Jere Beasley Report

The Jere Beasley Report March 2024


LaBarron Boone Honored With 2024 Lawdragon Legends Award

Beasley Allen lawyer LaBarron Boone has been honored with the prestigious 2024 Lawdragon Legends Award. This award is a rare distinction conferred on lawyers who have been recognized with the Lawdragon 500 distinction repeatedly, usually 10 times or more. The award acknowledges the contributions of lawyers who have made a significant impact in their field of practice and have consistently demonstrated excellence over time. 

LaBarron has been with Beasley Allen since 1995. He was the first African American partner at a major law firm in Montgomery, Alabama. Over the years, the Mobile native has developed an expertise in the field of product liability law. LaBarron has successfully handled cases involving crashworthiness, seatbelt restraint failures, accidental airbag deployments, tractor rollovers, and tire separations. His latest focus is on helping our firm hold Big Pharma accountable for the country’s opioid epidemic. 

  The Lawdragon Legends Award was introduced in 2015 and is one of the most coveted awards in the legal profession. Only a handful of lawyers have been honored with this recognition since its inception. As a recipient of the Award, LaBarron joins an exclusive group of lawyers who embody what Lawdragon believes is the best a lawyer can be. These lawyers have demonstrated exceptional legal skills, a commitment to their clients, and a dedication to the legal profession. 

We are blessed to have LaBarron at Beasley Allen. Not only is LaBarron a tremendously talented and successful trial lawyer, he is also a good man in every respect. He truly cares about his clients and their pursuit for justice. LaBarron is truly a legend and he will leave a legacy in law and in life that will be difficult to match.


Talc Litigation Update

Litigation continues in both federal and state courts against Johnson and Johnson (J&J), its subsidiaries, and affiliates, alleging that genital use of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower body powder caused women’s ovarian cancer.

J&J recently requested to transfer and rename LTL Management, LLC (Legacy Talc Liabilities) to the state of Texas as it contemplates a potential third bankruptcy attempt. Notwithstanding this potential third bankruptcy filing, the bellwether process continues in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey.  Depositions are also continuing, and all briefings on dispositive and Daubert motions are due by June 26, 2024.  

Trial settings are also underway across the nation in state courts.  The bellwether selection process for the state’s multicounty litigation is ongoing in New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court.  Trial dates are anticipated in Fall 2024.  A Florida trial in Miami-Dade County is currently underway, with another trial set to take place in Sarasota County starting in early April. Several additional cases have been filed in Broward County with motion to dismiss hearings set to take place this month. Trial dates are also anticipated for late Fall 2024 in California’s Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings (JCCP).

Beasley Allen continues to play a significant leadership role in both the MDL bellwether trials and trials throughout various state courts.  

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.


An Update On The Camp Lejeune Litigation

The latest developments in the Camp Lejeune Water Litigation come from the February 6 status conference before the Eastern District of North Carolina.  The court heard updates from the parties on matters including outstanding motions, discovery, and the administrative claim process.

The most consequential development came in response to the Department of Justice’s motion to strike the jury trial demand in plaintiffs’ master complaint.  The court determined that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act does not provide plaintiffs the right to a jury trial.  The order refers to the $6.1 billion in costs the Congressional Budget Office estimated for settlement payouts and legal expenses but says that the approximately 164,000 administrative claims filed with the Department of Navy demand in excess of $3.3 trillion.  This order significantly impacts plaintiffs’ strategies going forward. We will write more later on this development in the litigation. 

Developments in the discovery realm include plaintiff demands for data pertaining to exposure and injuries for those who were at Camp Lejeune.  Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group is seeking to obtain water modeling data, electronic muster rolls containing information about where on base different servicemen and women spent time and the water they were exposed to, and underlying health data relied upon by the ATSDR for its latest cancer study.  This data would afford the ability to better connect those making claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to where they were on base and the contaminants they were exposed to.  Interim orders on these issues are expected to be forthcoming.

The administrative claim process continues to evolve as the Department of Navy announced it is piloting a new system that would allow claimants to upload substantiating documentation to support their claims.  The Navy is aiming for the system to invite the approximately 160,000 claimants to participate within 6 weeks of the status conference.  The Navy also looks to increase its attorney staffing by 75% as it continues to review claims files.  These developments come as we rapidly approach the August 10, 2024, deadline by which all administrative claims must be filed with the Navy. If you need more information or need help with a case, contact one of the lawyers on our litigation team. members are set out below. 

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.

Government Wants Camp Lejeune Litigants To Provide Evidence Of Specific Cause

The government has stated that the plaintiffs in the Camp Lejeune case must prove that their medical conditions were directly caused by exposure to contaminated water at the Marine base.  According to the government, it is not enough to show that the plaintiffs spent 30 days at the base and have an illness that could be caused by exposure to contaminated water.

There are currently almost 1,500 lawsuits pending in the Eastern District of North Carolina related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination. The Camp Lejeune Act lowered the standard of proof, allowing people harmed by the contaminated water to sue the government. However, plaintiffs still need to prove the water specifically caused their injuries. The government argued that only allowing individualized recoveries with individualized proof is acceptable.

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, without adequate protections or warnings. This wrongdoing has caused hundreds, if not thousands, of adolescents to 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.  Sadly, it has caused many youngsters to experience frequent periods of suicidal ideation, and there have been numerous suicides.

Our lawyers are very encouraged that their efforts to obtain relief against defendants Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube recently advanced beyond a critical hurdle. On October 13 and November 14, 2023, respectively, the Social Media Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding (JCCP), which is being litigated before JCCP Judge Carolyn Kuhl in the Los Angeles Superior Court, and the Social Media Addiction/Personal Injury Product Liability multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is being litigated in federal court before MDL Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, ruled that defendants efforts to dismiss this litigation and avoid liability are denied. 

This development has ushered in the next phase of this litigation, the discovery stage, during which defendants will soon be required to sit for deposition and answer questions, under oath, for their respective roles in creating and exacerbating the social media epidemic. What’s more, negotiations are underway to establish the schedule for our march to trial against the social media defendants in California state court, and jury selection is scheduled to begin in California federal court in October 2025.        

Beasley Allen is honored to represent the victims of the tech giants’ harmful product designs. If you have a potential claim or need more information on our litigation, contact one of the lawyers on the Meta Litigation Team. 

First Bellwether Trial Date Set For Social Media Addiction MDL

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers has set a late 2025 date for the first bellwether trial in the multidistrict litigation that claims Facebook and other social media platforms are harming young people by purposely making their platforms addictive. 

Judge Gonzalez-Rogers handed down a comprehensive scheduling order that set dozens of dates leading up to the first bellwether trial, which she plans to kick off with jury selection on Oct. 14, 2025. However, the judge hasn’t decided which case will serve as the bellwether. That will happen during a three-step process that the judge laid out in her order. 

The MDL has been working its way through the MDL court since early October when the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation combined what were then 28 suits spread across 17 federal courts around the country. 

There were also 56 related actions that could be shipped to Northern California as tagalongs eventually, the JMPL said at the time. Meta wanted the suits sent to Kentucky, Florida or Georgia, but preferred consolidation. This would allow quicker resolution of issues, such as whether they can avoid the claims under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. 

Each of the lawsuits alleges the social media platforms fail to adequately warn users about the mental health risks associated with using them, especially the risk of addiction, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

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 Avoid Non-Facebook Users’ Health Privacy Suit

Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, has failed in its attempt to get a dismissal of a class-action lawsuit alleging it illegally obtained consumers’ sensitive health information through its Meta Pixel tool. The lawsuit was filed by two nonusers of Facebook who claim that the Pixel tool intercepted their information, which was secured by Meta from Cerebral, a mental telehealth provider, in creating accounts for people seeking treatment. Meta argued that the invasion of privacy claims should be dismissed. 

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick denied Meta’s motion to dismiss parts of the lawsuit, stating that the consumers have provided specific enough allegations of the kinds of sensitive information intercepted. The lawsuit accuses Meta of collecting consumers’ detailed sensitive health information, even when they don’t have Facebook accounts. 

The plaintiffs’ claims include invasion of privacy, violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and unjust enrichment. Meta has publicly acknowledged that it uses nonusers’ data for business purposes such as product development and consumer analytic reports. However, according to the suit, the company’s lack of internal data controls means that it cannot constrain this nonuser data to just those uses. 

Abigail Burman, a lawyer for the consumers, said that the court’s decision affirms that there is no “tech giant” exemption to state and federal privacy law. 

The lawsuit against Meta Platforms highlights the growing concerns over how tech companies handle sensitive personal data and the need for more robust data privacy regulations.

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

New York City Sues To Fight Youth Social Media Addition

New York City has filed a lawsuit against Meta (Facebook) and other major social media corporations in a California state court, alleging the companies design their platforms to addict young users even when they know the risks. The city’s lawsuit aligns with other complaints filed by parents and school districts nationwide who argue that social media companies have created a mental health crisis by exploiting minors.

Alarming details about algorithms, filters, and other features social media companies use to engage minors have come to light in recent years. In 2020, Facebook’s former monetization director told Congress that the company deliberately designed its platform features to be as addictive as cigarettes. 

The result, NYC argues, is a troubling rise in addiction, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression and eating disorders among youth. The city says the teen social media addiction crisis has come with giant monetary costs in addition to human costs. The NYC lawsuit underscores the financial strain on its youth mental health services and educational system due to the pervasive use of social media among minors. 

The lawsuit also targets Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube for allegedly employing similar tactics. According to the city’s suit, national youth suicide rates are up 57%, and increasing numbers of high school students report experiencing persistent sadness or hopelessness. 

While state and federal courts handling the social media litigation in California disagree on treating the platforms as tangible products for liability claims, they agree that the companies should face negligence claims for the lack of age verification and parental notification and controls. 

The case is The City Of New York; The City School District Of The City Of New York; and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, v. Meta Platforms Inc.; Facebook Holdings LLC; Facebook Operations LLC; Meta Payments Inc. ; Siculus Inc.; Instagram Llc; Snap Inc.; Tiktok Inc.; Bytedance Inc.; Tiktok Pte. Ltd.; Bytedance Ltd.; Google Llc; And YouTube LLC, case number 24STCV03643 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

Sources: Law360, CBS News

Google Pays $350 Million To Settle Data Privacy Lawsuit

Google has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by shareholders related to a security bug at Google+, its defunct social media website, for $350 million.  The preliminary settlement was recently filed in San Francisco federal court and awaits approval by U.S. District Court Judge Trina Thompson.

The settlement “resolves claims that Google learned by March 2018 about a three-year software glitch that exposed Google+ users’ personal data yet concealed the problem for months while publicly stressing its commitment to data security.”  Shareholders claimed Google feared that disclosing the data exposure “would subject it to regulatory and public scrutiny similar to what Facebook received after London-based Cambridge Analytica harvested its users’ data for the 2016 U.S. elections.”

The complaint alleges shares of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, fell significantly as news of the glitch became public, eliminating market value to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.  The lawsuit was led by Rhode Island Treasurer James Diossa on behalf of a state pension fund that owned Alphabet stock. Alphabet shareholders from April 23, 2018 to April 30, 2019 are covered in the complaint.  

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the case in 2021 after a different judge had dismissed the case in 2020. 

Appeals Court Upholds $90 Million Settlement In Facebook Privacy Suit 

A Ninth Circuit panel has upheld a $90 million class settlement to resolve allegations that Facebook illegally tracked logged-out users’ browsing activity. 

The settlement resolves over 20 lawsuits filed against Facebook in 2011, where the social media giant was accused of violating state and federal law by intercepting users’ internet activity on other websites with a “Like” button once they had logged out of the platform, without consent from those users. 

The settlement is the seventh largest in a privacy class-action settlement. As part of the resolution, Facebook pledged to delete all improperly collected cookie data between April 2010 and September 2011. 

Objectors Sarah Feldman and Hondo Jan urged a three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit to undo the settlement, contending that it was inadequate given the potential statutory damages the class of 124 million Facebook users could recover under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. 

The panel wrote in its unpublished opinion that the district court correctly gauged the damages Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., should pay based on disgorgement, instead of calculating potential damages by adding $10,000 per violation of the Wiretap Act. 

The case is Perrin Davis et al. v. Meta Platforms Inc., case number 22-16903, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The underlying case is In re: Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation, case number 5:12-md-02314, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Source: Law360

Social Media Platforms Must Be Regulated 

Parents around the country are demanding federal regulations to hold social media accountable for harming children. While there is an urgent need for congressional action, it’s unlikely to see any success in Congress this year. That’s the consensus of thinking of those in and around our nation’s capital who watch Congress closely. I hope they are wrong and for something positive to happen.

During a Jan. 31 hearing, the CEOs of five social media companies were criticized for not doing enough to protect children and prevent mental health issues. Lawmakers called the platforms “dangerous products” and centered on their exposure of children being exploited and sexual material online.

Despite the hearing, it is still unclear if Congress will act on passing laws reining in social media. That’s most difficult to understand. Perhaps the focus of the media should be on who all are opposing the legislative efforts and why they are in opposition. 

Five bills aimed at stopping the sexual exploitation of children on social media platforms have been introduced in the Senate, some of which focus on removing legal protections of social platforms and increasing the digital protection of children.

