- Practice group co-chair and shareholder Kevin G. Owens recently presided as Chairman of the ALFA International Product Liability Practice Group at the group's seminar in Nashville, Tennessee. The program, "Is the Next Verse the Same as the First...or Has the Tune Changed," presented a variety of timely topics, including Enforcement of Indemnity Agreements with Foreign Suppliers and Vendors, Product Recalls, How Social Media Impacts Product Liability Litigation and Trial, and a number of other topics. The seminar was attended by over 100 ALFA attorneys and clients from around the globe. For more information on this program, please contact Kevin G. Owens.
- Johnson & Bell, Ltd. was recently named ALFA International's "Firm of the Year". This honor reflects leadership roles held in ALFA by several J&B shareholders, who serve as active steering committee members and practice group chairs in several ALFA practice groups. ALFA International is a global network of independent, business focused law firms. Founded in 1980, ALFA International is the oldest legal network and remains one of the largest and strongest. The ALFA organization is comprised of 145 member firms with 85 members in the United States and 60 members in Latin and South America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa, Australia/New Zealand, and throughout Asia. For more information about ALFA International and, in particular, its Product Liability Practice Group, please contact Kevin G. Owens, who presently serves as Chairman of the group.
- In Bielskis v. Louisville Ladder, the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in defendant's favor. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit considered whether the district court properly struck plaintiff's expert's report under the Daubert standard and then whether summary judgment was properly entered in Defendant's favor. The Plaintiff had fallen from a three-foot-high mini-scaffold when it collapsed at a worksite. Plaintiff had obtained the mini-scaffold seven years prior when his former employer gave it to him fully assembled. Plaintiff filed suit against Louisville Ladder under a product defect theory and alleged that Defendant failed to properly test and inspect the threaded stud of the caster stem that failed. In support of his theories, Plaintiff retained an expert who concluded that the stud failed due to a brittle facture caused by excess stress brought by over-tightening of the threaded caster stem. The District Court struck the expert because the expert's conclusions were not supported by data or testing to support the brittle facture theory. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Court of Appeals held the District Court "was within its discretion to conclude that [the expert's] methodology sounded more like the sort of '[t]alking off the cuff' -- without data or analysis -- that we have repeatedly characterized as insufficient." Without expert testimony, Plaintiff could not prove his case and summary judgment in Louisville Ladder's favor was affirmed.
The District Court proceedings were conducted by John W. Bell and Charles P. Rantis. The appeal was briefed and argued by Garrett L. Boehm, Jr.