Damages.
  • Between 2018 and 2022, the Southern District of Illinois had the highest number of product liability cases filed. 
  • Syngenta AG, Johnson & Johnson, and Ford Motor Company were the most active defendants in various plaintiff categories.

Source: Insurance Journal

Beasley Allen Lawyer In Mobile Office Investigates Vehicle Rollover With Roof Crush

Vehicle rollover accidents are some of the deadliest traffic crashes.  The primary causes of serious injuries and death in rollover accidents are occupant ejection and roof crush.  According to statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2014 to 2108, only two percent of vehicles involved in traffic accidents involved a rollover, but 24 percent of all fatalities resulted from rollover crashes.  

Great strides have been made in the auto industry to prevent rollover crashes, by lowering the center of gravity of vehicles, widening the track width, and adding electronic stability control.  Additionally, improved seat belt designs, curtain airbags, and other passive safety devices have further increased occupant safety in rollover collisions.  

However, one area that still necessitates design advances to prevent catastrophic injury and death in rollover collisions is occupant survival space.  Simply put, if the vehicle’s roof crushes in a rollover such that there is no occupant survival space, the best seatbelt design and curtain airbag are of little value.  

The need for substantial roof structures is nothing new.  As early as the 1970’s, NHTSA began undertaking measures to set requirements for roof strength.  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216 aimed to address the need and set a benchmark for roof strength.  FMVSS 216 established roof strength requirements using a strength-to-weight ratio (SWR).  

In the original 1973 standard, the SWR was set at 1.5, meaning that a vehicle’s roof must withstand 1.5 times the vehicle’s gross weight.  Despite this standard dating back to the 70’s, roof crush continued to plague the industry and underwent several amendments since its inception.  In 2009, FMVSS 216a increased the SWR to 3.  In one study, researchers found that an increase in the roof strength by one unit of the SWR reduces the odds of a non-ejected occupant suffering a severe injury by about 14%.  

Despite the SWR increase from 1.5 to 3, thousands of motorists are severely injured and killed each year due to roof crush.  Although a step in the right direction, the increase of the SWR requirement from 1.5 to 3 is inadequate to address the overwhelming need to maintain occupant survival space.  

With today’s technology, materials, and engineering practices, there is no excuse for a vehicle’s roof to collapse in foreseeable rollover accidents.  

Evan Allen, a lawyer in our Mobile office, is currently investigating a rollover and roof crush accident that left the driver paralyzed from the neck down.  The 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer his client was operating suffered from a design defect based on the vehicle’s weak roof structure.  The roof collapsed in the rollover event, paralyzing Evan’s client.    

Rise Of Products Liability Cases Involving Braking Systems

Georgia law permits tort claims against product manufacturers for products that are not “merchantable and reasonably suited to the use intended.” O.C.G.A. § 51-1-11. Product liability claims in Georgia can be based on strict liability or negligence. This means that plaintiff need only prove that the product was defective when sold by the manufacturer, leading to injury.  Defects can be in design, manufacturing, or failure to provide adequate warnings.

Typically, we have only seen Automatic Braking Systems (ABS) in higher-end luxury cars. Recently, large car manufacturers, such as Toyota and Nissan, have been installing ABS into common vehicles. These systems are designed with sensors that detect when other vehicles are too close and might create a risk of crash, activating the vehicle’s brakes to slow down or completely stop to prevent the collision. An ABS may have other crash avoidance features, such as sounding a loud warning before activating the vehicle’s brakes.  Unfortunately, these systems often fail to activate completely or are defectively designed, leading to inappropriate or premature braking.

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Atlanta office have handled ABS failure cases against several of the large manufacturers. Our lawyers have learned that modern braking technology is complex and challenging, requiring the appropriate expert who is right to examine the system. 

It’s hard to not place fault to some degree on the driver. These systems are not designed so the driver can fully rely on them to prevent collision. Many ABS only slow down so the driver can take over and apply brakes as needed to avoid the crash. Drivers are still required to be attentive and drive safely, avoiding any potential collision. However, when these systems work exactly as they are intended when designed, they help prevent a crash or at least reduce its severity. However, I am reasonably sure that the technology has not yet reached its full potential. I am even more sure that the public may not be ready for this drastic change. 

Swing Sleepers Recalled For Infant Suffocation Risk

Childcare product manufacturer Jool Baby is recalling over 63,000 infant swings due to suffocation risk. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notes these swings, intended for infant sleep, have an incline over 10 degrees and lack required sleep warnings. The recall targets Nova Baby infant swings made from June 2022 to Sept. 2023. A warning label sewn into the back of the seat displays the manufacture dates.

The swings are gray and feature a round aluminum base, music buttons, a metal frame, a cloth seat with restraints, a headrest and a canopy with toys (yellow moon, blue cloud and pink star). Several stores and websites sold the swings from Nov. 2022 to Nov. 2023 for about $150. Retailers include Walmart,, Amazon, Babylist and Target. The CPSC said that owners should cease using them for sleep immediately.

Customers can contact Jool Baby for a free repair kit, which includes updated instructions, warnings, a new remote and plush toys featuring non-sleep themes (sun, cloud, raindrop). 

While the manufacturer and CPSC have received no reports of injuries or deaths involving the swings, they are part of a broader concern over inclined infant sleepers, which are under increased scrutiny after causing numerous infant deaths. Production of the recalled swings began after President Joe Biden signed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law, but before that law took effect in Nov. 2022, banning the manufacture and sale of inclined sleepers and crib bumpers.

The CPSC has previously highlighted dangers associated with similar products, including the Boppy’s Newborn Lounger and the Fisher-Price Rock’n Play Sleeper, urging parents to ensure safe sleep environments for infants—flat, without blankets, toys, pillows or bumpers.

Sources: Consumer Product Safety Commission, CBS News

Jury Awards $60 Million In Infant Death Case Against Enfamil Maker  

An Illinois jury has awarded $60 million to the mother of an infant who died after using Mead Johnson’s Enfamil formula. This was the first loss for the company in the first of hundreds of lawsuits to go to trial. It’s alleged that some cow’s milk-based formulas cause a fatal sickness in preterm children.

In the trial held in St. Clair County, Illinois, Plaintiff Jasmine Watson – who filed the 2021 suit on behalf of her own and on behalf of the child’s estate’s behalf – was successful in her claim that Enfamil was the reason behind her infant son’s death from necrotizing enterocolitis.

The jury verdict gave plaintiff Watson $35 million for the loss of her child, $10 million for grief, sorrow and mental anguish, $5 million for her son’s pain and suffering and $5 million for his emotional distress. The lawsuit was based on the following contentions: 

  • Premature babies and those born with low birth weight are more vulnerable to the disease – which causes inflammation in the intestines – due to the underdeveloped digestive systems. Studies and trials have shown that cow’s milk-based feeding products are the cause of this disease in such infants.
  • Mead Johnson marketed its cow’s milk-based products as a substitute for breast milk without disclosing that its products increase the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis. 
  • The company concealed this information from its marketing materials and websites.

The complaint in the plaintiff’s suit contained claims based on strict liability for design defect, strict liability for failure to warn, negligence, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and wrongful death.

The plaintiff is represented by Ashley Keller, Ben Whiting, and Amelia Frenkel of Keller Postman LLC, Sean Grimsley, Kenzo Kawanabe, Abby Hinchcliff, Samara Hoose and Beth Costner of Olson Grimsley and Dave Cates of The Cates Law Firm.

The case is Watson v. Mead Johnson, case number 2021L1032, in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Illinois.

Source: Law360


Claims For On-The-Job Injuries In Addition To Those For Worker’s Compensation

Most states have an exclusive remedy for on-the-job injuries. In this issue, we will take a look at Georgia law. Under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, employees cannot sue their employers for on-the-job injuries.  Instead, employees are entitled to payment through their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance without proof of fault.  Though this may seem like a way to ensure an employee quickly receives payment for the injuries they sustained, workers’ compensation covers only a fraction of a worker’s injuries.    

There are ways, however, to avoid the exclusive remedy under workers’ compensation. If an employee is catastrophically injured or killed because of a defective machine, the maker of the machine is not shielded from liability.  For example, if the machine that injured the worker was defectively designed or failed to have adequate warnings to ensure its safety, then the maker can be held liable.  If there was a defect in how the machine was assembled or installed, the installer may also be held liable.  If an inspector failed to properly inspect a machine or perform maintenance, the inspector or mechanic could also be liable. 

It’s an absolute necessity for a lawyer who is investigating a serious personal injury or death in an on-the-job incident to look further than just worker’s compensation. Most likely there is a claim other than just a comp case. It’s the duty of a trial lawyer to fully investigate the factual situation and also make sure on questions of law. 

Beasley Allen lawyers work diligently to investigate and litigate one-the-job injuries and may be able to find a workaround for worker’s compensation exclusive remedy. If you or a family member have suffered an on-the-job injury due to a machine at work malfunctioning or inadequate warnings, contact Sloan Downes, Section Director of our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section.

Premises Liability Litigation

Georgia Premises Liability: Visitor Classifications

Our firm has been handling premises litigation involving injuries and deaths. Beasley Allen lawyers have learned a lot over the years. In the world of premises liability, not all visitors are owed the same duty of care. To determine the liability of a property owner it is important to determine the classification of the visitor. That’s because each visitor classification is owed a different duty. 

In Georgia, there are three types of visitors/entrant classifications: 1) Invitees, 2) Licensees, and 3) Trespassers. The specific facts as to how a person accesses the property in question determine that person’s visitor clarification. 

An invitee, or a person invited to the property for a specific mutually beneficial purpose, is owed the highest duty of care of the three visitor classifications. A property owner owes an invitee the duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches in a reasonably safe condition.  

On the other hand, a licensee is a person who is neither a customer, a servant, nor a trespasser and is permitted, expressly or impliedly, to go on the premises merely for his own interest, For example, this would include social guests, a person in a retail store solely for the purpose of using the restroom, an insurance salesman making a sales call, or an employer entering upon property to offer an employee a job. A property owner owes a lesser duty to a licensee to not willfully (intentionally) or wantonly (recklessly) injure them. 

Lastly, a trespasser is owed no duty except that the property owner must not intentionally or recklessly injure the trespasser. This includes exercising ordinary care to protect anticipated trespassers from dangerous activities or hidden perils on the premises.

Depending on the facts of the visit, a visitor’s classification can change while they are on the property. For instance, although a person may enter the property as an invitee, that classification can change if the visitor goes beyond the part of the property to which they were invited. In that case, the visitor’s classification would change to that of licensee, or even a trespasser.  

Similarly, an invitee’s presence on the property can also be limited in time, so that if an invitee uses the premises at a time beyond that which the merchant invites the visitor, the visitor would become a mere licensee. This is based on the theory that an invitee only remains an invitee for so long as they are on the property for a mutually beneficial purpose. 

The Court of Appeals has held that where a visitor entered a nightclub as a patron, he was initially considered an invitee.  However, once the visitor was rightfully ejected from the nightclub for intoxication and then attempted to reenter the establishment, he turned into a trespasser on the property.  The Court of Appeals described this as a “micro-adaption” or “mini-evolution” of his status as an invitee to that of a trespasser.

In addition to proving the duty of care owed, the plaintiff also must prove that the property owner had knowledge about the dangerous condition. In many of the cases, the owner may not have actual knowledge of the dangerous condition. Therefore, constructive knowledge must be shown. To establish constructive knowledge, the plaintiff must show: 

  • that the owner had an employee in the immediate area of the hazard who could have easily seen the substance or 
  • the hazard remained long enough that through ordinary diligence the employees should have discovered it. 

Constructive knowledge may be inferred when there is evidence that the owner failed to have a reasonable inspection procedure. In order to prevail at summary judgment based on lack of constructive knowledge, the owner must demonstrate not only that it had a reasonable inspection program in place, but that such program was actually carried out at the time of the incident. Lomax v. Kroger Co., 348 Ga. App. 726, 824 S.E.2d 629 (2019). 