Social media companies are also facing pressure to change their models as lawsuits from parents, schools and states targeting their algorithms mount up in California federal and state courts.

Algorithms in social media have raised legal questions about companies’ responsibility. Parents believe social media’s immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been taken too far.

Social media companies argue that they are not liable for harm associated with their platforms, as they are publishers protected by Section 230 and the First Amendment.

However, making significant changes to Section 230, which protects online publishers from liability, may take much work to achieve during an election year. Hopefully, there are enough members of Congress who recognize the severity of the problems involving social media and will make things happen. 

Source: Law360

Data Privacy Violations

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section are handling cases involving data privacy violations. Our lawyers are ready to review potential cases. You can contact Rebecca Gilliland or Tyner Helms, lawyers in the Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section. If you are aware of your personal information being collected or disclosed without your consent, Rebecca and Tyner will be glad to help you.

The Beasley Allen Social Media Personal Injury Litigation Team

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 litigation teams handling the social media cases are set out below.

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 Litigation Team. Members of the team are:

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.

Class Actions

The class action aspect of the Social Media Litigation is handled at Beasley Allen by lawyers in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section. Class actions are separate from the personal injury aspect of this litigation.


A Look At Proposed Rule 16.1 And Its Effect On MDL Flexibility 

The introduction of the newly proposed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16.1 is being scrutinized by law firms that handle MDL cases. The proposed change has caused a contentious debate within the legal community and rightfully so. This matter is being watched closely by Beasley Allen lawyers as it unfolds. 

The rule, if adopted as currently set out in the proposal, could reshape the landscape of multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings. The ability of lawyers to pursue justice through the civil courts for their clients could be compromised. The intent of Proposed Rule 16.1 is said to provide guidance for the management of MDL proceedings. The question is whether there is a need for such a change.

The proposal is composed of four distinct sections, covering the preparation of a report for an initial MDL management conference, holding an initial MDL management conference, the appointment of “coordinating counsel,” and issuance of an initial case management order. Subsection (c) of the rule specifies several issues that parties may address in the pre-conference report, including matters related to leadership counsel, the exchange of information, consolidated pleadings and measures aimed at facilitating settlement.

The proposed rule raises concerns about hasty discovery and motion requirements in reports, the role of “coordinating counsel,” and the so-called “Field of Dreams” problem. The role of coordinating counsel is said by some to be ambiguous. But it’s unclear how the proposed rule would ensure the efficiency of MDL proceedings. The “Field of Dreams” problem revolves around the incorrect perception that MDLs encourage the filing of frivolous claims, leading to an influx of meritless cases. Our firm’s experience has been that the current MDL system handles the filing of fraudulent claims properly and efficiently. 

The responsibility for vetting cases rests primarily with the plaintiffs bar, extending to MDLs. It is crucial that all parties affected by any changes in MDL proceedings fully understand and consider the intricacies of proposed Rule 16.1, its implications, and its potential impact on future MDLs. There is a great deal to consider before making any significant changes to the current system.

Source: Law360


NHTSA Steps Up Tesla Steering Loss Investigation

U.S. safety regulators have escalated an investigation of power steering loss in Tesla vehicles to an engineering analysis, a move potentially signaling that the government could order a safety recall. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said last month that its investigation covers about 334,000 2023 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. The agency started investigating the loss of steering control in Tesla vehicles in July of last year after receiving a dozen complaints from drivers. Since then, NHTSA has identified 2,388 additional complaints involving the same problem. 

In December, an investigative report by Reuters highlighting company documents and interviews with customers and former employees found that tens of thousands of Tesla drivers had experienced early failures in steering and suspension. Some records documented alarming accounts of sudden loss of steering control at high speeds. The report also indicated that while Tesla knew of the defects, the company blamed drivers for the failures.

Tesla has previously resolved several defects through remote software updates. However, it remains unclear whether that approach will solve the steering problem. Some of the complaints NHTSA received say that loss of steering or difficulty in steering persisted until Tesla replaced the steering rack. The agency’s engineering probe will look at the steering rack failures, their possible causes and their effects. 

NHTSA records reveal that Tesla has recalled vehicles in the U.S. for steering and suspension issues nine times since 2018. Most of those recalls encompassed a smaller number of vehicles. Larger recalls affecting nearly every vehicle Tesla has sold in the U.S. aim to repair inadequate Autopilot safeguards and difficult-to-read warning lights.

Sources: Reuters, CNN Business, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Finding the Responsible Party In Rear-End Collisions With Commercial Vehicles

Rear-end collisions are fairly common, and they can range from being relatively minor to being severe and very serious. It’s generally believed by most folks that the vehicle striking another from the rear is at fault. But rear-end collisions with commercial motor vehicles do not always mean the driver who rear-ended the vehicle is at fault. Most assume that the driver who rear-ends the commercial motor vehicle caused the accident by negligently following the vehicle too closely or being inattentive. However, there is a high possibility the truck driver who was hit from behind was at fault for the accident. 

These types of accidents involving the commercial vehicle that was hit from the rear can be caused by a variety of factors. Factors that would place fault on the driver of the commercial vehicle include:

  • Failure to warn before making an erratic maneuver;
  • Failure to properly maintain their lane of travel;
  • Failure to pay attention and either abruptly breaking or stopping to avoid a road

hazard; and

  • Failure to fully move off the road when experiencing a mechanical issue.

Rear-end commercial truck collisions typically involve more serious injuries. The sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles inherently increases the force of the collision. Specifically, the rear of a commercial truck is much taller than the front of vehicles like SUVs or sedans and crushes most of the striking vehicles upon impact. 

To rebut the presumption of liability placed on the rear-end driver, conducting a full investigation is necessary and key. Most large commercial vehicles contain onboard systems that automatically store electronic data recording speed, braking, operations, and other related information. Often, the details prove the degree of fault assigned to each driver and aid in holding the commercial vehicle legally responsible and liable for causing the collision.

Importance Of Effective Discovery In Trucking Litigation

When any heavy commercial motor vehicle causes a wreck – whether it is a log truck or a long-haul 18-wheeler – the injuries sustained by occupants of the other vehicle involved are often catastrophic.  Many times, there will also be deaths involved. The weight alone of these commercial vehicles dictates the injuries will be more severe than those seen from an “average” car wreck.  

When a wreck occurs, the first step by a Beasley Allen lawyer is to look at the driver’s conduct that caused the wreck.  But what if the wreck could have been prevented altogether by the employer not allowing the driver to operate a heavy truck in the first place? A thorough investigation and effective discovery are critically important in finding the answer. 

Because of the increased dangers associated with operating heavy trucks, trucking companies are required to take special care when deciding what drivers to entrust with their vehicles. The companies are also required to monitor their drivers throughout the course of their employment.  To make sure a company has complied with this standard of care, you must thoroughly investigate the company’s hiring policies and procedures, as well as the individual driver’s employment and driving history.  

If the driver who caused the wreck has had multiple violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; has caused multiple wrecks or had other serious driving infractions, discovery into whether the employer knew or should have known of these violations and incidents is critical to making sure your client receives maximum compensation. 

Negligent and wanton entrustment cases, as well as negligent hiring, supervision and retention claims, must always be subjects of a plaintiff lawyer’s discovery. Results in these areas could not only prove liability, but potentially they can “add heat” to a lawsuit by uncovering a trucking company’s careless or reckless hiring and retention policies and practices.  

For instance, if the driver has had multiple violations for overweight loads, violations for driving beyond the hours of operation provided by the FMCSRs or has violated safety protocols by operating a tractor-trailer unit with known maintenance issues, these will all help prove liability. 

All the above are safety violations the employer either knew about or should have known about. In addition to proving liability, the violations can increase the value of the case and your client’s recovery.  

Defendants will often obstruct this discovery by arguing the information sought is not relevant or comes as a fishing expedition.  It is imperative to fight this obstruction with motions to compel in order to learn whether the trucking company could have prevented the wreck by either not hiring the driver in the first place, or by taking the driver off the highways. 

Lawyers at Beasley Allen in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section have extensive knowledge and experience in discovering a driver’s employment history and driving background, as well as discovering an employer’s reckless disregard for the hiring and/or retention of an unsafe driver.  

If you have a case involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial motor vehicle, Beasley Allen lawyers in the Section would be honored to have the opportunity to work on the case with you.

U.S. Guardrails Are No Match For Heavier Electric Vehicles

Highway guardrails on our nation’s highways are important safety structures. The guardrails are there to protect the public. The University of Nebraska has released crash test results showing that the nation’s steel highway guardrails cannot withstand impacts from heavier electric vehicles, which weigh 20% to 50% more than gasoline-powered cars due to their heavy, oversized batteries. 

In one of the crash tests, a 2022 Rivian R1T pickup truck weighing nearly four tons easily plowed through a steel guardrail with almost no reduction in speed until it struck a concrete barrier. The vehicle, which has earned some of the highest industry safety ratings, showed practically no interior damage after colliding with the barrier. But that durability would matter little if the truck had passed through a guardrail on a bridge, waterway or cliff. 

In another crash test involving a Tesla sedan, the vehicle lifted the guardrail and drove under it, further demonstrating that current guardrail systems are inadequate for heavier electric vehicles. Researchers stress the need for further testing and engineering to develop roadside barriers that can protect both lighter gas-powered vehicles and heavier electric vehicles. Transportation officials faced a similar challenge in the 1990s when engineers had to update the 50-year-old guardrail system to accommodate heavier SUVs and pickup trucks that soared in popularity during that time. 

Currently, since electric vehicles make up just 10% of the vehicles on U.S. highways, the problem isn’t a big one. However, officials are sounding the alarm as they expect electric vehicle sales to double by the end of 2025 and make up half of all new car sales by 2030. 

Sources: Claims Journal, Nebraska Today

Honda Recalls 750,000 U.S. Vehicles Due To Faulty Airbags

Honda Motor Co. has issued a recall of 750,000 vehicles in the United States. The recall is due to a defect involving airbags that could deploy unintentionally during a crash. The front passenger seat weight sensor may crack and short circuit, which can cause the airbag to fail to suppress, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) intended. Honda dealers will replace the seat weight sensors of the affected vehicles.

The recall includes specific Honda Pilot, Accord and Civic vehicles from the 2020-2022 model years and some Honda CR-V and Passport vehicles from the 2020 and 2021 model years. Honda has reported 3,834 warranty claims since June 2020. However, no injuries or deaths related to the recall issue have occurred.

The issue, according to Honda, is related to a defect in the seat weight sensor of

some of its vehicles. Honda believes that this defect may have originated from a natural

disaster that impacted the manufacturing plant of a subcontractor. As a result, a supplier

used an alternative material in the printed circuit board of the sensor, which could cause additional strain on the board. 

In December, Toyota Motor recalled 1.12 million vehicles worldwide because a short circuit in a sensor could cause airbags not to deploy as designed. Also, in December, Honda recalled 4.5 million vehicles worldwide over the risk of fuel pump failure, which included 2.54 million vehicles in the United States.

Source: Reuters

Toyota Issues Urgent Do Not Drive Warning For 50,000 Older Models

Toyota has issued an urgent “do not drive” advisory for approximately 50,000 USA vehicles with defective Takata airbags. The affected models include the 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix, and 2004-2005 RAV4. Toyota has urged owners of these models to get a free safety recall repair as soon as possible. Toyota is offering free repairs or replacements for airbags in affected models. 

Notifications are sent to owners every month. You can check the recall website or use the NHTSA VIN system to confirm if your car is affected. Toyota advises owners not to drive their vehicles to dealerships and provides free mobile repairs, towing, or vehicle pickup and delivery. 

It’s important to note the severity of the situation regarding faulty car airbags. In 2013, Takata recalled 3.6 million cars due to their airbags exploding, resulting in severe injuries and deaths. Over the past decade, more than 60 million cars have been recalled in the USA alone. Takata was a significant supplier of airbags before going bankrupt in 2017.

Although this airbag safety issue is often associated with Japanese automakers, North American-made models such as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Ram are still equipped with these dangerous airbags. Unfortunately, NHTSA has been unable to adequately address the issue, even after a particularly deadly 2022 and 2023.

Source: CarBuzz


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Warning Of Tip-Over Dangers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been working to increase awareness about the dangers of chests, TVs and other items of furniture tipping over. Despite the CPSC efforts, thousands of children and adults have still been injured due to tip-over incidents. This safety issue has been a persistent threat to the safety of both children and adults.

A child can climb on furniture that has a tip-over risk in a moment, leading to dangerous consequences, and the incident can even result in the child’s death. According to the latest data from the CPSC, almost 18,000 people are injured in tip-over incidents every year. 

Children are more at risk of tip-over incidents, with nearly half of the reported deaths over the last decade involving TV tip-overs (over half of them involving children between one and three years old). However, adults aged 60 and above are also at risk, with many sent to the emergency room due to furniture tip-overs. 

To mitigate this risk, research suggests that all clothing and storage furniture manufactured after September 1, 2023, must have updated safety measures laid out by the CPSC. The agency also recommends that all furniture, regardless of its manufacturing date, should be anchored to the wall. You can purchase an anchor from a hardware store for less than $20 and secure your furniture to the wall in about 20 minutes. provides step-by-step instructions and videos on securing furniture to prevent potential tragedies. Don’t take the risk. Take measures to secure furniture in homes and other places where children will have access to the furniture. 

