Jere Beasley Report - May 2024 (2024)

Table of Contents
CAPITOL OBSERVATIONS Montgomery’s Capital Role Calls It To Higher Standards TALC LITIGATION Johnson & Johnson Attempts To Stuff Ballot Box In Unprecedented Third Attempted Bankruptcy Illinois Jury Awards $45 Million Talc Verdict In Illinois Cancer Trail An Update On The Two Additional Talc Trials Beasley Allen Talc Litigation Team The Opioid Litigation Philadelphia And Walgreens Reach $110 Million Opioid Settlement CAMP LEJEUNE LITIGATION Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs Challenge Selection Process for Bellwether Cases Government Seeks Revision Of Opt-Out Verdict In Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Camp Lejeune Litigation Team Social Media Addiction/Personal Injury Litigation Update, Initial Bellwether Trials Scheduled Zuckerberg Avoids Liability In Meta Addiction MDL – For Now Social Media MDL Lawyers Ordered To Address Confidentiality The Beasley Allen Social Media Litigation Teams MOTOR VEHICLE & TRUCKING LITIGATION NHTSA Report Finds ‘Critical Safety Gap’ Linked To Hundreds Of Tesla Collisions Hidden Dangers Of Collision Avoidance Technology In Motor Vehicles Nationwide Survey Finds Distracted Driving Still An Issue Ford Recalls 500,000 Cars: Owners Advised To Visit Dealerships For Free Repairs PRODUCT LIABILITY Car Seat Safety Over 8 Million Detergent Bags, Including Tide Pods, Recalled AVIATION LITIGATION New Whistleblower Says Boeing 787, 777 Are Structurally Unsafe WORKPLACE LITIGATION A Look At Motor Vehicle Litigation Involving Commercial Drivers Beasley Allen Mobile Lawyer files Wrongful Death Case EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION DOL’s Final Investment Advice, Regulators Expand The Reach Of ERISA Annuity Deals May Face Increased ERISA Litigation Supreme Court Eases Standards For Title VII Discrimination Claims Premises Liability Litigation Legislative Update On S.B. 186 In Georgia Beasley Allen Takes on Another Horrific Premises Case Against Hallmark Mobile Homes Park Suit Filed Over Damages Caused By The “Tilted” Property COMMERCIAL LITIGATION Realtors And Home Sellers Get Approval For A $418 Million Broker Rules Settlement Class Action Litigation AT&T Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Leak Of Data On 73 Million Customers Federal Judge Rules That Plaintiffs Can Move Forward With Brake Defect Lawsuit Insurance Class Action Is Revived By The Eleventh Circuit U.S. Supreme Court Permits Class Action Over ATM Fees To Proceed Cashed Check Is A Problem For VW Emissions Settlement Objector Norfolk Southern To Pay $600 Million In Train Derailment Settlement Judge Approves $200 Million Hyundai-Kia Engine Fire Settlement Class Action Lawyers At Beasley Allen EMPLOYMENT AND WHISTLEBLOWER LITIGATION DOJ Announces New Whistleblower Program FTC Finalizes Landmark Rule Banning Noncompetes The Beasley Allen Employment Litigation Team SECURITIES LITIGATION Securities Litigation At Beasley Allen MASS TORTS LITIGATION Philips Reaches $1.1 Billion Settlement To Resolve CPAP Injury Claims Philips’ $506 Million Economic Loss Settlement Approved In CPAP MDL Philips Has Stopped CPAP Sales Under A Consent Decree Agreement Infant Formula Litigation Update Second Case Management Conference Held For Ozempic/GLP-1 MDL An Update On The Kratom Litigation Hair Relaxer Litigation Update Philadelphia’s Risperdal Cases Settle For Up To $1.1 Billion Monsanto Judge Reduces $857 Million PCB Jury Verdict TOXIC TORT LITIGATION EPA Finalizes First-Ever PFAS Drinking Water Standards EPA Classifies Two ‘Forever Chemicals’ As Hazardous Substances Tyco Agrees To $750 Million Settlement In Foam Company PFAS Litigation North Alabama Utilities Board Files Suit Over PFAS Contamination PFAS/ AFFF Litigation Update Sanofi Seeks To Resolve 4,000 Claims Linked To Zantac Bayer’s $1.5 Billion Roundup Verdict Reduced To $600 Million Paraquat Litigation Update: MDL Judge Rules Against Plaintiffs in Daubert Ruling CONGRESSIONAL MATTERS Senators Push $1.3 Billion COVID Fraud-Busting Plan MORE NEWS FOR ALABAMA TRIAL LAWYERS Appellate Loss Leads To A Much-Needed Change In The Alabama Rules For Deposition Abuses CONSUMER CORNER Alabama Utilities Struggle With New Limits On Forever Chemicals EPA Warns Of Unreasonable Risk From Existing Asbestos THE STRUCTURE OF BEASLEY ALLEN AND CASES HANDLED The Structure Of Beasley Allen Is Designed To Work For Clients The Latest Look At Case Activity At Beasley Allen Some Of The Beasley Allen Settlements And Verdicts In 2023 Resources to Help Your Law Practice Co-Counsel E-Newsletter Webinars Recalls Update The Jere Beasley Report TRIAL TIPS FOR LAWYERS Lawyers Must Always Be Preparing For Trial SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS Lawyer And Employee Spotlights FAVORITE BIBLE VERSES CLOSING OBSERVATIONS Dr. Jack Hawkins Leads Troy University To Global Prominence MONTHLY REMINDERS PARTING WORDS FAQs References


Montgomery’s Capital Role Calls It To Higher Standards

Montgomery is the Capital City, and that distinction carries with it a definite need for the city to be a role model. The word capital is derived from the Latin caput meaning “head.” Simply put, Montgomery, as Alabama’s Capital City, is the state’s seat of government.

I have always believed that Montgomery should be a “shining light on a hill” for others to see and emulate. It should be a model on how a government should be run, and that is civil, efficient, effective, and with a profound dedication to the Rule of Law. Anything less should not be tolerated for the Capital City by the citizens of Montgomery. Let’s take a look at our history, our present, and where we are headed.

The City of Montgomery bears the weight of history on its shoulders. As the Cradle of the Confederacy and the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, our city stands as a living testament to America’s journey – a journey marked by profound injustice, hard-won progress, and the never-ending quest for a more perfect union. Presently, the city is at a cross-roads facing some critically important decisions that will have to be made.

As Alabama’s Capital City, Montgomery has a special responsibility to lead by example. Its unique place in history as both the Cradle of the Confederacy and the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement reminds us every day that some of the nation’s most pivotal events took place in these very streets and buildings we call home. As turbulent as this history is, it leaves a legacy to cherish, respect, uphold and to learn from.

Montgomery’s duality provides the incredible opportunity to stand as a model for how we can overcome division and move forward as a unified people. That’s no small task, but it’s one all in Montgomery should embrace.

We must set our sights with laser-focus on the same goals of equality, freedom, and prosperity. The more we divide ourselves over our differences, the weaker and more spiritually impoverished our society becomes.

The laws and policies that shape Alabama’s commercial and political landscapes are born here in Montgomery. The precedents we set reverberate throughout the state and in many cases throughout the nation. We must embrace the future with a good look to our past and build a city we can all be proud to call home. My message to all in our city, but especially to those in leadership roles, let’s be that “light on a hill” that reflects our goodness for all to see!

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Johnson & Johnson Attempts To Stuff Ballot Box In Unprecedented Third Attempted Bankruptcy

Here they go again! On May 1st, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) proposed a prepackaged reorganization plan forits talc unit. J&J says it will pay out $6.5 billion to resolve claims that its talc-based baby powder caused ovarian cancer. That would require a supermajority of claimants agreeing to the plan.

Beasley Allen is part of a coalition of lawyers representing tens of thousands of women harmed by Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powder products that are challenging J&J’s attempt to weaponize unrelated claims in exchange for votes on a payment plan that would cheat victims legitimately harmed by talc. This is a shocking new legal strategy that could strip consumers of their constitutional rights and allow major corporations to evade responsibility for the harm caused by defective products.

It’s now known that J&J’s talc-containing products have for years caused deadly ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Sad to say – J&J has known this for decades. Beasley Allen is helping sound the alarm based on the solicitation by J&J to individual law firms and their clients which seeks approval of the payment plan as part of a so-called “pre-packaged” bankruptcy. Andy Birchfield, head of our firm’s Mass Torts Section and who has led the battle against J&J, had this to say:

We believe any bankruptcy based on this solicitation and vote will be found fraudulent and filed in bad faith under the Bankruptcy Code. On behalf of our clients who deserve better, we are blowing the whistle on this cynical legal tactic and will resist it at every turn.

J&J would put LTL Management LLC into bankruptcy for a third time if at least 75% of ovarian cancer claimants agree to the proposed settlement. It would pay out $6.5 billion over the course of 25 years. This is just another blatant and fraudulent attempt to avoid the Rule of Law, and cheat the system and the victims of J&J’s wrongdoing.

There will be a three-month solicitation period in which claimants will have the chance to vote for or against the plan. If at least 75% vote in favor, then LTL will file a prepackaged plan in bankruptcy court.

J&J has labeled our firm and the Beasley Allen lawyers involved in the talc litigation as the primary opponent to the company’s plan to use bankruptcy as a shield to justice. In response, we just say Beasley Allen is looking out for the best interests of our clients and for the thousands of other victims of J&J’s massive wrongdoing.

Beasley Allen, joined byLevin Papantonio Rafferty Proctor Buchanan O’Brien Barr Mougey PA,Ashcraft & Gerel, and Golomb Legal PC, oppose the proposed plan. This attempt by J&J to weaponize unrelated claims in exchange for votes on a payment plan that would cheat victims legitimately harmed by talc is legally and morally wrong.

We have learned over our involvement in this litigation that medical costs for treating ovarian cancer in a patient averages around $220,000 and can go up to more than $1.5 million, not counting the costs of lost wages. The latest proposal presented by J&J would pay pennies on the dollar.

If J&J can stuff the ballot box, this abusive tactic will become an important precedent emboldening other corporate entities to seek to avoid responsibility and subvert the U.S. bankruptcy system in the same way.

You will recall that J&J created LTL and spun off its talc liabilities into that new company in October 2021, two days before the company first filed for Chapter 11 protection in North Carolina to deal with tens of thousands of claims arising from exposure to J&J’s cosmetic talc products.

The first case was transferred to New Jersey bankruptcy court soon after it began. In January 2023, the Third Circuit threw out the Chapter 11 case, finding LTL was not in financial distress and lacked the required good faith to commence its bankruptcy.

Less than three hours after an order dismissing the case was signed in April 2023, LTL commenced a second bankruptcy in the same court, this time with an $8.9 billion settlement trust agreement with more than a dozen plaintiffs firms representing nearly 60,000 talc claimants. Again, this would amount to pennies on the dollar to J&J victims. That second case was dismissed by the court in July 2023.

We encourage all lawyers who have clients in this J&J talc litigation, as well as the general public, to consider the following:

  • J&J officials have previously testified that cancer claims outside of ovarian cancer and mesothelioma are worthless. Now the company promises minimal payments for these “worthless” claims in exchange for a “yes” vote.
  • J&J is offering small payments to receive support for a payment plan that would force legitimate victims to receive far less in compensation than they deserve.
  • Medical costs for treating ovarian cancer can total more than $1.5 million per patient, with an average near $220,000. That financial burden is further worsened by lost wages and other costs related to serious, often lifelong illnesses. J&J’s proposal relying on fraudulent ballots would pay pennies on the dollar if accepted by the bankruptcy court.
  • In October 2021, at the time of the first J&J/LTL bankruptcy, there were approximately 35,000 lawsuits alleging talc-caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. On the heels of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, finding that the bankruptcy was filed in bad faith, J&J quickly produced an agreement with attorneys claiming to represent 60,000 claimants. Previously these attorneys had filed few if any lawsuits against the company.
  • Many new claimants do not have ovarian cancer or mesothelioma — the only two conditions for which there is a scientific connection to talc. Instead, they are claiming other gynecological cancers (cervical, vagin*l, uterine, endometrial) or even non-gynecological cancers, none of which has ever been connected to talc.
  • If J&J can stuff the ballot box, this abusive tactic will become an important precedent emboldening other corporate entities to seek to avoid responsibility and subvert the U.S. bankruptcy system in the same way. In this case, victims of serious medical conditions not linked to talc should avoid being manipulated in this way.

Mike Papantonio of Levin Papantonio Rafferty, who has helped lead the effort to protect J&J’s victims, observed:

We view this as another example of the abusive and underhanded tactics J&J has been using for years. J&J is covertly soliciting law firms to accept their deal, promising a swift payday for some opportunistic lawyers.

Michelle Parfitt, senior counsel at Ashcraft & Gerel, is co-lead counsel for the thousands of plaintiffs whose claims were previously consolidated in multidistrict litigation in federal court. Michelle predicts that J&J’s attempt to “coerce” victims will fail. She says:

These ongoing legal machinations have not and will not cause lawyers to lose their resolve and accept less than fair and reasonable offers. It is clear by these recent filings that J&J will stop at nothing.

J&J has a current market cap of $350 billion. It has acted in bad faith and cannot claim insolvency. Yet the powerful company again attempts to cheat both the system and their victims. Leigh O’Dell, from our firm who is co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the federal MDL, says:

It seems unlikely that J&J would pursue this course without some belief, even if misplaced, that the 75% threshold can be achieved. The company is afraid of a legitimate vote among those who are truly sick and the families of the deceased who have been battling J&J’s obstruction and bad faith for years and who are supported by numerous scientific studies showing that talc contains asbestos and other known cancer-causing ingredients.

Lawyers who understand what is going on began to speak out following J&J’s announcement of the vote solicitation. Richard Golomb, of Golomb Legal P.C., a noted trial lawyer in Philadelphia, observed:

This will be the third bankruptcy in three years. I just hope the bankruptcy courts do not allow the company to get away with manipulating the legal process and bankruptcy law by improperly shopping for a forum that will give the company what it wants.

We will continue the battle against J&J and will not back down regardless of what this powerful company does. Over the years, J&J has lied to the public, the news media, and the courts. It’s lying again. It’s now time to hold J&J accountable and bring their wrongdoing, and its results to an end once and for all.

Illinois Jury Awards $45 Million Talc Verdict In Illinois Cancer Trail

Prior to the events of May 1st, an Illinois state jury awarded $45 million to the estate of Theresa Garcia, a woman who died from mesothelioma linked to her long-term use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder.

The jurors found that the cancer was due to asbestos contamination in the powder. The verdict reflected that finding. Ms. Garcia, a lifelong user of the product for herself and her children, was diagnosed in January 2020 and died in July of the same year.

The jury found Kenvue Inc., a Johnson & Johnson spinoff, 70% responsible, with Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Holdco Inc. sharing the remaining liability. This case marks a significant event in the series of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for asbestos-laden talc products. It’s one of the three first rulings since a judge dismissed the company’s bankruptcy claims, challenging its claim of financial distress as a shield against litigation.

Johnson & Johnson has been widely criticized for their legal tactics and for spreading misinformation about product safety. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson intends to appeal this verdict, continuing to assert the absence of asbestos in their talc products. That lawsuit revealed that the company had knowledge of the asbestos risks for decades but failed to alert consumers or to pursue safer alternatives.

The $45 million jury award covers damages for Garcia’s six children, her own suffering, and loss of life quality.