In addition, to withstand a motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff need not show how long the hazard had been present unless the owner has demonstrated its reasonable inspection procedures. Petrosky v. Embry Crossing Condo Assn., 284 Ga. App. 354, 643 S.E.2d 855 (2007). 

Negligent Security: Gas Station And Convenience Store Liability

Beasley Allen has been very active in the handling of premises liability litigation in several parts of the country. In this issue, we will discuss one specific area of premises liability litigation in Georgia. It involves gas stations and convenience stores, which have become rather notorious for attracting on-scene crime in the Atlanta metro area. Vulnerable patrons, ample cash, and security measures that quite often are inadequate make these establishments prime targets for criminal offenders. 

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Atlanta office, led by Parker Miller, are currently investigating multiple shootings and violent criminal attacks occurring on the premises of several of these businesses in Georgia, especially those throughout the Atlanta metro-area. 

Our lawyers have found that gas station and convenience store owners and managers are aware of the danger to which patrons are put on the premises of these businesses. Those premises are rampant with criminal and gang-related activity. There have been numerous homicides, robberies, aggravated assaults, shootings, and gang-related violence. 

There also have been incidents where even employees of these businesses were victimized by criminals. Clerks often requested for more adequate security measures to be implemented, but quite often there would be no response from owners. The owners and operators of these businesses have a legal obligation to protect the safety of their employees and the patrons of the business.  

Parker Miller in our Atlanta office is currently our lead Negligent Security Litigation Attorney.


Businesses Need A Trial Lawyer When They Become Victims

Business disputes can be very different from other types of cases. Usually, this litigation involves conflict over contracts, misrepresentations, or other business torts. The courts – state and federal – are involved. Arbitration is also involved in these cases quite often.  We have a team of highly skilled and experienced lawyers at Beasley Allen who handle these types of cases. If you have a client involved in a legal battle of a business or commercial nature, you know how high the stakes can be. We will list just a few of the business cases we are currently handling or have handled in the past:

  • Businesses and Large churches with substantial termite damage (pending);
  • Over 4,000 business clients with BP oil spill claims (confidential settlement);
  • Two separate engineering businesses that were sold different types of defective equipment, disrupting operations in both businesses (confidential settlements);
  • A large agricultural business that was sold a defective inventory resulting in substantial damages (pending);
  • A wood processing plant that sought damages from a major chemical company’s misrepresentations & contract breaches over demands for wood products (confidential settlement);
  • A State University’s dispute with a major service company over overcharges for services (pending);
  • Beasley Allen represented the Insurance Commissioner for a State over fraudulent transactions involving a reinsurance company and three professional insurance companies ($150 million settlement);
  • Beasley Allen currently represents healthcare providers (hospitals, physicians, and others) in a large antitrust class action against this country’s largest health insurance company over reimbursement rates;
  • Beasley Allen has represented Medicaid agencies in eight states against the pharmaceutical industry for fraudulent pricing of drugs ($1.5 billion recovered).

Apple Fined $2 Billion In Major European Antitrust Case

The European Union (EU) fined Apple $2 billion for unfair rules on music-streaming app developers. Apple was found guilty of violating antitrust rules by preventing app developers from informing users about alternative ways of subscribing to music-streaming services and has ordered Apple to amend its practices.

The fine resulted from a multiyear investigation, resulting in one of the largest antitrust penalties ever imposed. Google has also faced large fines in two cases currently under appeal.

The Commission’s investigation into Apple arose from a complaint filed by Spotify, which competes with Apple’s music-streaming service, Apple Music.

Spotify accused Apple of blocking user communication regarding upgrades, pricing, and promotions. The company said it hopes the EU’s antitrust decision will change Apple’s “unfair practices.”

Apple says it will appeal the ruling, which it claims was made “despite the Commission’s failure to find any credible evidence of harm to consumers.” Nevertheless, Apple said it would change some of its practices to comply with a U.S. court ruling on alternative payment options. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the EU’s new Digital Markets Act will make it easier for smaller rivals to compete against big tech companies like Apple, Meta Platforms and Google. Apple will have to allow alternative app stores and payment processing services on its iOS system and let developers direct customers to other ways to sign up for their services. Google will be subject to the same rules for its Play Store.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Class Action Litigation

$45.5 Million JUUL Settlement By Altria

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick, a California federal judge, has approved JUUL Investor Altria’s $45.5 million settlement resolving claims it deceptively marketed JUUL e-cigarette products to minors. The settlement follows a JUUL Labs, Inc. $255 million settlement in the MDL.  Judge Orrick also warned that fraudulent claims submitted by AI and “click farms” are a “real problem” that criminal prosecutors should investigate. 

The settlement by big tobacco corporation Altria Group Inc. arose out of its role in marketing JUUL vapes to minors. The agreement settles claims that Altria was complicit in JUUL’s deceptive marketing strategies that marketed vapes to non-smoking minors. 

The companies used fruit and candy vape flavors, alluring imagery, and social media blitzes to hook a new generation on nicotine at a time when tobacco smoking had fallen to an all-time low. 

Altria, which owns some of the world’s largest tobacco brands, paid $12.8 billion for a minority share of JUUL in 2018, the same year thousands of lawsuits blaming the vape maker for its deceptive youth marketing gained momentum.

Altria and the plaintiffs reached the $45.5 million settlement in October. Judge Orrick gave the agreement final approval on March 14. Last year, JUUL agreed to pay $255 million to settle its part of the class action. That settlement got final approval in September. The Altria settlement brings the total settlement amount to over $300 million.

In 2023, JUUL reached a $462 million deal with six states, resolving allegations that it marketed its vape products to teens and kids. The year before, it had reached a $438.5 million settlement with 33 other states and Puerto Rico. 

Judge Orrick had previously agreed to certify four plaintiff classes in the case – a nationwide class, a nationwide youth class, and a California class and California youth class. JUUL and Altria were appealing the class certification when it reached the settlement last month.

During the hearing, class counsel Dena C. Sharp updated Judge Orrick on the claims process. The claims administrator has received around 14 million claims, five times more than expected. However, there are still far too many obvious fraudulent claims. Class counsel estimates only about 2 million claims will be legitimate with valid documentation.

The fraudulent claims are purportedly submitted by artificial intelligence bots, and groups of people hired to fraudulently click dozens or hundreds of reCAPTCHA checkboxes to defraud the system. 

Judge Orrick suggested that class counsel and the claims administrator document the alleged fraudulent submissions and provide the information to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. 

The lawyers were also asked to submit documentation to the court that lays out the administrator’s fraud analysis and how class counsel plans to deal with the rejection notices.

The consumers are represented by Sarah Robin London of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, Dena C. Sharp of Girard Sharp LLP, Ellen Relkin of Weitz & Luxenberg PC and Dean Kawamoto of Keller Rohrback LLP.

The case is In re: Juul Labs Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:19-md-02913, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Source: Law360

Federal Judge Rules Plaintiffs’ Class Action FCA Is Not Moot Despite A Recall 

On February 17, 2023, Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Clay Barnett, Mitch Williams, and Dylan Martin filed a class action lawsuit against FCA US LLC – the maker of Ram trucks – for a serious safety defect in 2019-2023 Ram 1500, Jeep Wrangler, and Jeep Wagoneer vehicles equipped with eTorque (FCA’s hybrid technology). 

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges there is a defect with the eTorque system that causes the vehicles to stall suddenly, automatically shift to park, and automatically engage the emergency brake, without any warning to the driver. Plaintiffs and other Class members report stalling events in all driving conditions, including on busy highways and rush hour traffic, placing the driver and others on the road at an increased risk of injury. 

Two months later, in  April 2023, FCA issued a recall for the 2021 model year Ram 1500 trucks with eTorque, but excluded all other models and model years. Moreover, FCA’s recall claimed the cause of the stalling events was a rich fuel condition, and that FCA would issue a software update to adjust the air-fuel ratio. 

In response to FCA’s recall, the plaintiffs worked with an independent automotive consultant to test whether a rich fuel condition was indeed causing the stalling events. Plaintiffs’ consultant’s testing indicated that a rich fuel condition was notthe cause. 

On July 21, 2023, FCA moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint, arguing in part that the claims were moot in light of FCA’s voluntary recall that already provides “a free repair for the exact defect and reimbursement for any prior repairs.” 

On January 17, 2024, Judge Mathew Leitman denied FCA’s motion to dismiss, finding that “Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the recall is insufficient.” More specifically, Judge Leitman held that “Plaintiffs have alleged that an automotive consultant examined a Class Vehicle that was experiencing problems typically associated with the eTorque Defect and that the consultant found that ‘there were no indications of a rich fuel condition.’” 

Following Judge Leitman’s order, the parties are now beginning the early stages of discovery. We look forward to keeping our readers up to date on this important litigation as it progresses to trial. 

The case is Fisher, et al., v. FCA US LLC, 23-cv-10426, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was filed by Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Clay Barnett, Mitch Williams, and Dylan Martin, along with lawyers from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and The Miller Law Firm, P.C. 

Realtors Agree To $418 Million Settlement

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has agreed to pay $418 million over four years and to modify its broker commission rules as part of a settlement to resolve and end claims that its regulations inflated home sellers’ fees across the U.S. 

NAR’s agreement will end litigation over the broker fee rules against the group, its members, local associations, multiple listing services, and smaller brokerages run by its members. The settlement includes a mechanism for brokers owned by NAR members with over $2 billion in transactions in 2022 or MLSs not owned by an NAR affiliate to opt in. 

The settlement does not include Berkshire Hathaway-owned HomeServices of America, the only brokerage that continues to fight the jury verdict. NAR’s modified rules will now bar realtors from including the commission a buyer’s broker would be paid on an MLS listing and will require buyer-side brokers to have a written agreement with their clients. 

The cases target NAR rules that require brokers working for sellers to make an offer to compensate a buyer-side broker when listing a property. The sellers contend that the rules violate antitrust law by eliminating competition between brokers working for buyers, which results in sellers paying inflated commissions of around 3% to each broker. 

NAR is changing rules regarding the cooperative compensation model. Affiliates can no longer mandate its use, and brokers can’t list buyer commissions in MLS property listings.

The settlement will still need court approval. Regardless, NAR said the changes will go into effect in mid-July.

The home sellers are represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Susman Godfrey LLP, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Boulware Law LLC, Ketchmark & McCreight PC and Williams Dirks Dameron LLC.

The cases are Burnett et al. v. the National Association of Realtors et al., case number 4:19-cv-00332, Gibson et al. v. National Association of Realtors et al., case number 4:23-cv-00788, and Umpa et al. v. The National Association of Realtors et al., case number 4:23-cv-00945, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and Moehrl et al. v. the National Association of Realtors et al., case number 1:19-cv-01610, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Source: Law360

Apple Settles A Shareholder Class Action For $490 Million 

Apple has agreed to pay $490 million to settle a shareholder class action lawsuit that accused the company of misleading investors about iPhone sales in China. Investors claimed that Apple hid a sales slump from its investors, leading them to believe that the company’s financial prospects were stronger than they were. It was alleged in the suit: 

  • The company disclosed the problem in early January 2019 when it “slashed” its previously announced quarterly revenue forecast for the first time in 15 years. 
  • After Apple missed its revenue projections by up to $9 billion, its stock dropped more than 9% the day after the announcement. 

The settlement would resolve a dispute between the class of stockholders and the tech giant over statements about Apple’s iPhone sales in China made by CEO Tim Cook and its Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri in 2019. 

Under the settlement agreement, the lead plaintiffs plan to seek no more than $73,000 in total for their roles as class representatives and class members can opt out of the settlement or else receive a pro-rata share of the settlement based on the type of security transacted and the relative size of their recognized claims.

The investors are represented by Shawn A. Williams, Daniel J. Pfefferbaum, Kenneth J. Black, Hadiya K. Deshmukh, Jacob G. Gelman, Mark Solomon, Ellen Gusikoff Stewart and Jason A. Forge of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and Thomas Michaud of VanOverbeke Michaud & Timmony PC.

The Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island is represented by Carol Villegas of Labaton Keller Sucharow LLP.

