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GOP states, Trump admin and energy sector to ask for dismissal of climate change lawsuits

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Lawsuits accusing some of the world’s biggest oil companies of causing climate change face a crucial test Thursday, when a federal judge in California hears arguments on whether to dismiss cases brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.

Judge sees litigation as only an `aid in settlement discussions’ for opioid lawsuits

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits against the opioid industry that have been consolidated in federal court said some trials may occur but that litigation is “not a substitute or replacement” for his preferred goal of a comprehensive settlement.

NYC asbestos firm hopes to continue $117M hot streak, again seeks punitives from J&J

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Johnson & Johnson, fresh from losing a $117 million asbestos verdict in New Jersey, is opposing plaintiff lawyers who are trying to obtain punitive damages against it in a specialized New York court for asbestos lawsuits.

Judge in massive opioid case watching plaintiff lawyer spending, orders them to fly coach

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing multidistrict litigation against the opioid industry ordered plaintiffs’ attorneys to keep monthly records of the time they spend on their cases down to a tenth of an hour and imposed strict rules on who can collect fees, in an effort to prevent the excesses that have drawn criticism in other class actions and mass tort cases.

Self-driving cars, thinking machines will test limits of tort law

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Self-driving cars, machines that teach themselves how to operate and home digital assistants that can enter into legally binding contracts are all either on the market now or soon will be. So the next question is: Whom do you sue when they run amok?

Oil companies again urge judge to reject Calif. global warming lawsuits

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Chevron, in a renewed motion to dismiss climate change litigation against it filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, described the case as a futile attempt to get around numerous prior court decisions preventing similar lawsuits over the sale of legal products.

Opioid judge orders trials, DEA records as 'step toward defeating the disease'

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The federal judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors has ordered a series of bellwether trials starting in 2019 to test disputed legal theories and facts before live juries, all but admitting defeat in his initial goal of crafting a global settlement and solution to the opioid crisis this year.

Climate plaintiffs amend suit after judge scolds them on ‘smoking gun’ memo that wasn’t

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – California cities suing ExxonMobil and four other big oil and gas companies have amended their complaint after a federal judge criticized them for portraying an internal memo by an industry association as revealing inside information about climate science that turned out to be merely a summation of findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Justice Department cites ‘substantial financial stake’; Wants role in opioid settlement talks

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. government wants a seat at the table as lawyers for hundreds of municipalities and other plaintiffs negotiate a potentially multibillion-dollar settlement of lawsuits over the opioid addiction crisis, citing its “substantial financial stake” in the matter and need to recover its own costs.

Cities vs. states: A looming battle for control of high-stakes opioid litigation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - A public fight between the Tennessee attorney general and counties that have filed separate lawsuits against the opioid industry could be the first of many similar conflicts as state AGs try to assert control over mushrooming litigation over the addiction crisis.

Chevron says climate change lawsuit `not viable' as it participates in judge's science seminar

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Five of the world’s largest oil and gas producers filed a motion to dismiss a climate change lawsuit against them by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco even as they prepared to deliver an unusual “tutorial” on climate science to the federal judge overseeing the case.

Arkansas AG, GOP colleagues criticized litigation strategy on climate, embrace it on opioids

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was a vocal critic of the aggressive litigation tactics her Democratic colleagues used against the oil industry over climate change. But she’s taken a different approach toward the opioid crisis.

Study on consumer lawsuit loans finds high rates, confusing terms

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - The broadest study yet of consumer litigation finance – money forwarded to lawsuit plaintiffs in anticipation of a victory in court or a legal settlement – found a “very complicated and circuitous” system in which some borrowers appear to subsidize others and the median interest rate exceeds 40%.

N.Y. opioid litigation won't be stayed; Lawyers seeking 1,000 more county-plaintiffs

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - A New York judge has refused to stay lawsuits by a number of New York counties against opioid manufacturers and distributors, rejecting arguments that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet determined whether narcotic painkillers are unnecessarily dangerous - a central question in any litigation.

Citing 'barriers' to settlement, judge orders opioid foes to prepare for trial

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors ordered both sides to prepare for trials, citing unspecified “barriers” to a global settlement that became apparent after a conference Tuesday.

Plaintiff lawyers see nationwide settlement as only end for opioid lawsuits

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Plaintiff lawyers meeting in San Francisco last week for a conference on opioid litigation acknowledged that the hundreds of lawsuits they have filed in state and federal court will be difficult to resolve without an unprecedented national settlement whose mechanics are still difficult to predict.

Judge delays release of critical report on $75 million State Street class action fee

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge in Boston has delayed for another month the release of a special master’s report on allegations that class action lawyers submitted inflated bills to obtain $75 million in fees for negotiating a $300 million settlement of a securities class action against State Street Bank and Trust.

Opioid judge orders companies to pay bulk of special master costs because they have 'greater discretionary funding'

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors has ordered defendant companies to pay three-quarters of the costs of special masters who are overseeing settlement negotiations.

Climate lawyers hope 'public nuisance' strategy reverses years of failure

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - First they tried suing the utility companies. Then they tried suing the automakers. They even tried suing oil companies on behalf of an Alaskan village in danger of being inundated by oil-fueled rising sea levels.

Opioid judge doesn't want media to know details of settlement talks

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing multidistrict litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors has named the teams of lawyers who will try to negotiate a settlement of hundreds of federal lawsuits - a complex task given parallel investigations and litigation by state attorneys general and potentially conflicting goals of private attorneys and their government counterparts.