Source: Law360

An Update On The Two Additional Talc Trials

The trial in Florida against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary LTL Management concluded on April 18th with a defense verdict after a day of deliberations by the six-person jury. The trial took place in the Circuit Court for Sarasota County, Florida. The jurors found that the plaintiff Bernard Matthey’s wife Patricia’s lifetime use of J&J’s Baby Powder was not a legal cause of her ovarian cancer and, ultimately, her death. The Matthey trial was the second ovarian cancer trial to take place in Florida in 2024. A jury in Miami, due to one juror holding out, could not reach a unanimous decision. That resulted in a hung jury.

Lance Oliver and his trial team from Motley Rice tried the two Florida cases along with Leigh O’Dell and her team from Beasley Allen. In the trials, the plaintiffs introduced evidence that Johnson & Johnson knew it had asbestos and fibrous talc in its talcum powder products starting back in the 1960s through to its discontinuation of the product in 2020. Evidence was also introduced that 38 out of 40 studies over the last 40 years have shown a consistent association with genital talc use and ovarian cancer.

In the Matthey case, Johnson & Johnson argued that Mrs. Matthey’s family history of cancers was the primary cause of her ovarian cancer and the jury apparently agreed. Plaintiffs’ counsel are currently contemplating how to move forward with this case. The other case in Miami will be retried.

Beasley Allen Talc Litigation Team

The Talc litigation continues to progress with both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma trials scheduled in various state and federal courts throughout the country for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025. The fraudulent attempt by J&J to use the bankruptcy court has diverted our efforts to some degree. But we are totally committed to this battle and will continue to fight the good fight and in the right way.

Beasley Allen lawyers Leigh O’Delland Ted Meadowshead 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 ofovarian 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.

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.

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The Opioid Litigation

Philadelphia And Walgreens Reach $110 Million Opioid Settlement

Walgreens has agreed to a $110 million settlement to the City of Philadelphia to resolve claims that the pharmacy chain contributed to the city’s opioid addiction crisis. This settlement arises from a lawsuit the city filed in 2021.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Walgreens will make payments over the next five years. The drugstore will pay the first installment of $20 million in September, with the remaining $90 million scheduled in annual payments of $23.3 million through 2028.

Last year, Philadelphia officials announced plans to invest $200 million obtained from various opioid-related legal settlements in community initiatives over the next 18 years. These funds will support the city’s Kensington Community Revitalization Plan and other projects aimed at improving public health and safety in the neighborhoods hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. The initiatives include programs for substance use education, treatment, prevention, and active community engagement.

The city started its wider litigation efforts in 2017 when it sought to hold manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies accountable for their roles in fueling the opioid crisis. The city accused Walgreens of failing to adequately monitor and report suspicious opioid drug orders and dispensing the extremely addictive painkillers without verifying their legitimate medical use. The lawsuit claimed damages, equitable abatement, civil penalties, attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, and other relief.

City officials, including Mayor Cherelle L. Parker and City Solicitor Renee Garcia, expressed optimism that the settlement funds would significantly enhance the city’s efforts to combat widespread opioid addiction and prevent more overdose deaths.

Source: Insurance Journal

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Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs Challenge Selection Process for Bellwether Cases

The leadership group representing former Camp Lejeune residents, who have filed lawsuits claiming diseases caused by contaminated drinking water at the base, has stated to a North Carolina federal court that it’s premature to restrict trial selections to plaintiffs alleging only one disease, opposing the federal government’s proposal.

They argue that decisions on whether trials should involve individual plaintiffs, groups, or both, should come after more information on trial processes is available. The government suggested starting with cases involving single-disease claims to simplify proceedings and expedite a global resolution.

Nearly 1,500 lawsuits have been filed, with the affected individuals potentially exposed to harmful contaminants between 1953 and 1987. The plaintiffs’ leadership insists on discussing the selection of bellwether cases, highlighting that many claimants suffer from multiple diseases due to the toxic exposure.

Furthermore, they are seeking to appeal a court order denying their request for a jury trial under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, challenging the interpretation that the act does not allow for jury trials in these cases.

It may be true that the best approach would be to prioritize a particular ‘single disease’ plaintiff, as the defendant describes the term, but that decision should be made after having more information about trial processes, and — if the court agrees it would be fruitful — a discussion among the court and the parties.

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

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

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

Source: Law360

Government Seeks Revision Of Opt-Out Verdict In Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

The federal government recently challenged a North Carolina federal court decision related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging a reconsideration of a February 26 order that permitted certain plaintiffs to opt out of pre-trial discovery.

The government argues that this move restricts the selection for discovery and trial, impacting the representativeness of bellwether cases. The plaintiffs’ leadership has excluded roughly two-thirds of eligible plaintiffs from track two trials. This has raised concerns about the representativeness of these cases.

Currently, there are nearly 1,500 lawsuits that claim the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with harmful chemicals between 1953 and 1987, leading to serious health issues, including five specific diseases selected for initial trials. The government is critical of the plaintiffs’ inconsistent criteria for opting out based on health reasons and says this undermines efforts toward a comprehensive resolution.

The government proposes prioritizing cases with claims of a single disease for early trials to streamline the process. They suggest that cases involving multiple diseases require more complex expert testimonies, which could potentially delay the resolution. The DOJ claims this approach will facilitate a global resolution more effectively.

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

Source: Law360

Camp Lejeune Litigation Team

Beasley Allen lawyers on our firm’s Camp Lejeune Litigation Team remain hard at work. Currently, the firm is handling thousands of cases with more clients coming in weekly.

We are not giving a complete update on this litigation. There is lots going on. We will do a complete update in the June issue.

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.

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Social Media Addiction/Personal Injury Litigation Update, Initial Bellwether Trials Scheduled

The Bellwether process has begun in the Social Media Addiction/Personal Injury and School District Product Liability multidistrict litigation (MDL) as well as in the Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings (JCCP). The litigation is against the world’s largest social media platforms including defendants Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. The comprehensive bellwether program is designed to test and evaluate liability and damages for both personal injury and school district cases in the MDL and JCCP.

The MDL is located in the Northern District of California, Oakland Division. There are currently 227 personal injury cases filed, 159 school district cases, and 34 cases filed on behalf of state attorneys general. The parties are working on selection criteria for the personal injury bellwether discovery pool. Beasley Allen’s Joseph VanZandt is a member of the Plaintiff Steering Committee.

The JCCP is in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles. Joseph VanZandt has been appointed co-lead in the JCCP. There are currently 622 personal injury plaintiffs in the JCCP, along with 546 school districts and 2 local government plaintiffs. In a recent case management conference, the JCCP Judge determined that the Bellwether trial pool would consist of 10-12 cases, randomly selected from categories set by the parties and the court.

The first personal injury trial is estimated to begin in June 2025. The first school district trial has not yet been scheduled. Law firms are reviewing claims in preparation of Bellwether Selection Deadlines.

As both venues move forward, Joseph says we can anticipate more trial dates to be set for both personal injury cases and school district cases in the MDL and in the JCCP. We will keep our readers updated as significant developments occur.

Zuckerberg Avoids Liability In Meta Addiction MDL – For Now

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed certain fraud-by-omission claims against Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) alleging Meta’s social media products cause mental health issues in young users.

However, the judge allowed the plaintiffs to amend their claims and assert a new theory of corporate liability against the billionaire CEO. Under this new theory, Zuckerberg could be held liable on the grounds he participated in or authorized Meta’s misrepresentations and failures to disclose.

The MDL involves hundreds of claims by parents of minors, school districts, and state attorneys general who claim tech giants like Meta are designed to be addictive despite harming the mental health of young users. Meanwhile, these companies have brought in billions of dollars yearly in advertising revenues.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers said in her order that to state a viable claim against Zuckerberg under a fraud by omission theory, the plaintiffs must satisfy all five elements of the claim in their pleadings. Those elements include reliance on Zuckerberg’s statements and his intent to mislead or defraud them. The judge also dismissed claims asserted under state laws in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Ohio, which don’t recognize allegations of negligent misrepresentation by omission.

The plaintiffs contend that Zuckerberg was the “trusted voice on all things Meta” and had a special relationship with the plaintiffs, owing them a duty to disclose. However, Judge Gonzalez Rogers found that this was insufficient to establish the kind of “confidential or special” relationship required by state laws. She noted that accepting the plaintiffs’ theory would create a duty to disclose for any recognizable public figure, which she declined to do.

The personal injury plaintiffs are represented by Annie E. Kouba, Abigail Burman, Mathew P. Jasinski, Jessica C. Colombo, Jonathan D. Orent, Kate E. Menard, Jodi Westbrook Flowers, Sara O. Couch, Jade A. Haileselassie, Ebony W. Bobbitt, Jessica L. Carroll and Previn Warren of Motley Rice LLC.

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.

The parallel Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding is Social Media Cases, case number 5255, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

Source: Law360

Social Media MDL Lawyers Ordered To Address Confidentiality

Magistrate Judge Peter H. Kang, who is overseeing the multidistrict litigation in California, concerning the alleged addictive design of social media platforms, has urged lawyers to handle confidentiality disputes without court intervention. During a hearing in San Francisco, Judge Kang highlighted the importance of lawyers resolving such matters among themselves, particularly in the context of the extensive personal injury litigation initiated in 2022 against major social media companies like Snap Inc., Meta Platforms Inc., TikTok Inc., and YouTube LLC.

The litigation, supported by school districts, parents and state attorneys general, accuses these platforms of designing their services in a way that harms minors’ mental health for profit. The evidence so far overwhelmingly supports the validity of the litigation.

The issue arose when it was revealed that Meta had marked a significant portion of documents as confidential or highly confidential, a practice questioned by counsel for the plaintiffs. Judge Kang showed reluctance to deal with numerous motions regarding confidentiality, emphasizing the need for a valid reason to bring such disputes to his attention.

Additionally, the hearing dealt with other procedural matters, including litigation hold requests and the pace of document production. Meta requested to redact employee names from potential witness lists, citing safety concerns, a point debated by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, who argued for transparency and questioned the lack of prior notification about threats to TikTok employees. Judge Kang directed the parties to negotiate on redacting names of threatened employees, stressing the importance of resolving these issues outside court to prevent speculative harm.

The personal injury plaintiffs were represented during the hearing by Lexi Joy Hazam of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Previn Warren of Motley Rice LLC.

The states were represented during the hearing by J. Christian Lewis of the Attorney General’s Office of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Joshua Olszewski-Jubelirer of the California Department of Justice.

The Meta entities were represented during the hearing by Ashley Margaret Simonsen and Isaac D. Chaput of Covington & Burling LLP.

TikTok was represented during the hearing by Teresa Griffin of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and David Mattern of King & Spalding LLP.

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.

The parallel Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding is Social Media Cases, case number 5255, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

Source: Law360

The Beasley Allen Social Media Litigation Teams

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

Social Media Personal Injury Team

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

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

Social Media Attorney General Litigation Team

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

Contact The Team


NHTSA Report Finds ‘Critical Safety Gap’ Linked To Hundreds Of Tesla Collisions

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says Tesla’s Autopilot system has contributed to hundreds of collisions, with over a dozen resulting in fatalities and “many others” resulting in serious injuries. The report released by NHTSA cited grave safety concerns with Tesla’s Autopilot system.

According to the report, at least 467 collisions, 13 of which resulted in fatalities, were attributed to the Autopilot system over a three-year period. The report also highlighted a “critical safety gap” in the Autopilot system, which did not ensure driver attention and appropriate use. While the driver engagement system had various prompts, including “nags” or chimes and in-cabin cameras, it was deemed “weak” due to Autopilot staying switched on even when the driver was not paying attention.

NHTSA also stated that a software update issued last December to fix the Autopilot defects was probably inadequate.

Following the report’s release, two U.S. Senators called on regulators to require Tesla to restrict its Autopilot feature to the roads it was designed for.

Philip Koopman, an automotive safety researcher andCarnegie Mellon Universityassociate professor of computer engineering, views Tesla’s marketing and claims as “autonowashing.” Koopman also said, in response to NHTSA’s report, that he hopes Tesla will take the agency’s concerns seriously moving forward.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has said he plans to turn existing cars into self-driving vehicles with a software update. However, the company has not yet produced self-driving vehicles and currently only offers driver assistance systems. To date, it appears Tesla needs to reassess its position on safety.

We will continue to monitor this important safety issue and will keep our readers up to date. In the meanwhile, if you have questions or need help with a case, contact Sloan Downes, Director of our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section. She will have a lawyer in the Section respond to you.

Source: CNBC

Hidden Dangers Of Collision Avoidance Technology In Motor Vehicles

Each year, automobile manufacturers debut “new-and-improved” models of their vehicles, often with newly developed technology. The appeal of new tools and technology often allows manufacturers to introduce products to the market without fully explaining their use to persons who will be owners and drivers. This practice can turn even safety devices into dangerous products.

Many newer vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance technology intended to assist drivers in preventing crashes. While this technology can provide a new level of safety and is vital to the development of the industry, it does not come without new risks. Lack of education surrounding the use of collision avoidance technology leads to misconceptions among the public about what the technology can do.

For example, drivers may assume that their vehicle will maneuver itself in such a way as to avoid accidents when in reality, the system is not programmed to do any such thing. Instead, most collision avoidance systems are intended to provide alerts to drivers in order to allow for efficient driver responses.

Over-reliance on technology can cause drivers to become distracted. When distracted, their ability to perceive and avoid dangerous situations is eliminated. Automobile manufacturers know that distracted driving is a nationwide crisis and that drivers are not independently aware of the details of collision-avoidance technology. Yet the manufacturers do not take the necessary steps to educate the public.

Beasley Allen lawyers are fighting to hold automobile manufacturers accountable and to help make sure that the public has the tools and information they need to travel safely on the highways.

Nationwide Survey Finds Distracted Driving Still An Issue

A recent survey conducted by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company reveals that distracted driving remains a significant safety concern among both passenger car and commercial drivers. The survey highlights that about a third of commercial drivers often find themselves distracted. That’s mainly due to using GPS/navigation systems (55%), responding to work texts (36%), and using their mobile phones for texting or talking (27%).

This distraction in the commercial field is exacerbated by the pressure from all too many employers to meet tight scheduling deadlines. Despite recognizing the dangers of using a phone while driving, with 90% of drivers acknowledging it’s unsafe to hold a phone for any reason when behind the wheel, there’s a notable discrepancy in self-assessment with 80% of drivers considering their driving skills as “very good” or “excellent.”

The concern over distracted driving is widespread, with 92% of participants agreeing that it has made driving more dangerous, as drivers are increasingly being distracted by their phones.

Nationwide’s telematics data underscores the severity of the issue, indicating that drivers are distracted long enough for their vehicles to cover significant distances without their full attention on the road.

The survey supports the push for hands-free laws, with 89% of respondents in favor of legislation banning handheld cell phone use while driving.

Currently, 26 states and Washington D.C. have such laws, but further adoption and enforcement across all states are necessary. Ohio’s recent implementation of hands-free legislation has already led to a significant decrease in distracted driving incidents, showcasing the potential impact of these laws nationwide.

Source: Law360

Ford Recalls 500,000 Cars: Owners Advised To Visit Dealerships For Free Repairs

Ford has announced a recall of over 450,000 Bronco Sport SUVs and Maverick pickup trucks due to a battery issue. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration revealed that the recall is necessary because the vehicles might not detect a low battery charge. This oversight could result in a loss of electrical power, potentially cutting off power to the engine and the vehicles’ electrical systems while in motion.

The problem may also lead to the loss of electrical accessories like hazard lights or even the loss of drive power, heightening the risk of an accident.

The recall affects certain models from the 2021-2024 Bronco Sport and 2022-2023 Maverick lines. Vehicle owners are advised to take their cars to dealerships where the body control module and powertrain control module will be recalibrated at no cost.