Frigidaire Refrigerators Recalled Due To Possible Choking Hazard

Frigidaire has issued a recall for more than 383,000 refrigerators due to a component that poses a potential choking hazard. We will take a look at the reasons for the recall of these popular refrigerators. 

Frigidaire side-by-side refrigerators with slim ice buckets were recalled by the Electrolux Group. As stated in a recent announcement on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website, the affected refrigerators have an ice bucket assembly component that is prone to breakage, leading to plastic pieces entering the ice bucket. These plastic pieces can pose choking and laceration hazards to consumers.

On February 8, a recall was announced for approximately 383,240 units. If you own a slim Ice bucket Frigidaire side by side refrigerator that was manufactured between 2015 and 2019, and you purchased it from Lowe’s, Home Depot, or other stores nationwide or online at, it may be affected by the recent issue. The affected model numbers are: 

DGHK2355TF, DGHX2655TF, FFSC2323TS, FGSC2335TD, FGSC2335TF, FGSS2635TD, FGSS2635TE, FGSS2635TF, FGSS2635TP, FPSC2277RF, FPSC2278UF, FPSS2677RF, LFSC2324VF, LGHK2336TD, LGHK2336TF, LGHX2636TD, and LGHX2636TF.

Consumers can visit the Frigidaire website to see if their serial number is included in this recall. The model and serial numbers are printed on a serial plate located inside the refrigerator compartment. If you own one of the refrigerators, it is recommended that you discontinue using the ice makers. You can reach out to Electrolux Group to ask for a free replacement ice bucket assembly component (reports



Georgia Workplace Injury Statistics

Unfortunately, thousands of Georgians are injured and hundreds more lose their lives every year in job-related incidents. It is important to document these incidents to understand why they occur and to take steps to improve workplace safety. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Georgia Fair Labor Platform document and report workplace injuries and death for the state. Documenting and reporting statistics and trends on Georgia workplace injuries provides insight into whether the laws and systems in place to protect the state’s workers are serving their purpose.

Agencies and entities that gather and report state injury statistics often lag given the analysis that must be completed before the statistics are released to the public. This article will focus on 2019 statistics. In Georgia, over 78,000 nonfatal workplace injuries were reported from private industry employers. In the same year, 207 Georgia workers lost their lives in workplace incidents. When a worker dies in an on-the-job injury, the loss extends beyond the workplace to the family that lost a loved one and a provider. 

Likewise, serious nonfatal injuries require significant time from work and, in some instances, result in a reduction of the injured employee’s earning capacity. Nearly every state requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Georgia’s workers’ compensation framework, like most states, will cover related medical expenses and will compensate injured workers at a rate of 2/3 of their average weekly wage when the employee is not able to work. Every client I have ever represented complained that they are unable to cover their expenses with a 1/3 reduction in their income. Longer recovery times resulted in more financial distress.

In addition to the reduced income associated with Georgia’s workers’ compensation program, an injured employee is not able to recover from pain, suffering, stress, mental anguish, and other damages available under state common law. State workers’ compensation programs are not intended to make injured workers whole. Injured workers and the families of those killed in workplace incidents must examine their respective circumstances to determine if other parties might be responsible for an injury or death. 

Pursuing legal rights outside of Georgia’s workers’ compensation scheme, when available, is the only way to make an injured worker or the family of a deceased worker whole. Oftentimes, lawyers who specialize in workers’ compensation are not qualified to determine, for example, whether a defective product was responsible for an injury or death. Because transportation and machine-related incidents combined make up a significant portion of yearly work-related incidents, it is important to have each incident analyzed by a lawyer skilled in workers’ compensation and also by a trial lawyer skilled in product defects and experienced in product liability law.

Lawyers at Beasley Allen, with the ability and resources to prosecute product liability litigation, will be glad to review an on-the-job incident free of charge to determine if third-party liability exists. A lost opportunity to pursue a third-party claim when one exists is detrimental to the long-term viability of an employee who has lost the ability to earn income or to the family that has lost its primary or even secondary breadwinner. 

Lawyers at Beasley Allen in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section will continue to monitor workplace injury statistics and we will use the obtained information to inform our readers about workplace safety issues. There will be intended and unintended consequences discovered.

Premises Liability Litigation

The Proposed Georgia Landowners Protection Act Will Be Hurtful To The Public

Senate Bill 186 (“S.B. 186”) – currently under consideration in the General Assembly – threatens to upend the legal landscape governing premises liability actions across Georgia. The bill, known as the “Georgia Landowners Protection Act,” is yet another example of misguided tort reform efforts aimed at reducing property owners’ responsibility for harm suffered by individuals while on their land.

While S.B. 186 is broad sweeping in its design, several aspects of the proposed bill are particularly troubling. For instance, the bill immunizes property owners in premises liability actions involving foreseeable third-party criminal activity unless the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • “The conduct of the landowner actively and affirmatively, and with a degree of conscious decision making, impelled the specific action of said third party; or
  • “The landowner had actual knowledge of the specific threat of imminent harm to the invitee from said third party and, through reasonable action, the landowner could have prevented that harm from occurring.”

This language in S.B. 186 fundamentally alters premises liability claims in two distinct ways. 

  • First, S.B. 186 replaces the traditional “preponderance of the evidence” standard with the “clear and convincing evidence” standard – a much higher burden of proof typically reserved for fraud cases, not personal injury actions.
  • Second, S.B. 186 requires property owners to possess “actual knowledge of the specific threat” giving rise to the plaintiff’s harm. S.B. 186’s heightened “actual knowledge” requirement represents a significant departure from current law. As it stands, a plaintiff may prove his or her case by demonstrating that the landowner possessed “constructive knowledge” of the harm suffered through evidence of prior substantially similar criminal activity occurring on the property.

S.B. 186 also attempts to invade the province of the jury, allowing a trial judge to unilaterally declare a new trial if the judge disagrees with the jury’s apportionment of fault to the third-party criminal. The legislation provides: 

If the jury fails to apportion an appropriate degree of fault to the third party, the trial court may . . . set aside the verdict of the jury and require a retrial of the case.

This type of judicial veto undermines an individual’s constitutional right to a jury trial, and it takes away the fundamental role of a jury.

It is critical for constituents to lobby their elected representatives so that S.B. 186 does not become law. As demonstrated above, the bill only serves to diminish an owner’s legal duty to keep those on their premises reasonably safe from foreseeable third-party criminal conduct.

Class Action Litigation

Fisher-Price, Mattel Settle Multidistrict Litigation Over Recalled Baby Sleeper

Fisher-Price and its parent company Mattel have reached a settlement in principle with plaintiffs in the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper multidistrict litigation to resolve claims by a nationwide claim of consumers that the company’s inclined Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was falsely advertised as safe for babies to sleep in despite multiple deaths involving the sleeper. 

On February 13, 2024, the parties informed Hon. Geoffrey Crawford, who presides over the MDL, that they expected to complete a full settlement agreement and that plaintiffs intended to file a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement on April 12, 2024.  Beasley Allen principal Demet Basar, who serves as class counsel, stated: 

We are gratified that after nearly five years of litigation, if the settlement is approved, class members stand to get a recovery in this economic loss class action. 

In April 2019, Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play Sleepers after 10 babies died, beginning in 2015. At least eight babies died after the recall when they rolled onto their stomachs or sides while in the sleeper unrestrained. 

In June 2022, Judge Crawford certified a class of New York consumers on the issues of whether Mattel’s marketing claims led consumers to believe the sleepers were safe for babies to sleep in and whether those claims led consumers to buy the products.  A bellwether trial on those claims was set for fall 2024. 

Two of the original plaintiffs, Samantha Drover-Mundy and Zachary Mundy, said their infant daughter died minutes after being placed in the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper in 2018. They claim Mattel was aware of the risks with the sleepers, but the company continued to market them for years. The complaint in the case states: 

Even from the introduction of the Rock ‘n Play, Fisher-Price and Mattel knew or should have known that it was not a safe environment for infants. At the time that the Rock ‘n Play went to market in 2009, Fisher-Price and Mattel had already disregarded recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics as to appropriate infant sleep position. Over time, Fisher-Price and Mattel would lobby the Consumer Product Safety Commission to let the companies avoid regulations that would have kept the product off the market.

If preliminarily approved, the court will schedule a hearing to decide whether to finally approve the settlement. The full terms of the settlement agreement will be filed with plaintiffs’ preliminary approval motion on April 12. 

The class is represented by Demet Basar, James Eubank and Paul Evans of Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles PC and Terrence Connors Andrew Debbins of Connors LLP. Dee Miles, who heads up our firm’s Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, also worked on this case. 

The case is In re: Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper Marketing, Sales Practices and Products LiabilityLitigation, No. 1:19-md-2903, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

Source: Law360

6th Circuit Urged To Reverse Class Certification In Nissan Faulty Brake Suit

Automotive manufacturer associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have urged the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to undo a decision to grant class certification in a suit against Nissan. Drivers in the suit claimed that the automatic emergency braking systems in four Nissan models from years 2017 to 2021 could stop unexpectedly. The chamber and associations said the certification was not only weak but could set a dangerous trend in vehicle liability actions. 

U.S. District Judge William J. Campbell Jr. said the class had common questions, which included:

  • Are the automatic braking systems defective?
  • Did Nissan know of the defect?
  • Did Nissan conceal the defect?
  • Did Nissan’s conduct rise to the level of violating laws and statutory protections?

The chamber, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, and the Product Liability Advisory Council argued that Judge Campbell’s decision to certify drivers from 10 states is too individualized to be a class. Their efforts should fail based on the applicable law and the record from the district court. 

In addition to lawyers from Beasley Allen, the drivers are represented by Branstetter Stranch & Jennings PLLC, Bursor & Fisher PA, DiCello Levitt LLC, Bailey & Glasser LLP, and Schlanger Law Group LLP.

The case is In re: Nissan North America, Inc. Litigation, case number 23-5950, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

Source: Law360

Increasing Participation Rates in Consumer Class Action Settlements

Courts and practitioners, in recent years, have been paying greater attention to improving participation rates or “take rates” in consumer class action settlements. A 2019 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Staff Report, entitled “Consumers and Class Actions: A Retrospective and Analysis of Settlement Campaigns,” found that the median take rate in the settlements studied was 9% and the weighted mean – weighted by the number of people who received notice – was 4%. 

Since the very purpose of class settlements is to benefit class members, increasing participation rates so that the maximum amount of settlement proceeds end up in class member pockets is an important and necessary goal for the consumer class action bar. 

Participation rates are driven by two things – widely distributed notice of the settlement to a target population using media most likely to reach that population, and ease of participation. Surprisingly, the FTC report found that the amount of the settlement payment did not influence participation rates although it did have an effect on whether class members cashed settlement checks they received. 

Upon settlement of a class action, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(2), a court must direct the “best notice practicable under the circumstances, including individual notice to all members can be identified through reasonable effort.” 

Historically, notice was given to identifiable class members by U.S. mail, either in the form a multi-page “long-form” notice, together with a claim form which class members could use to seek payment from the settlement, or by summary “short-form” postcard notice. 

While direct notice to class members is still the “gold standard,” given technological advances and differences in modes of communication, the contours of what constitutes “best notice practicable under the circumstances” has changed considerably. 

For example, the Ninth Circuit Procedural Guidance for Class Action Settlements recommends that class counsel consider using third-party data sources and professionals to identify potential class members and adding emails, text messages, social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and settlement websites to the arsenal of notice methods. 

The Rabiej Litigation Law Center recently published a Draft of Best Practices on Class Action Notice Incorporating Changing Online and Platform Technologies, which recommends that parties should usually begin by assessing the methods of communication used or monitored by the settling defendant and the sales channels used in the regular course of its business. 

Thus, in the case of a manufacturer defendant who sells its products principally through third-party retailers, the most effective notice could be through online retailer databases, such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target, which can give direct email notice to known purchasers with a link to the settlement website where they can get additional information about the settlements. 

Technology and online platforms can also increase participation in settlements by easing the burdens of doing so. For example, instead of filling out and mailing in a claim form, class members seeking to participate in a settlement can now often submit their claims electronically on a settlement website. Some settlement websites even calculate the amount of a class member’s recovery. Distributing settlement funds by Zelle, Venmo, PayPal and payment cards instead of mailing checks is also demonstrably effective at improving take rates. 

Where settlements are supported by well-tailored, robust notice programs and consumer-friendly claims procedures, higher-than-average participation rates can be achieved.   For example, in the In re Facebook Biometric Info. settlement, the take rate was 22% where notice was given by direct mail, targeted notice by defendant Facebook, an internet ad campaign on non-Facebook platforms, publication notice, and a dedicated settlement website; and there was a simple claims procedure with choice of payment options, including Zelle, PayPal and direct deposit. 

In the settlement in In re Nexus 6P Prod. Liability Litigation, the participation rate was over 18% with a notice program consisting of direct mail and email notice, a settlement website, press release, and direct email notice by Amazon. 

And, in the settlement in Miller v. Wise Co., Inc., a false advertising case, there was a 16.1% participation rate where direct notice was sent with a summary of relevant purchases during the class period, there was a settlement website, a toll-free telephone number, and banner advertisements on various social media platforms.