The case is In re: Apple Inc. Securities Litigation, case number 4:19-cv-02033, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Source: Law360

Class Action Complaint Filed Against Kratom Company Ashlynn Marketing Group 

A federal class action lawsuit was filed on February 16, 2024, against Ashlynn Marketing Group, Inc. in the Southern District of California.  The complaint alleges that the company hid material facts that its kratom-based products are addictive while marketing them as safe and natural supplements.  The two users identified in the complaint, J.J. and C.D., filed under their initials to preserve their personal privacy because the lawsuit concerns issues of addiction and medical status.

The complaint alleges that Ashlynn either knew or should have known about kratom’s addictive characteristics, as there have been medical studies and literature showing its addictiveness since at least 1988.  Despite these known risks, the complaint alleges that neither the label nor Ashlynn’s website warns about the product’s addictiveness and markets the product as safe and natural.  

The class includes U.S. residents who purchased the products online while residing in California.  The complaint alleges violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Consumers Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, as well as breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and fraud by omission.

Kratom, also known as mitragyna speciosa, is a tree native to Southeast Asia.  The leaves contain a chemical called mitragynine, which creates an opioid-like effect when consumed.  

Beasley Allen lawyers continue representing individuals who seek to hold kratom companies accountable for their deceptive marketing and sales practices, which has led to serious injuries to many individuals who were unaware of its dangerous side effects.

Sources: J.J. et al. v. Ashlynn Marketing Group, Inc., 24-cv-00311-GPC-MSB, Doc. 1; Kratom Buyers Say Sellers Hid Opioid-Like Addiction Risks, Law360

Class Action Lawyers At Beasley Allen

Beasley Allen lawyers remain heavily involved in class action litigation in all parts of the country. Dee Miles, who heads the Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, leads the effort. Other lawyers in the section who handle class action cases and are on the Class Action Litigation Team: 

Demet Basar, Lance Gould, Clay Barnett, James Eubank, Mitch Williams, Rebecca Gilliland, Paul Evans, Dylan Martin and Trent Mann.

If you need help on a case that would qualify as a class action, you can contact one of the lawyers on the team. You can also contact Michelle Fulmer, Section Director, and she will have one of the lawyers on the team respond to you.


False Claims Act Settlements And Judgments Exceed $2.68 Billion In 2023

According to the U.S. Attorney General’s office, settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act in the fiscal year 2023 exceeded $2.68 billion. This Act imposes treble damages and penalties on those who knowingly and falsely claim money from or intentionally fail to pay money owed to the United States. 

In the same year, healthcare fraud remained a leading source of False Claims Act settlements and judgments. These recoveries restore funds to federal programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, the health care program for service members and their families.

The False Claims Act plays a crucial role in the U.S. legal system by holding individuals and organizations accountable for fraudulent activities that involve the government. The Act is a significant factor in the healthcare industry, where fraudulent claims can lead to substantial financial losses for the government and also cause patient harm.

In fiscal year 2023, the Attorney General’s office listed some of the more extensive False Claims, including healthcare fraud, kickbacks and other fraudulent activities. These included the following: 

  • hospitals and nursing homes submitting fraudulent claims for Medicare reimbursement, 
  • pharmaceutical companies engaging in unlawful marketing practices, and 
  • medical equipment suppliers submitting false claims for durable medical equipment.

The False Claims Act is an extremely effective tool that imposes treble damages and penalties to deter fraudulent activities. Recoveries made under the Act restore much-needed funds to federal healthcare programs like Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, providing essential healthcare services to millions of Americans.

Source: Claims Journal

The DOJ’s New Whistleblower Rewards Program

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is launching a new whistleblower rewards program that could result in millions of dollars being paid to informants who blow the whistle on employers who engage in wrongful or unethical practices. 

Whistleblower programs have proven to be extremely effective at combatting corporate fraud. For example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) initiative launched after the 2007-2008 financial crisis to tackle corporate abuses has generated $1.9 billion in rewards for 397 whistleblowers. The illegal wrongdoings whistleblowers have brought to the agency have resulted in monetary sanctions of over $6 billion and over $1 billion returned to harmed investors. 

The number of leads through that program has also increased in recent years. Last year, a record 18,000 whistleblower tips were reported, a nearly 50% increase from the previous year. 

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, addressing attendees at a white-collar crime conference recently, noted that existing whistleblower programs were a “patchwork quilt that doesn’t cover the whole bed.” For example, the current program only covers fraud against the government, the SEC’s program only covers publicly traded companies, and the Internal Revenue Service’s program only applies to matters that fall under its jurisdiction. 

The new program will pay whistleblowers from criminal forfeitures, providing a strong incentive for them to report money laundering, sanctions evasion, and other violations that hinder U.S. national security interests. 

Corporate lawyers correctly say the new program should encourage companies to scrutinize their own compliance practices. As folks in my hometown of Clayton would say, the program will make companies “straighten up and fly right.” So, let’s see how the program works after it has been in existence for a while. 

Sources: National Law Journal, Law360

Lincare Reaches $25.5 Million Whistleblower Settlement

Lincare, Inc. has agreed to pay about $25.5 million as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and others resolving litigation over allegations it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) by mishandling the rental of respiratory equipment to patients. Under the settlement, Lincare is set to pay the federal government about $24.2 million, with an additional $1.27 million going to various states.

The settlement resolves claims that Lincare violated the FCA by fraudulently continuing to bill federal health care programs for the rental of non-invasive ventilators when patients no longer needed or used the devices.  According to the settlement, in some cases the company knew the patients had stopped using the devices.  The settlement also resolves claims that Lincare violated the AKS by waiving co-payments for certain Medicare and Tricare patients without verifying they met the company’s requirements to demonstrate financial need.

The settlement stems from a whistleblower complaint filed in 2018 by former Lincare employees, Sandra Gauch and Michelle McNeill, pursuant to the qui tam provisions of the FCA.  

If you are aware of fraud being committed against the federal or state governments, your reporting is confidential and protected by the FCA. Under that same statute you could be rewarded for reporting the fraud you have witnessed. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, contact a lawyer in the Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section of the firm for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim.  There is a contact form on our website, or you may email one of our lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team, which consists of Lance Gould, Larry Golston, Leon Hampton, Paul Evans, Lauren Miles, and Tyner Helms.

Source: Department of Justice 

Railroad Whistleblowers Federal Rail Safety Act Claims

There are numerous types of employment law protections for working men and women. We often report on the more well-known cases dealing with race, sex and age, but there are many others. This month we will discuss the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA), 49 U.S.C. § 20109, which provides protection to railroad workers from retaliation for reporting safety and security violations.

The FRSA, which was enacted to promote railroad safety and reduce accidents, also protects employees of railroad carriers, contractors, and subcontractors from retaliation for reporting some safety and security violations against railroad carriers. 

To bring a successful case under the FRSA, a plaintiff must show that he or she (1) was involved in a protected activity; (2) the railroad carrier either knew or suspected that the plaintiff was involved in the protected activity; (3) the plaintiff suffered an adverse action, and (4) that the circumstances allow an inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor to the adverse action.

The FRSA specifically provides protection from retaliation for railroad workers considered “whistleblowers” who are engaged in the following protected activities:

  • Filing a complaint, causing a proceeding to be brought, or assisting and/or cooperating in actions by federal regulatory agencies, law enforcement agencies, Congress, or the employer; 
  • Refusing to participate in violations of laws, rules, and regulations that are related to railroad safety and security;
  • Reporting safety of security issues and/or refusing to work with an “imminent[ly] dangerous safety or security condition”;
  • Reporting worked hours accurately; 
  • Reporting injuries or illnesses related to railroad employment and/or following treatment plans outlined by a treating physician; and, 
  • Requesting medical or first-aid treatments. 

Retaliation under the FRSA includes a laundry list of adverse actions, including termination, blacklisted, demotion, reduction in hours and pay, failure to promote, denying overtime and several other forms of retaliation. 

Similar to other employment cases, the “whistleblower “ plaintiff is required to make a prima facie case showing the plaintiff was retaliated against by the railroad employer. The FRSA does not, however, require that the plaintiff show that the retaliation was the only factor leading to the adverse action. In fact, the case law even states that it does not have to be the only, or even main, motivation. 

If you have a client with a potential FRSA violation, it is important to note that potential claims must be filed within 180 days of the last retaliatory action, like the date of termination or the date when a promotion or raise was denied. Where a plaintiff prevails, he or she is entitled to compensatory damages, costs, and attorney fees. 

Sources: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Stapleton v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 530 F. Supp. 3d 1128 (M.D. Fla. 2021); Singleton v. Norfolk S. Ry. Co., No. 1:19-CV-3133-TWT, 2023 WL 1768115, at *5 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 3, 2023);  Coppinger-Martin v. Solis, 627 F.3d 745, 750 (9th Cir. 2010)

The Beasley Allen Employment Litigation Team

 Lawyers in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section handle employment litigation for the firm. This team also handle our Qui Tam Litigation (Whistleblower) cases. Many of the whistleblowers also have a retaliation claim related to their False Claims Act (FCA) claim. Oftentimes, an employee as a whistleblower is the “original source” of an FCA claim.

Our Employment Litigation Team has had some tremendous success in both employment cases and qui tam cases. Currently, the team is pursuing some high-profile cases in courts around the country.

If you are aware of fraud being committed against the federal or state governments, you could be rewarded for reporting the fraud.  If you have questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, contact a Beasley Allen lawyer for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim.


Florida Judge Approves $43.5 Million Settlement To Resolve Deutsche Bank Ponzi Claims 

On March 1, 2024, a Florida bankruptcy judge entered an order approving a $43.5 million settlement between Deutsche Bank AG and liquidators for a group of Caribbean-based companies to resolve claims against the bank for its alleged role in a real estate Ponzi scheme targeting rich South Americans.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Scott M. Grossman granted a motion of compromise controversy, approving the settlement between joint liquidators representing 13 Caribbean companies, after a hearing in Fort Lauderdale on February 28, 2024.  The agreement allows the liquidators to recover the $43.5 million from Deutsche Bank related to their claims that the bank assisted with issuing notes in the Ponzi scheme and allowed money to be misappropriated.

Judge Grossman granted the motion under the Justice Oaks standards.  The standards derive from the 1990 Eleventh Circuit case of Accord Wallis v. Justice Oaks and state that a bankruptcy judge does not have to rule on the merits of claims being resolved by a settlement, but instead can approve a settlement if the Judge decides the claims will probably succeed. Judge Grossman also followed the principle of comity, which recognizes a Cayman Islands court’s approval of the agreement.

The Caribbean companies filed for bankruptcy in 2018 following a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Biscayne Capital International LLC, Roberto Cortes, Ernesto Weisson, Juan Carlos Cortes, and Frank R. Chatburn, according to their Chapter 15 petition.

Court records show investigators learned that the Cortes, Weisson, and Chatburn carried out the “Biscayne Capital scheme,” in which they formed offshore entities and sold “tradeable notes” to raise capital for high-end South Florida real estate projects.  They then used the proceeds from sales of the notes to fund other venues that were losing money and continued to issue new notes to repay maturing ones.  Using incoming investment funds instead of profits to repay older investors is the hallmark of a Ponzi scheme.  

Roberto Cortes founded Biscayne Capital, a financial services company in Florida.  Roberto, Juan Carlos Cortes, his brother, and others ran the company as a Ponzi scheme from 2013 to 2018.  Beyond paying investors, the co-conspirators also paid themselves millions of dollars using investor funds and provided fraudulent account statements to conceal the fraud.  When the scheme collapsed in 2018, Biscayne Capital clients lost more than $155 million.  

The fraud also led to criminal charges for those involved, which were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.  From 2019 through 2022, four of Roberto Cortes’s co-conspirators, including his brother Juan Carlos pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and/or conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Chatburn was prosecuted in federal court and sentenced to prison in 2019 for his role in an Ecuadorian oil bribery case.  Another co-conspirator, Fernando Bergson, was arrested in Argentina in September 2021 and is facing extradition to the United States.  Roberto Cortes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in September 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  

Last year, in April 2023, a Miami federal jury awarded the liquidators $95 million in damages against Deutsche Bank.  The liquidators brought a total of eight claims against Deutsche Bank, and four went to trial.  The jury found that Deutsche Bank was negligent in allowing the fraudsters to siphon investor money out of accounts the bank helped establish.  After the verdict, the bank appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. The settlement agreement approved resolves all of the litigation, including the bank’s appeals.  