Ford was to begin notifying owners of the recall on May 13. For more information, owners can reach out to Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. The recall is identified by Ford under the number 24S24.

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Car Seat Safety

Over the years, Beasley Allen lawyers have handled a number of tragic cases involving severe injuries or deaths caused by defective car seats. While it’s common knowledge that children should be in car seats while riding in a vehicle, many parents do not understand when to properly transition their child from one type of car seat to another.

Let’s take a look at the different types of seats that can be used. The seats include an infant-only type seat (meaning it can only be placed in the rear-facing position), a convertible seat (meaning it can be placed rear-facing, but then placed in a forward-facing position with a harness), and an all-in-one seat (meaning it can be rear-facing, forward-facing with a harness). There are also booster seats.

Children initially begin riding in a rear-facing car seat and should remain rear-facing for as long as possible. Once the child has reached the top height or weight limits of the car seat, it is then time for a new seat. It’s necessary to understand that safety and proper use of car seats are the top priority.

If you purchased an infant-only seat (meaning only for the rear-facing position), a convertible or all-in-one seat should be your next purchase as it will allow you to keep your child rear-facing longer as the height and weight limits are higher.

Depending on the size of the child, a child could potentially remain rear-facing past the age of two. Once a child has reached the maximum height or weight limits of their rear-facing car seat, they should then be placed in a forward-facing car seat with the use of a harness and a tether.

A child should remain in the forward-facing five-point harness car seat until they reach the top height or weight limit of the car seat. Only then, should a child be transitioned to a booster seat. It is a misnomer that children should be transitioned to the next type of car seat once they meet the minimum height and weight requirements of the car seat. Unfortunately, this very commonly happens when moving a child from a forward-facing five-point harness seat to a booster seat.

This occurs for a variety of reasons. One is that parents are not provided enough information, warnings, or instructions by manufacturers to make an informed decision about when to move their child from a forward-facing five-point harness seat to a booster seat. Also, as children age, they no longer want to be in a harnessed seat. That can create a problem, but safety must be the top priority in the decision-making process.

Further, booster seats are typically easier to move between vehicles and are easier for parents to get a child in and out of. Thus, many parents inadvertently transition their children too early out of convenience and because they see their child meets the minimum height and weight requirements for a booster seat.

Transitioning a child too early for any type of car seat can have devastating consequences. Moreover, if a child is transitioned too early to a booster seat, the seat belt will not fit them correctly. During a crash this increases the likelihood the child will roll out or slip out from the shoulder belt portion of the seat belt, which can result in severe and permanent injuries to the child including head trauma, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and sometimes death.

This is because the child loses the protection of the shoulder belt and is only restrained by the lap portion of the seat belt, allowing the child to move more freely in the vehicle and impacting structures within the vehicle.

When it is the appropriate time to transition your child to a booster seat- Litigation testing that Beasley Allen lawyers have conducted shows that a booster seat with a back provides better occupant protection in a crash than a backless booster seat.

Remember, keep your child in their current car seat until they reach the top height or weight limits of the seat, only then will it be appropriate to transition. Transitioning a child too early can have severe and even fatal consequences.

Sources: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Over 8 Million Detergent Bags, Including Tide Pods, Recalled

Procter and Gamble, the company behind Tide Pods, is recalling over 8 million bags of its laundry detergent pods due to packaging issues that could allow individuals to accidentally ingest the product.

The affected products include Tide Pods, Gain Flings, Ace Pods, and Ariel Pods, all liquid laundry detergent pods. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled some products due to the risk of injury caused by improper access to the packaging. This is particularly concerning for children, as ingesting the contents or exposure to skin or eyes can cause harm.

The recall is specific to packages produced between September 2023 and February 2024, covering 17 varieties across various sizes. The outer packaging of these products is at risk of tearing near the zipper tracks. Procter and Gamble has committed to offering full refunds to consumers who have purchased products within the affected lot numbers, details of which can be found on its website.

Although there have been no reported injuries, there have been instances of children in the U.S. accessing the liquid detergent packets, with three cases of ingestion. It remains unclear if these incidents are linked to the recalled lots. The pods are available for purchase across the U.S. in major grocery stores, including Target and Walmart, and online through and other websites. Pricing ranges from $5 for a small bag of 12 pods to $30 for four bags containing 39 pods each.

Source: CBS News

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New Whistleblower Says Boeing 787, 777 Are Structurally Unsafe

A new Boeing whistleblower, who has worked for the aircraft manufacturer for decades, has gone public with damaging allegations that the company took manufacturing shortcuts to speed production, leaving its 787 and 777 jets in service with serious structural flaws.

In communications to the FAA and federal legislators, Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour says engineers allowed production workers to force Dreamliner 787 fuselage sections together during assembly. He says that doing so made it look like gaps didn’t exist between the sections, so no shims that accommodate stress in the fuselage exist. The unfiled gaps can cause excessive wear and premature structural failure as the fuselage expands and contracts during flight.

When Salhenpour alerted Boeing about these serious safety risks, supervisors retaliated and ultimately moved him to the 777 program. Salehpour says a new fuselage build system caused the misalignment of large fuselage panels from Japan. He says mechanics resorted to using brute force to fit the pieces together. Salehpour says further that he witnessed workers literally jumping on pieces of the airplane to align misaligned holes before fastening them together.

Salehpour warned at a Senate hearing last month that these shortcuts, which he says are done to speed production, can eventually lead to a catastrophic failure in the aircraft.

After raising concerns, Salehpour claims managers first told him to “shut up.” He faced more serious retaliation when he persisted in raising concerns, including harassment, exclusion from meetings, getting barred from speaking to engineers and falling under a supervisor’s threat of physical violence, which was documented in writing.

I fear that this saga is far from over. Hopefully, things will be worked out before a disaster occurs. Both the FAA and Boeing have a shared obligation in this matter. Safety must override all else, including company profits and passenger travel. It must be the top priority for all concerned.

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A Look At Motor Vehicle Litigation Involving Commercial Drivers

Ben Keen, a lawyer in our Atlanta office, is investigating a personal injury claim involving an employee of a company who was injured while working as a driver of a company vehicle. This incident took place on Interstate 285 in Atlanta. The injured victim was operating a tractor-trailer in his capacity as a commercial truck driver.

The at-fault party, another commercial truck driver, merged his tractor-trailer into the injured victim’s lane of travel, causing an impact that locked the tractor-trailers together. Ultimately, the tractor-trailers disconnected, causing the injured victim’s tractor-trailer to crash into the guardrail and, finally, a concrete barrier that was positioned on the interstate.

Once the victim’s tractor-trailer came to its final resting point, it caught fire. Fortunately, a good Samaritan stopped his vehicle upon seeing the wreckage and pulled the injured victim from the totaled tractor-trailer. This maneuver saved the victim’s life.

Because the injury in this case was caused by a third party at a time when the injured victim was in the course and scope of his employment, he maintains claims both in tort and through the Workers Compensation Act.

Beasley Allen lawyers work hand in hand with co-counsel in litigatingclaims that maintain both tort and workers compensation claims to ensure effective representation throughout the entire process.

Beasley Allen Mobile Lawyer files Wrongful Death Case

Lawyers in our Mobile office continue to file cases involving on-the-job personal injuries and wrongful deaths. Wyatt Montgomery, one of the lawyers in our Mobile office, recently filed a wrongful death case involving a dump truck that overturned on its operator, causing catastrophic injuries that ultimately resulted in the man’s death.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Benji Covington’s Estate against Outokumpu, the owner of the work site where the incident occurred, and Big O’s Trucking, the owner of the dump truck being operated by Covington. The lawsuit alleges Outokumpu and Big O’s Trucking failed to provide a safe working environment. More specifically, the lawsuit alleges Big O’s Trucking failed to properly train and instruct Covington in the proper way to perform his duties in a way to avoid injury. It was alleged further that the defendant companies failed to properly maintain the subject dump truck. The lawsuit also alleges that Outokumpu failed to properly load the dump truck and failed to maintain and monitor its premises in the area where the incident occurred in a manner that would avoid a foreseeable incident.

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section have extensive experience investigating and litigating cases where an individual was catastrophically injured or killed while on the job.

Many times, these injuries or deaths occur due to defectively designed or manufactured equipment being used by the involved worker. Other times, as in this case, the injury or death was caused due to the negligence or wantonness of third parties on the job site, creating a hazardous situation for the worker.

Beasley Allen lawyers are well versed in the design hierarchy of industrial machinery, as well as OSHA and other industry standards related to providing a safe work environment for workers.

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DOL’s Final Investment Advice, Regulators Expand The Reach Of ERISA

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued final regulations that broaden the definition of an investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The new rules, which will be implemented over a staggered timeline, require a wider range of market participants to comply with ERISA or meet exemption conditions when dealing with retirement assets.

The regulations aim to protect retirement investors from improper investment recommendations and harmful conflicts of interest. The final rule covers many one-time rollover transactions out of employee benefit plans into IRAs or annuity products, advice on buying non-securities products like index annuities, and advice pertaining to 401(k) plan menus.

The DOL modified the five-part test used to determine fiduciary status, focusing on situations where a reasonable investor would expect a trust and confidence relationship. The final approach also clarifies that certain situations, such as HR professionals providing education to employees, are not covered under the broader definition.

Despite the DOL’s efforts to address concerns raised during the proposal stage, industry groups and some lawmakers have criticized the final regulations, with some threatening potential litigation. Critics argue that the rules are unnecessary and redundant and could restrict investing opportunities for lower- and middle-income individuals. But Beasley Allen lawyers believe the changes are needed and will prove to be helpful to investors.

Source: Law360

Annuity Deals May Face Increased ERISA Litigation

A series of recent lawsuits have the potential to reshape the landscape of ERISA litigation, particularly concerning pension de-risking through annuity contracts. These lawsuits, filed against companies like Alcoa USA Corp., AT&T and Lockheed Martin, challenge converting pension benefits into annuity insurance contracts, a move affecting hundreds of thousands of retirees.

The heart of the complaint in each lawsuit is the allegation that these employers, in their pursuit of cost savings, opted for annuity providers that do not offer the highest level of safety for the retirees’ benefits, as mandated by ERISA. Specifically, the suits target the selection of Athene, a private equity-backed insurer, contending this choice exposes retirees to greater risk by replacing federal protection with less robust state insurance guaranty associations.

Attention is being focused on the broader implications of pension de-risking transactions, which have surged in recent years, reaching a record $52 billion in transfers in 2022, according to MetLife. The potential vulnerabilities introduced by shifting pension obligations to the insurance market, especially amid concerns over insurer solvency, is a real concern.

The ongoing litigation could potentially mark a turning point for ERISA governance, particularly if the cases progress beyond the initial dismissal phases. Such outcomes could not only affect companies involved in pension de-risking but also trigger a reevaluation of the regulatory framework governing these transactions.

As these legal battles unfold, the retirement security of thousands hangs in the balance, underscoring the urgent need to protect pension benefits from undue risk.

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section are in the process of investigating and potentially filing a class action lawsuit involving the issues described above. If you have questions or need help with a case, contact Dee Miles, Section Head of the Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, or Michelle Fulmer, Section Director, and they will have a lawyer in the Section contact you.

Source: Law360

Supreme Court Eases Standards For Title VII Discrimination Claims

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are relatively new in the American workplace, but they have become extremely prevalent across all industries. As of 2021, 83% of U.S. organizations had some kind of DEI programming in place. That’s an even more impressive number when you consider that it was not even 60 years ago when Title VII of the Civil Rights Act made it officially illegal to discriminate against workers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

The U.S. Supreme Court has now rejected a lower court ruling that required Title VII plaintiffs to demonstrate that a discriminatory job transfer resulted in ‘significant’ harm.

In the case of Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, the Supreme Court overturned an Eighth Circuit ruling, clarifying that Title VII claims necessitate demonstrating some harm, but not necessarily “materially significant disadvantages.” This ruling could potentially impact challenges to workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies.

The lawsuit was initiated by St. Louis police sergeant Jatonya Clayborn Muldrow, who claimed she was replaced by a male colleague on an FBI task force for gender reasons and moved to a less prestigious role. Though keeping her rank and salary and allegedly waiving concerns about prestige, the Eighth Circuit found no significant harm. Justice Kagan, however, disagreed with that court’s standard.

Justice Kagan wrote that Title VII doesn’t require “significant” harm for discrimination claims. Rather, plaintiffs need to show some harm related to a specific term or condition of employment. Discrimination is treating someone unfavorably based on their sex, but the provision doesn’t specify the degree of unfavorable treatment.

Justice Kagan concluded that Muldrow only needed to show that the transfer harmed her in some way. She suggested that the allegations of less prestige, more weekend work, and the loss of her take-home car would meet that standard.

The Muldrow ruling allows more employer decisions to survive initial Title VII litigation stages, but it requires plaintiffs to show harm. Discrimination must cause harm, so challenges to DEI programs may not meet this standard.

The Supreme Court rendered its decision inMuldrow v. City of St. Louis,No. 22-193.

Source: National Law Journal

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Premises Liability Litigation

Legislative Update On S.B. 186 In Georgia

In the wake of the Georgia Supreme Court’s Georgia CVS Pharmacy, LLC v. Carmichael decision, the General Assembly took up legislation during the current session aimed at drastically reducing a plaintiff’s ability to pursue legal action when he, she, or a loved one suffered harm due to a corporation’s failure to provide adequate security measures against foreseeable third-party criminal acts. Fortunately for the public good, the bill did not pass.

Senate Bill 186, known as the “Georgia Landowners Protection Act,” sought to increase the plaintiff’s evidentiary burden, decrease corporations’ duties to monitor their premises, and permit judges to override a jury’s verdict if they disagreed with how the jury apportioned fault in the case. As drafted, Senate Bill 186 essentially immunized corporations from negligent security liability.

The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee reported favorably on the bill, but the broader chamber tabled it, declining to vote on the legislation prior to the Crossover Day deadline. While this is a win for the public, especially for those individuals harmed by a corporation’s failure to provide adequate security, it is not the end of the road. Senate Bill 186 will likely be revived next legislative session. Thus, it is critical for constituents to remain engaged in the democratic process and lobby their elected representatives to ensure that corporations stay accountable when they fail to supply reasonable safety for their customers.

Beasley Allen Takes on Another Horrific Premises Case Against Hallmark Mobile Homes Park

Previously, Parker Miller, a lawyer in our Atlanta office, settled a lawsuit against Hallmark Mobile Homes in Athens, Georgia, involving a horrific fire that broke out at the mobile park home, killing three victims. Unfortunately, due to the poor conditions existing and lack of proper maintenance on the premises, the fire devoured the subject mobile home within minutes. It appears no action has been taken by Hallmark to remedy the dangers existing on their premises since that tragic event.

Our firm was recently retained to handle a violent shooting case involving multiple victims that took place at Hallmark Mobile Homes Park. A fight broke out between two rival gangs living in the homes. The fight escalated, and gunfire erupted in every direction, striking innocent bystanders, including our clients. The victims were young children, one of whom was killed by one of the stray bullets striking him in the chest.

Hallmark is no stranger to this kind of criminal conduct, as there have been multiple reported shootings prior to this occurrence. Parker had this to say about the case:

Unfortunately, this is what happens when property owners or management companies fail to conduct reasonable inspections or provide adequate security for their residents.

Our lawyers are committed to holding owners and managers responsible for allowing senseless, violent attacks and hazardous conditions such as this to take place on their premises.