While the appropriate methods will vary depending on the size and scope of a particular settlement, practitioners should continue to be creative in developing notice programs and procedures for distributing settlement proceeds to maximize participation by class members by using the tools at hand. 

Beasley Allen lawyers on our Class Action Litigation Team are constantly trying to improve not only the meaningful relief contained in a class action, but also are trying to reach as many class members as possible. Our lawyers continue to serve class members to the best of their ability. 

Should you have any questions of any kind regarding class actions, or need help with a case, contact a lawyer in our firm’s Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, who is on the Class Action Litigation Team. Members of the team are set out at the end of the section. 

BCBS MDL Judge Denies Summary Judgments Allowing The $5 Billion In Damages Action For Alabama Providers To Move Towards Trial

There have been some recent major developments in the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) antitrust MDL.  Beasley Allen lawyers, alongside co-lead counsel, have been working on this important litigation for more than a decade.  The recent rulings—denials of summary judgment—are critical in taking the final steps to move the case to trial.  Not only are these rulings substantively important, as discussed below, but they are also very important procedurally.  

Recently, the Court asked both sides in this litigation for their thoughts on winding down the MDL process and, while both agreed, BCBS requested a ruling on the pending summary judgment motions prior to any cases being remanded for trial.    

First, BCBS sought a summary judgment in a broad argument that provider-plaintiffs’ claims for damages are time-barred and speculative.  U.S. District Judge David Proctor, who is overseeing the MDL, denied the motion on December 21, 2023. As a result, BCBS must now face damages claims. It should be noted that Alabama’s class alone is valued at over $5 billion. 

Next, BCBS sought to exclude certain providers’ claims and to block any claims other than those based upon ESAs or BlueCard. 

In denying the motion, Judge Proctor reviewed the evidence, including testimony from various plaintiffs and class members, which showed that because of decreasing payments from BCBS, their charge rates are “basically the same as they were in 1985.” Despite BCBS’s constant attempts to disclaim their actions in dividing up the country, Judge Proctor rightly recalled the testimony of an Anthem representative in a different litigation, who said:

To be an [sic] national plan that operates in 50 states and have unfettered access, without asking permission to have a conversation with a prospect, would be – I don’t know – exhilarating, I would say. 

Comments like these acknowledge the anti-competitive agreements and the impact those agreements have on providers. Judge Proctor understood the factual issues, followed the law and denied the motion to dismiss. 

With these last-ditch efforts by BCBS now out of the way, plaintiffs look forward to taking this case to trial. Should you have any question or concerns regarding this important and historic antitrust class action case, feel free to contact Dee Miles, Rebecca Gilliland or Jessi Haynes, the Beasley Allen lawyers who are involved in the leadership of this case.

Sources: The Court Orders, Reuters

Acella Pharmaceuticals To Pay $46.5 Million In Class Action Settlement 

A $46.5 million settlement by Acella Pharmaceuticals has been given preliminary approval by U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story. The class action lawsuit alleged that the company sold ineffective thyroid medication to hundreds of thousands of Americans. In a proposed settlement filed last month, Acella agreed to pay out around $41.5 million to approximately 1.2 million people in the United States who bought NP Thyroid between May 2018 and April 2021.

Class members have 75 days to be notified and the same amount of time to object or opt out of the settlement. A final fairness hearing is set for mid-May. Acella did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement. 

The lawsuit was filed by Sue Faulkner against a pharmaceutical company in Georgia for falsely advertising their hyperthyroidism treatment drug NP Thyroid as being made to the highest standards. Manufacturing quality control inspections found significant violations which resulted in recalls of the drug. The plaintiff suffered economic loss and adverse health effects from taking the adulterated drug.

The racketeering claim was dismissed in 2023 after Judge Story found the initial complaint failed to adequately allege Acella engaged in a pattern of that activity. The plaintiff later decided not to amend the complaint in the case to pursue the racketeering claim.

Acella’s settlement only covers the financial injury alleged by the class. Class members have not released any personal injury claims they may have, according to the settlement proposal. 

The drug buyers are represented by Aaron K. Block and Max Marks of The Block

Firm LLC. 

The case is Sue Faulkner et al. v. Acella Pharmaceuticals LLC, case number 2:22-cv-00092, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Source: 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. They can be reached by contacting 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 these lawyers. You can also contact Michelle Fulmer, Section Director, and she will have one of the lawyers contact you.Michelle can be reached using the contact form at the bottom of this page.


Pfizer Settles Lipitor Antitrust Suit For $93 Million 

Pfizer Inc. has agreed to pay $93 million to settle claims that it conspired with drugmaker Ranbaxy to delay the release of a generic version of the blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor. The proposed settlement concludes the sprawling antitrust claims that Pfizer and direct buyers have been litigating for more than a decade. 

Pharmaceutical wholesalers, distributors, health benefit plans, and other direct buyers sued Pfizer and Ranbaxy in 2011. The plaintiffs alleged that the drugmakers conspired to postpone the release of a less expensive generic form of Lipitor. The cases were consolidated for multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a New Jersey federal court. 

Since its introduction in 1997, Lipitor has generated over $130 billion in sales in its first 14 years alone. Class members said Lipitor paid Ranbaxy to hold back its launch of a generic Lipitor, then engaged in bogus litigation concerning the drug and its patent with Ranbaxy. 

The plaintiffs argued that the delay caused direct buyers to pay much more for the drug than they would have had Pfizer not prolonged its Lipitor patent and monopolized the cholesterol drug market. 

Sun Pharma, also based in India, bought Ranbaxy in 2015. Claims against Ranbaxy in the MDL remain unresolved. 

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Pfizer’s appeals to block lawsuits in the Lipitor patent dispute, arguing there were sufficient grounds for the allegations to go to trial. 

The settlement includes anyone in the U.S. and its territories who bought Lipitor or its generic versions directly from Pfizer or its affiliates from June 2011 to May 2012.

The direct purchaser plaintiffs are represented by Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP, Carella Byrne Cecchi Olstein Brody & Agnello PC, Berger Montague, Garwin Gerstein & Fisher LLP, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Odom & Des Roches LLP, Smith Segura Raphael & Leger LLP, Faruqi & Faruqi LLP and Heim Payne & Chorush.

The case is In re: Lipitor Antitrust Litigation, case number 3:12-cv-02389, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Sources: Law360, Reuters, Bloomberg Law


DOJ Reports Nearly $2.7 Billion In False Claims Act Recoveries In 2023

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered $2.68 billion in False Claims Act settlements and judgments in 2023. That amount was slightly more than the previous year’s $2.2 billion receipts. However, it was far less than the $5.7 billion recovered in 2021 or the nearly $6.2 billion collected in 2024. 

It should be noted there were 543 False Claims Act settlements and judgments — one of the highest in the history of the law – in 2023. About $1.8 billion dealt with healthcare fraud. 

Brian M. Boynton, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, who is over the DOJ’s Civil Division, observed:

As the record-breaking number of recoveries reflects, those who seek to defraud the government will pay a high price. The American taxpayers deserve to know that their hard-earned dollars will be used to support the important government programs and operations for which they were intended.

It’s significant that of the recoveries last year, over $2.3 billion came from whistleblowers. Again, healthcare fraud comprised the majority of FCA settlements. One of the more important cases involved a $172 million settlement with Cigna Group over claims that the insurer inflated patient illnesses to collect more money from Medicare. Another case involved an $85 million settlement with Cardiac Imaging Inc. over a kickback scheme. 

The DOJ also referenced cases where healthcare organizations provided substandard care or unnecessary services. Cornerstone Hospital Medical Center’s case involved claims that the healthcare company knowingly billed the government for services by students or care that wasn’t needed. Cornerstone agreed to settle those claims for about $22 million. 

Source: Law360 

NLRB Expands The Definition Of Joint Employer In Its Final Rule The NLRA

In late December 2023, the Final Rule by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took effect, determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. Where the NLRB finds that an entity is part of a joint-employer status, two or more entities can be held jointly responsible for the actions of any of the employers within the joint-employer status. 

This change would allow any entity that is found to be part of a joint-employer status to be held responsible for unfair labor practices of any other entity within the joint-employer status. 

The change allows for a more common sense and fair approach to determining responsibility for bad actors in unfair labor practice cases. 

For the NLRB to find a joint-employer status under the Final Rule, an entity must have the authority to control any one of the seven outlined terms and conditions of employment. The essential terms and conditions of employment are exhaustive and include: 

  • Compensation, including but not limited to compensation and benefits;
  • Hours of work and scheduling;
  • The assignment of duties to be performed; 
  • The supervision of the performance of duties;
  • Work rules and directions that govern the manner, means and methods of the performance of those duties;
  • The tenure of employment – including hiring, firing, and discharge; and,
  • Working conditions related to the health and safety of employees.

According to Board Chairperson Lauren McFerran, this change is a return to common-law principles and provides a “practical approach to ensuring that the entities effectively exercising control over workers’ critical terms of employment respect their bargaining obligations under the NLRA …”. Chairperson McFerran stated further that the NLRB would continue to do a fact-specific analysis based on each case to determine whether the employers meet the standards for joint-employer status.  This change is not retroactive and only applies to cases filed on or after its effective date, December 23, 2023. 

Lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section follow changes in the employment law sector, including those from the NLRB. If you have a client with an employment-related case, lawyers on the team will be glad to assist. A list of the lawyers can be found at the conclusion of this Section. 

Source: National Labor Relations Board

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Whistleblower In Closely Watched Case

On February 8th, a unanimous Supreme Court held that a plaintiff does not need to show that an employer acted with retaliatory intent to be protected under the Sarbanes Oxley Act (Sarbanes Oxley). Sarbanes Oxley was passed by Congress in 2002 to mandate that corporations follow certain financial record-keeping and disclosure practices. Congress included a whistleblower provision in the legislation to prohibit corporations from retaliating against their employees for reporting what they reasonably believe to be violations of the act. 

 In 2017, plaintiff Trevor Murray, a former UBS Health Management executive was awarded a $903,000 verdict by a Manhattan, NY jury after he was terminated by UBS Securities, LLC (UBS) in retaliation for having complained of perceived violations of Sarbanes Oxley. In 2011, Trevor Murray was employed by UBS as a research strategist.  In his position, he was required by the SEC to certify that his “reports to UBS customers on the firm’s securities business were independently produced and reflected his own views.” 

Murray complained to his direct supervisor that he was being pressured by managers to change his reports to be “more supportive of the company’s business strategies.”  After he complained, it was recommended that Murray be transferred to another department where he would not be required to make certain certifications to customers as mandated by the SEC. 

The department to which he was recommended declined to accept him as a transfer, and UBS terminated his employment. 

Murray ultimately filed a federal court complaint alleging that he was fired in retaliation for reporting the pressure to violate SEC regulations which violates Sarbanes Oxley. During the trial, UBS moved for judgment as a matter of law because, as they alleged, Murray failed to provide evidence that the decision maker acted with retaliatory animus toward him. 

The Second Circuit overturned the verdict siding with UBS that the plaintiff must show “retaliatory animus” to prevail. The Second Circuit and UBS relied on the word ‘discriminate’ in the statute to impute a “retaliatory animus” requirement. 

However, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Second Circuit and UBS’s interpretation of the statute. Justice Sotomayor, writing for the court, wrote, “section 1514A(a)’s text does not reference or include a ‘retaliatory intent’ requirement, and the provision’s mandatory burden-shifting framework cannot be squared with one.”  

The court further reasoned that while the plaintiff must show that his “protected activity” was a contributing factor in the adverse action, he need not show the employer acted with retaliatory animus. Instead, Justice Sotomayor wrote:

Showing that an employer acted with retaliatory animus is one way of proving that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse employment action, but it is not the only way.

Sarbanes-Oxley improved accounting standards for public companies, protected whistleblowers, and prevented fraudulent financial reporting. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that whistleblowers under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are protected under federal law and therefore, don’t need to show retaliatory intent from their employers.

Ultimately, the court’s ruling is a victory for courageous whistleblowers fighting against corruption and fraud. 

If you believe you have been retaliated against by your employer for reporting or complaining of fraud, please don’t hesitate to contact a Beasley Allen lawyer to learn more about your rights and discuss your potential claim. 

Sources: Claims Journal, Law360

Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims Nursing Home Fired Aide For Reporting Abuse

A dietary aide at an Iowa nursing home filed a lawsuit against her employer, claiming the facility fired her for reporting abuse and neglect to state officials, which the officials later verified. 

Shyohnte Shetworth-Ware filed the lawsuit against ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in West Des Moines, where she worked from March to July 2022. The facility operated under the name Harmony West Des Moines.

According to the lawsuit, shortly after starting her job at the facility, Shetworth-Ware became aware of the “abusive and undignified way ProMedica’s staff members, including management, treated residents.” She claims she saw staff using physical aggression toward patients and “using profanity and yelling at residents, making them feel like a nuisance and burden.” She also claims staff didn’t respond promptly to residents’ calls for help. 

On July 9, 2022, Shetworth-Ware made a complaint to the Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licensing (DIAL), which was conducting an on-site inspection of the facility at the time. She claims a co-worker informed ProMedica’s human resources staff about her making the complaint. On July 11, 2022, ProMedica fired her. 