The bankruptcy case is In re: North Pointe Holdings Ltd, Case No. 0:18-bk-24659, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. The verdict against Deutsche Bank was awarded in Michael Pearson et al. n. Deutsche Bank AG et al., Case No. 21-cv-22437-BB, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  

Lawyers in our firm are currently handling two major cases involving Ponzi schemes where banks were involved and failed to act on clear warning signs that a Ponzi scheme was occurring with suspicious deposits and withdrawals. The temptation for the banks to close their eyes and ignore the warning signs of a Ponzi scheme because of the big deposits from the scheme being used to create new revenue for the banks appears to just be too great for them to act responsibly and report the suspicious activity.  When the banks don’t, they are often found to be perpetuating the Ponzi scheme even though they are not actively involved in the scheme. The result is people lose their money.

James Eubank, Lance Gould, Paul Evans and Tyner Helms are working on these Ponzi scheme matters and are available to answer questions for anyone needing assistance with this issue. Dee Miles, who heads up our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, is also involved in these cases.

Report Shows Securities Litigation Cases Decline Nationwide 

Securities litigation cases are on the decline according to a report by Lex Machina. The number of federal securities litigation cases filed nationwide decreased between 2021 and 2023. Securities litigation volume peaked in 2021 with 2,647 cases filed, the report said. The number of cases decreased to 1,937 in 2022 and further to 1,758 in 2023 – the lowest since 2017.

The Southern District of New York (SDNY), the busiest district, had the highest number of securities cases filed (36%) over three years, followed by the District of Delaware (10%), the Eastern District of New York, and the Northern District of California. 

J.P. Morgan Securities, Goldman Sachs & Co., and Morgan Stanley & Co. were the most active defendants in 56, 55, and 54 cases, respectively, over three years. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed 733 cases in 64 districts, making them the most active plaintiff.

The report also found that about 84% of cases between 2021 and 2023 resulted in a likely settlement or a resolution on procedural grounds. Additionally, approved class action settlements resulted in $11.2 billion across 289 cases, while 440 cases led to nearly $4 billion in SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) penalties, and 471 cases resulted in nearly $4.8 billion in disgorgement.

Source: National Law Journal

Securities Litigation Team At Beasley Allen

Beasley Allen’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section has a skilled and experienced group of lawyers dedicated to handling cases where individuals become victims of fraud, including securities fraud.  Lawyers on the Securities Litigation Team at Beasley Allen are actively involved in multiple securities fraud class actions in courts around the country and in FINRA arbitration proceedings.  

James Eubank, who worked for years as a securities regulator with the Alabama Securities Commission, is leading the Securities Litigation Team and securities fraud investigations.  

Lawyers in the section who handle these claims welcome any opportunity to investigate suspected practices and are blessed to be able to engage with both new and established colleagues in federal securities law and state securities litigation. 

You can contact a member of our Securities Litigation Team concerning any securities cases or issues. The team includes the following lawyers: James Eubank, who heads the team, along with Demet Basar, Rebecca Gilliland and Paul Evans. Dee Miles, who heads the section, also works with the team. The team members can be reached by using the contact form at the bottom of this page.


Medical Monitoring Claims Under Review In CPAP MDL

On June 14, 2021, Philips Respironics issued a voluntary recall of over 15 million CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator devices worldwide, at least half of which are used daily in the United States. The recall was issued because the PE-PUR foam, used to reduce noise and vibration of the machine, and its off-gasses have long been known to be toxic. These toxic particles and fumes can enter the devices’ airways, which then, in turn, are inhaled by the users. The potential health risks for inhaling particles of the PE-PUR foam include asthma, irritation to the respiratory tract, and cancer-causing effects to organs like the lungs and kidneys. 

A Multi-District Litigation was established in the Western District of Pennsylvania before Judge Joy Flowers Conti in anticipation of a high volume of plaintiffs filing complaints all over the United States. Since this consolidation, plaintiffs have filed master complaints for different types of harm alleged. One such harm is no immediate injuries, but an allegedly heightened risk meriting long-term medical monitoring due to the “subcellular” injury said to be caused by continuous exposure to the foam degradation. Judge Conti declined a special master’s recommendation to “trim” claims seeking such medical monitoring after Philips sought to dismiss the Med Mon complaint in its entirety. 

Judge Conti stated she was not ready to accept the recommendation to trim out claims in the thirty states requiring a “manifest injury” since not every state has made a determination on medical monitoring in its highest courts. So rather than rely on conjecture and prediction, the recommendation was sent back to the special master for further investigation into each state’s elements of plaintiffs’ various claims to evaluate whether each state would deem the “subcellular” injury as satisfactory of the particular state’s requirements.

Beasley Allen lawyers are currently investigating claims related to the devices recalled by Philips where users have developed lung cancer, asthma, chronic respiratory injuries, or kidney disease.  Beasley Allen is currently only investigating claims for plaintiffs who reside in states with statutes of limitation of three years or longer.

Infant Formula Litigation Update

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious and often fatal condition that results in the degradation and subsequent perforation of the bowels and is found most commonly in premature, underweight infants who were fed cow’s milk-based formula or fortifiers.  Studies clearly show that premature, underweight infants are at a much higher risk of this often-fatal condition when given cow’s milk-based formulas like Enfamil and Similac.  Despite the overwhelming science, and the fact that virtually every pediatric medical organization worldwide recognizes the heightened risk of NEC from these formulas, these manufacturers offer no warning whatsoever on their products about the risk.  

The federal Infant Formula litigation has been consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Illinois before the Honorable Rebecca Pallmeyer.  Currently, the parties in the MDL are working towards the first bellwether trials, which are expected to take place in early 2025.  

Beasley Allen has cases pending in Madison County, IL.  Those cases are presently stalled as the defendants appeal several jurisdictional decisions by Presiding Judge Dennis Ruth.  All briefs have now been filed with the appellate court, and we await the Court’s ruling.  We hope those appeals will be resolved soon, so we can resume our trial schedule in 2024.  In the meantime, experts are being deposed and discovery continues.

Ozempic MDL Holds First Conference And Sets The Stage For New Litigation

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation recently sent cases involving Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and other popular Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists (“GLP-1 RAs”) to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before an experienced jurist in Judge Gene Pratter.  Once an MDL is formed, the judge usually sets an initial case-management conference to discuss several important logistics, anticipate future issues, and sets necessary expectations for the new litigation.  

Judge Pratter held the first conference in this newly formed MDL in Pennsylvania on March 14, 2024.  During the conference, Judge Pratter discussed several issues, including: (a) the leadership selection process; (b) communications; (c) expectations for future motion practice; (d) plaintiffs’ fact sheets; (e) the potential for separate tracks or sub-classes of cases; (f) discovery plans; (g) science day planning; and (h) future status conferences, including scheduling the Rule 26(f) conference.  The parties left the conference with a good set of plans moving forward and a lot of upcoming work.    

Beasley Allen lawyers are currently investigating cases involving Ozempic, as well as other similar drugs and injections with the same active ingredient called semaglutide.  Those other drugs and injections are Wegovy, Rebelsus, Mounjaro, and Zepbound.  Beasley Allen is currently handling potential cases where individuals were diagnosed or treated for gallbladder removal, severe or permanent stomach paralysis, gastroparesis, other gastrointestinal injuries, intraoperative pulmonary aspiration, ileus or bowel obstruction, pancreatic cancer, or suicide.  

Hair Relaxer MDL Adding Eight New Defendants

In a recent status hearing before U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland on March 7, 2024, regarding the hair relaxer multidistrict litigation (MDL), the court made significant rulings that will impact the future proceedings of the case. During the hearing, the court added eight new defendants to the MDL, including Roux Laboratories, Advanced Beauty Systems, Inc., RNA Corporation, Wella Operations US, LLC, Wella AG, Murrays Worldwide, Inc., John Paul Mitchell Systems, and Bronner Brothers, Inc. This decision vastly expands the scope of the litigation. 

One of the key rulings made by Judge Rowland at the status hearing was that plaintiffs will have until March 21, 2024, to effect service on the newly added defendants. This timeline provides plaintiffs with the opportunity to properly serve the defendants and move forward with the litigation process. Additionally, the court set the next status hearing with the newly added defendants for April 18, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. The hearing will be conducted via WebEx and will focus on several important matters, including whether plaintiffs should file an amended complaint, how to address issues that may be raised in a motion to dismiss, and how to proceed with discovery, including electronic discovery, in an organized manner. 

Beasley Allen lawyers are currently investigating claims of women who used hair relaxers and were diagnosed with uterine, endometrial, or ovarian cancer.


PFAS/ AFFF Litigation Update

The Aqueous Film – Forming Foam (AFFF) litigation is pending before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel in the United States District Court of South Carolina. The first round of bellwethers involves plaintiffs who were exposed to AFFF at specific military bases in Colorado and Pennsylvania, and who were diagnosed with kidney cancer, testicular cancer, hypothyroidism/thyroid disease, and ulcerative colitis. Discovery for these bellwethers will end in and around June 2024 with the first trial likely in 2025.

The court will also be hosting a Science Day in the coming months regarding the other personal injury claims at issue in the MDL. Currently, there are about 6,600 cases pending in the MDL. Plaintiffs have filed lawsuits claiming a variety of injuries, including but not limited to, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, skin cancer, various blood cancers, and fertility issues.  This litigation is unique in that the science linking PFAS to various illnesses is still developing.  Additionally, there are differing views on the ways in which plaintiffs can prove exposure to AFFF.  

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Toxic Torts Section are handling these cases. They are currently investigating claims where individuals have been exposed to AFFF through their occupation (civilian firefighters/military service) and/or through consumption of contaminated waters and developed various cancers. The cancers in cases Beasley Allen lawyers are reviewing include kidney cancer, testicular cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer, non–Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, Leukemia, and Lymphoma.  

PFAS Water Settlement Update

A proposed class action settlement exists to resolve claims for PFAS contamination in Public Water Systems’ Drinking Water. U.S. Public Water Systems had an opt-out period where the Notice Administrator received 1,012 opt-out submissions. These opt-out submissions included 43 water systems that are represented by Beasley Allen lawyers. Although the Notice Administrator deemed some submissions noncompliant for failure to follow opt-out protocol, all systems represented by Beasley Allen lawyers have been deemed compliant. Systems that did not opt out or that were deemed noncompliant will be bound by the settlement agreement’s judgment and releases.

Opted-out systems were within a nationwide stay and injunction that effectively paused all PFAS-related litigation for public water systems against 3M and DuPont until March 15, 2024. However, Beasley Allen lawyers are still working diligently to represent our systems. This includes conducting needed testing to determine the sources outside of AFFF, including carpet manufacturer pollution, that is polluting drinking water with harmful PFAS. 

After a successful settlement in Gadsden, AL, our litigation team looks forward to helping public water systems with not only testing, but with everything needed to prepare for trials. For these cases trial workup includes the intricacies of hiring experts to testify to PFAS chemical makeup and damages, conducting depositions, preparing lay witnesses, reviewing documents that reveal the manufacturing, sale, and improper disposal of PFAS, and the legal research necessary to hold defendants accountable. Ensuring every U.S. citizen has safe drinking water is the highest priority for our trial team and the attorneys we have the privilege to work with. 

Gadsden PFAS Lawsuit Against Dupont, Others To Move Forward

The Water Works and Sewer Board of the City of Gadsden can proceed with its lawsuit against several defendants it contends are responsible for the negligent, willful and wanton conduct that has led to PFAS contamination in the Coosa River Basin. 

According to the EPA, PFAS are widely used, long-lasting chemicals whose components break down very slowly over time.  PFAS chemicals are linked to negative health effects, including cancer and decreased birth weight. It is known that PFAS cannot be removed from drinking water with conventional technology used in the water treatment process.