Suit Filed Over Damages Caused By The “Tilted” Property

Two Florida property owners have taken legal steps against their neighbors after sustaining significant damage to their homes due to the instability of the home on the neighboring property. Beasley Allen represents William B. Lawrence III and Gene P. Stienecker in this lawsuit filed against James Sturgeon and Yik Chun Wu, co-owners of the problematic three-story house located in Panama City, Florida.

The facts of this case have received a great deal of public attention. The case involves a property that is now widely referred to as “The Tilted House” due to its precarious condition.

The lawsuit stems from a sequence of events initiated on January 9, 2024, when a weather event, marked by tornadoes, struck the Florida panhandle. During this weather event, the Sturgeon-Wu house collapsed onto the homes of the plaintiffs. The ensuing and ongoing damage includes cracks in walls, foundation damage, and other severe structural issues.

The situation has escalated due to the Sturgeon-Wu house’s continued deterioration. Photographic evidence highlights the progression of damage since the initial impact and underscores the direct adverse effect on the plaintiff’s properties. Further complicating the matter, the Bay County Building Department has deemed all affected properties uninhabitable, citing ongoing risks from the unstable structure.

Efforts to address the dangerous situation have been met with challenges. Despite Bay County’s issuance and subsequent re-issuance of a demolition permit for the Sturgeon-Wu Property, progress has been hindered. The defendants have reportedly demanded that the plaintiffs waive all liability related to the demolition work – a condition the plaintiffs find unacceptable. As a result, the damaged and dangerous structure remains, exacerbating the risk and stress for the affected homeowners.

This is not the first instance of damage caused by the Sturgeon-Wu house. In 2018, during Hurricane Michael, the plaintiffs’ properties were similarly damaged due to the collapse of the same neighboring property.

Beasley Allen lawyer Rebecca Gilliland, who is based in our Mobile office, is handling this case. She had this to say:

Our clients have suffered significant damage to their properties due to the defendants’ negligence and failure to address the unstable and hazardous condition of their property. They deserve a resolution that prioritizes their safety and restores their properties to their pre-loss condition. We will pursue all available legal remedies to ensure our clients receive the compensation and relief they are entitled to.

The lawsuit seeks a resolution prioritizing safety and the restoration of the plaintiffs’ properties. It calls for the defendants to proceed with the demolition without imposing conditions that delay recovery and resolution. Furthermore, the plaintiffs seek compensation for the considerable damage and encroachment caused by the Sturgeon-Wu structure onto their homes, highlighting a broader issue of property management and neighborly responsibility.

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Realtors And Home Sellers Get Approval For A $418 Million Broker Rules Settlement

A Missouri federal judge initially approved a $418 million settlement between the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and a nationwide class of home sellers to resolve claims that the trade group’s broker commission rules caused home sellers to pay inflated rates.

U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough granted preliminary approval of the settlement in March. Under the terms of the settlement, NAR will pay $418 million plus interest and implement changes to its rules. The settlement agreement will resolve claims against the trade group, local associations, their members, their multiple listing services, and small brokerages run by members.

It’s too early to know all of the changes that will result from this settlement.

The settlement will need a federal court’s approval. Home buyers and sellers can expect some significant and important changes. Many believe the settlement will dramatically alter the long-established business model of buying and selling homes in the United States. Thetraditional 6% commissionthat’s usually split between the buyer and seller agents will see sweeping changes.

Beasley Allen lawyers will assess this settlement and its ramifications. We will keep our readers posted.

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

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

Source: Law360

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Class Action Litigation

AT&T Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Leak Of Data On 73 Million Customers

Over the Easter holiday weekend, millions of current and former AT&T customers learned that hackers likely had stolen their personal information and weresharing it on the dark web. On Saturday, March 30, 2024, AT&T revealed the existence of the data breach and said it did not know if the massive data breach “originated from AT&T or one of its vendors.” However, AT&T said that it had “launched a robust investigation” into what caused the incident.

The data breach is the latest cyberattack AT&T has experienced since a leak in January of2023 that affected 9 million users. By contrast, the recent data breach is much larger – impacting 73 million current and former AT&T account holders. AT&T has seen several data breachesoverthe years that range in size and impact.But this one is huge and will have a tremendous impact on account holders.

In its March 30th announcement of the data breach, AT&T said that a dataset found on thedark webcontains information such as Social Security and passcodes. Passcodes are numerical PINS that are typically four digits long. Full names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and AT&T account numbers may have also been compromised, according to the company. The impacted data is from 2019 or earlier, and it is unknown whether the data includes financial information or call history. AT&T says early indications are that the breach does not include this information. Hopefully, that is correct.

Since AT&T disclosed the incident on March 30, account holders have filed approximately 30 lawsuits in Texas — where the carrier is headquartered — which allege a breach of contract. In the lawsuits filed thus far, the plaintiffs are pursuing a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, claiming that the carrier failed to safeguard customers’ personal data, including phone numbers, addresses, and in some cases, Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

Larry Golston, a lawyer in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, is spearheading the effort to hold AT&T accountable. The team has filed a class action lawsuit in Dallas, Texas, on behalf of those effected by the failure of AT&T to protect personal identifying information. Those effected by the data breach face years of constant surveillance of their financial and personal records, monitoring, and loss of rights.

It’s alleged in the lawsuit that a hacking group called ShinyHunters started selling the stolen AT&T data back in 2021. At the time, AT&T denied that the information had come from its systems. The mysterious leak has now come back into the spotlight when a new user, “MajorNelson” began circulating another 5GB archive that appeared to contain the same AT&T data.

If you are a former or current AT&T customer and receive a notice about the AT&T data breach, you should change your password and monitor account activity for any suspicious transactions. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission notes that nationwide credit bureaus — such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — offer free credit freezes and fraud alerts that consumers can set up to help protect themselves from identity theft and other malicious activity.

If you have any questions about this case or need help with a case, contact Larry Golston at 800-898-2034 or by email at [emailprotected]. Other Beasley Allen lawyers on the Litigation Team are Ali Hawthorne and Leon Hampton. Dee Miles, who heads up the Section, is also involved in this case, which is huge both in size and importance.

Federal Judge Rules That Plaintiffs Can Move Forward With Brake Defect Lawsuit

On December 5, 2022, Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Clay Barnett, Mitch Williams, and Dylan Martin filed an Amended Class Action Complaint against Ferrari North America, Inc., Ferrari S.p.A., Robert Bosch, LLC, and Robert Bosch GMBH for a serious safety defect in numerous Ferrari vehicles equipped with defective brake booster/ master cylinder assemblies manufactured by Bosch.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges there is a defect with the braking system that causes the vehicles to experience sudden loss of braking ability, without any warning to the driver (the “Brake Defect”). Plaintiffs and other Class members report loss of braking ability in all driving conditions, including on busy highways and rush hour traffic, placing the driver and others on the road at an increased risk of injury.

In October 2021, Ferrari issued a recall for certain 2010-2015 348 Italia, 2012-2015 Spider, 2014-2015 458 Speciale, 2015 458 Speciale Aperta, 2016-2019 488 GTB, and 488 Spider vehicles with Bosch manufactured braking assemblies, but excluded all other models and model years.

In July 2022, Ferrari significantly expanded its recall to include 23,555 vehicles. Remarkably, the Recalls now include almost every Ferrari sold in the United States since 2005. Across the globe, similar recalls concerning the Brake Defect followed suit, including, but not limited to, in China, Japan, and Germany. Moreover, Ferrari’s expanded recall claimed the loss of braking ability was the result of poor ventilation within the brake fluid reservoir cap, and that Ferrari would issue a software update (notifying drivers when their vehicles’ brake fluid is low) and a replacement reservoir cap modified for greater ventilation.

In response to Ferrari’s recall, the plaintiffs worked with an independent automotive consultant to test whether a poorly ventilated reservoir cap was indeed causing the loss of braking ability. The testing by plaintiffs’ consultants indicated that a poorly ventilated reservoir cap was not the cause.

On April 7, 2023, Ferrari moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ amended complaint, arguing in part that the claims lacked sufficient factual allegations.

On March 20, 2024, Judge James Semper granted in part and denied in part Ferrari’s motion to dismiss, finding that “the totality of the allegations pertaining to Ferrari Defendants’ knowledge of the alleged Brake Defect are sufficient to establish pre-sale knowledge” and that plaintiffs may move forward with, among other claims, their fraud by omission and negligent misrepresentation claims.

The parties are currently engaged in the early stages of jurisdictional discovery regarding Ferrari S.p.A. and Robert Bosch GMBH. We look forward to keeping our readers up to date on this important litigation as it progresses to trial.

The case is Rose, et al., v. Ferrari North America, Inc. et all 2:21-cv-20772, filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The case was filed by Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Clay Barnett, Mitch Williams, and Dylan Martin, as well as lawyers from Carella Byrne Cecchi Brody & Agnello, Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, and Burger Law. All of these firms will participate in the handling of this case.

Insurance Class Action Is Revived By The Eleventh Circuit

On March 1, 2024, a three-judge panel for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the entry of a judgment on the pleadings that the lower court had entered in favor of an insurance company. The opinion was authored by Judge Frank M. Hull. The case is a proposed class action pending in the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Eleventh Circuit’s decision involved insurance policy interpretation under South Carolina law.

The policyholder of a universal life insurance policy, Worth Johnson, filed a proposed class action alleging breach of contract against Protective Life Insurance Co. for failing to reassess, redetermine, and reduce cost of insurance (COI) rates based exclusively on “improved mortality expectations and experience” as stated in the policy.

The policyholder alleged the insurer did not consider improved mortality in determining COI rates, but improperly considered other factors for COI rates, such as expenses and lapse rates. As a result, the policyholder alleged he and proposed class members were overcharged more for their universal life insurance policies.

The Northern District of Alabama granted a judgment on the pleadings in favor of Protective. While the Eleventh Circuit held the policy language did not impose a mandatory requirement for Protective to reassess COI rates, it found that the lower court had “erroneously cabined” the case to that issue.

The Eleventh Circuit held the lower court did not properly consider “what duty Protective had if the company chose to reassess and did redetermine its COI rates.” Nor did the court consider whether Protective’s alleged ignoring of improved mortality breached its contract. Therefore, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the judgment and remanded the case back to the Northern District for further proceedings.

The case is Advance Trust & Life Escrow Services, LTA v. Protective Life Insurance Co., case number 22-12991, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. While Beasley Allen was not involved in this case, we have lawyers dedicated to insurance disputes, including class actions involving COI rates.

Beasley Allen lawyers have been protecting consumers for decades against insurance companies’ constant abuses and have recently had at least two of these COI class cases certified as classes and successfully settled. We continue that effort on behalf of consumers with our very capable team of insurance litigation lawyers.

Paul Evans, and Rebecca Gilliland, lawyers in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, are handling these types of class cases.Dee Miles is also involved in his role as head of the Section. We welcome the opportunity to help consumers battle insurance companies when misconduct occurs.

Source: Law360

U.S. Supreme Court Permits Class Action Over ATM Fees To Proceed

The U.S. Supreme Court recently passed on the opportunity to re-examine a pivotal D.C. Circuit ruling that supported class certifications in an ongoing dispute over ATM fees. Visa and Mastercard are defendants in the case. These credit card giants had contested the appellate court’s affirmation of a decision by a Washington State federal judge to certify three plaintiff classes. The case is spearheaded by the National ATM Council Inc. These plaintiffs contend that Visa and Mastercard colluded to enforce rules that unfairly prevent ATM operators from offering lower access fees for different networks.

In July, a three-judge panel rejected the companies’ objections, stating that plaintiffs need only demonstrate that common questions prevail at the certification stage. The panel concluded that the arguments by the companies that the classes contained members who were not harmed could be examined later in the process.

This high court decision accentuates a stark divide among circuits on the standards for class certification analysis. According to Visa and Mastercard, there is a 4-3 split, with some circuits allowing a more lenient approach to the predominance inquiry, while others demand stringent scrutiny of a defendant’s arguments.

The plaintiff classes have countered, accusing Visa and Mastercard of exaggerating the conflict the D.C. Circuit’s decision supposedly creates. They maintain that the appellate panel adhered to Supreme Court guidelines and found no fault with the lower court’s decision.

This marks the second time the ATM fee controversy has reached the Supreme Court, continuing Visa and Mastercard’s legal battle against claims their ATM fee rules are anti-competitive, which has been ongoing since 2011.

The customers are collectively represented by Steve W. Berman, Ben M. Harrington and Benjamin J. Siegel of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Adam B. Wolfson and David Cooper of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Douglas G. Thompson Jr. of Finkelstein Thompson LLP and Christopher Lovell and Merrick Scott Rayle of Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobson LLP.

Source: Law360

Cashed Check Is A Problem For VW Emissions Settlement Objector

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed objector Wesley Lochridge’s appeal against an $80 million settlement in the consumer litigation case involving Volkswagen and Porsche. The case alleged that the automakers manipulated emissions and fuel-economy tests for nearly 500,000 gas-powered vehicles. Lochridge’s appeal was deemed moot because he had already cashed his portion of the settlement, effectively releasing the automakers from all claims.

The settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer in October 2022, divided class members into three groups: fuel economy, Sport+, and other class vehicles. Each group would receive cash payments based on their vehicle’s characteristics and the length of ownership. Lochridge, a member of the fuel economy class, objected to the inclusion of the other class vehicles group, arguing that they suffered no damages and would drain settlement funds.

Lochridge contended that the “other class vehicles” group members lacked Article III standing to collect damages, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez. However, the Ninth Circuit rejected his two objectors’, stating that he had already received and cashed the settlement check, waiving his rights to object.

The appellate case is Lochridge v. Settlement Class Representatives and Settlement, case number 22-16898, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The multidistrict litigation is In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:15-md-02672, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Source: Law360

Norfolk Southern To Pay $600 Million In Train Derailment Settlement

Norfolk Southern Corp. has reached a preliminary agreement to settle a class action lawsuit for $600 million. The lawsuit stemmed from the catastrophic train derailment and toxic chemical spill last year in East Palestine, Ohio.

The settlement resolves some claims from residents, businesses, and property owners that sought damages for lost income, property damage, contaminated homes and businesses, and the increased risk of cancer, organ damage, and other life-threatening illnesses.

If approved, the $600 million settlement will resolve all class claims for negligence, strict liability, nuisance, and trespass within a 20-mile radius of the derailment site. It also resolves personal injury claims from participating residents within 10 miles of the derailment site. The settlement was reported to the court in a joint motion filed in federal court.

The legal teams representing the consolidated plaintiffs have expressed their satisfaction with the agreement. The lawyers highlighted the settlement’s fairness, the expeditious resolution, and the significant compensation poised to benefit those severely impacted by the derailment. The proposed settlement is seen as a pivotal step towards rectifying the harm caused to the East Palestine community and its surroundings.

This settlement agreement follows U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson’s decision to allow the bulk of the claims against Norfolk Southern and other involved parties to proceed. The court’s order emphasizes the gravity of the allegations. Norfolk Southern reiterated its commitment to rectifying the situation, emphasizing the settlement’s aim to provide flexibility and finality for the class members. This includes addressing healthcare needs, property restoration, and compensating for business losses.

As the legal proceedings move toward finalizing the terms of the settlement, the focus remains on achieving justice and recovery for the East Palestine community, marking a significant chapter in its path toward healing and restoration.

The February 3, 2023 derailment caused several tank cars to erupt in flames. Heavy toxic smoke from the burning cars and subsequent remediation efforts exposed thousands of residents and workers on the Ohio and Pennsylvania border to dangerous levels of toxic petrochemicals.