The lawsuit further claims that DIAL’s inspection report indicated it had substantiated many of Shetworth-Ware’s allegations. 

Despite signing a mandatory arbitration contract when she was hired, Shetworth-Ware’s lawsuit claims the agreement is unenforceable. She also claims that her firing prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers in healthcare facilities. Nursing home caregivers in Iowa are bound by state law to report instances of suspected abuse and neglect.  

Source: Des Moines Register 

The Beasley Allen Whistleblower Litigation Team

Beasley Allen lawyers remain heavily involved in the handling of whistleblower cases. Fraudulent conduct in Corporate America continues to be a huge problem in many industries in this country. Currently, our lawyers are handling cases throughout the country involving fraud against governments at both the federal and state levels. 

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.  There is a contact form on our website, or you may call or email one of the lawyers on our team listed below. 

The experienced lawyers on our Whistleblower Litigation Team are dedicated to handling whistleblower cases. Members of the Team are Larry Golston, Lance Gould, James Eubank, Paul Evans, Leon Hampton, Tyner Helms, Lauren Miles and Jessi Haynes. Dee Mile heads our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section and works with the litigation group. The lawyers can also be reached by using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

The Beasley Allen Employment Litigation Team

   Lawyers in the Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section handle employment litigation for the firm. This same team of lawyers also leads our Qui Tam Litigation (Whistleblower) cases. The reason this team handles both employment and Whistleblower litigation is that these cases are typically closely related as most Whistleblower have a retaliation claim related to their False Claims Act (FCA) claim and often times an employee is an “original source” of an FCA claim, i.e., a Whistleblower.

Our Employment Team consists of Lance Gould, Larry Golston, Leon Hampton, Lauren Miles, Tyner Helms and Jessi Haynes. The team has had some tremendous success in both employment cases and qui tam cases, and they are currently pursuing some high-profile cases in courts around the country.


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.   We will give an update on activity in this area of work in the April issue. 

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.


Update On The Status Of The Philips CPAP Litigation

The litigation against Philips related to its recalled sleep and respiratory care devices continues to move forward.  Over 750 individual personal injury cases are currently pending in the MDL court before Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  In addition to the personal injury claims, there are several class action cases that have been brought and are pending in the MDL court.  

Rather than file suit, a large number of potential personal injury plaintiffs have elected to be included on what is being referred to as the Census Registry.  While continuing to investigate their potential personal injury claim in exchange for submitting certain information to Counsel for Philips.  Once an individual is included on the Census Registry, the statute of limitations on their claim is tolled, or paused.  Once on the Census Registry, an individual may elect to file suit after providing notice to Counsel for Philips.  As of January 24, 2024, 57,035 individuals were included on the Census Registry.

With regard to the personal injury litigation, extensive discovery is ongoing.  To date, Philips has produced over 2.3 million documents totaling more than 5.6 million pages.  Counsel for plaintiffs are working extremely hard to conduct a thorough review of these documents.  Additionally, Counsel for plaintiffs continues to depose Philips’ corporate representatives and other witnesses.

As reported previously, the MDL Court has granted preliminary approval of the settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit alleging Economic Loss Claims with respect to Philips’ recalled CPAP devices.  The settlement of the Economic Loss Claims is completely separate from and will have no impact on individual personal injury claims that have been filed or may be filed in the future.  Litigation related to personal injury claims will continue to move forward.

The class notice period for the Economic Loss Class Settlement opened on December 11, 2023.  Direct notices to potential class members have gone out and the settlement website ( is up and running.  If you have questions or would like additional information about the Economic Loss Class Settlement, please visit this website.    

Beasley Allen is 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. 

Sources:  Transcript of Proceedings, In re: Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP, and Mechanical Ventilator Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 3014 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 25, 2024), Respironics CPAP El Settlement

JPML Sends Ozempic, Wegovy, And Mounjaro Lawsuits To Eastern District Of Pennsylvania

On February 2, 2023, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered all current and future lawsuits against Glucagon-like peptides (GLP-1) drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in front of Judge Gene Pratter.  The panel found common issues of law and fact common to all cases and that centralization will promote efficiency in the litigation. It should be noted that the GLP-1 drugs are used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Some are also approved for weight loss. 

Oral arguments on whether and where to consolidate the GLP-1 litigation took place on January 25 in Santa Barbara, California.  Many plaintiffs supported consolidation to the Western District of Louisiana, while others moved for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of New York.  Plaintiffs in one action supported the creation of a Novo Nordisk-only MDL, but the panel declined, finding that the litigation should include all GLP-1 medications because all GLP-1 drugs share the same mechanism of action.  

The GLP-1 litigation developed after studies consistently showed an increased risk for gastrointestinal issues such as severe gastroparesis, ileus, and bowel obstruction requiring surgery or other medical intervention.  Sadly, some individuals have died from complications related to their injuries.  Despite these known risks, Novo Nordisk and other manufacturers continue to promote these drugs to physicians and their patients. 

Beasley Allen lawyers Ryan Duplechin and Mary Cam Raybon are handling cases involving brand-name Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus use who were subsequently diagnosed and treated for gastrointestinal issues or suicide.

Source: In re: Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1 RAs) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 3094, Doc. 1-1

Tampa Bay Times Releases Shocking Kratom Test Results

In December 2023, The Tampa Bay Times published a multi-part series detailing the questionable conduct by the kratom industry, as well as the lives that have been affected.  As part of this three-part series, the Tampa Bay Times hired Florida scientists to test 20 kratom products to better understand their potency and overall safety.

The scientists analyzed various kratom powders, pills, capsules, and liquid shots.  They found that the most potent ingredients were mitragynine and speciociliatine, which act with the body’s opioid receptors to create pain-relieving effects.  The researchers also reviewed the product’s labels, most of which did not come with any warnings about the product’s potency, dosing instructions, or potential drug interactions.  Some labeling represented that the product helps with pain relief and mood enhancement, which is prohibited by federal law.  

One particular product, O.P.M.S. Gold Liquid, contained 79.88 milligrams of mitragynine per bottle and 18.44 milligrams of speciociliatine.  The product contained no dosing instructions that would assist consumers in understanding how much to take, and contained nearly twice as much mitragynine as its competitors.  The O.P.M.S. Liquid Gold did not contain explicit warnings about the potential for interactions with other substances or medications.  

Another product by the same company, O.P.M.S. Silver Green Vein Maeng Da Kratom, contained 120 capsules of kratom, had no dosing instructions, and failed to instruct the consumer on how many capsules to take.  Notably, this product was found at the scene of two kratom overdoses in Florida.  

O.P.M.S. Kratom is the same product at issue in the lawsuit filed by Beasley Allen lawyers in Fulton County, Georgia.  Beasley Allen applauds The Tampa Bay Times’ fearless efforts to speak the truth about kratom, despite the ongoing backlash from kratom organizations.

Source: Tampa Bay Times

Infant Formula Litigation Update

Beasley Allen lawyers continue to represent families of children who have suffered from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after consuming cow’s milk-based formula as a newborn. Premature, underweight infants are at a much higher risk of developing this often-fatal intestinal condition when given cow’s milk-based formulas like Enfamil and Similac, instead of human breast milk. 

Virtually every pediatric health organization in the world recommends breastfeeding newborns over formula feeding whenever possible. Using human donor milk when breastfeeding is not feasible. Despite the extensive science demonstrating the risk of NEC, these manufacturers offer no warning about NEC on their products.

A national multi-district litigation court was established in the Northern District of Illinois with U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer presiding.  There are presently about 400 cases filed in that court.  Briefing is nearly complete on the defendants’ motions to dismiss, and a hearing is expected next month.  Plaintiffs will then seek a bellwether trial schedule.  

Beasley Allen lawyers have also filed cases in Madison County, IL.  Those cases are presently stalled as the defendants appeal several jurisdictional decisions by Presiding Judge Dennis Ruth.  We expect those appeals to be resolved soon, and then we will resume our path toward trial.  In the meantime, Beasley Allen lawyers continue to file cases, conduct discovery, and help our experts prepare for depositions and trial.

David Dearing and Brittany Scott, lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, are overseeing these cases.

GSK Settles Zantac Cancer Suit Ahead Of Scheduled Trial

GSK settled a lawsuit over its heartburn medication Zantac in a California state court just weeks before the February 20 trial date. The British drugmaker reached a confidential settlement agreement with plaintiff David Browne on February 1. The settlement resolved claims involving Zantac’s link to cancer. 

The Browne case was the sixth in a docket of Zantac cases filed in California. About 3,000 additional claims remain pending in the state. Nationwide, GSK continues to face approximately 79,000 Zantac cases. Plaintiffs filed most of those lawsuits – about 73,000 – in Delaware. Delaware Superior Court Judge Vivian L. Medinilla will rule on Daubert hearings testing the scientific evidence connecting Zantac to cancer. 

Concerns over Zantac’s active ingredient, ranitidine, turning into the carcinogenic chemical NDMA under certain conditions led to the 2020 U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recall of Zantac and its generics. The sweeping recall triggered the ongoing litigation. Most scientific studies have shown that Zantac could increase the risk of more than a dozen types of cancer. But GSK has continually challenged those findings. 

Despite the FDA’s actions and the subsequent withdrawal of Zantac from the market, U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenburg, a Florida federal judge, on December 6, 2022, dismissed all the Zantac lawsuits in the multidistrict class action. 

Zantac gained approval more than 40 years ago and eventually became the world’s top-selling drug in 1988. It was also the first drug to surpass $1 billion in annual U.S. sales. Legal and financial analysts generally see GSK paying about $5 billion to settle all U.S. Zantac lawsuits. 

Sources: Claims Journal, Reuters, Forbes

Hair Relaxer Litigation Update

Discovery is ramping up in the hair relaxer litigation with a substantial portion focused on ESI. Recently, Judge Mary Rowland has appointed the Honorable Sheila M. Finnegan, Magistrate Judge, to help facilitate ESI issues. Judge Finnegan held a hearing in February regarding the appointment of a Special Master with expertise in ESI. The plaintiffs and defendants had differing opinions on whether a Special Master was necessary and how many should be appointed. 

The plaintiffs argued at the hearing that two Special Masters should be appointed to cover separate ESI areas, while the defendants believed that no Special Master was needed. After considering the positions of both parties, Judge Finnegan ultimately decided that a single Special Master with expertise in ESI should be appointed. 

The parties are presently conferring to see if an agreement can be reached on a proposed candidate who meets the necessary criteria. By February 20, 2024, the parties are required to file separate status reports indicating whether they agreed on a candidate for the Special Master position. In this status report, the parties will also address any concerns regarding the two candidates identified by the Court and discuss cost allocation issues raised by the defendants. 

A further video hearing on the Special Master issue is scheduled for February 23, 2024. Additionally, a hearing on ESI issues that the parties would be addressing in joint status reports due on February 15, 2024, is set for March 7, 2024.

Currently, there are more than 8,000 cases filed in the MDL due to manufacturers of hair relaxers advertising, manufacturing, and selling toxic hair relaxer products that caused women to develop cancers and other injuries.  

Beasley Allen lawyers are currently investigating claims of women who used hair relaxers and were diagnosed with uterine, endometrial, or ovarian cancer. Contact Aigner Kolom or Melissa Prickett, lawyers in the Section, if you would like to discuss referring a case to our firm.


An Update On The PFAS Water Settlement

On August 8, 2023, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, preliminarily approved a proposed class action settlement designed to resolve claims for PFAS contamination in Public Water Systems’ Drinking Water. A fairness hearing was conducted on December 14, 2023 regarding the proposed settlement. On February 8, 2024, Class Counsel’s motion for final approval of the class settlement and final certification of the settlement class was granted by Judge Gergel. 

Defendants DuPont, Chemours and Corteva have agreed to pay $1,185,000,000.00 in exchange for receiving releases, covenants not to sue, and dismissals from settlement class members. The settlement agreement defines the settlement class to include certain U.S. Public Water Systems. These systems did have an opt out period where the Notice Administrator received 1,012 opt out submissions. 

The claims were over drinking water contaminated with “forever chemicals.” The settlement was opposed by several cities and water districts. Final class certification was granted to small and large municipal water providers, including those serving the cities of Philadelphia and Birmingham, Alabama, and Alameda County in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Notice Administrator deemed 88 submissions noncompliant, stating these were mass filed or that the filer failed to certify they had legal authority to file. These 88 systems have 15 days to file objections after receiving notice from the Notice Administrator. Class Counsel and defendants may file responses within 15 days of any filed objections. 

Any party to the settlement agreement may file objections to any Public Water Systems determined compliant within 15 days of February 7, 2024. Challenged Public Water Systems may file a response within 15 days of filed objections. 

The Special Master will issue a document addressing each objection and his decisions. Public Water Systems dissatisfied with the Special Master’s decision may file an appeal to the Court. Systems not opted out will be bound by the settlement agreement’s judgment and releases.

The judge ruled that a trial isn’t needed before settlement, citing Fourth Circuit law. He dismissed the objectors’ claim that the settlement amount is inadequate, stating it meets all necessary adequacy factors despite extensive PFAS-related damages by the defendants nationwide.

PFAS is an acronym for Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. These pollutants, which are also known as “forever chemicals,” are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. 

Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world. There are thousands of different PFAS, some of which have been more widely used and studied than others.

Over 300 lawsuits have been filed since 2018, claiming that PFAS chemicals leached into local drinking and bathing water due to firefighting foam. The lawsuits were consolidated into a single multidistrict litigation (MDL) focusing on pollution caused by PFAS in firefighting foam. The $1.18 billion settlement agreement will remediate public water systems, test unassessed systems and provide necessary remediation. It does not release claims for groundwater or soil contamination.

A separate $12.5 billion settlement with 3M Co. was reached to end nearly identical claims over the firefighting foam. Final approval remains pending. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the settlement is a significant step towards accountability for water service providers and communities affected by PFAS-related challenges.

The interim co-lead class counsel for the MDL are Michael A. London of Douglas

& London PC, Scott Summy of Baron Budd, Paul J. Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik and Joe Rice of Motley Rice LLC. 

The multidistrict litigation is In Re: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation, case number 2:18-mn-02873, in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.

Sources: Law360 and PFAS Water Settlement

The Dangers Associated With PFAS Emanating From Landfills

Beasley Allen lawyers are continuing to litigate cases against landfills that have had leachate—the liquid that landfills produce—seep into surrounding groundwater and surface water. Much of this leachate includes PFAS, the set of chemicals that have been the subject of much litigation. 

Naturally, most people wonder what dangers are associated with PFAS in the environment—especially in the water. Current peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that exposure to certain levels of PFAS may lead to:

  • Reproductive effects such as decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women;
  • Developmental effects or delays in children, including low birth weight, accelerated puberty, bone variations, or behavioral changes;
  • Increased risk of some cancers, including prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers;
  • Reduced ability of the body’s immune system to fight infections, including reduced vaccine response;
  • Interference with the body’s natural hormones; and
  • Increased cholesterol levels and/or risk of obesity. 

The research on PFAS is continuing to evolve, and new research is continuing to come forward. In our view, science continues to trend in the direction of PFAS being very dangerous to humans who are exposed to it. Because of this, Beasley Allen lawyers are committed to ensuring that we rid the environment of these dangerous toxins. 

If you, someone you know, or one of your clients is being exposed to PFAS because they live, work, or recreate on property near a landfill, we would be glad to speak with you about how we might address this problem.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Endo Bankruptcy Settlement Plan Nears Approval

I suspect that most all Americans have now at least heard about the huge “opioid crisis.” I also suspect that a small number know that Endo Pharmaceuticals, an opioid manufacturer, and Purdue Pharma, helped create this crisis. 

Endo and Purdue have now won court approval to submit their bankruptcy plan to creditors for approval.  That’s where the above public knowledge most likely ends. The plan would provide upwards of $600 million to opioid litigants while allowing Endo to emerge from bankruptcy rather than liquidate.

Endo manufactured and marketed opioid drugs such as Opana.  The company was launched as a spinoff of DuPont Merck in the late 1990s, around the same time Purdue launched OxyContin.  One of Endo’s primary products at the time of launch was Percocet, a oxycodone combination product.  

Opana, an extended-release form of oxymorphone, was designed to be Endo’s successor to Percocet.  Opana became notorious for its high abuse potential. The FDA eventually requested that Opana be pulled from the market, which Endo ultimately did in 2017.

As part of Endo’s bankruptcy plan, a portion of the $600 million will be paid to States like Alabama, which in concert with other states, led the charge in holding Opioid manufacturers accountable.

Endo Agrees To Pay Millions To Resolve Opioid Claims 

A development occurred in the Endo litigation just as we were getting ready for this issue to go to the printer. It was reported that Endo Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay $1.086 billion to settle its False Claims Act liability. This includes a $475.6 million civil settlement and forfeiture of $450 million.

Endo will turn over its operations to secured lenders under a new corporate structure as part of the agreement. The financial penalties will be resolved through a U.S. government claim in bankruptcy, with a payment of $364.9 million over 10 years and a contingent payment of up to $100 million. Alternatively, Endo can pay $200 million upon exit from bankruptcy.

The settlement is subject to approval by a New York bankruptcy court.

Endo, headquartered in Ireland and Pennsylvania, sought Chapter 11 protection in August 2022 for itself and some subsidiaries, aiming to deal with $8 billion in debt and thousands of lawsuits over its sale of opioid painkillers and other products.

Endo was among several pharmaceutical companies that U.S. states, cities and counties sued in recent years over widespread opioid abuse.

Roughly 80,000 Americans die every 12 months from opioid abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We will write more on this settlement and its overall effect on the opioid litigation in the April issue. 

Source: Law360

Publicis To Pay $350 Million In Opioid Settlement With All 50 States

Publicis Health LLC has agreed to pay $350 million to settle a lawsuit filed by all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories. The lawsuit alleged that Publicis played a role in the opioid crisis by collaborating with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. 

The settlement ended the claims made by Massachusetts that the company used deceitful marketing techniques to promote the drug to doctors and patients. Publicis agreed to abandon any current and future opioid marketing while paying sums to each state ranging from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. 

Attorneys general across the country touted the settlement as a win for consumers and a step toward redressing the damage wrought by the opioid epidemic. The litigation against Publicis, which is based in France but operates subsidiaries in the U.S., was kicked off in 2021 by Campbell’s predecessor, now-Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey. The suit alleged that Publicis had worked with Purdue between 2010 and 2019, getting tens of millions in fees to push more pills, at higher doses, onto prescribers. 

The tactics the company was accused of using included placing ads for OxyContin on patients’ medical records and devising messaging to counter CDC guidelines on opioid prescription.  A Publicis subsidiary, Verilogue, is said by the state to have “provided prescribers small digital recording devices to record intimate conversations with patients.” Those conversations were used to develop strategies to counter patients’ reservations about the drugs. 

The case is Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Publicis Health LLC, case number 2184-CV-01055-BLS1, in the Superior Court of Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Source: Law360

Pharma Hikma Agrees To $150 Million Opioid Settlement With States

Hikma Pharmaceuticals and several attorneys general have announced a settlement agreement of $150 million. The agreement resolves cases brought by a group of states and localities who alleged that the company contributed to the opioid crisis by not reporting suspicious opioid orders from potentially illegal distributors.

Pursuant to the agreement, Hikma Pharmaceuticals will pay $115 million in cash and donate $35 million worth of a product it manufactures that reverses opioid overdose effects. Further, Hikma will donate opioid addiction treatment medication to several states. The states that decline the donation will receive a cash payment instead. These options are said to provide direct support to state and local efforts in addressing the impact of the opioid crisis in their communities.

The attorneys general of New York, California, Delaware, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia negotiated the settlement, according to an announcement by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The settlement hinges on an agreement regarding “critical business practice changes” and the number of states opting in.

The lawsuit against Hikma alleges the company failed to monitor suspicious opioid orders from 2006 to 2021. According to Attorney General James, company personnel were aware of the inadequacy and failure-proneness of their systems to monitor such orders. Hikma said that the settlement does not imply any wrongdoing or liability.

The plaintiffs’ executive committee is represented by Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, Joseph F. Rice of Motley Rice LLC and Paul T. Farrell Jr. of Farrell & Fuller. 

The multidistrict litigation is in re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, case number 1:17-md-02804, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Source: Law360

Monsanto Continues To Face New PCB Lawsuits Amid Huge Verdicts

A Washington state jury has found Monsanto liable for $857 million for PCB exposure.  A group of plaintiffs in Seattle who were exposed to PCBs at a school have received $1.74 billion in jury verdicts so far.  

PCS are man-made chemicals that were used for decades in building materials and especially in electronics like the fluorescent lights found at the Washington school. In 1979, PCBs were banned, but many older schools and other buildings are full of PCB-containing materials.  PCBs can be slowly released into the air and water because they do not break down.  As has been widely reported recently, including in this Report, PCBs can cause a variety of adverse health effects including cancer and other serious non-cancer illnesses.

Monsanto has faced numerous lawsuits related to PCBs.  Several attorneys general have filed successful natural resources damages lawsuits, and several cities and counties have successfully recovered cleanup costs for PCB contamination, including a nationwide class action settlement for PCB monitoring in sewer utilities.

The recent $857 million verdict stems from a trend in cases related to PCBs in public schools.  Many schools across the nation were built prior to the 1979 ban of PCBs and are seldom renovated to remove toxic chemicals.  Some school systems have become defendants in these cases, while others have sued Monsanto not only for the cost of cleanup but to bear the burden of heavy verdicts for personal injury plaintiffs.

Sources: Law360, Environmental Protection Agency, PBS

Monsanto Hit With $2.25 Billion Verdict In Philadelphia Roundup Trial

A Philadelphia jury sent a loud-and-clear message last month to the makers of the weedkiller Roundup, when the chemical company was hit with $2 billion in punitive damages on top of $250 million in compensatory damages. John McKivison, a Pennsylvania man, filed the lawsuit. He claimed Monsanto failed to warn users that the weedkiller contained cancer-causing chemicals. McKivison said using the product contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis.

The lawsuit was the third bellwether trial in the Philadelphia-based mass tort. The first two trials ended with separate $3.5 million and $175 million verdicts against Bayer AG subsidiary Monsanto by Philadelphia juries.

McKivison began using Roundup in 2006 and continued using it several times a year for years. He had used Roundup at least 30 times before being diagnosed with cancer.

The McKivisons are represented by Thomas R. Kline and Tobi L. Millrood of Kline

& Specter PC, and Jason Itkin of Arnold & Itkin LLP.

The case is McKivison v. Monsanto et al., case number 220100337, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Source: Law360

Update On Microplastic Litigation Research

Microplastics pollute the water we drink and the air we breathe in ways that we are just starting to learn more about. Microplastics are small plastic particles that originate from manufacturing stress and the physical degradation of plastics. They don’t occur naturally and instead are typically made from synthetic materials such as polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene. These are found in food and drinks, tap water and specifically bottled water. Recent studies using mouse models suggest microplastics could potentially affect mammalian gut microbacteria and cause cellular as well as metabolic toxicity in the host.

The effect on human health is not yet fully known, but plastics often contain additives, such as stabilizers or flame-retardants, and other possibly toxic chemical substances that may be harmful to the person ingesting them. 

We are still learning about the harmful effects of microplastics, and the full extent of potential damages is not yet known. So far, lawsuits have been brought by State Attorneys General and individual consumers against manufacturers of plastics for their role in polluting the environment with microplastics. 

Lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Toxic Torts Section are investigating microplastics claims to identify all potential harms that microplastics may cause and areas where we can help stop this pollution. Our lawyers are consulting with toxicology and epidemiology experts to determine how we can address this new and expanding field of research. Beasley Allen remains committed to being a national leader in toxic pollution litigation – stay tuned for more details and information!

Jury Finds Water Brand Liable For $129 Million In Liver Failure Cases

Five plaintiffs who developed liver failure after drinking “alkalinized” Real Water have been awarded over $129 million by a Las Vegas jury, with $100 million of the award being punitive damages.

The jury awarded $29 Million compensatory damages to five plaintiffs, including one plaintiff who had received a liver transplant. The compensatory damages did not include past medical expenses, the amounts of which the parties stipulated. The plaintiff who received the liver transplant was awarded the most in compensatory damages, including $14 million for loss of life expectancy. 

The jury awarded $100 million more in punitive damages following a short second trial phase. 

There was testimony during the trial that Real Water used an untested electrolysis process to separate acidic and alkaline water, producing the toxic substance hydrazine. There was also testimony the company should have adequately tested its water and also should have addressed customer complaints.

In late 2020, a Salt Lake City doctor alerted the FDA, CDC, and Southern Nevada Health District about an increase in liver patients from Nevada. The agencies then began investigating the matter, which took most of 2021 to complete.

The plaintiffs are represented by Will Kemp and Eric Pepperman of Kemp & Jones and Theodore Parker of Parker Nelson. 

The case is Hunwardsen v. Affinitylifestyles et al., case number A-21-831543-B, in the Eighth District Court of Nevada, Clark County. –Editing by Michael Watanabe. 

Source: Law360

DOJ Seeks Dismissal Again In Landmark Climate Change Case

The Department of Justice recently filed a motion to stay the long-running climate change case Juliana v. United States.  Filed in 2015, the action was brought by Washington youths asserting that the federal government violated their constitutional right to a stable and healthy climate by adopting policies that encouraged fossil fuel consumption, leading to climate change.

In 2020, the Ninth Circuit determined that the Juliana Plaintiffs lacked standing.  The plaintiffs exhausted their appeals unsuccessfully despite numerous amici and intervening environmental groups.  Settlement talks with the government also broke down, so in 2023 the youth plaintiffs filed and were granted leave to amend their complaint.  

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon granted the plaintiffs motion to amend the complaint to rectify the deficiency noted by the Ninth Circuit.  Determined to have the case dismissed in its entirety, the federal defendants again moved to dismiss the amended complaint and insisted that they would seek an interlocutory appeal of the court’s decision to grant leave to amend.  

In January 2024, the defendants sought to delay even further by moving the district court to stay the proceedings pending appeal.  On February 2, 2024, the federal defendants filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit again claiming plaintiffs lack standing and that the district court violated the Ninth Circuit’s previous mandate.