The Board’s lawsuit names DuPont, Daikin America and other PFAS manufacturers that sold PFAS to carpet and textile manufacturers. Industrial wastewater produced by these customers contains high levels of PFAS, which resist degradation and migrate from the Conasauga River into the Coosa River, the source of Gadsden’s drinking water. The suit also alleges contamination from nearby Three Corners Landfill. 

The litigation was briefly stayed due to a proposed MDL settlement aimed at resolving claims for PFAS contamination in U.S. Public Water Systems. The MDL settlement was approved by Judge Richard Gergel of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina in February, which cleared the way for the remaining trials to proceed. Gadsden opted out of this settlement.

As a direct result of the contamination, the Water Works and Sewer Board of Gadsden has suffered expenses associated with the installation and operation of a filtration system capable of removing PFAS from the water and monitoring PFAS contamination levels. Rhon Jones, who heads up our firm’s Toxic Torts Section, had this to say: 

I am pleased that we can move forward with our lawsuit against these defendants who we believe have caused significant expense to our client. It is important that those responsible for this contamination are held accountable for their actions.

The lawsuit seeks damages in an amount to be determined by a jury sufficient to compensate the City for removing PFAS from Gadsden’s drinking water and disposing of the PFAS removed from the drinking water. The complaint also seeks real property damage and future expenses.

Currently, the EPA has issued a lifetime health advisory recommending that drinking water should contain less than 0.004 parts per trillion (ppt) PFOA and 0.02 ppt PFOS.

Defendants in a prior similar case settled for confidential amounts with the Water Works and Sewer Board of Gadsden. 

Along with Rhon Jones, Gadsden is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Matt Griffith, Jeff Price, David Diab, Elliot Bienenfeld, Gavin King, and Elizabeth Weyerman. 

Centre Water Contamination Suit Against 3M Dupont To Proceed

The Water Works and Sewer Board of Centre, Alabama (Centre Water) can proceed with its lawsuit against 3M and DuPont for contaminating the Coosa River with toxic chemicals, namely PFAS. 

The litigation, which was scheduled for trial in October 2023, was briefly stayed due to a proposed MDL settlement aimed at resolving claims for PFAS contamination in almost all U.S. Public Water Systems. The MDL settlement was approved by Judge Richard Gergel of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina in February, which cleared the way for the remaining trials to proceed. Centre opted out of this settlement.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants’ past and present release of a class of toxic chemicals known as PFAS, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), has damaged Centre Water’s raw water source in the Coosa River Basin and exposed its customers to these dangerous chemicals, which have been linked to various cancers. 

Rhon Jones, who heads up our firm’s Toxic Torts Section, and who leads the PFAS litigation, said: 

We are pleased that the stay has been lifted in this case. This is a significant step toward holding the defendants responsible for their actions and guaranteeing that customers have access to clean and safe drinking water. We will continue to pursue this case vigorously and fight for justice for the damage caused.

These chemical compounds are manufactured by 3M and DuPont and sold to carpet mills in Georgia. There, the mills use PFAS to make carpet and textile products resistant to water, stains, and grease. This has led to the discharge of industrial wastewater containing PFAS, which resist degradation during treatment and contaminate the Conasauga River, which flows into the Coosa River. 

As a result, Centre Water has suffered economic and consequential damage, including costs for filtration, to remove the chemicals from drinking water and monitoring for PFAS levels. 

This lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages in order to allow Centre to remove these chemicals from its drinking water. 

Currently, the EPA has issued a lifetime health advisory recommending that drinking water should contain less than four parts per trillion of either PFOS and PFOA.  

Other defendants in the case had settled prior to trial for confidential amounts.  

Along with Rhon Jones, Centre Water is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Matt Griffith, David Diab, Elliot Bienenfeld, Gavin King, Jeff Price, and Elizabeth Weyerman. 

New Mexico Residents Sue 3M, DuPont For PFAS-Contaminated Water

New Mexico residents are seeking to hold a group of chemical companies accountable for allegedly contaminating their drinking water with forever chemicals. The residents claim the companies’ sale and manufacture of firefighting foam leeched toxic chemicals into the aquifer that supplied water to their private household wells. 

Santa Fe County resident Jennifer Steketee filed the lawsuit last month in New Mexico state court against 3M Co., E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co., the Chemours Co., and Corteva Inc. The lawsuit says the firefighting foam the companies sold and produced contained high concentrations of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Steketee claims the companies knew for at least 50 years that the PFAS in the foam “presented an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment.”

The lawsuit further states that the companies knew or should have known that PFAS are “highly soluble in water, highly mobile, and highly persistent in the environment, and highly likely to contaminate residential real property water supplies and soil if released to the environment.” 

Yet, the companies continued to market and sell the foam to the New Mexico Army National Guard, the City of Santa Fe Fire Department, the Santa Fe Regional Airport, and others to discharge the toxic components into the environment. 

The lawsuit seeks compensation for property-related harms, including the cost of mitigating contaminated water, loss of use and enjoyment, and diminution of property value. 

Plaintiff Steketee is represented by Brian S. Colón, Damon J. Hudson and Kevin S. Hannon of Singleton Schreiber LLP.

The case is Jennifer Steketee et al. v. The 3M Co. et al., case number unknown, in the First Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico.

Source: Law360 

Combat Arms Earplugs $6.5 Billion Settlement Moves To Final Resolution

The Combat arms earplugs settlement reached by 3M is now moving to a conclusion. It was recently reported that over 249,000 U.S. service members claimed permanent hearing loss from 3M’s faulty earplugs. The majority of the affected service members, about 99%, participated in the $6 billion-dollar settlement. The settlement agreement was set to go into effect once the settlement reached 98% participation. That level was surpassed in late January of this year.

According to a 3M spokesperson, over 99.9% participation in the settlement is expected once all claimant registrations are processed and validated. The lead counsel for the service members, Bryan Aylstock, stated that the widespread acceptance of the settlement proves that the 3M subsidiary, Aearo Technologies LLC, did not need to file for bankruptcy protection.

This multidistrict litigation is considered to be the largest in U.S. history, with nearly 260,000 plaintiffs claiming that the Combat Arms Earplugs produced by Aearo did not actually protect their hearing.

The Minnesota-based parent company stated in August that the settlement agreement was reached through a court-ordered mediation and would end all claims in the MDL in Florida federal court, as well as coordinated suits in Minnesota state court over civilians’ claims.

The settlement agreement, which allowed 3M to not admit liability, required the company to pay $6 billion over the course of six years, ending in 2029. In January, the company announced it was opting to pay cash instead of stock.

Norfolk Southern To Face Majority Of Claims In Derailment Suit

A federal judge has ruled that Norfolk Southern must face most of the claims in consolidated lawsuits brought as a result of a train derailment and subsequent chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio. U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson issued three opinions, dismissing only a medical-monitoring claim brought against each of the companies by a consolidated group of proposed class plaintiffs. 

Judge Pearson dismissed the medical monitoring claim as it applied to Ohio residents who were exposed to toxic chemicals following the derailment. Separate monitoring claims for Pennsylvania and West Virginia remain. Judge Pearson said the Ohio claim could return if the companies are found liable. 

Claims asserting negligence, trespass and spoliation of evidence survived the dismissal motion. Judge Pearson similarly ruled that Norfolk Southern’s state law claims that OxyVinyls, GATX and Trinity Industries were at least partly responsible for its train derailing are not preempted either. 

The court’s finding kept intact Norfolk Southern’s assertions of negligence and joint and several liability on the grounds that malfunctioning parts on the train cars leased from those three companies caused the derailment. Judge Pearson did dismiss Norfolk Southern’s contribution claim, concluding it was premature because Norfolk Southern hasn’t been found liable.

The plaintiffs are represented by M. Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhower PA, Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanley Controy, Seth A. Katz of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh Jardine PC, Michael Morgan of Morgan & Morgan PA and Michelle L. Kranz of Zoll & Kranz LLC.

Source: Law360


FTC Reports Nationwide Fraud Losses Topped $10 Billion In 2023

Consumers reported over $10 billion having been lost to fraudsters in 2023, a 14% increase over 2022 and a new benchmark for reported losses, according to newly released data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Nearly the same number of consumers reported losses in 2023 as in 2022—roughly 2.6 million. This is a breakdown of the frauds: 

  • Imposter scams were by far the most commonly reported category, with 196,286 reports. 
  • Online shopping issues came in a distant second with 89,495 reports. 
  • Other common categories included prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries (36,122); business and job opportunity scams (27,037); and 
  • investment-related reports (26,366).

Mostly, consumers in Alabama fell victim to the same top categories, except that internet services scams topped business and job opportunity scams.  Some of the hardest-hit states by fraudsters include Nevada, Georgia, Florida, and the District of Columbia. 

Email also eclipsed text messages as the most reported method for scammers to reach consumers. Phone calls, which topped the list for decades before falling behind text messages in 2022, came in second behind emails in 2023. For those ages 30-39, social media was the No. 1 contact method.

Individuals 80 years of age and older were more likely to be conned. Those ages 70 to 79 were a distant second. However, people ages 30-39 were more likely to be victims of identity theft, followed by the 40-49 and the 20-29 age groups.

The FTC monitors consumer scam trends closely and takes a comprehensive approach to detect, halt, and deter these actions.  

Source: Claims Journal

Visa And Mastercard Resolve Antitrust Suit With Merchants Over Swipe Fees

Visa and Mastercard have reached a settlement with U.S. merchants to cap and lower the fees charged by the card networks every time a credit or debit card is used in a store or restaurant. The settlement could potentially end nearly two decades of litigation over swipe fees. 

The settlement would allow small businesses to collectively bargain for rates with the payment processors as the large merchants do now. Interestingly, industry groups for retailers, both small and large, said the settlement is a positive development, but they say far more needs to be done to remedy the current swipe-fee situation. 

The fees would be lowered for a limited period – three to five years – after which the fees would return to their current levels. The settlement is in addition to a 2023 financial $5.54 billion settlement between Visa and Mastercard and 18 million businesses that accepted Visa or Mastercard during a 15-year period up to Jan. 25, 2019. 

It should be noted that small businesses have increasingly posted signs near the register warning customers that they will pay more for the same item if they do not use cash. Swipe fees are paid to Visa, Mastercard and other credit card companies in exchange for enabling transactions. 

According to the settlement announced in late March, Visa and Mastercard will cap the credit interchange fees until 2030, and the companies must negotiate the fees with merchant-buying groups. It’s been estimated that the value of the savings in swipe fees is in the range of $30 billion.

Source: Associated Press

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Impacting Consumer Litigation

In February of this year, two lawyers from Rothwell Figg published an article titled “The Pros and Cons of Protecting AI as Trade Secrets” on Law360’s Expert Analysis. The article discussed the merits of protecting the Artificial Intelligence (AI) system as a trade secret from a corporate perspective. In sum, the article explores why corporations should utilize legally broad and adaptive trade secret protection laws over other intellectual property rights for AI information despite or perhaps because of federal trends toward transparency. 

The article’s crux wrongly assumes transparency is a bad thing and detrimental to corporate interests without appreciating how secrecy also can debilitate good judgment and perpetuate harm to consumers, among other costly litigious consequences. 

Consider the proposed class action of Estate of Gene B. Lokken et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc. et al., case number 0:23-cv-03514, currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota where UnitedHealth is accused of knowingly using a flawed AI service with high error rate to override physician recommendations and deny elderly patients care owed through Medicare Advantage healthcare plans. 

The plaintiffs argue that UnitedHealth’s AI model determines patients’ coverage criteria for post-acute care settings with “rigid and unrealistic predictions for recovery” and overrides what an actual physician recommends, purportedly resulting in the denial of recommended and needed care. 

The complaint explains that when patients and doctors request the AI report, the defendant’s employees deny their requests and that the information is proprietary. Then, the health insurance company “bank[s] on the patients’ impaired conditions, lack of knowledge, and lack of resources to appeal the erroneous AI-powered decisions.” 