Residents who wereaffected by the Norfolk Southern train derailment have been urged by the lawyers who negotiated the $600 million settlementto talk to them before deciding whether it is enough.

The lawyers have moved to ease concerns by residents that the settlement amount wasnot enough, saying that compensation would vary based on the severity of the derailment’s impact on each person.The formula dictating how much each person receives is stillbeing written. A federal judge would have to grantthe settlementpreliminary approval before those awards could be calculated, so it is still unclear how much each person will receive.

The settlement includes compensation for personal injuries but accepting that money would preclude a future claim over cancer or some other illness that might develop.

While this settlement, said to be the largest settlement for a rail disaster, potentially resolves all class claims, Norfolk Southern still faces other lawsuits. The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the state of Ohio all have lawsuits pending against the railway. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has yet to issue its final report on the causes of the derailment. The findings are expected to play a major role in the damages and fines in the pending cases.

The NTSB’s findings are also likely to influence enforcement actions and strengthen calls for better regulations governing rail car safety. Norfolk Southern is suing the corporate owners of the five tank cars filled with highly flammable vinyl chloride when the train derailed.

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

Beasley Allen’s Wesley Merillat was appointed and served as a member of the plaintiff steering committee for this litigation.

The consolidated case is In re: East Palestine Train Derailment, case number4:23-cv-00242, in theU.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Sources: Law360 and Insurance Journal

Judge Approves $200 Million Hyundai-Kia Engine Fire Settlement

A California federal judge has given final approval to a $200 million settlement resolving claims that Hyundai and Kia sold vehicles with defective engines prone to catching fire. U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton found in her order that the settlement terms were reasonable to prevent further damages to vehicle owners.

Key provisions of the order include an extended 15-year or 150,000-mile warranty covering free inspections and necessary engine repairs. It also mandates recalls and product improvements for certain models, reimbursem*nt for qualifying past repairs at authorized shops, and goodwill payments to compensate for inconveniences like repair delays. Additionally, the settlement compensates class members who became stranded with engine failure or fires for transportation, lodging, and meal expenses.

Class members overwhelmingly favored the settlement. Only about 2% of over two million affected vehicle owners opposed it, with only 287 class members or 0.014%, opting out. The positive response influenced Judge Staton’s decision for final approval.

The class action lawsuit, originally filed in December 2018 and later consolidated with others, centered on allegations that Hyundai and Kia knew their gasoline direct-injection engines had defects causing some vehicles to “spontaneously burst into flames” during normal use. Despite this knowledge, the drivers claimed that the automakers failed to warn customers about increased accident, injury, and death risks from the fire hazard.

A previous class action over the same engine defect, but in different vehicle models, was settled in March 2021. This new $200 million settlement resolves remaining claims for vehicles excluded from the prior settlement agreement.

The drivers are represented by Steve W. Berman and Rachel E. Fitzpatrick of Hagens Berman Sobol, Shapiro LLP, Matthew D. Schelkopf and Joseph B. Kenney of Sauder Schelkopf LLC, Gretchen Freeman Cappio, Ryan McDevitt and Adele Daniel of Keller Rohrback LLP, Bonner C. Walsh of Walsh PLLC and Adam Gonnelli.

The case is In re: Hyundai and Kia Engine Litigation Il, case number 8:18-cv-02223, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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 include:

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

If you need help on a case that would qualify as a class action, you can contact one of the lawyers on the team. You can also contact Dee Miles, Head of our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, or Michelle Fulmer, Section Director, and they will have one of the lawyers on the team respond to you.

Contact The Team


DOJ Announces New Whistleblower Program

In a speech given at the American Bar Association’s 39th National Institute on White Collar Crime, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco unveiled a new Department of Justice (DOJ) whistleblower reward program. At the same time, Monaco encouraged companies with discovery violations to come forward on their own. She emphasized that when it comes to voluntary self-disclosure (VSD), as opposed to when the DOJ uncovers the violation, “no matter how good a company’s cooperation, a resolution will always be more favorable with voluntary self-disclosure.”

While whistleblower rewards are not new in the qui tam world, the DOJ’s new program is slightly different. In her presentation, Monaco described the new program as “[g]oing back to the days of ‘Wanted’ posters across the Old West.” Current programs, according to her, “resemble a patchwork quilt that doesn’t cover the whole bed.” That aptly describes the current situation prior to the new changes.

What Monaco was referring to is that different agencies have different mechanisms for qui tam relators, different causes of action, and can only enforce certain laws. The new program is designed to fill in those gaps where violations of the law do not have current whistleblower provisions.

For example, the False Claims Act in 1863, only covers fraud against the government, while the SEC’s program only covers publicly traded companies. Similarly, theInternal Revenue Service’s program only applies to matters under its jurisdiction.

Under the new framework, the minutiae of which will be worked out during “a 90-day sprint to develop and implement a pilot program,” include certain requirements. First, the requirement for a reward is that an individual helps DOJ discover significant corporate or financial misconduct that was not previously known to DOJ. Other “guardrails” that are already in place include that payments are available:

  • Only after all victims have been properly compensated;
  • Only to those who submit truthful information not already known to the government;
  • Only to those not involved in the criminal activity itself; and
  • Only in cases where there isn’t an existing financial disclosure incentive — includingqui tamor another federal whistleblower program.

Whistleblowers won’t be eligible for awards ifthey are already expecting a rewardunder another federal program (for the same information), or if they were a participant in the wrongdoing. The exclusion for participation is important because the SEC and FCA qui tam provisions allow awards to participants in certain situations.

Beasley Allen lawyers continue to represent whistleblowers across the country in claims against multiple bad actors.

Sources: The National Law Journal, and

FTC Finalizes Landmark Rule Banning Noncompetes

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized a rule on April 23 that prohibits employers from imposing noncompete agreements on employees. The new rule, approved by a 3-2 vote, will significantly improve labor mobility for employees who get stuck in abusive jobs because they can’t legally secure employment elsewhere.

This FTC’s landmark regulation bans all noncompete agreements except for a relatively small group of senior executives who earn more than $151,164 and hold policymaking positions.

The new regulation will take effect 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Employers who violate the rule could face consequences under the FTC Act, which targets unfair competition practices.

FTC Chair Lina Khan advocated for the new rule, pointing to reports from workers who are trapped in their current positions by noncompete agreements. She stressed that taking away the ability to change jobs not only strips people of their economic liberty, but also impacts other personal freedoms, including freedom of speech, religious practices, and the right to organize. Khan argued that such restrictions clearly oppose the American values of open markets and free enterprise, which protect against coercion and centralized control.

Global tax services provider Ryan and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce quickly responded to the rule’s passage, indicating they plan to sue the FTC. They claim the Commission exceeded its statutory authority by passing the rule.

The FTC first issued a proposed ban on noncompetes on January 5, 2023. The agency contended that abolishing the agreements, which prospective employees must sign as a condition of employment, would uphold workers’ freedom to switch jobs, boost innovation, and encourage more business.

Source: National Law Journal

The Beasley Allen Employment Litigation Team

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

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

If you are aware of fraud being committed against the federal or state governments, you could be rewarded for reporting the fraud. If you have questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, contact a Beasley Allen lawyer for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on our website, or you may call or email one of the lawyers on our Employment Litigation Team.

Contact The Team


Securities Litigation At Beasley Allen

Lawyers in Beasley Allen Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section are currently working on a number of cases involving corporate security issues. We will report more on those cases and this litigation generally in the next issue.

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

James Eubank leads the Securities Litigation Team. James worked for years as a securities regulator with the Alabama Securities Commission. He was involved in a number of securities fraud investigations while with the state.

Lawyers in the section who handle these claims welcome any opportunity to investigate potential cases involving securities in some manner. Our lawyers handle litigation under both federal securities law and state securities law. We would be honored to work with other lawyers in their cases.

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, Demet Basar, Rebecca Gilliland and Paul Evans.Dee Miles, who heads the section, also works with the team.

Contact The Team


Philips Reaches $1.1 Billion Settlement To Resolve CPAP Injury Claims

On April 29, plaintiffs’ lawyers leading a multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Philips announced they had reached a $1.1 billion settlement agreement for plaintiffs claiming that foam in their breathing machines caused them personal injuries or would require long-term medical monitoring.

Philips will pay $1.075 billion to settle the personal injury claims and $25 million for medical monitoring claims.With another recently approved settlement, which will be discussed in more detail below, the settlements will end all tracks of the MDL against Philips and its recalled machines.

The plaintiffs are represented by Sandra L. Duggan and Keith J. Verrier of Levin Sedran & Berman LLP, Christopher A. Seeger, Caleb Seeley and David R. Buchanan of Seeger Weiss LLP, Kelly K. Iverson of Lynch Carpenter LLP, Steven A. Schwartz of Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP, D. Aaron Rihn of Robert Peirce & Associates PC, Michael F. Ram of Morgan & Morgan PA, and Peter St. Tienne Wolff of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP.

The case is In re: Philips Recalled CPAP, Bilevel PAP and Mechanical Ventilator Products Litigation, case number 2:21-mc-01230, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Source: Law360

Philips’ $506 Million Economic Loss Settlement Approved In CPAP MDL

U.S. District Senior Judge Joy Flowers, a Pennsylvania judge, has approved a $506.3 million settlement to resolve economic loss claims in multidistrict litigation over Philips’ recalled CPAP breathing machines. We mentioned this settlement above and will now supply a more complete report.

Judge Flowers approved the settlement, which took over a year of negotiation. Only 78 objectionswere madeout of 5 million class notices sent out. That speaks well for the court and the lawyers involved.

Philips will pay $506.3 million in compensation for its recalled devices, with $467.5 million for device replacement and return awards and $34 million for eligible payers. Recipients will receive $100 per returned device, plus a varying amount depending on the device.

The plaintiffs sued Philips after it recalled 10.8 million units of itsCPAP and BiPAP devices due to the breakdown of foam inside the machines, which users alleged caused them to inhale harmful chemicals and particles.

Philips settled the litigation over faulty machines in the Western District of Pennsylvania. The settlement covers economic loss claims, extends warranties for replacement devices, and provides cash bonuses to customers who return recalled devices. Some customers who purchased replacement devices after the recall will also be awarded.

A settlement was granted preliminary approval by Judge Conti in October and was finally approved in March. On April 11, all objections were overruled, including those concerned with personal injury or medical monitoring claims not covered by the settlement.

The plaintiffs are represented by Sandra L. Duggan and Keith J. Verrier of Levin Sedran & Berman LLP, Christopher A. Seeger, Caleb Seeley and David R. Buchanan of Seeger Weiss LLP, Kelly K. Iverson of Lynch Carpenter LLP, Steven A. Schwartz of Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP, D. Aaron Rihn of Robert Peirce & Associates PC, Michael F. Ram of Morgan & Morgan PA, and Peter St.TienneWolff of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP.

The case is In re: Philips Recalled CPAP, Bilevel PAP and Mechanical Ventilator Products Litigation, case number 2:21-mc-01230, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Source: Law360

Philips Has Stopped CPAP Sales Under A Consent Decree Agreement

Philips has agreed to a consent decree halting its sleep apnea device sales in the U.S. due to health concerns, including cancer risks. The decree, filed in Pennsylvania, mandates Philips to collaborate with an independent safety firm, undergo facility inspections for five years, and have replacement machine tests reviewed. As part of a unique remediation plan, Philips is required to offer a payment option, marking a first for a device recall under such a decree. The company faces up to $20 million in annual fines for non-compliance.

Philips has not admitted guilt. The company disclosed its consent decree agreement in a financial report. The FDA has permitted Philips to continue producing and distributing necessary devices and parts. There was a 2021 recall of millions of Philips’ ventilation devices.

This agreement marks a significant step toward ensuring the safety and reliability of medical devices in the market. It highlights the importance of regulatory oversight and corporate responsibility in addressing public health concerns. It also lets the public know how vitally important the judicial system is for the American people.

Source: USA Today

Infant Formula Litigation Update

Beasley Allen lawyers continue to investigate and file infant formula cases, representing parents and children who have suffered from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) as a result of being fed cow’s milk-based formula as a newborn. The science clearly shows that premature, underweight infants are at a much higher risk of this often-fatal intestinal condition when given cow’s milk-based infant formulas like Enfamil and Similac.

These manufacturers offer no warning whatsoever on their products about the risk of NEC, despite the fact virtually every pediatric medical organization worldwide recognizes the heightened risk and recommends human milk over these formulas. If the infant’s mother is unable to breastfeed, donor milk is the next best choice. There are also non-bovine formula alternatives.

The first jury trial took place in March in St. Clair County, IL. The jury awarded a staggering $60 million to a mother of an infant who died from consuming Mead Johnson’s Enfamil formula. Jurors allocated the damages by awarding the plaintiff $35 million for the loss of her son, $10 million for her grief, sorrow, and mental suffering, $5 million for the loss of her son’s life, $5 million for her son’s pain and suffering, and $5 million for his emotional distress. Mead Johnson plans to appeal the verdict.

A national multi-district litigation (MDL) court has been established in the Northern District of Illinois. Beasley Allen has also filed cases in Madison County, IL. Discovery continues as we move toward the first trial settings in both the MDL and state court in Madison County.

Second Case Management Conference Held For Ozempic/GLP-1 MDL

The Ozempic/GLP-1 multidistrict litigation (MDL) is moving right along. Its second case management conference was held on April 18th. During this conference, the parties discussed updates to plaintiffs’ client numbers and scope of injuries, as well as an update on a potential lawyer-led “Science Day” in June 2024. The parties also discussed their respective positions on motion practice, motions to dismiss, potential case management tools, and the status of discovery protocol negotiations. The MDL is currently pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with U.S. District Judge Gene E. K. Pratter.

GLP-1 cases 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 these injuries. Despite these known risks, GLP-1 manufacturers continue to promote these drugs to physicians and their patients.

To manage the proceedings, Judge Pratter has named eight attorneys to the plaintiffs’ executive committee and two additional attorneys from Fine Kaplan & Black RPC and Dilworth Paxson LLP as liaison counsel. The judge also left open the possibility of expanding the committee to include more legal counsel, provided it does not exceed 25 members.

The plaintiffs are represented by Paul J. Pennock of Morgan & Morgan PA, Marcus J. Susen of Susen Law Group, Sara O. Couch of Motley Rice LLC, W. Cameron Stephenson of Levin Papantonio Rafferty Proctor Buchanan O’Brien Barr & Mougey PA, Mike Daly of Pogust Goodhead, Stacy K. Hauer of Johnson Becker PLLC, Alex Walsh of Alex Walsh Law, Diandra Debrosse Zimmermann of DiCello Levitt, Roberta D. Liebenberg of Fine Kaplan & Black RPC, and Nina C. Spizer of Dilworth Paxson LLP.

Beasley Allen lawyers Ryan Duplechin and Mary Cam Raybon are handling cases for our firm involving brand-name Ozempic, Wegovy, Trulicity, Rybelsus, Mounjaro, and Zepbound.

The case is In re: Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1 RAS) Products Liability Litigation, case number MDL-3094, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Sources: In re: Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1 RAs) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 3094, Doc. 86, Law360

An Update On The Kratom Litigation

Lawsuits are being filed in state courts nationwide for drug-induced injuries from the use of the herbal supplement kratom. Kratom is sold in liquid, powder, and pill forms and is derived from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa trees grown in Southeast Asia. Kratom use results in opioid- and stimulant-like effects. While the FDA has not approved any form of kratom for use, it has been associated with seizures, coma, acute liver injury and other organ dysfunction, and even death.