Source: Climate Case Chart

Paraquat Litigation Update

Currently, in the MDL in the Southern District of Illinois, there are 5,220 cases pending in front of Judge Nancy Rosenstengel.  In California State Court, there are 376 cases pending in front of Judge Charles Treat.   Both Judges have taken the trial date off the calendar, as both parties await an MDL Court ruling with regards to Daubert motions that were filed in September 2023, pertaining to general causation and expert testimony.  

The MDL court also appears to be cleaning up the docket by making swift determinations of the viability of these claims. Plaintiff’s lawyers are fighting diligently for their clients who have experienced toxic exposure from this herbicide.

While the Paraquat litigation is unpredictable, there is no doubt it is steady.  Beasley Allen Lawyers are still taking cases for those who have viable Parkinson’s disease diagnoses from their use of Paraquat.


Hawaii’s Attorney General Cracks Down On Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the State of Hawaii against the nation’s three largest Pharmacy Benefit Managers (“PBMs”), CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, and OptumRx, for their unlawful and unfair practices with respect to the PBMs’ management of hundreds of thousands of Hawaii residents’ prescription drug benefits. The defendant PBMs account for 80% of the PBM market.

The complaint alleges that the PBMs’ business practices have inflated prices for brand-name prescription medications over the past ten years. The State is seeking civil penalties, damages, disgorgement of profits, and injunctive relief against the three major PBMs for the harm they have caused the State and its consumers. 

Some of the conduct alleged to have been committed includes claims that the PBMs were paid rebates by drug makers in exchange for putting their drugs on the PBMs’ formularies with preferred placement.  The complaint alleges that if a drug maker refuses to increase the rebate it pays to the PBMs, the manufacturer risks its medication being excluded from the PBMs’ formularies entirely—severely impacting the medication’s chance of success and forcing consumers to choose between paying the medication’s full cash price out-of-pocket or switching to a different drug.  Attorney General Anne Lopez stated:

The skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs pose grave challenges to the people of Hawaiʻi. The Department of the Attorney General will work to hold accountable corporations that unlawfully harm patients to increase their bottom lines.

Deputy Attorney General Ciara Kahahane commented: 

Pay-to-play practices directly harm consumers both by artificially inflating the price of medications beyond what many consumers can pay and by restricting consumers’ access to medications that could save or greatly increase the quality of their lives.  The anticompetitive scheme allegedly perpetuated by the PBM defendants takes money out of consumers’ pockets and jeopardizes the well-being of the most vulnerable citizens of our state.

The State’s lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation and additional civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each deceptive or unfair act that was directed towards an elder, punitive damages, and disgorgement of profits. The State also seeks an injunction requiring the PBM defendants to halt their unfair and deceptive practices.

This is a positive move by the State of Hawaii and one that will hopefully hold PBMs more accountable for how taxpayer dollars are spent on prescription drugs.  Other states have brought similar claims against the same PBMs and we expect more states to be investigating claims of their own.  

Source: Hawaii Office of the Governor 

FCRA Immunity Waiver Ruling Will Affect Governmental Lenders

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) waives federal agencies’ immunity from lawsuits. This means government lenders may now face litigation. They will now have to make sure that debts are correctly reported. 

The law’s definition of “people” who can be liable for violations of the act included government agencies. This was enough to read Congress’s intent to waive the immunity that federal government entities otherwise enjoy. 

The ruling clears up a circuit split to unanimously declare that language in the FCRA defines government liability. Agencies will now find themselves subject to liability under FCRA if there was misreported credit information the agencies were notified about but failed to take steps to fix. The possibility of being sued should require agencies to closely monitor and check the debt information they held. Investigation and correction are more difficult than correctly reporting debts in the first place. 

Other than the USDA’s Rural Housing Service at issue in the Kirtz lawsuit, parts of the federal government that issue loans such as the departments of Education or Veterans Affairs can now be sued if they misreport debts to credit reporting agencies and don’t correct them. 

This ruling could have even bigger implications for the government as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) weighs new regulations under FCRA. The ruling is a significant victory for consumers who have long struggled to hold government agencies accountable for their mistakes. It reinforces the concept that no one is above the law when it comes to credit reporting.

Source: Law360

A Call For Overhaul Of Federal Pharmacy Benefit Manager System 

Rising drug prices have been a cause of concern for many years. Our readers will know that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are middlemen between drug companies and insurers. They negotiate drug prices for those on large employee plans or Medicare Part D drug plans. However, the lack of transparency in the industry has led to nearly 40 attorneys general calling for more transparency and regulation. These attorneys general argue that a small number of PBMs hold significant market power and are reaping abundant profits at the expense of patients, employers, and government payors. 

State attorneys general are requesting federal laws that would require Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to comply with state laws and regulations. They also support three federal bills that they believe would increase transparency and lower patient costs. Independent pharmacies have voiced concerns about PBM business practices that tend to raise the price of drugs.

A National Community Pharmacists Association study found that drug prices increase by 30% when a PBM works with a drug company. The PBMs hold the rebates paid by drug companies and use them as administrative fees while the cost of the drugs is passed on to customers. Attorneys general of almost all U.S. states have raised concerns over the lack of transparency and regulation in the PBM industry.

The rising drug prices and lack of transparency in the PBM industry have made it difficult for patients to afford necessary medications, leading to a growing health crisis in the United States.

Source: Law360

FDA Says No More Sales Of PFAS For U.S. Food Packaging 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on February 28 said that PFAS, the so-called forever chemicals, are no longer being sold for use in grease-proofing food packaging, such as in take-out containers, in the U.S. This ends a major source of exposure to a group of chemicals linked to health problems. 

As we have previously reported, Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are known for their longevity in the environment and are used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products due to their water- and grease- resistant properties. 

Jim Jones, Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods, said in a statement that manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to stop using PFAS in packaging that comes in contact with food. Jones added: 

This FDA-led effort represents a positive step forward as we continue to reevaluate chemicals authorized for use with, and in, food. It underscores an important milestone in the protection of U.S. consumers from potentially harmful food-contact chemicals. The research FDA scientists conducted and published played a large part in helping the agency obtain commitments from manufacturers to voluntarily phase out the use of these substances containing PFAS in paper and paperboard food packaging products. 

In 2020, the FDA announced that three manufacturers had agreed to wind down using certain PFAS chemicals over a three-year period starting in 2021. 

PFAS have been shown to cause adverse health conditions, including liver, kidney and testicular cancer; thyroid problems; and impaired fetal development. They have been the target of both litigation and stricter regulatory scrutiny in recent years. 

Two environmental groups accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on February 29 of withholding test data on the presence of PFAS in fluorinated plastic containers in response to their Freedom of Information Act request. In a complaint filed in D.C. federal court, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Center for Environmental Health said the EPA withheld detailed information received from Inhance Technologies LLC and the results of extensive testing conducted by the company for PFAS in violation of the EPA’s disclosure obligations under the Toxic Substances Control Act. 

In their FOIA request, filed in January 2023, the groups said they asked the agency to shed light on the health risks associated with PFAS in fluorinated containers, for which Inhance is the only U.S. manufacturer. The groups said that the fluorination process, which allows for lighter-weight plastic containers, results in the formation of perfluorooctanoic acid, a type of PFAS, and 12 other PFAS chemicals. 

As a result, PFAS can leach from the 200 million fluorinated containers produced per year by Inhance into their contents, exposing millions of people to PFAS without their knowledge, the groups said, citing the EPA and Inhance’s own research. 

Source: Law360


The Structure Of Beasley Allen Is Designed To Work For Clients

Beasley Allen operates in five separate sections, four litigation and one administrative. The separate litigation sections concept works very well, and definitely has benefited Beasley Allen clients. 

 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, while 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 the medical devices, medication and other practice areas. The section currently handles cases involving acetaminophen, CPAP devices, hair relaxers, heavy metals in baby food, NEC baby formula, 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, mesothelioma, 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 and 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, our record speaks for itself. As previously stated, I am convinced the structure, as set up in 1998, 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.
  • Mesothelioma
    Our lawyers handle cases of asbestos exposure resulting in malignant mesothelioma, a type of cancer that can lay dormant for years. Millions of U.S. workers may have been exposed to asbestos decades ago.
  • 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.

Resources to Help Your Law Practice

From the firm’s beginning in 1979, Beasley Allen has been a litigation firm representing only plaintiffs. By choice, the firm 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

Perhaps the most unsettling and misunderstood part of a jury trial is voir dire. After arriving at the courthouse and waiting for several hours, voir dire is the first time that potential jurors get to hear from the lawyers. Because of this, voir dire can be the most important thing we do in trial. While the lawyers are observing and making decisions about the jurors, the jurors are most likely doing the same relating to the lawyers. A successful voir dire begins with a solid plan.  

Be Prepared. The first rule I learned as a Boy Scout was “be prepared.” The same holds true for voir dire. Most courts release the names of potential jurors weeks in advance of trial. So long as the local rules allow it, we should find out as much about the potential jurors as possible. Today, most, if not all, jurors will have social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Social media can be a gold mine for introductory research into our potential jurors’ biases and life experiences, both of which are key to understanding who to strike from our jury. 

Get the Jurors Talking. Studies have shown that approximately 75% of Americans list their greatest fear as public speaking. When combined with being in an unfamiliar and formal setting such as a courthouse, surrounded by 50-60 strangers, getting jurors to speak can be challenging. Hearing the jurors talk conversationally with the lawyers is critical to an effective voir dire. A good way to get the jurors speaking is to ask open-ended questions, such as “Who here believes . . . . .” or “How do you feel about that?” The more we hear from the jurors, the better. 

Listen to What They Say. The ultimate goal of voir dire is to get honest responses from the jurors so we can make the best decision of whom to strike. The more conversational voir dire becomes, the better. It is important not only to ask questions to get the jurors talking, but to listen to their responses and to follow up. Even asking a juror who has not responded to a question how they feel about what they just heard can make voir dire more conversational. 

With a solid plan, background information on the potential jurors, and making voir dire more conversational, we can make that all important great first impression, have a solid idea of whom to strike from the jury, and be well placed for getting justice for our clients. 


Lawyer And Employee Spotlights

Mike Crow

Mike Crow is a principal in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability Section. Mike joined the firm June 2, 1983, after serving as a law clerk in law school. Much of Mike’s practice is focused on handling car and truck litigation and premises liability cases. He also handles cases involving serious brain injuries. 

Mike has successfully litigated cases against  “Big Box Stores” (including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and others). As a result, he has a wealth of knowledge of their practices and procedures.  He has also specialized in motor vehicle accident litigation and has tried a huge number of cases along the way. 

Mike says he was drawn to law practice through a combination of factors. As a first-generation lawyer in his family, he explained that his interest in law school came about during his internship at the local District Attorney’s office in college.  During his internship, Mike established relationships with several lawyers who encouraged him to attend law school. Mike says: 

I was intrigued by how prosecutors helped victims of crimes find justice, so once I graduated from college and had no real job prospects, I decided to go to law school.  I knew once I got into law school, I wanted to help people who had been harmed or taken advantage of. I’ve always had a competitive nature, and using that to aid and assist people has been gratifying to me over the years. 

An award-winning lawyer, Mike has been regularly selected to the Best Lawyers in America list since 2011. He is also regularly included on the prestigious Super Lawyers list.  Mike is a current and past member of the Montgomery County Bar Association grievance committee and has served on the committee for more than 20 years. In 2009, he was appointed to serve on the Alabama State Bar Committee Disciplinary Commission. He is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Interstate Trucking Litigation Group and the Plaintiffs Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. 

Mike says his favorite part of practicing law is building a relationship with his clients so that they fully trust him to do what is best for them. He adds:

The other aspect I like is that each case brings a new and unique challenge, whether it’s a legal issue or trying to solve multiple problems the client may have. You have to remember the client did not come to see you because something wonderful or exciting happened in their life. He or she is asking for your help to solve or fix a problem that has developed in their life.

Mike is married to the former Marla Taylor of Hope Hull, Alabama.  They have two children and attend the Church of the Highlands. Their son attends Samford’s Cumberland School of Law, and his daughter is a graduate of Auburn University and a nurse at Children’s Hospital. Mike is an avid cyclist, and Marla is a tennis player and runner. 

Sports have always been a big part of Mike’s life and remain a significant focus of his civic and volunteer work in the community. He is an avid waterfowl hunter and active in Retriever Field Trials, where he judges events nationwide and campaigns his own Labrador retrievers. He is president of the Montgomery Retriever Club. Mike is on the executive committee of the Auburn University at Montgomery Basketball Booster Club. The club raises funds for AUM’s basketball program, where Mike once played.  He has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors for Capital City Juniors, a travel volleyball club based in Montgomery for girls ages 8-18.  Mike is a former member of the Jimmy Hitchcock Committee, which annually selects an outstanding Christian student-athlete from the local community. 

When asked what makes Beasley Allen unique as a law firm, Mike responded, saying:

I believe we follow the “golden rule” – treat people as you want them to treat you. This philosophy is why I believe folks stay here for a career. We have been around for 45 years and see employees who have invested 20 to 30 years here. Also, we have a lot of servant-hearted employees here who help other employees when they need it.

Mike is a talented lawyer who works very hard, and he is totally dedicated to his clients and their cases. He has had tremendous success on behalf of his clients. We are blessed to have Mike as a lawyer and principal in the firm.