Also, consider the putative class action Huskey, et al v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company, case number 1:22-cv-0714, currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging State Farm’s claims processing algorithms create discriminatory outcomes for African- American homeowners in violation of the Fair Housing Act as it incorporates “historically biased housing and claims data” that led to their property damage claims being delayed, scrutinized more heavily and ultimately covered to a lesser degree than those of their white neighbors. 

AI models are perceived as neutral but can unintentionally introduce bias because of the distribution of the data they are trained on or because the data they rely on happens to be correlated with a protected class. Once introduced within AI, however, bias grows exponentially, and the consequences harming consumers are ripe for class action.

AI financial fraud is also a mounting consumer concern, especially for data confidentiality where users unaware of confidentiality issues may be inclined to communicate sensitive information to conversational AI agents. Currently, how AI uses this information in its processing and learning is proprietary, but more than likely will be reused by the AI system. The secrecy surrounding AI data collection is particularly concerning because criminals are leveraging AI to execute scams that are increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect.

Transparency within AI, especially surrounding how AI uses consumer data, the types of data used by  AI to make decisions, and the impact of decisions on consumers, encourages corporate accountability beyond profit that may encourage corporate interests and prevent consumer harm. 

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section are currently investigating consumer AI claims.

EPA Bans Most Common Asbestos In ‘Cancer Moonshot’ Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a significant step toward reducing cancer deaths by finalizing a ban on chrysotile asbestos, the most prevalent form of asbestos still used or imported in the country. This ban, which is part of President Joe Biden’s “cancer moonshot” initiative, aims to reduce the cancer death rate by at least 50% by 2047.

Chrysotile asbestos is found in various products, including asbestos diaphragms, sheet gaskets, brake blocks, and other friction products. The chlor-alkali industry, which uses asbestos diaphragms to produce sodium hydroxide and chlorine for water disinfection, will be affected by this ban. The EPA is working to ensure a reasonable transition period for this industry to avoid any adverse impacts on water purification efforts.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen. It causes tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year and is linked to several types of cancer. In addition to the asbestos ban, the EPA has also finalized new Clean Air Act standards to reduce emissions of ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic chemical, from commercial sterilization facilities by 90%.

The EPA is also working on toughening standards for other harmful substances, such as methylene chloride, carbon tetrachloride, perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene. This asbestos ban is the first risk management rule issued under the updated Toxic Substances Control Act of 2016, which called for several changes in how the EPA handles issues related to chemical safety.

Source: Law360

Fisher-Price Recalls Over 200,000 Little People Figures 

More than 204,000 Fisher-Price Little People toys featuring Mickey and Friends are being recalled due to safety concerns, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The recall pertains to the Donald and Daisy toys with model numbers HPJ88 and HTW75, respectively. These toys were sold at various stores across the U.S., including Walmart, Kohls, Meijer, HEB, Kroger and Target, between May 2023 and February 2024. The recall also applies to online purchases made through websites such as Amazon.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled toys are advised to stop their children from playing with the Donald and Daisy figures immediately and to contact Fisher-Price to receive a pre-paid return label. After returning the toys, consumers can receive a $10 refund from the company.

It’s important to note that only the Donald and Daisy figures are being recalled and the other toys in the multi-pack are not affected. For further information, you may contact Fisher-Price by phone at 855-853-6224 from Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, or visit their website.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Vehicle Brands And Types Ranked For Reliability 

Consumer Reports has released its annual car reliability rankings. Toyota and Lexus lead, showcasing the highest reliability scores, while Chrysler, Jeep, and Volkswagen rank lowest. This year, plug-in hybrids have seen a decline in reliability, contrary to pickups, America’s favorites, which are the least reliable vehicle segment. Sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons hold the highest reliability rating, with SUVs and minivans following.

The study surveyed owners of over 330,000 vehicles from model years 2020 to 2024, evaluating 20 potential trouble areas. The responses formed the basis of each vehicle’s score (1 to 100) and the overall brand reliability ratings.

Asian automakers led by a wide margin with an average reliability score of 63, dominating seven of the top ten positions. European brands followed with a score of 46 and three in the top ten. Domestic brands came out at the bottom with an overall average score of 39, though all of the domestic brands had at least one model ranking average or better for reliability.

Despite their enduring popularity in the U.S., pickup trucks ranked lowest for reliability of any vehicle type, with an average score of 41. Their position trails sedans, SUVs, hybrids, and even electric vehicles (EVs), which have recently seen a dramatic rise in owner-reported problems, according to owner reports. 

Most Reliable Brands and Scores: Lexus (79), Toyota (76), Mini (71), Acura (70), Honda (70), Subaru (69), Mazda (67), Porsche (66), BMW (64), Kia (61).

Least Reliable Brands and Scores: Chrysler (18), Mercedes-Benz (23), Rivian (24), Volkswagen (26), Jeep (26), Volvo (28), GMC (36), Lincoln (38), Ford (40), Dodge (42).

Sources: Consumer Reports, Business Insider


The Structure Of Beasley Allen Is Designed To Work For Clients

Beasley Allen operates in five separate sections, four litigation and one administrative. We have found the separate litigation sections concept to work very well. This concept definitely has benefited Beasley Allen clients. It has also allowed Beasley Allen lawyers to bring about national changes in product and workplace safety. 

 Beasley Allen lawyers have handled all sorts of litigation for plaintiffs in civil litigation. The Administrative Section supports the four litigation sections that could be described as “mini-firms” within Beasley Allen. Those four litigation sections are the Mass Torts Section, the Toxic Torts Section, the Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section and the Personal Injury & Products Liability Section. 

Each section has a team of lawyers and support staff working closely together, creating efficiency and case expertise within each section. The lawyers and staff develop expertise in the area of law handled by the section. Successful section performance leads to better firm performance overall, allowing us to expand our resources and enabling firm growth. Year after year, we believe our approach has allowed us to help more of those who need it most. 

The Mass Torts Section

Andy Birchfield heads our Mass Torts Section. Melissa Prickett serves as the Section’s Director. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, Andy and Melissa lead the firm’s largest section in medical devices, medication and other practice areas. The section currently handles cases involving acetaminophen, CPAP devices, hair relaxers, kratom, NEC baby formula, Ozempic, social media and talcum powder.

The Toxic Torts Section

Rhon Jones leads our firm’s Toxic Torts Section with Section Director Tracie Harrison’s assistance. The section focuses on toxic exposure cases. Recent cases involve Camp Lejeune water contamination, paraquat and firefighting foam. 

The Consumer Fraud & Commercial LItigation Section

Dee Miles is the Section Head of our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section. Michelle Fulmer is the Director of the Section. She also assists with Business Litigation, Class Action, Consumer Protection, Employment Law and Whistleblower cases.

The Personal Injury & Products LIablity Section

Cole Portis heads our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section with Sloan Downes serving as the Director of the Section. The section handles auto accidents, aviation accidents, defective tires, negligent security, on-the-job injuries and truck accident cases. 

The Administrative Section

Finally, the Administrative Section includes Accounting, Operations, Human Resources (HR), Information Technology (IT) and Marketing. Michelle Parks is the Director of Accounting, Michelle Fulmer is the Director of Operations, and Kimberly Youngblood serves as the Director of HR, IT and Marketing.

Since we reorganized the firm’s structure, in 1998, the firm’s record speaks for itself. The structure has contributed greatly to our firm’s success. Section Heads and Directors have been able to concentrate on the cases in their section, and they quickly recognize when additional resources are needed. Lawyers in each Section have been able to focus on clients within their specialty and on achieving favorable client results. The efficiency and teamwork generated by the sections concept has resulted in our firm being recognized as one of the best litigation firms in the country. This has been for the benefit of the folks we represented. 

The Latest Look At Case Activity At Beasley Allen

Our website provides the latest information on the current case activity at Beasley Allen. The list can be found on our homepage, the top navigation, or the practices page of our website ( The following are the current case activity listings for the Beasley Allen Sections. 


  • Business Litigation
  • Class Actions
  • Consumer Protection
  • Employment Law
  • Medical Devices
  • Medication
  • Personal Injury
  • Product Liability
  • Toxic Exposure
  • Whistleblower Litigation


The cases in the categories listed below are handled by lawyers in the appropriate Litigation Section at Beasley Allen. The list can be found on our homepage, on the top navigation, or on the Cases page of our website. 

  • Acetaminophen
  • Auto Accidents
  • Aviation Accidents
  • Camp Lejeune 
  • CPAP Devices
  • Defective Tires
  • Firefighting Foam
  • Hair Relaxers
  • Kratom
  • Mesothelioma
  • NEC Baby Formula
  • Negligent Security 
  • On-the-Job-Injuries
  • Ozempic
  • Paraquat
  • Social Media 
  • Talcum Powder
  • Truck Accidents 

We will give a brief explanation for each category below:

  • Acetaminophen
    Beasley Allen lawyers handle cases of mothers who took acetaminophen while pregnant and gave birth to a child later diagnosed with autism or ADHD. Cases also include children treated with the drug during the first 18 months of life who developed autism or ADHD. 
  • Auto Accidents
    Our lawyers handle life-altering and deadly automobile accident cases caused by defective products and driver negligence. Crashes may involve single vehicles, multiple vehicles, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, transit vehicles or trucks. 
  • Aviation Accidents
    Lawyers investigate aviation accidents resulting from mechanical failures, human error and other causes. Crashes injure hundreds, sometimes thousands, of victims onboard aircraft and on the ground every year.
  • Camp Lejeune 
    Our firm handles cases of victims exposed to contaminated water supplies at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. Exposure to toxic water caused serious injuries, including cancer, adult leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, major cardiac birth defects and others.
  • Defective Tires
    Defective tires can lead to automobile accidents resulting in injury or even death. Beasley Allen lawyers investigate these accidents caused by blowouts, tread separation and other tire failures. 
  • Firefighting Foam
    Beasley Allen investigates cases of Aqueous Film Forming Foam exposure. This firefighting foam contains highly toxic PFAS chemicals that can lead to cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility and other health risks.
  • Hair Relaxers
    Our lawyers handle cases for women injured by toxic chemicals in hair relaxers. Women who frequently use hair relaxers may develop uterine cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or breast cancer.
  • Kratom
    Beasley Allen is investigating cases of serious adverse effects experienced by individuals who have consumed products containing Kratom.
  • NEC Baby Formula
    Our firm investigates cases of premature babies who developed necrotizing enterocolitis after consuming infant formulas manufactured by brands like Enfamil and Similac. Necrotizing enterocolitis is an intestinal disease that can lead to long-term complications and even death.
  • Negligent Security 
    Establishment owners and managers are responsible for maintaining safe premises. When someone is injured or killed as a result of negligent security, Beasley Allen lawyers hold owners and managers accountable.
  • On-the-Job-Injuries
    We investigate workers’ compensation cases, often finding that defective industrial products are to blame for workers’ injuries or deaths. Quite often, the incident results in a product liability case. Industrial products include manufacturing, farming, construction or other types of equipment.
  • Ozempic
    We investigate cases of gastroparesis, intestinal obstruction, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism related to the use of diabetes and weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro.
  • Paraquat
    Our firm handles cases for victims injured by paraquat, a popular herbicide linked to Parkinson’s Disease that has been banned or partially banned in at least 92 countries. Paraquat remains legal in the U.S., risking the health and safety of workers on over 2 million U.S. farms.
  • Social Media 
    Our youth are facing a mental health crisis caused by social media addiction. Beasley Allen advocates for these youth who have suffered harms, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, ADD/ADHD, self-harm and suicide.
  • Talcum Powder
    Beasley Allen handles cases for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer after regular use of talcum powder. For decades, companies like Johnson & Johnson knew that talcum powder might cause cancer but failed to warn consumers. 
  • Truck Accidents 
    Our firm handles accident cases involving tractor-trailers, commercial vehicles and other large trucks. These cases often involve multiple, well-funded defendants and complex insurance issues.

Some Of The Beasley Allen Settlements And Verdicts In 2023

2023 was a very busy year at Beasley Allen. Verdicts and settlements in our firm’s cases totaled well over $1 Billion last year. Some of the firm’s highlights are listed below. 