The active kratom compounds, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, activate the same receptors in the brain that are activated by other addictive drugs like opioids, and kratom is often used in self-treatment as a substitute to wean off those drugs or to manage pain, anxiety, or depression.

However, along with the other dangerous side effects, kratom use has its own risk of addiction and withdrawal. Despite these risks, manufacturers and sellers do not communicate these dangers and instead market the product as safe.

Adding to the danger, the concentration of mitragynine varies widely across products, from 1 or 2 percent in capsules to 40 percent in some concentrates and is not often disclosed on product labels. Additionally, it is not well known what other drugs interact with kratom, in what concentrations, or what the potential outcomes would be.

Personal injury cases are currently being filed in state courts nationwide under consumer protection statutes, negligence, breach of implied warranty, fraud, unjust enrichment and failure to warn of liability. Beasley Allen lawyers are pursuing individual claims and welcome the opportunity to investigate cases and hold these companies accountable for their deceptive practices.

Hair Relaxer Litigation Update

On April 11, 2024, a status conference in the hair relaxer litigation was held before multidistrict litigation (MDL) Judge Mary M. Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois. The hearing addressed the addition of eight new defendants to the MDL, including Roux Laboratories, Advanced Beauty Systems, Inc., RNA Corporation, Wella Operations US, LLC, Wella AG, Murrays Worldwide, Inc., John Paul Mitchell Systems, and Bronner Brothers, Inc.

The court ordered that the parties be prepared to discuss motions to dismiss filed by the new defendants, including John Paul Mitchell and Wella. The court also ordered plaintiffs to file a new longform complaint naming each new defendant and to discuss priority document requests to transition these cases into the discovery phase of litigation.

State Court proceedings in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago) are also moving along. The parties are preparing to argue several significant motions later this month. The first are various motions to dismiss filed by several defendants, challenging the court’s jurisdiction and causes of action set out by plaintiffs in their complaints. The second is a Motion to Compel jurisdictional discovery by the defendants challenging jurisdiction in Cook County, Illinois.

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

Philadelphia’s Risperdal Cases Settle For Up To $1.1 Billion

The Risperdal litigation in Philadelphia, involving over 7,000 cases at its peak, has resulted in a settlement valued up to $1.1 billion. This mass tort, one of the city’s largest, saw a significant jury award of $8 billion, later reduced, underscoring its success for plaintiffs.

Declining from a vast inventory over two years, the settlement includes a 30% holdback fund for law firms’ expenses to ensure all claims are resolved. Unlike federal multidistrict litigation, this holdback doesn’t cover lawyers’ common benefit fees, with lawyers recouping from individual awards based on contingency fees.

The litigation, led by Philadelphia’s Kline & Specter, Sheller PC, and Houston’s Arnold & Itkin, focuses on the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The drug, often prescribed off-label, was linked to gynecomastia in boys and young men, leading to thousands of lawsuits. Despite the nationwide spread of lawsuits, Philadelphia had a significant portion, with its mass tort program rising to 7,000 cases by 2019.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a part of Johnson & Johnson, was the main defendant. The settlement aims to provide compensation to over 5,600 clients who accepted offers and addresses allegations of inadequate warnings about the risk of developing excessive breast tissue from Risperdal. Fewer than 10 cases remain on the city’s docket, marking a near conclusion of this extensive litigation.

Source: National Law Journal

Monsanto Judge Reduces $857 Million PCB Jury Verdict

A Washington state judge has reduced a near-$860 million PCB poisoning jury verdict against Monsanto by almost one half. Meanwhile, the company sought to avoid future losses by moving to quash an upcoming trial in another toxic tort case involving the same Evergreen State school site.

King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers reduced the $857 million judgment in a jury trial last fall to $438 million. Plaintiffs Angela “Michelle” Bard, her two daughters, and four other women claimed they were sickened by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) emitted from light fixtures and other materials in the Sky Valley Education Center building. The defendant was Pharmacia LLC, a corporate spinoff Monsanto has agreed to defend in litigation related to its manufacture of PCBs from the 1930s to 1977.

Jurors determined that the Monsanto spin-off was liable for selling toxic PCBs without adequately warning commercial and industrial purchasers, who used the products in light fixtures and other consumer goods. Jurors awarded $73 million in compensatory damages and an additional $784 in punitive damages in this verdict.

In a separate order, Judge Rogers rejected Pharmacia’s bid for either a judgment as a matter of law or a new trial. Meanwhile, Monsanto filed a motion in another case in the same state superior court seeking to quash the claims of 14 children and parents who claimed they were sickened by PCBs at Sky Valley. The group would be the largest to argue their claims against Monsanto and Pharmacia in one trial.

The cases are Angela M. Bard et al. v. Pharmacia LLC, case number 21-2-14305-5, and Leah Burke et al. v. Monsanto Co. et al., case number 18-2-58379-9, in King County Superior Court, Washington.

Source: Law360

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EPA Finalizes First-Ever PFAS Drinking Water Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced new limits on certain “forever chemicals” (PFAS) in drinking water. As we have previously reported in prior issues, these chemicals are widely used in industry and consumer products like nonstick cookware, cleaning, and personal care items. PFAS are linked to serious health issues, including cancers, liver and heart problems, and developmental damage in children.

The new EPA rule sets maximum contaminant levels for specific PFAS compounds, such as perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, at 4 parts per trillion. For other PFAS chemicals, including PNA, PHxS, and GenX, the maximum contaminant level is set at 10 parts per trillion. The EPA has also set a non-enforceable health-based goal of zero, reflecting the latest science showing that there is no level of exposure to these contaminants without health risks. That’s a sobering and scary reality.

We can’t over-emphasize the fact that PFAS chemicals, which have been used in various everyday products, are hazardous because they don’t degrade in the environment. The PFAS chemicals are linked to health issues such as low birth weight, liver disease, and certain cancers.

As stated above, the new rule sets strict limits on two common types, PFOA and PFOS, at 4 parts per trillion, and limits three other types, including GenEx Chemicals, to 10 parts per trillion.

The EPA estimates that these new standards will reduce exposure for approximately 100 million people and prevent thousands of deaths and illnesses. States must establish regulations that are at least as strict as the federal rule. Public drinking water systems have three years to complete initial monitoring and must inform the public of PFAS levels. If levels exceed the standards, systems have five years to achieve compliance. Between 6% and 10% of the 66,000 public drinking water systems subject to the rule may need new actions to comply with the standards.

Despite the expected criticism, if challenged in court, the EPA’s bolstered health benefits analysis should provide additional assurance for the rule’s survival. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, legal challenges must be filed at the D.C. Circuit within 45 days of the rule being published in the Federal Register.

The federal regulation will eliminate the “checkerboard” approach to PFAS regulation across states. However, the rule does not cover private water wells, which are used by tens of millions of Americans, especially in rural communities.

The final rule is timely, considering the pending potential $12.5 billion settlement between 3M and a class consisting of roughly 12,000 public water systems. 7.5% of these public water systems, including the 43 water systems Beasley Allen represents, opted out of this settlement.

The EPA believes the changes will prevent thousands of deaths nationwide. Withfinal regulations in place, public water systems must begin monitoring for six different PFAS chemicals.

Beasley Allen lawyers in our Toxic Torts Section have followed this matter closely. Matt Griffith, a lawyer in the Section, says:

PFAS are a class of synthetic, man-made chemicals that were used in a number of household and consumer products over the years. Some of the more prevalent uses are fast-food hamburger wrappers, other paper products, and stain-resistant properties in products like carpets and rugs. The chemicals take a long time to break down, so they end up in drinking water and people’s bodies, causing illnesses and even death. We’re trying to hold the companies that both manufacture these chemicals as well as some that use these chemicals, to be responsible for upgrading the facilities and the treatment facilities for these water systems.

David Diab, who also is in the Toxic Torts Section, made the following observations relating to the science:

There’s a pretty good body of scientific knowledge now indicating no safe levels of PFOA and PFOS. The health effects are serious. They include cancer, including several types of very serious cancer- kidney and testicular.

EPA Classifies Two ‘Forever Chemicals’ As Hazardous Substances

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified two “forever chemicals” as hazardous substances under federal law. This ruling, focusing on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), part of the PFAS compound family, aims to tackle their persistent environmental and health hazards.

These substances, notorious for their durability in both the human body and nature, now fall under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), allowing for enhanced cleanup measures and mandatory reporting of leaks or spills.

This move by the EPA, initiated under the Biden administration, is a step forward in the broader battle against PFAS contamination. It follows the earlier establishment of the first-ever drinking water standards for certain PFAS chemicals. The decision underscores the health risks associated with PFOA and PFOS, which are linked to several severe conditions, including cancers and immune system damage.

The ruling mandates immediate reporting of PFOA and PFOS releases exceeding one pound within 24 hours, ensuring prompt action against pollution. It also outlines specific guidelines for federal entities regarding property contamination disclosure and cleanup responsibilities.

Furthermore, the EPA has introduced an enforcement discretion policy, prioritizing actions against major contributors to PFAS pollution while exempting certain parties like farmers and municipal services based on equitable factors.

The policy adjustment aligns with legislative efforts to protect public water systems and related entities from cleanup cost lawsuits. This step is critical to reducing these chemicals’ harmful environmental and public health impacts in the U.S.

Source: Law360

Tyco Agrees To $750 Million Settlement In Foam Company PFAS Litigation

Tyco Fire Products LP, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls International PLC, has agreed to a $750 million settlement over claims its firefighting foam contaminated public water systems. This settlement, involving Tyco and another subsidiary, Chemguard Inc., aims to address contamination concerns linked to their aqueous film-forming foam. This follows previous substantial settlements in the same litigation, including 3M Co.’s $12.5 billion and a combined $1.2 billion from DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva.

This settlement covers a nationwide class of public water systems that have detected PFAS as of May 15, 2023, with some exclusions.

It should be understood that the settlement agreement does not resolve other ongoing claims in the firefighting foam litigation, such as personal injury or property damage claims. The broader litigation encompasses over 10,000 cases related to PFAS damages, including various claims from public water providers, individuals, and states regarding testing, remediation, and harm to natural resources.

The Environmental Protection Agency has also set regulatory limits on PFAS in drinking water, backed by nearly $1 billion in funding for implementation. This marks a proactive step towards addressing these contaminants.

The lead class counsel for the MDL is Michael A. London of Douglas & London PC, Scott Summy of Baron & Budd PC, Paul J. Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC 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.

Source: Law360

North Alabama Utilities Board Files Suit Over PFAS Contamination

The Municipal Utilities Board of Albertville (Albertville MUB) has filed a lawsuit against several prominent corporations, including 3M Company, DuPont, and Corteva, over the contamination of the Tennessee River Basin with PFAS chemicals. These substances, known for their persistence in the environment and adverse health effects, have compromised the primary water source for Albertville MUB, impacting the community’s health and the utility’s operations.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are resistant to degradation, making them a persistent issue in drinking water. Linked to various health issues such as cancer and reduced birth weight, these chemicals are challenging to eliminate using standard water treatment technologies.

The lawsuit filed by Beasley Allen on behalf of Albertville MUB aims to address the financial burdens imposed by the contamination, including the costs associated with installing advanced filtration systems, property remediation, and ongoing monitoring for PFAS presence. The lawsuit underscores the broader implications of PFAS contamination, highlighting concerns over public health and environmental integrity. Rhon Jones, who heads up our Toxic Torts Section, says:

This litigation is a matter of public health and environmental stewardship. We at Beasley Allen are committed to this mission on behalf of the American people.

The EPA’s stringent health advisories for PFAS concentrations in drinking water emphasize the severity of the issue, advocating for virtually zero presence of these chemicals.

Albertville MBU is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Matt Griffith, David Diab, Elliot Bienenfeld, Gavin King, Jeff Price and Elizabeth Weyerman. Rhon Jones is also heavily involved in this litigation because of its tremendous importance.

Albertville MUB is advocating for justice and responsibility, highlighting the significance of protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of the community amidst extensive pollution.

PFAS/ AFFF Litigation Update

The Aqueous Film – Forming Foam (AFFF) litigation is pending before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in the United States District Court of South Carolina. The DuPont Public Water Supplier settlement was approved in February 2024. In March 2024, the court issued an order permitting opt-outs for the 3M Public Water Supplier settlement to withdraw that decision and instead participate in the settlement.

On March 13, 2024, plaintiffs identified liver and thyroid cancer as additional injuries associated with exposure to an AFFF source in drinking water. Case Management Order No. 28 (CMO 28) sets a second Science Day for these additional injuries.

CMO 28 is also significant in that effective April 24, 2024, any plaintiff asserting or seeking to assert an “Unlisted Claim,” defined as those injuries not covered by CMO 26 (i.e. kidney cancer, testicular cancer, hypothyroidism/thyroid disease, and ulcerative colitis), liver and thyroid cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension or high cholesterol, will have 90 days to dismiss their claims without prejudice.

It should be noted that the refiling of the Unlisted Claims are subject to the following requirements:

  • lawsuits must be filed in the MDL unless the MDL has concluded, and then be filed in the appropriate federal court;
  • plaintiffs are required to tender complete medical records within 135 days of the refiling and provide expert reports, compliant with F.R.C.P. 26, on general and specific causation within 180 days of the refiling.

Sanofi Seeks To Resolve 4,000 Claims Linked To Zantac

Sanofi has announced a preliminary agreement to settle around 4,000 lawsuits claiming its discontinued heartburn medication, Zantac, caused cancer. While the settlement’s financial details remain confidential, the agreement aims to resolve numerous personal injury cases across the United States, including in California, New York and Connecticut, but not those in Delaware.

The litigation centers on ranitidine, Zantac’s active ingredient, which was found in tests to potentially degrade into a carcinogen, NDMA, under certain conditions. Despite further studies showing the risk to be minimal, the FDA issued a voluntary recall in 2019. Sanofi defends its position by highlighting a December 2022 ruling by a Florida federal judge, which dismissed claims against the company and others by stating there is no scientific consensus that ranitidine causes cancer.

Sanofi, along with Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., still faces numerous lawsuits in Delaware, overseen by Superior Court Judge Vivian L. Medinilla. The dismissal of the Florida case will be used by Sanofi in its defense. This “master case” involves around 75,000 claims linking the drug to ten different types of cancer.

Jennifer A. Moore of Moore Law Group PLLC and R. Brent Wisner of Wisner Baum LLP, co-liaison counsel for plaintiffs in the California cases and co-lead counsel in the Delaware litigation, told Law360 in a statement that they are pleased to have “reached a settlement of certain Zantac cases acceptable to all parties.” According to Law360, representatives for Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jennifer A. Moore of Moore Law Group PLLC, R. Brent Wisner of Wisner Baum LLP, Justin Parafinczuk of Parafinczuk Wolf PA, Raeann Warner of Collins Price & Warner, Stephen T. Morrow and Joseph J. Rhoades of Rhoades & Morrow LLC and Bernard G. Conaway of Conaway-Legal LLC.

The Delaware state litigation is In re: Zantac Ranitidine Litigation, case number N22C-09-101, in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware.

Source: Law360

Bayer’s $1.5 Billion Roundup Verdict Reduced To $600 Million

A Missouri judge has significantly reduced the $1.5 billion jury verdict against Bayer’s Monsanto unit to $600 million. The original verdict, which involved a claim that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, was one of the largest in the ongoing litigation the company has faced since acquiring Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion. Despite refusing Monsanto’s request for a new trial or to dismiss the verdict entirely, Judge Daniel Green in Jefferson City, Missouri, reduced the punitive damages by over 60% to approximately $550 million. Bayer says it still plans to appeal.

