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First circuit to determine whether sarbanes-oxley act extends whistleblower protection to employees of contractors, subcontractors, and agents of publicly-traded companies

USA - November 5 2010 The First Circuit has agreed to hear an appeal from a recent District of Massachusetts decision taking a very broad view of the whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Anthony D. Mirenda

First Circuit holds defendant’s opposition to plaintiff’s motion to remand cured failure to consent to removal, holds district court abused discretion in precluding testimony by untimely disclosed expert where practical effect of preclusion was dismissal

USA - April 14 2010 In Esposito v Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 590 F.3d 72 (1st Cir. 2009), an individual whose fingers were severed by a power saw sued the saw’s manufacturer, packager and retailer in Rhode Island state court alleging the saw was defectively designed.

David R. Geiger

First Circuit articulates criteria for accepting discretionary appeal under Class Action Fairness Act of order remanding putative class action to state court, holds class certifiability is irrelevant to existence of federal jurisdiction

Puerto Rico, USA - April 14 2010 In College of Dental Surgeons of Puerto Rico v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, 585 F.3d 33 (1st Cir. 2009), a statutorily-created, compulsory-membership association of Puerto Rico dentists sued multiple insurance companies in a Puerto Rico trial court alleging that defendants’ practices violated Puerto Rico law and harmed association members.

David R. Geiger

Massachusetts federal district court permits expert testimony regarding hastening of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis symptoms by toluene despite lack of exposure measurements and epidemiological studies

USA - April 14 2010 In Allen v Martin Surfacing, 263 F.R.D. 47 (D. Mass. 2009), the survivors of a college football coach who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”) sued the firm that had resurfaced a gymnasium adjacent to decedent’s office for negligence and wrongful death in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

David R. Geiger

Massachusetts Superior Court holds claim that cigarettes should have delivered lower nicotine dose does not improperly seek to ban entire product category; plaintiff need not show decedent would have used low-nicotine product to prove causation

USA - April 14 2010 In Haglund v Philip Morris, Inc, 2009 WL 3839004 (Mass. Super. Ct. Oct. 20, 2009), the widow of a man who had died of lung cancer sued a cigarette manufacturer in Massachusetts Superior Court for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability based on the allegedly defective design of defendant’s cigarettes to deliver too much nicotine.

David R. Geiger