  • $235 Million Settlement in the Juul litigation;
  • $26 Million Settlement in a Georgia Wrongful Death Shooting case;
  • $15 Million Settlement in an Alabama Wrongful Death Trucking case;
  • $9 Million Settlement in Auto Products case;
  • $8.5 Million Verdict in a Defective Airbag case;
  • $7 Million Settlement in a fatal On-the-Job Injury case.
  • $4.6 Million Verdict in a Whistleblower case.

There were a large number of other settlements by Beasley Allen lawyers that were confidential as to the amount and the companies involved. Those settlements can’t be disclosed and are not included in the settlements listed above. 

Resources to Help Your Law Practice

From the firm’s beginning in 1979, Beasley Allen has been a litigation firm representing only plaintiffs. The firm, by choice, only represents individuals, companies and governmental entities that have been wronged and have suffered damages due to the wrongdoing of another. Our lawyers do not handle any defense work, neither civil nor criminal. There are no exceptions. The only time we represent companies in Corporate America is when they are victims of wrongdoing and are plaintiffs in civil litigation. This has been our policy since the firm’s establishment in 1979, and it will never change.

We are honored and humbled that our firm has been consistently recognized as one of the leading law firms in the country representing only claimants involved in civil litigation, much of it being complex and complicated. Being trial lawyers representing only victims of wrongdoing is a privilege for us. Our firm has been truly blessed.

We understand the importance of sharing resources and collaborating with our peers in the legal profession. We are committed to investing in resources that can help our fellow trial lawyers in their work. We have compiled a list of our most popular resources for those seeking to work with us or seeking information to help their law firm with a case.

Co-Counsel E-Newsletter 

Beasley Allen sends out a Co-Counsel E-Newsletter specifically tailored with lawyers in mind. It features case updates, highlights key victories achieved for our clients, and informs readers about the firm’s latest resources. You can get it online by visiting our website, and clicking the Articles link.


Beasley Allen hosts a variety of webinars. These webinars feature lawyers in the firm and cover topics related to Beasley Allen cases. Continuing legal education (CLE) credits for Alabama or Georgia are often available for presentations. To register for upcoming events or access past webinars on-demand, visit the website and click on the Events and Webinar page.

Recalls Update

We try our best to stay current on the latest significant consumer recalls. Contact our JLB Report Team at [email protected] if you have any questions or believe we may need to include a recall.

The Jere Beasley Report

We also consider The Jere Beasley Report a service to lawyers and the general public. We provide the Report at no cost monthly, both in print and digitally. Visit our website, and click the Articles link.


Matt Griffith, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section, has some valuable recommendations for our lawyer readers relating to the handling of voir dire in civil cases. Matt is currently handling some very important cases involving environmental contamination of water systems. Let’s see what Matt has for us on a most important topic for trial lawyers. 

Suggestions On Handling Voir Dire

Warner Hornsby, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury & Products Liability Section, is providing in this issue more tips on voir dire. Warner has had extensive experience in the handling of serious injury and wrongful death cases against a wide range of corporate defendants. Let’s see what Warner has to say on the subject of voir dire. 

Trial Tips – Voir Dire

You’ve probably heard it before – a lawyer gets up to start his or her voir dire and says “this is voir dire, that means, to hear and speak the truth.” It may be a good introduction, but simply put, this is not true. Voir dire is two French words: voir, meaning “to see” and dire, meaning “to speak.” It signifies that this is the lawyers’ opportunity to see the jury and speak with them, rather than at them. 

The word “Verdict” is actually the closest thing we have to the misinterpretation above; it means “truth spoken.” We have a time to see and speak with the potential jurors before the case starts so that we can remove bias – that way when the verdict is given, it will be based on the facts of the case, rather than any opinions or feelings a juror may bring with them, and the verdict will actually represent “truth spoken.”

It is no exaggeration to say that voir dire is the most important part of any case. Psychological and behavioral studies teach us that it is, essentially, impossible to change someone’s mind if they disagree with you. In fact, if someone does disagree with you, presenting facts and evidence that tend to prove them wrong is harmful; that person will dig in and further barricade his beliefs from outside sway. It’s counter-intuitive, but that’s how it happens. 

What does this mean for your case? Imagine you’ve got a car wreck case with a herniated disc, and you have to convince jurors that pain and suffering from that injury is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’ve let a juror on the jury who doesn’t believe that pain and suffering should be awarded in lawsuits, or who thinks that lawsuits are bad and raise insurance rates, or who believes that future pain and suffering is too nebulous to attach a dollar figure to, you are going to lose. You simply have to get that person off the jury. 

There are three goals that a lawyer has in voir dire, and they are not equal in their necessity. First and foremost, voir dire is about identifying jurors who have opinions, feelings, beliefs, life experiences, or biases that make them unreceptive to the arguments that you need the jury to buy into in order to win. You identify them and try to get them struck for cause. At the very least though, you identify them so that you can strike them with a peremptory strike. Next in line in importance is setting up, or establishing, the foundations of your arguments so that when the jury sees those arguments being set up by the witnesses and evidence, and ultimately being made by you, they will recognize them, believe them, and understand them in the context of what they are supposed to do – return a verdict. Finally, if you have the time, you want to engage with as many jurors as possible so that you have a relationship with the ultimate jury. Let’s look at each of these three things in a little more detail.

Identify your Problem Jurors

Probably the most basic challenge of voir dire – and the thing that makes it so hard to do well – is that you are trying to get jurors to admit, out loud, in a formal and serious venue, that they can’t be fair in your trial. It’s important to note that you aren’t asking them to admit that they can’t be fair – just that they can’t be fair in this case. Maybe the best way to drive this point home is with an analogy that paints the picture for the jury. I practice in Alabama, and one thing I always ask every jury venire is whether they agree that if Nick Saban was on trial and the jury was a bunch of Auburn donors, he wouldn’t get a fair trial. Similarly, if it was a bunch of Alabama donors, that wouldn’t be a fair trial either. This doesn’t mean football fans can’t be fair – but in this case, with the person, or the issues, or the subject matter of this specific case being something that those people care about greatly – they may not be the right jurors. They may go down the hall and be fair in the next case with someone they don’t know, but with Nick Saban on the stand, those Auburn donors need to do the right thing, raise their hand, and let this court know that they have a feeling that could impact their verdict. 

Don’t be afraid of answers that are bad for your case. I promise the first thing the other lawyer is going to do is tell the jury exactly why your case has no merit in the opening statement. There is nothing you can do to prevent the jury from hearing the other side’s arguments. Your job is to find the ones who like the other side’s arguments and strike them. Jurors don’t change their minds about their beliefs, even when they are presented with evidence that they are wrong. Why would they change their mind because some other potential juror they’ve never met said something in voir dire? Not only do you want to get the “bad” answers, you want to encourage more bad answers from other jurors. Ask questions like “Who else agrees with Mr. Smith that pain and suffering is too nebulous, too unknown, or too hard to prove to award a money verdict for it, even if it’s just a little bit, even if you only agree with a 1 on a scale of 10?” You can only strike the bad jurors when you get them talking. 

Be broad with bias, and be specific. There are always broad themes and issues that you need to know. Tort reform, pain and suffering, damages designed not just to compensate but to punish, liability of an employee being imputed to the employer, etc. – these are examples of broad themes that you need to know a juror’s thoughts on. But you should also be specific about issues that only apply to your case. For example, should truckers be held to a different set of rules than regular drivers like you and me? If your case involves someone who has a back injury, and you know that they are going to talk about not being able to hold their grandchildren, what do the jurors think about that? Is that a real loss, or is that just part of life? Ask yourself, “What are the things that I need jurors to believe in order for them to give the verdict that my client deserves?” Then ask the jurors about those things to see if they are going to be willing to believe them – or properly value them – if you prove them. 

If you’re a plaintiff’s lawyer, don’t shy away from money. We are all raised, especially in the South, to be cagey about money. Don’t talk about it, don’t act like you want it, etc. Here’s the thing though: Our justice system revolves around money damages. There’s no getting around it, that’s how the system works, and it’s the best system anyone’s ever come up with. Don’t be afraid to tell the jurors you are going to be asking for money – substantial money – as a result of the injury that the other side’s negligence caused. Then, ask them if they could return a big (specific) amount of money if you showed evidence that it was warranted. Strike the ones who say no. Strike the ones who are hesitant. Address it head-on. If you don’t think your client deserves to be compensated with money, then the jury won’t either. 

If you have enough time left after you are confident that you’ve found the ones that are biased against your arguments and theories, then start setting up your own arguments and theories. If you know they are bringing a medical causation expert that’s a complete hack for the other side, go ahead and ask the jurors about disregarding someone’s testimony, even a qualified and trained doctor’s, if it’s apparent that the doctor is one-sided. It’s possible you could identify some additional bad jurors here, which would be a great bonus, but it’s also ok to ask questions that you don’t expect people to disagree with so that you can get them to agree to do the thing you want them to do in the trial – in this example, discount the other side’s doctor. Think about the cross points you want to make, think about the arguments you’re going to make about why the other side is liable or not liable, think about the arguments you need them to believe on damages, and ask questions about those arguments. Hopefully, the jurors that you think have a chance to be on the jury will start to agree with what you expect to prove as important or relevant or legitimate. Once they agree to do something in voir dire, then they don’t have to just ignore your evidence to rule against you, they have to ignore their own promise. 

Finally, if there’s time, talk to the jurors who haven’t said much. I know everyone who’s tried a case knows that the quiet ones are the ones who usually get picked. So, talk to the quiet ones. There’s an old trick from psychology – if you want someone to like you, ask to borrow a pencil. It communicates that you see them, you like them enough to ask them for help, and it puts them in a situation where they can provide value – even if it is just as miniscule as having an extra pencil. The same concept applies to juries. When you smile and engage with the quiet jurors who are likely to be on the jury, you are building trust, building a relationship, and establishing that you are the one that they will like throughout the trial. That is important, if you have the time. 

These tips have helped me and lawyers at my firm get rid of jurors who were never going to be fair, and therefore helped put a jury in the box that was willing to listen to the evidence and deliver that sacred thing: a verdict that represents truth spoken. 


Beasley Allen Lawyers Recognized Among The Best In 2024 Annual Lawdragon Guides

Lawdragon has recognized 18 Beasley Allen lawyers for their work in the legal community. In 2024, our firm’s lawyers were recognized among the best in five of Lawdragon’s annual guides.

These guides include The Lawdragon Green 500 – Leaders in Environmental Law, 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers, 500 Leading Lawyers in America, 2024 Lawdragon Hall of Fame and the esteemed Lawdragon Legends.

Toxic Torts Section Head Rhon Jones was selected for The Lawdragon Green 500, which honors the nation’s leading environmental lawyers.

Managing Attorney Tom Methvin was selected for the 2024 Lawdragon Hall of Fame, which honors attorneys included numerous times in various Lawdragon guides, mainly The Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, LaBarron Boone, and Kendall Dunson were recognized as being among the 500 leading Lawyers in America. This distinction recognizes lawyers who embody a restless spirit of the law in America.

LaBarron has also been named to the prestigious 2024 Lawdragon Legends, an exclusive group of only 33 of the country’s most exceptional lawyers. 

Lead Product Liability Attorney Greg Allen and Jere Beasley were inducted into the Lawdragon Hall of Fame in 2021 and 2017, respectively.

Andy, LaBarron, Kendall, Tom and 13 additional lawyers were selected for the 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers list. The full list from Beasley Allen includes:

  • Jere Beasley, Founding Attorney
  • Greg Allen, Lead Products Liability Attorney
  • Andy Birchfield, Mass Torts Section Head
  • LaBarron Boone
  • Mike Crow
  • Kendall Dunson
  • Graham Esdale
  • Chris Glover, Managing Attorney – Atlanta
  • Larry Golston
  • Ted Meadows
  • Tom Methvin, Beasley Allen Managing Attorney
  • Dee Miles, Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section Head
  • Leigh O’Dell
  • Cole Portis, Personal Injury & Products Liability Section Head
  • Dana Taunton
  • Navan Ward, Jr.
  • Frank Woodson, Managing Attorney – Mobile

Lawdragon 500 recognition is a distinct honor given by one of the most respected groups in the profession. The Lawdragon editorial team selects honorees through research and submissions, considering criteria such as top verdicts and settlements and leadership roles in class actions.