This reduction in the verdict provides some relief to Bayer, which has been under pressure due to multiple high-value verdicts over Roundup. The company has been contemplating strategic decisions to manage their legal exposure, including potentially spinning off parts of its business or the use of strategic bankruptcy for the Monsanto unit. Where have we heard of such a thing being used by a huge corporation?

The case consolidates claims from across the U.S., involving plaintiffs who used Roundup for residential and commercial purposes and later developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Despite ongoing litigation, and claims that it failed to warn of Roundup’s cancer risks adequately, Bayer has committed to transitioning from glyphosate-based products in the U.S. consumer market.

The case is Anderson v. Monsanto, Case No. 22AC-CC00968, Missouri Circuit Court for Cole County (Jefferson City).

Source: Insurance Journal

Paraquat Litigation Update: MDL Judge Rules Against Plaintiffs in Daubert Ruling

After almost 30 weeks since the Daubert hearing. Judge Nancy Rosentengel of the MDL in the Southern District of Illinois issued a ruling in favor of defendants. On April 17, 2024, MDL Judge Rosentengel rejected plaintiffs’ key expert witness. The order called for dismissal of four bellwether trial cases. Several material deficiencies were cited in epidemiologist, Dr. Martin Wells’ opinion testimony. The judge found insufficient evidence to allow a jury to consider Paraquat exposure and the link to Parkinson’s Disease.

This ruling has left uncertainty about the future of the Paraquat litigation and the current landscape. While the decision is a disappointment for plaintiffs, litigation is moving forward with a second round of potential trial selections. The court directed the parties to identify and workup additional bellwether cases no later than May 10, 2024. Plaintiffs will have another opportunity to introduce new experts which will likely utilize different methodologies and evidence to demonstrate the link between Parkinson’s and paraquat exposure.

The recent Daubert ruling is hardly the end for the Paraquat litigation. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are working to advance the next set of cases to trial. In a joint statement, lead attorneys for plaintiffs in the litigation vowed:

We will continue to prosecute these cases on behalf of the thousands of American farmworkers diagnosed with an incurable and debilitating disease because their exposure to Paraquat.

Beasley Allen lawyers are continuing to accept cases where clients were engaged in the application of paraquat and have Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson’s-like symptoms.

Source: Reuters

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Senators Push $1.3 Billion COVID Fraud-Busting Plan

The Biden White House and Senate Democrats are pushing a $1.3 billion initiative to strengthen the federal government’s crackdown on COVID-19 pandemic fraud. Attorney General Merrick Garland reported that there have been over 3,500 prosecutions and the recovery of approximately $1.4 billion in stolen funds so far. However, despite these efforts, the Attorney General acknowledges that more improvements are necessary.

Attorney General Garland praised the achievements of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force Nearly three years after its inception, but he noted its mission is far from complete. To bolster enforcement and recovery efforts, Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Gary Peters, and Ron Wyden proposed comprehensive legislation aimed at expanding resources dedicated to combating pandemic relief fraud.

The Senator’s’ plan involves directing $300 million to enhance the capabilities of the COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force and allocating an additional $250 million to the inspectors general of the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor. These funds would enable the government agencies to hire more investigators specifically dedicated to tackling pandemic aid fraud.

The proposed legislation aims to increase the time limit for prosecuting pandemic-related fraud to 10 years. This statute of limitations extension would provide prosecutors with more time and resources to pursue cases effectively against individuals who defrauded federal relief efforts.

This legislative push is a response to the pandemic’s overwhelming economic toll, which also has a correlating human impact, claiming more than 1.1 million lives in the U.S. alone. The rapid spread of COVID-19, and subsequent public health measures severely impacted public life and commerce, causing major economic disruptions. The CARES Act initially injected $150 billion into the economy, establishing the Paycheck Protection Program, and issuing stimulus checks to help stabilize the economy, among other relief efforts.

Source: Law360

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Appellate Loss Leads To A Much-Needed Change In The Alabama Rules For Deposition Abuses

Last year, an Alabama trial judge found that Hankook Tire had willfully obstructed Beasley Allen’s deposition of Hankook’s corporate representative. The trial court noted:

[T]he deposition transcript demonstrates that one of four things occurred almost every time Hankook’s corporate representative, Mr. Choi, was asked a substantive question. He either was not prepared to answer the question; answered the question in an evasive manner; was instructed not to answer by Hankook’s counsel; or was unnecessarily interrupted by Hankook’s counsel’s speaking objections.

Because of these factors, the trial court awarded sanctions: (1) Prohibiting Hankook from bringing a different corporate representative to trial who will provide conflicting testimony to Mr. Choi’s; (2) Establishing as fact that the tire detread was due to a manufacturing defect; (3) Striking Hankook’s contributory negligence, assumption of the risk, and misuse defenses; and (4) Awarding reasonable attorneys’ fees.

On December 22, 2023, the Alabama Supreme Court vacated the sanctions order and reasoned, “[W]hile the plaintiffs may have a legitimate grievance with some of Choi’s answers or nonanswers,” the conduct did not rise to the level of a nonappearance to justify sanctions pursuant to Ala. R. Civ. P. 37(d).

Instead, the court found the plaintiffs’ sole remedy for obstructionist deposition tactics is to “move the trial court to compel responses.”

However, in a special concurrence, Justice Cook “suggest[ed] that we consider modifying our Rules of Civil Procedure to address future occurrences of party or attorney misconduct during discovery in a more comprehensive way.” Ex parte Hankook Tire Am. Corp., No. SC-2023-0210, 2023 WL 8857184, at *7 (Ala. Dec. 22, 2023).

On March 14, 2024, the Alabama Rules Committee amended the Rules of Civil Procedure to specify that objections in depositions “must be stated concisely in a nonargumentative and nonsuggestive manner.” If “any person” “impedes, delays, or frustrates the fair examination of the deponent,” Rule 30 now codifies the trial court’s ability to “impose an appropriate sanction – including awarding the reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred by any party.” The Rules Committee cited the Hankook opinion in explaining why Rule 30 now allows for sanctions for deposition misconduct:

First, pursuant to Rule 30(c), no deponent is permitted to refuse to answer a question posed in a deposition, except (a) to preserve a privilege or a protection against disclosure (e.g., work product), (b) to enforce a previously established court-imposed limitation on the scope of examination, or (c) to facilitate a party’s suspension of the deposition in order to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(2). Accordingly, directions to a deponent not to answer a question not only can be disruptive to the examination of the deponent but also will rarely be permissible.

Second, Rule 30(c) now explicitly prohibits so-called “speaking” objections. Depositions are sometimes unduly prolonged, if not unfairly frustrated, by lengthy objections and colloquy, often suggesting how the deponent should respond to an examining party’s questions. Although, under the amended rule, objections may be made during a deposition, they ordinarily should be limited to those that under Rule 32 might be waived if not made at that time, i.e., objections raising grounds that might be immediately obviated, removed, or cured, such as objections to the form of a question or the responsiveness of an answer. Under Rule 32, other objections can, even without the so-called “usual stipulation” preserving objections, be raised for the first time at trial and therefore should be kept to a minimum during a deposition.

Third, Rule 30(d) explicitly empowers the court to award appropriate remediation and to issue appropriate sanctions for violations of the rule. Although other authority and provisions in the rules might in some circ*mstances provide courts with the same powers, this amendment is designed to confirm that, in all circ*mstances arising from deposition misconduct, the court has explicit authority to impose sanctions, including awarding attorneys’ fees and costs resulting from obstructive tactics that unreasonably prolong a deposition, on the person engaged in such obstruction. See Ex parte Hankook Tire America Corp., [Ms. SC-2023-0210, Dec. 22, 2023] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2023) (main opinion and special concurrence of Cook, J.). Such remedial awards and sanctions may be imposed on a nonparty witness or that witness’s counsel, as well as on a party or that party’s counsel.

Beasley Allen lawyers believe that holding parties and their lawyers accountable for obstructing depositions will benefit all litigants, regardless of whether they are plaintiffs or defendants. Efficient litigation depends on the parties and their lawyers respecting both the letter and the spirit of the rules. Thankfully, the trial court’s inherent authority to sanction parties for misconduct is now codified in Rule 30, leaving no excuse for the types of abuses the Beasley Allen lawyers saw in the Hankook case.

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Alabama Utilities Struggle With New Limits On Forever Chemicals

Alabama is still battling drinking water contamination by “forever chemicals”. While some of the worst cases have been resolved, many drinking water systems exceed federal limits for these chemicals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently set a new limit for PFAS, a man-made chemical linked to health problems, including cancers. Drinking water providers must test for it by 2027 and remove it almost completely by 2029.

Health advocates believe that establishing a national standard for PFAS is a win for public health across the country. However, some Alabama water systems may struggle to meet these stricter limits. At least four Alabama water systems have reported PFAS concentrations as high as 40 parts per trillion since 2020, ten times the new EPA limit.

PFAS chemicals are not removed by standard water treatment methods, so specialized filters must be installed to address them. The two most common types of PFAS filters are activated carbon filters and reverse osmosis. These treatment options are expensive to build and maintain, forcing utilities to apply for federal funding or legal settlements with PFAS manufacturers to pay for the upgrades.

West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority, which in 2016 issued a “do not drink” recommendation due to high PFAS levels, now says its PFAS levels are at 0 ppt, thanks to a reverse osmosis filtration system installed after its settlement with 3M.

Other water systems involved in litigation against chemical manufacturers include Albertville, Talladega and Shelby Counties, and Gadsden Water Works.


EPA Warns Of Unreasonable Risk From Existing Asbestos

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled a draft of its comprehensive second part of the asbestos risk evaluation, a significant step in revealing the human health risks associated with handling asbestos in legacy applications. This latest assessment broadens its scope to include six asbestos types, such as chrysotile, crocidolite, and amosite, extending beyond the initial 2020 evaluation which only covered chrysotile. This expansion is in response to criticism and legal challenges regarding the EPA’s previous assessments’ scope, resulting in a 2021 settlement to extend the evaluation further.

The findings underscore the EPA’s commitment to public health, stating that disturbing or handling various asbestos types poses an ‘unreasonable risk to human health.’ This evaluation not only looks at different asbestos types but also delves into a variety of exposure scenarios, highlighting occupational settings as the highest risk for excess lifetime cancer from asbestos exposure. Risks are also identified for the general public and indirect exposures.

Environmental risks were evaluated, with preliminary conclusions indicating minimal risk to the environment from asbestos based on current evidence of limited uptake and adverse effects on wildlife and plants.

The EPA’s ongoing efforts to reassess asbestos risks, including the recent ban on chrysotile, reflect a more comprehensive approach to understanding and mitigating asbestos hazards. The final risk evaluation is anticipated by December, and stakeholders, including the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, will keenly review the draft to ensure it aligns with the latest scientific understanding of asbestos hazards and exposure pathways.

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

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

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

The Mass Torts Section

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

The Toxic Torts Section

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

The Consumer Fraud & Commercial LItigation Section

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

The Personal Injury & Products LIablity Section

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

The Administrative Section

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

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

The Latest Look At Case Activity At Beasley Allen

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


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


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

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

We will give a brief explanation for each category below:

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

Some Of The Beasley Allen Settlements And Verdicts In 2023

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

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

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

Resources to Help Your Law Practice

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

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

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

Co-Counsel E-Newsletter

Beasley Allen sends out aCo-Counsel E-Newsletterspecifically 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, andclicking 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 theEvents and Webinar page.

Recalls Update

We try our best to stay current on the latest significant consumer recalls. Contact our JLB Report Team at [emailprotected] 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, andclick the Articles link.


Lawyers Must Always Be Preparing For Trial

Jessi Haynes, a lawyer in our Mobile office, has some tips for our lawyer readers relating to the handling of a lawsuit, focusing on preparation for trial. I find the tips to be practical and needed for trial lawyers. Jessi is in the firm’s Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, but her tips are for all trial lawyers regardless of their area of specialization. So, let’s see what Jessi has to say on “prepping for trial.”

Practice Tip: Always be Preparing for Trial.

When it comes to lawsuits, the courtroom, during trial, is where you have one of the final opportunities to zealously represent your client. The best way to do that is through meticulous choreography of the trial preparation, which should start early, even before the filing of your Complaint. It is widely known at this point that more than 90% of cases settle outside of the courtroom prior to trial, making it easy for attorneys to get in the habit of preparing cases to settle rather than preparing your case for trial from day one. However, preparing for trial even before day one has many benefits for both the attorney and their client.

Preparing for trial early gives attorneys the luxury of time: time to delve into the minutiae of the case, time to construct a compelling narrative, and time to anticipate and counter the opposition’s maneuvers. Early preparation is akin to setting the first domino in a sequence with precision, ensuring a cascading effect that hopefully culminates in a favorable verdict. Many times, because of many factors, including the other cases on an attorney’s plate, it is easy to do the work as it comes, preparing for the next step in the process rather than always moving toward the ultimate goal – a successful trial. This article discusses ways to begin your trial preparation as early as possible.

Utilize Jury Instructions Early

When drafting a complaint based on facts presented by your plaintiff, start by pulling the jury instructions for the causes of action for which you intend to file the complaint. This will allow the complaint to be tailored to the jury instructions that will apply to your case and gives a starting point for jury instructions in the future, should the need arise. Another benefit is that starting with jury instructions, you can start your trial grid with each element to add documents and testimony that support your client’s position.

Discovery Should Be Crafted To Support Your Elements and Admissibility of Evidence at Trial

Preparing for trial from the beginning of your case allows you to craft your discovery requests to the specific facts of the case that you have rather than using boilerplate discovery from previous cases. Doing so will allow you to gather documents that support your claims and will allow for more tailored discovery, which may save you time. Using your complaint and the discovery documents will help you craft questions for depositions, all while preparing your trial grid. For example, instead of using a deposition as a means of convincing your opposing counsel that the case should settle, focus on identifying other potential sources of discovery, authenticating and laying the foundation for documents, and making sure your record is clean so that if the witness is unavailable for trial, you have usable clips to show to the jury. Once you get your deposition transcripts in, while it is still fresh in your mind, start the process of summarizing and clipping them early.

Trial Grid

Trial grids are beneficial because utilizing them allows attorneys to review their case in one comprehensive document. Typically, this will include the elements of each claim, the witnesses and documents that will be used to satisfy those elements, and your claims and defenses. If there is time as you learn what the defendants’ defenses are likely to be, you can also add those and the best evidence that you have to your grid to assist in later trial preparation.

Benefits of Preparing for Trial from Day One

Now, when your mediation was not successful, and you are staring down a looming trial date, you are not document gathering again for trial exhibits. You are not trying to remember which witness said this powerful statement in the deposition. And you are not preparing your case twice (once for settlement and once for trial). Instead, you have a great jumping-off point so your time can be more focused on preparing witnesses for testimony in front of a jury, crafting your opening statements, and honing your trial strategy.


Lawyer And Employee Spotlights

Rikki Garner

Rikki Garner has been with Beasley Allen for almost two years now. She works as a Legal Secretary in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability Section, handling various operational and administrative tasks to support a team of seven investigators. Her responsibilities include drafting and disseminating memos, statements, inspection reports, and other types of correspondence. Rikki is responsible for uploading and organizing photos and videos taken at accident scenes or during product and vehicle inspections and assisting with maintaining the firm’s evidence and vehicle storage systems. She is also responsible for other tasks and projects in the section.

