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Dusting Off MDL 875: Reforms Reduce Dormant Cases, Get Viable Cases Moving Again
The Legal Intelligencer
June 22, 2010

In 1991, all land-based asbestos personal injury and maritime (MARDOC) asbestos personal injury cases pending in federal court were transferred to Multi-District Litigation 875 program in the Eastern District of Eastern District of Pennsylvania for pretrial proceedings, with a heavy emphasis on settlement. To this end, the late Judge Charles W. Weiner issued a case management order on Sept. 11, 1991, designating lead counsel and liaison counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants. Full Text


Exploring Contract Claims in Legal Malpractice Cases
The Legal Intelligencer
June 22, 2010

Not long ago, one of the most astute judges on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas was presented with a legal malpractice case in which two counts were pleaded against the defendant attorneys: one for negligence, the second for breach of contract. In discussing whether the breach of contract claim had to be supported by expert testimony — virtually all negligence claims against lawyers do — the court concluded that expert testimony was required because “the contract claim sounds in negligence.” Full Text


The Law of Unintended Consequences: Did the Stolt-Nielsen Decision Inadvertently Invalidate Millions Of Arbitration Provisions?
The Legal Intelligencer
June 22, 2010

When the Supreme Court decided Stolt-Nielsen v. Animal-Feeds Int’l Corp. in April, the decision was widely viewed as a victory for arbitration and for many of the businesses that prefer arbitration to litigation. In particular, companies that include arbitration provisions in consumer contracts, such as credit card, cell phone and software companies, or in employment contracts had some assurance from the Supreme Court that they could not be forced into an unappealable class-wide arbitration without their consent. Full Text


Imputation and In Pari Delicto Defenses in AHERF v. PWC: Supreme Court Clarifies Scope, But Leaves Key Questions Unanswered
The Legal Intelligencer
June 22, 2010

When a once high-flying company suddenly fails amid accusations of fraud and mismanagement by company insiders, litigation is sure to follow. The company — or others standing in the shoes of the company, such as trustees or receivers – will often file claims against accountants, banks, attorneys and other professional service providers alleging that these entities caused the destruction of the company. Full Text


Increased Scrutiny of Reverse Payment Settlements: Recent Cases in E.D. of PA and 2nd Circuit Suggest Change May Be Ahead for Pharma Clients
The Legal Intelligencer
June 22, 2010

Two recent opinions suggest a greater willingness on the part of the federal judiciary to scrutinize more closely so-called “reverse payment settlements” that have once again become prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry. Full Text


Joint Defense Agreements: A Primer
The Legal Intelligencer
June 22, 2010

The carefully worded joint defense agreement (JDA) can be a necessary tool for attorneys involved in multi-defendant civil proceedings. A JDA is bolstered by the so-called “joint defense privilege,” which has evolved from the oldest privilege for confidential communications, the attorney-client privilege. Despite its deep roots, practitioners may still question whether a JDA is enforceable and, if so, how a written agreement between co-defendants can shield otherwise unprivileged communications. Full Text