Source: Lawdragon


Lawyer And Employee Spotlights

Jasmine Chavez

Jasmine Chavez, who joined the firm in 2022, works in the Mass Torts Section as a Staff Assistant. In her role, she is responsible for doing a little of everything but is mainly responsible for talking to clients and providing them with updates, ordering medical records, bookmarking records, and assisting with other tasks or projects in the section when needed. She says that her absolute favorite task is working on plaintiff fact sheets! 

Jasmine shares that she was raised by her grandmother.  She adds, “My grandmother is very important to me, and I became the person I am today because of her significant influence in my life.” Jasmine has 10 siblings and 18 nieces and nephews, all of whom she says she “dearly adores!” She and her longtime sweetheart, David, are recently engaged and the two of them enjoy spending time together traveling and enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities!  

Jasmine’s hobbies include event planning, hosting holiday parties for her family, fishing, baking, biking, and spending time with her family. She says that she plans to start an organization this year to help children in need of school supplies and clothes, and she looks forward to seeing how it grows! 

Jasmine says she loves working for Beasley Allen. She adds, “In the nearly two years of working at Beasley Allen, I have learned that the firm truly cares about its employees. I am truly blessed to work for such an incredible firm!” 

In turn, we are truly blessed to have Jasmine, a dedicated and hard-working employee, with us. 

Judy Harris

Judy Harris works in our Toxic Torts Section as a Staff Assistant, where she joined the firm in 2022. In her role, Judy is responsible for assisting the staff and lawyers in the section with the Roundup and Camp Lejeune cases, which includes assisting with whatever might be needed at each stage of a settlement, taking calls from clients or potential clients, preparing mail-outs, ordering records, and assisting with other projects as needed. 

Judy describes herself as a proud mother to three daughters, whom she raised as a single parent. She is also a proud grandmother to seven “precious” grandchildren and seven step-grandchildren, aged 6-15.  Judy says that her grandchildren, besides her daughters, are her greatest treasure and give her the most joy. It should be noted that Judy also has one cat named Lucy, who “rules the house.” 

Judy also shares that her Christian faith is very important to her and that she enjoys serving at the Church of the Highlands, where she is a member. Her hobbies include growing plants, enjoying a cup of coffee, and leading small outreach groups for women at her church.

Judy says that helping others is her favorite thing to do, adding:

Knowing that I work for a firm that does that daily is very rewarding. I can honestly say there hasn’t been a day I didn’t want to come to work. I love that we also receive a daily devotional each morning!

Judy is a very devoted and hard-working employee, and we are blessed to have her with us!

Saima Khan

Saima Khan joined Beasley Allen in February 2024 as a lawyer in the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, where she handles Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) cases.  

With over a decade of experience as a lawyer, Saima has managed staff and cases involving personal injury, property damage, business interruption, lost wages, and other economic losses. Saima has extensive experience in mass torts, allowing her to easily identify and bring attention to potential hazards and dangers often overlooked by the general public.

Saima’s expertise allows her to thoroughly investigate common everyday items, procedures, and processes that may have harmful consequences.  

In addition to her background in mass torts, Saima has experience working on pharmaceutical and medical product litigation. She recently worked on cases related to The Texas Winter Storm URI, where her clients claimed personal injury, property damage, business interruption, and other economic losses.

Saima earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rosemont College and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School.  Driven by her passion for social justice, Saima pursued a career in law to help those who are unable to fight for their rights or are unaware of their legal options. She highlights that practicing law is never dull since there is always something new to discover.

In her free time, Saima says she enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities, sports, movies, games, and traveling with her family, including her two young boys, Adam and Ismail.

When asked what makes Beasley Allen unique from other law firms, Saima says: 

What sets Beasley Allen apart from other law firms is that it actively monitors environmental hazards and other developments or incidents that can affect individuals on a larger scale. 

Saima is a valuable addition to our firm. She is a talented lawyer who brings her expertise and experience to Beasley Allen. We are fortunate to have her with us. 

Wesley Merillat

Wesley Merillat joined Beasley Allen in February 2024 as a lawyer in the firm’s Toxic Torts Section. He currently handles Camp Lejeune claims for the firm.   

During the past decade, Wesley worked at Charles Boyk Law and handled mass tort multi-district litigation. He was appointed to perform committee work on several litigations and led the firm’s development of its civil sexual assault litigation practice, representing victims/survivors of sex abuse.

A first-generation college student, Wesley grew up on a farm in rural Ohio. He shares that he is most grateful for the lessons about faith, family, and hard work that have helped shape him. Wesley earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bowling Green State University and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School. 

Wesley and his wife, Steffenie, have three children: Evan, Avah, and Casen. They also have two Belgian cattle dogs, Rocco and Nola.  Wesley and his family attend Keystone Church in Saline, Michigan. Outside of work, he enjoys basketball, salmon/saltwater fishing, and watching his children play sports.

Wesley says that he finds joy and fulfillment in being a trial lawyer, representing plaintiffs because it allows him to help those who have been wronged and need representation, coinciding with the firm’s motto. He says further: 

Beasley Allen has a visible and authentic purpose that is foundational.  The firm’s mission of ‘helping those who need it most’ isn’t just what the firm does – it is genuinely who they are, and their commitment to that purpose is unparalleled among law firms.

Wesley is a valuable addition to our firm. He is a talented lawyer who brings his expertise and experience to Beasley Allen. We are fortunate to have Wesley with us. 

Hannah Oakley

Hannah Oakley joined the firm just over a year ago and works in the Consumer Fraud Section as a Staff Assistant/Legal Secretary to Clay Barnett, a lawyer in the section. Hannah assists with various tasks, such as client intake, managing schedules, answering calls, and assisting with various projects as needed. She is a definite asset to her team and the “firm.” We are thankful to have Hannah with us! 

Hannah and her husband, Jacob, are graduates of Mississippi State University, and now reside in the Wetumpka area with their four-year-old daughter, Camden. Hannah says that many of their family members live nearby giving them the opportunity to visit with them frequently, for which they are extremely grateful. Hannah shares that she and her family, and their dog, Macy, enjoy spending time outside, especially the outdoor play area Jacob built for Camden. Hannah enjoys pretty much all things outdoors, including camping, kayaking, canoeing, exploring, as well as, solving puzzles, board games, crafting and playing the trumpet. 

When asked what her favorite thing about working at Beasley Allen has been, Hannah said it was “her team,” adding: 

The Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section has been very welcoming since my first day at Beasley Allen, and we support each other.  The leaders in the section always provide positive and constructive feedback and reward hard work!

We are fortunate to have Hannah at Beasley Allen. She is a good addition to the firm and does excellent work. 


Several of our staff members who are being featured this month share their favorite Bible verses in this issue.

Jasmine Chavez

Jasmine Chavez provided two of her favorite verses. She says that she repeats the first to herself whenever she is having feelings of self-doubt.

I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength. Philippians 4:13

The second verse provided is one she turns to for comfort. Jasmine says she has struggled with infertility, and this verse gives her hope and strength that it will happen when the time is right.

The smallest one will become a family of a thousand. And the least one will become a powerful nation. I, the Lord, will make it happen in its time.  Isaiah 60:22

Judy Harris

Judy Harris provided several of her favorite verses. She says the first assures her that God is always there even when she is at her lowest point or is exhausted physically, mentally, or emotionally.  Judy says she can trust Him, and only Him, to lift her up and to move forward. 

But they who wait upon the Lord will get new strength. They will rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weak. Isaiah 40:31

Judy says she has been clinging to the second verse provided since 2005. She has committed herself to be open to any opportunities presented to her for ministry to all people. She has also done short-term mission trips to various places, but the one that changed her the most was a trip to Haiti.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom should I send? Who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6-8

Judy has also served with mission teams on Skid Row in Los Angeles, CA, on four different occasions.  She finds it hard to believe that in America, we have this type of homelessness. There is so much hurt and pain in this world, and she says she just wants to do her part to ease some of it with God’s help.

Hannah Oakley

Hannah Oakley provided one of her favorite verses, saying that this verse tells us to be who we were created to be without being envious or prideful when comparing ourselves to others. She adds that it’s easy to allow comparison to steal our joy, but we were made to be who we are.

 We all have different gifts that God has given to us by His loving-favor. We are to use them. If someone has the gift of preaching the Good News, he should preach. He should use the faith God has given him. Romans 12:6


Attorney General Garland Warns Of Rising AI Use By Cyber Criminals

Attorney General Merrick Garland recently addressed a white-collar crime conference in San Francisco, where he discussed the increasing use of AI by cybercriminals and the threats posed by domestic terrorism. 

The Attorney General emphasized the importance of prosecuting individual bad actors and sending a message that the rich and powerful are not above the law. He also spoke about the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) focus on preserving the integrity of the country’s economic and democratic institutions. Garland says his favorite Taylor Swift song is “Shake It Off,” which he believes embodies the principles of prosecution and the rule of law.

Attorney General Garland expressed concern over cyber criminals’ rising use of AI and how it has supercharged their attacks against companies, law firms, the government, and the military. He also highlighted how AI can be used to defend against these attacks. DOJ plans to aggressively pursue cases against foreign nationals who try to steal trade secrets from American tech firms working on AI.

The Attorney General also discussed increased threats against public officials, including judges, prosecutors, and election workers. The DOJ holds daily “all-threats meetings” with the FBI and intelligence agencies to combat these attacks.

Attorney General Garland’s remarks come as the DOJ charged a Chinese national, Linwei Ding, who worked as a software engineer at Google, with stealing the company’s proprietary AI information. Ding was charged with four counts of trade secrets theft and was alleged to have downloaded confidential information about Google’s hardware infrastructure, machine-learning software platform and AI models and applications.

Source: National Law Journal


The following are reminders this month for all of us at Beasley Allen. These reminders are put in the Report for a purpose, and that purpose is for them to be applied both in the workplace and at home. The reminders are for all at Beasley Allen. But we also send them to our readers who are outside Beasley Allen. I mentioned last month that our political leaders needed these reminders. Any person in a leadership role should read the quotes and apply the lessons learned from them in their daily lives. It appears some of those in the “leadership” category don’t read this report. 

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 

2 Chronicles 7:14

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Edmund Burke

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.

Rep. John Lewis speaking on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020

Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.

Rep. John Lewis on movement-building in Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.

Bryan Stevenson, 2019

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country….corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 


My wife Sara and I have owned Pickwick Antiques for 24 years. Sara was the expert on antiques and decorating, and I was smart enough to let her run the show. After a very long and productive time, we have decided to close Pickwick. It has been a most interesting venture. I learned a lot about the fantastic world of antiques. It has truly been a learning experience! For example, I learned from the late Bill Byrd what he meant when he would tell me, “Jere, the glue is not even dry on that piece.” It was a reproduction that had an 18th-century date on the tag.

As one of the noted experts on antiques from NYC once said: “Pickwick has an inventory that equals that of the very best stores in New York City.” This came during a visit by the man, who appears quite often on “Antiques Roadshow,” to the store. He added: “Alabama is fortunate to have such a great collection of quality antiques in one location.”

Sara suffered a stroke and is now recovering at home. That played a major role in our decision to close Pickwick. Sara loves antiques and her health issues have kept her away from the store. After a great deal of uncertainty and indecision, we finally made our decision to make the needed change. It was a hard decision to make, but a necessary one. God blessed us with our time at Pickwick in the world of antiques, but it’s time to move on. 

About the Report

Latest Reports

Free Case Evaluation

Since 1979, Beasley Allen has been committed to “helping those who need it most.” Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. You pay us nothing if we do not win for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

For Disclaimers, see our Terms of Use.

Free Case Evaluation Full - Updated

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.