Outside of work, Rikki has a happy family of four. She and her husband, Xzavery, are newly married and celebrated their first anniversary in March. The Garners live in Prattville, Alabama, with their six-year-old son Khyler and their four-month-old daughter Gianna. Xzavery is a Sergeant at Elmore Correctional Facility and a die-hard fan of the Georgia Bulldogs (Go Dawgs!). Rikki says she loves traveling to beach destinations, spending time with her family and friends, and chatting with friends over a good meal.

Rikki says that she loves working at Beasley Allen and her favorite part is the warm, welcoming atmosphere that feels like family. She says she is inspired every day by the inspirational Christian messages in the “Today messages” that are written by 7 followers of Christ. Rikki appreciates the Christian foundation of the firm. We are blessed to have Rikki as part of the Beasley Allen team!

Jeff Price

Since 2012, Jeff Pricehas been a pivotal member of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, specifically his work handling the opioid litigation. His role involvesrepresenting the State of Alabama and the State of Georgia as private counsel and handling environmental contamination cases in Alabama.

Jeff says that the driving force behind his decision to pursue a career in law was his desire to assist others. He adds further:

Witnessing the widespread injusticethat exists and knowing that I wasn’t cut out for a political career, I concluded that practicing law was the best avenue for me to contribute positively and make a real difference.

The Montgomery, Alabama,native is also a (nonpracticing) Certified Public Accountant in Alabama, a qualification that has provided him with a unique perspective in his legal career. He graduated with aB.A.from Tulane University and holds aJ.D.from Cumberland School of Law and an LL.M. in federal taxation from the University of Miami School of Law.

Jeff’s greatest source ofsatisfaction in his role stems from the collaborative nature of his work. He cherishes the opportunity to work alongside exceptionalindividuals from various state agencies, including the Attorney General’s office, the Departments of Public Health and Mental Health, regulatory boards, and the State’s Forensic Science team.

When asked what makes Beasley Allen stand out, Jeff says:

It is due to the diverse range of cases the firm tackles, which keeps our work perpetually engaging. The fact that all this impactful work isbeing donein my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, makes it all the more special.

Julie Rutland

Julie Rutland has been with Beasley Allen for nearly seven years. She works in the firm’s accounting department as an Accountant I, handling invoice payments and managing VISA case-related charges for the Personal Injury section. In addition to her regular duties, Julie assists with other projects and duties in the accounting department as needed. We are blessed to have Julie with us!

Outside of work, Julie’s passion for family and creativity is unmistakable. With four children and ten grandchildren, she leads a full and enriching life, and her love and affection for her family are truly evident. Julie relishes spending time with her loved ones, exploring flea markets, thrifting, and taking on various DIY projects around her home. Julie’s faith is also a significant aspect of her life, and she draws strength and comfort from specific Bible verses that hold profound significance for her. John 3:16 reminds her of the power of love and redemption, while 1st Peter 5:6-8 and Philippians 4:13 inspire her to remain steadfast and focused.

For Julie, she says the people are the best part of working at Beasley Allen. She adds:

I have the privilege of working alongside an incredible group of women in the accounting department, and indeed, all my colleagues are truly exceptional. Their support and camaraderie make every day enjoyable and fulfilling.

Julie is a definite asset for the firm, and we are blessed to have her with us.

Thomas P. “Tom” Willingham

Tom Willingham initially established the Law Offices of Thomas P. Willingham, P.C. in Birmingham, Alabama, before returning to his home city of Atlanta, Georgia, where he became part of the Personal Injury and Products Liability Section at Beasley Allen. Tom’s legal expertise mainly centers on product liability cases, with a special emphasis on automotive defects.

In 1987, Tom began his law career as a defense attorney, primarily representing powerful corporations in product liability cases, particularly in the automobile industry. Tom says:

Initially, my motivations for becoming a lawyer were misguided – I was attracted by the prospect of working for a prestigious firm, representing powerful companies, and making lots of money. As a defense attorney, I was successful, but over time, I found myself increasingly disillusioned. A pivotal moment occurred after winning a case that, in reality, we should have lost. Witnessing the mother of a severely injured child leave the courtroom in tears shook me to the core. Seeing the devastating effects of corporate negligence spurred me to switch sides and represent those who suffered harm at the hands of others.

Since 1992, Tom has exclusively represented victims, many of whom have been catastrophically injured or killed inautomobile accidentsbecause of a defectively designed automobile. The veteran litigator has handled automotive product liability cases involving virtually every known automobile defect. Some of these include cases involving lack of vehicle stability, manufacturers’ failure to install electronic stability control, manufacturers’ failure to install rear seat lap-shoulder belts, defective steering system components, seatbelt restraints, airbags, fuel tanks, roof structure components, brakes, and door latch components.

Tom says one of the most fulfilling aspects of practicing law is having the opportunity to assist individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one due to circ*mstances beyond their control. He says:

Being able to offer support during their most challenging times and helping them achieve justice is a deeply rewarding experience. It is particularly meaningful when clients face significant future healthcare costs, and I can assist them in securing the financial means for proper care. Not only does this aid in their healing process, but it also allows me to witness firsthand the positive transformation in their lives. Nothing is more satisfying in my profession than seeing real improvement in the lives of those I am privileged to help.

Tom completed his undergraduate study at Mercer University, graduating with a B.A. in 1984. He earned his law degree at Samford University Cumberland School of Law in 1987.

Tom, a tremendously talented trial lawyer, says that he is proud to be a part of Beasley Allen. He adds further:

Beasley Allen stands out as an exceptional law firm, deeply committed to its motto: “Helping Those Who Need it Most.” This guiding principle isn’t just a slogan for marketing; it truly captures our firm’s essence, policy, and mission. I feel honored to work alongside some of the most distinguished lawyers in the industry. Not only am I privileged to collaborate with Jere Beasley and Greg Allen, who are veritable giants in our field, but I am also fortunate to work with the myriad of other skilled and intelligent attorneys at this firm, of which I am proud to be a part.

We are blessed to have Tom at Beasley Allen. He is a great asset to the firm and is dedicated to the cause at Beasley Allen.

Patricia Wilson

Patricia Wilson is a Staff Assistant in the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, a position she has held since 2022. Working under the guidance of the section’s lawyers, Patricia plays a key role in the Roundup and Camp Lejeune litigations. Her responsibilities include responding to client inquiries, processing forms, composing letters, confirming bankruptcy statuses, requesting military records, and executing mail merges. We are immensely grateful for Patricia’s contributions to the lawyers in her section, which benefit their clients.

Patricia’s family background is quite interesting. Her mother is from Prague, Czechoslovakia, a city known for its rich history and breathtaking architecture. Patricia grew up with her sister, Sherry, who has a profound love for horses. Sherry has channeled this passion into a successful career as an equine bodyworker, focusing on sports endurance horses. Additionally, Sherry is a certified yoga instructor and hosts a podcast.

Patricia joyfully recounts her daughter’s wedding last year as a beautiful testament to love and commitment. She expresses her excitement about being a new grandmother to River Lawson Kimberly, describing him as a true joy and what a dream come true it is to watch him grow and learn. Patricia is dedicated to animal rescue in her leisure time and enjoys engaging in outdoor activities such as karaoke, landscape photography, fishing, and horseback riding.

Patricia says her favorite aspect of working at Beasley Allen is supporting clients who might feel overwhelmed by guiding and supporting them through the process. She finds it incredibly fulfilling to offer hope and encouragement to those who may feel they are at their lowest point. That’s a very important aid in helping a client go through the process. We are blessed to have Patricia at Beasley Allen.

LaBarron Boone Honored By Alabama Lawyers Association

The Alabama Lawyers Association has inducted Beasley Allen lawyer LaBarron Boone into its prestigious Hall of Fame. The honor celebrates veteran attorneys who made a tremendous impact on the legal field in Alabama and across the country.

Inductees are recognized for helping engineer our society into a stronger community. Each has spent time in the trenches helping those who have been marginalized and discriminated against.

The mission of the Alabama Lawyers Association is to encourage the study of the law, provide support services and networking opportunities for members, enhance their effectiveness as legal counsel, and protect the civil and political rights of all citizens.

LaBarron Boone, a principal at Beasley Allen, has been a driving force at our firm for over two decades, specializing in product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases. His tireless efforts have resulted in numerous groundbreaking victories and substantial settlements for clients who have suffered due to the wrongdoing of others.

Throughout his illustrious career, LaBarron has been a fierce advocate for consumer safety and has played a crucial role in holding corporations accountable for their wrongful actions. His work has not only brought justice for his clients, but it has also contributed to the implementation of safer practices and policies across various industries.

During LaBarron‘s career, he participated on the trial team that won a predatory lending case, resulting in the largest predatory lending verdict in the nation’s history, $581 million. LaBarron also served as the lead attorney in the Smith v. Ford product defect claim involving a Ford Explorer rollover that resulted in the largest product liability verdict in the history of Alabama, $151 million.

LaBarron’s induction into the Alabama Lawyers Association Hall of Fame is a testament to his exemplary legal career and his profound impact on the lives of those persons he has represented. This recognition highlights LaBarron’s dedication to the pursuit of justice and his commitment to upholding the highest standards of the legal profession. We are truly blessed to have LaBarron at Beasley Allen.

Source: Alabama Lawyers Association

Four Attorneys Named 2024 Southeastern Legal Awards On The Rise Honorees

We are proud to announce that four Beasley Allen lawyers were recognized as “On The Rise” by the 2024 Southeastern Legal Awards. This is the third consecutive year lawyers from Beasley Allen have been recognized. In 2023, Parker Miller was a finalist for “Attorney of the Year.” Chris Glover, the Managing Attorney of our Atlanta Office, was a finalist for this same honor in 2022.

Our success at Beasley Allen is built on the core values of hard work, dedication, and the pursuit of justice. These values go far beyond just principles; they are the foundation of our firm’s success.

Meet Our Honorees—a group of individuals who are not only shaping the future of Beasley Allen, but also the future of justice in the courts as well.

Alyssa Baskam– Alyssa is in our Atlanta office. She says she became an attorney to help people through unimaginable hardship. Alyssa has helped hold numerous automakers responsible for their vehicles’ negligent or wanton design, including securing over $500 million in verdicts and settlements.

Aigner Kolom– Aigner works in our Montgomery office and takes immense joy in achieving successful results for her clients; she is also very involved in the community. Aigner has been helping lead the firm’s Hair Relaxer Litigation.

Ben Keen—Ben is based in our Atlanta office. He says his desire to practice law was shaped by his father, who is also an attorney. Ben approaches cases analytically to ensure both effective representation and impactful results. He has recovered millions for his clients, priding himself on developing and understanding clients’ needs.

Joseph VanZandt – Joseph works in our Montgomery office. He says he knew he wanted to be an attorney in 6th grade, stating his desire to help people face problems in life as his main driving force. Joseph is leading national efforts to hold social media companies accountable for harming young people.

The Southeastern Legal Awards honor attorneys who excel in their profession and “have left an indelible mark on the legal community in the Southeast and beyond through their unwavering dedication to the profession.”

The “On the Rise” Award recognizes those under the age of 40 who are innovators, develop unique practice niches, amass robust books of business, demonstrate strong leadership qualities, show expertise in litigation or transactional work, and commit themselves to pro bono charitable, and professional volunteer work.

Originally called the Georgia Legal Awards, more areas are now covered, including North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. This change shows that legal excellence is being recognized all across the region.

The honorees will be celebrated at an event in Atlanta and will be featured in a special section on Join us in congratulating all 2024 On The Rise Honorees!


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

Rikki Garner

Rikki Garner provided three of her favorite verses. She says the first reminds her that God is with her at all times.

God is within her,she will not fall;God will helpher at break of day. Psalm 46:5

She says the next verse encourages her to not limit herself and to continue to strive for better both in her faith and everyday life.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

The third verse provided by Rikki is listed below:

Children are a heritage from theLord, offspring a rewardfrom him. Psalm 127:3

Rikki, a devoted mother, says her children are exactly that- the most rewarding thing yet.

Jeff Price

Jeff Price offers three of his favorite verses. Each applies to Jeff’s work as a trial lawyer representing victims of wrongdoing.

When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteousbut terror to evildoers. Proverbs 21:15

Speakup for those who cannot speak for themselves,for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. Matthews 10:42

Julie Rutland

Julie Rutland provided several of her favorite verses. She says:

We are all a whosoever and Jesus came for every whosoever regardless of their past,and every whosoever that makes the choice to believe in him has eternal LIFE. it sure beats the choice of eternal death and it isn’t a hard choice to make.

For God so lovedthe world that he gavehis one and only Son,that whoever believesin him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Julie says she wouldn’t get out of bed each day if she didn’t believe that she was healed and that the verse below is a reminder.

He himself bore our sins”in his body on the cross,so that we might die to sinsand live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

The third verse provided by Julie is a reminder that when she is worried, she can just put it in Jesus’ hands and know those cares are being handled. Julie loves knowing she can cast all her care on Jesus.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.Cast all your anxiety on himbecause he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind.Your enemy the devil prowls aroundlike a roaring lionlooking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:6-8

Tom Willingham

Tom Willingham says:

Beasley Allen is truly a unique place to practice law because the firm lives by its motto: ‘Helping Those Who Need it Most.’ This is not some marketing ploy or catchphrase, but is the embodiment of our firm’s foundation, policy, and purpose.

He also remarks that the firm’s philosophy is consistent with his favorite verse, which is set out below.

Learn to do right;seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17

Patricia Wilson

Patricia Wilson says her favorite verse reminds her that the world is never dark when you believe.

You,Lord, keep my lampburning;my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28


Dr. Jack Hawkins Leads Troy University To Global Prominence

Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. holds the distinction of being the longest-serving head of a public university in the United States. Dr. Hawkins has led Troy University since September 1, 1989.

During his nearly 35-year stewardship of Troy, the university grew into a world-class institution of higher learning with an impressive international presence. Under Dr. Hawkins’s “One Great University” initiative, the Troy State University system merged its four independently accredited Alabama campuses into one singular institution, Troy University.

Troy University invested heavily in capital improvements, spending over $375 million to construct new academic buildings across its four Alabama campuses and expanding its international presence. The university attracted a record number of international students and established teaching sites and campuses globally to become a major international institution.

The university raised its academic standards for admission, introduced new degree programs across all its colleges, and elevated its athletics program to the highest NCAA Division I level. While Troy University’s growth and achievements under Dr. Hawkins’ leadership are nothing short of incredible, they mirror the commitment, determination, and forward-thinking vision of Dr. Hawkins’ own life and career.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Dr. Hawkins completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Montevallo and received his doctorate from the University of Alabama.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1967, Dr. Hawkins was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and led a platoon during the Vietnam War. His service earned him the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and a Korean Marine Corps citation.

Dr. Hawkins has held several influential board positions and received numerous accolades in his life. His board roles and memberships span diverse educational, business, and civic organizations. Dr. Hawkins and his wife, Janice, have two daughters, Katie and Kelly, and four grandchildren.

Source: Troy University


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

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

2 Chronicles 7:14

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

Edmund Burke

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

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

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

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

Rep. John Lewisspeakingon 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 inAcross That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

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

Bryan Stevenson, 2019

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

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


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

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

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

Jere Beasley Report - May 2024 (2024)


When was Beasley Allen founded? ›

In 1979, Jere Locke Beasley, former Alabama lieutenant governor, decided to leave politics and return to law practice. He founded what is known today as Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., or the Beasley Allen Law Firm.

What team did Beasley come from? ›

Beasley went undrafted in the 2012 NFL draft due to his size and was signed by his hometown team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Who is Jerry Beasley? ›

A member of the prestigious Black Belt magazine Hall of Fame, Dr. Jerry Beasley, 9th Dan, has earned the martial arts world's highest distinction.


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