Travis Chin

Travis Chin began working as a staff attorney for the firm’s Toxic Torts Section in January 2024. He is primarily handling Camp Lejeune cases at present. Before joining Beasley Allen, Travis was involved in many cases that directly impacted indigent clients, ranging from family law, housing, tort, consumer law, contracts, criminal expungements, and immigration law. He also worked as a staff attorney for Legal Services Alabama.

As Southern Legislative Director for Rise, Travis championed civil rights for rape and sexual assault survivors. Two of the bills he assisted in drafting and introduced were passed into law:

  • 2021 HB 137: The Alabama Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights
  • 2023 HB 21: Theory of Hope Bill, creating Alabama’s first statewide rape kit tracking system.

Travis also served as a congressional intern for California Rep. Ted Lieu and as a legislative aide to Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels. Travis is a member of several organizations, including the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, Alabama State Bar – Diversity & Inclusion in the Profession Committee, Montgomery Bar Association, and the Montgomery Volunteer Lawyer Program.

As the son of a Taiwanese immigrant, Travis was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, and is a first-generation college graduate.  He expresses his admiration for the process of creating laws and his strong desire to advocate for others. He says, 

Standing from both a bystander point of view and a former congressional intern, I am amazed by the process of creating law as well as being an advocate for the unspoken and underrepresented to ensure their voices are heard.”

Travis said he joined Beasley Allen because “the firm fights for clients, rights past wrongs, and works for the betterment of our country.”  Travis, a talented lawyer, is dedicated to his work and the task of seeking justice for his clients. We are blessed to have Travis at Beasley Allen.

Melanie Ford Parham

Melanie Parham is a Staff Assistant in our Toxic Torts section, where she works under the direction of Leslie LaMacchia, a lawyer in the section.  Melanie assists Leslie and her team with both Paraquat and Camp Lejeune litigation.  She also assists with other tasks and projects as needed. Melanie joined the firm in 2022 and has been a tremendous asset to her team and the firm. 

Melanie and her husband, Cameron, were married in October of last year. They have two large dogs, Batman and Charlie, and one cat, Clyde. They love traveling, finding those hidden local restaurants, enjoying new experiences, and making fond memories. Melanie says their favorite destinations so far are Dollywood and Gatlinburg, Tennessee! She also loves cooking, reading, and spending time with her family. 

Melanie says her favorite thing about working at Beasley Allen is the work experience she can obtain while attending law school. She adds, “Having this job ultimately helped me decide to start law school to become a lawyer. I love making amazing connections with some of the best attorneys and staff and am grateful to work at one of the best firms in the country where we help people daily!”

We are blessed to have Melanie at Beasley Allen. She is a dedicated hard-working individual and is a definite asset to the firm. I predict Melanie will be a very good lawyer in time. 

Brandi Ross

Brandi Ross is a Legal Secretary in the Personal Injury and Products Liability section. She joined the firm in 2017.  Brandi works with Greg Allen, Lead Products Liability lawyer, on a variety of administrative support and case management-related tasks, such as drafting correspondence, organizing and assembling trial exhibits, managing deadlines, and preparing for depositions, hearings, and trials. Additionally, she is responsible for file maintenance and assisting with daily operational needs. Brandi’s role is very important to the success of the section and firm. She does an outstanding job in every aspect of her job. 

Brandi and her husband, David, have been married for 15 years. They have two children, Michael (13) and RaeLeigh (10). Brandi says Michael has a serious “man crush” on LeBron James and loves football and throwing shot put on his school’s track team. She says RaeLeigh is her outgoing kid obsessed with slime and enjoys playing all sorts of sports, including volleyball, basketball, and softball.  They also have four fur babies, Rue, Buttercup, and Dale, and one cat, Nola. 

Brandi is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, where she works in conjunction with judges, lawyers, and DHR social workers to advocate for the best interest of children. In her spare time, Brandi enjoys cheering on both of her children at their sporting events and coaching her daughter’s softball team, the Mystic Mermaids.

When asked what her favorite thing about working at Beasley Allen was, Brandi says:

I am honored to work for a firm which places value on the things that matter most in life. I love the encouraging atmosphere which welcomes my faith in Jesus Christ, and I am blessed to work for individuals who consider family a top priority.

Brandi is a dedicated, hard-working individual and a tremendous asset to the firm. She has tremendous “people skills.” We are blessed to have her working with us!

Keanna Tarver

Keanna Traver works in the firm’s Mass Torts Section as an Intake Specialist, where she joined the firm in 2022. Intake Specialists are most often the first point of contact with potential clients, and they play a key role in obtaining pertinent information to be reviewed by Beasley Allen lawyers.  Keanna is steadfast in her commitment to developing professional relationships with clients and assisting them with their paperwork as needed. She does excellent work, and we are thankful to have Keanna, such a hard-working and devoted employee, with us!

Keanna shares that she has a beautiful nine-year-old daughter who is her world. In her spare time, Keanna enjoys reading, writing poetry, listening to music, and keeping a positive outlook in every situation. Keanna says you will always see her with a smile. Her goal is to someday become a Paralegal and possibly work towards becoming a lawyer. 

Keanna says her favorite thing about working at Beasley Allen is the family-oriented culture. She adds:

Everyone I have met within the firm has been so courteous and welcoming, and I love the fact that everyone works together as a team!

Keanna’s positivity, work ethic, and dedication, are without question, qualities the firm highly values.  We are blessed to have her at Beasley Allen.


Beasley Allen is pleased to announce Laura Reaves has been named the Paralegal of the Year award recipient by the Attorneys Information Exchange Group (AIEG).

This coveted award is presented to a paralegal who has demonstrated exceptional willingness to share information and offer help to others, along with displaying outstanding mentorship and leadership qualities. We are blessed to have Laura at Beasley Allen. 

Laura is an Advanced Certified Paralegal with advanced certification in e-Discovery and Trial Practice. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in international business from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, and an Associate of Science in legal studies from Faulkner University in Montgomery. 

Laura has been with Beasley Allen since 2001 and has been a paralegal for Chris Glover, managing attorney of the Atlanta office, since 2011. Chris had this to say: 

Congratulations to Laura. Receiving this award is a true honor, and I cannot think of a more deserving person. 

In 2022, Laura was awarded the Alabama Association of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPi) President’s Award in recognition of her dedication to the legal profession and her commitment to AAPi’s mission. Moreover, in 2021, the AAPi named her Paralegal of the Year for her exceptional performance as a paralegal.

AIEG is a national organization whose mission is “to promote a fair and effective justice system and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests.”


Travis Chin, one of our lawyers being featured this month, shares his favorite Bible verses in this issue.

Travis provided two of his favorite passages. The first, he says is one of his favorites because it reminds him that even though he may go through hard times and challenges, there is always hope. If he cries, God will wipe away his tears. He adds, as we place our trust in Him, we can know that a new Kingdom awaits, one that makes every moment up until then all the worthwhile.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

Travis says his take on the second verse provided is that we should willingly surrender our worries, struggles, desires, and wishes over to God and trust that His plan for us all comes in good time. No good or bad thing happens to anyone, without it being a lesson. And through prayer, it gives time to reflect on and place trust in Him as ultimately it is up to his faith in Him to trust the process. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7


The Journey Of Houston Kessler From Lawyer To Sports Agent

Sometimes, life sets a person on a course they only dreamed of traveling. For Houston Kessler, earning his law degree and working at Beasley Allen, paved the way to a career as a sports agent. 

Sports was a huge part of Houston’s life growing up in Newnan, Georgia. Both his father and uncle played basketball at the University of Georgia. Houston’s uncle and father played football for the Bulldogs. When Houston was offered a basketball scholarship from Georgia, he jumped at the opportunity. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics and Management, he enrolled at the University of Georgia School of Law. 

As a lawyer in Beasley Allen’s Personal Injury & Products Liability Section, Houston has worked on various catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. In his free time, he closely followed basketball at both the collegiate and professional levels. His brother, Walker Kessler, was recruited to play basketball for Auburn University in 2021, just as the NCAA implemented the “name, image, and likeness” (NIL) policy. As we all know now, NIL allows student-athletes to make money from their personal brand. 

NIL presented a great opportunity for Walker, but he needed representation. Houston jumped into action, helping his brother find an agency and also earning for himself certification as an NBA Player Agent. Houston is now a full-time sports agent. His brother Walker plays for the Utah Jazz in the NBA. 

Sports agents don’t have to be lawyers, but many are. I believe legal training and knowledge is a definite asset for an agent. Houston says his experience at Beasley Allen enhances his role as a sports agent. His critical thinking and problem-solving skills were sharpened. Houston also stays committed to the firm’s mission of helping those who need it the most. 

Houston says learning to prioritize the client while at Beasley Allen also applies to his new world as a sports agent. With a multi-faceted approach to player representation, Houston aims to set up each of his clients for a successful career in basketball. 

While Beasley Allen lost a very good trial lawyer, the sports agent field gained a winner. God has blessed Houston – he is both intelligent and a hard worker. Houston also does things the right way and for the right reasons. I predict a bright future for Houston as a sports agent, and we all at Beasley Allen wish him well. 


Attorneys General Tell Justices ‘Two-Step’ Bankruptcies Exploit Law

Attorneys general from 24 states want the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit divisional mergers that create jurisdiction for bankruptcy purposes. According to the filing, Georgia-Pacific’s Bestwall is accused of using “Texas Two-Step” maneuvers to protect the parent company from liabilities and access bankruptcy tools. These tactics allowed Bestwall to delay litigation against corporate affiliates for years, limiting their liability and leaving victims with nothing. 

In 2017, Bestwall filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to separate asbestos injury liability from Georgia-Pacific’s assets. Georgia-Pacific used Texas state law to split the company into two new entities with different assets and liabilities. As a result of the split, BadCo was left with huge liabilities and few assets, which ultimately led to a Chapter 11 filing.

The 24 attorneys general assert this process has been mimicked by other corporations facing mass tort liability, including Johnson & Johnson, one of the nation’s most profitable corporations. The attorneys general of several states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, are representing North Carolina where Bestwall’s case is still pending.

Members of Congress and attorneys general filed a brief with the Supreme Court against bankruptcy system misuse. They petitioned the high court after the Fourth Circuit’s decision allowed the practice, which could encourage other corporations to use it. The Supreme Court is expected to submit a timely response to the petition. 

The official committee of asbestos tort claimants, as petitioner, is represented by Natalie D. Ramsey, Thomas J. Donlon and Davis Lee Wright of Robinson & Cole LLP, and David C. Frederick, Joshua D. Branson, Katherine C. Cooper, Ana Nikolic Paul and Eden M. Bernstein of Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick PLLC. 

The attorneys general are represented by Ryan Y. Park, James W. Doggett and Daniel Mosteller of the North Carolina Department of Justice. The senators are represented by Deepak Gupta and Gregory A. Beck of Gupta Wessler LLP. Respondent Bestwall is represented by Noel John Francisco of Jones Day LLP. 

The appellate case is Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants v. Bestwall LLC, case number 23-675, in the U.S. Supreme Court. The underlying bankruptcy case is In re: Bestwall LLC, case number 3:17-bk-31795, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina. 

Source: Law360


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 remedies are for all at Beasley Allen, and we send them to our readers outside Beasley Allen, including our political leaders. In fact, any person in a leadership role should read the quotes and apply the lessons learned from them in their daily lives. 

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 Chron 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 


Honoring Rick Stratton: A Legal Advocate With A Heart For Justice

All of us at Beasley Allen were deeply saddened to learn that Rick Stratton passed away on February 17, 2024.  Rick will be missed by his Beasley Allen family.  With over 30 years of experience in civil litigation practice, Rick Stratton is a name that stood for integrity, compassion and hard work.  Rick joined the Beasley Allen Law Firm in May 2010 and dedicated his legal career to advocating for justice for his clients. He brought to Beasley Allen vast knowledge and experience as a trial lawyer. Rick retired at the end of last year. 

Rick was not only a great lawyer, but his mentorship to countless Beasley Allen lawyers created a tremendous legacy. He was a true role model. Rick was smart, kind, and the person that every lawyer in the Toxic Torts Section would lean on for advice.  Rick was always available to give sage counsel to other lawyers with a smile and kind words.  Simply put, Rick was a wonderful human being.  

From his early days clerking for the Honorable Oscar W. Adams to his work on the BP oil spill litigation and on so many other important cases at our firm, Rick consistently demonstrated his passion for advocating on behalf of his clients in their pursuit of justice. He made all of our firm’s lawyers better.  

Rick loved people and being outside, especially at his cabin in western North Carolina. Rhon Jones says: 

I never heard Rick say a cross word about any person. His passion for helping people was evident to all.  Anybody who met and got to know Rick, loved him. It was that simple. It was because of the kind of person Rick was.

 Rick is survived by his wife Sharon Stratton, his daughter Sarah Stratton Norman (Mark), and his grandchildren Ellie, Shepherd, and Annie Norman.  A service to honor Rick’s life will be held on March 9 at 10 AM at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension located at 1912 Canyon Road in Vestavia Hill.    

The good news is that we know Rick is now in Heaven and he will be an advocate – along with Jesus – for all of us at Beasley Allen and for our clients. 

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