A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of May 23-29.


Failure to Warn While Sleeping? Apple Targeted Once Again In Adapter Lawsuit.

Nick Farr | Abnormal Use

According to reports, Apple finds itself the subject of another lawsuit regarding its power adapters. Unlike the previously settled class action lawsuit which alleged that the MagSafe adapters were defectively designed and caused unnecessary fraying of the power cords, the latest suit alleges that the adapters actually cause physical harm to others. In the latest suit filed in California, Heather Henderson allegedly suffered second and third-degree burns after coming in contact with the adapter. Such burns, Henderson believes, could have been prevented had Apple placed an appropriate warning on the MagSafe adapter.

Full story.


Friend-of-Court Briefs Raise Recusal Questions for Justices

Jess Bravin | Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog

Three Supreme Court justices own stock in such companies as Chevron Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Microsoft Corp., and they recuse themselves when those corporations have cases before the court. But an advocacy group says those justices – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito — should also sit out cases when companies in which they are invested sign on to friend of the court briefs, an avenue for third parties to weigh in on how they think the court should rule in a case.

Full story.


Is Organic the New Natural?: The Impact of a Court Holding that an “Organic” Claim Is Not Preempted By Federal Law

Leonard Gordon and Sarah Abramson | All About Advertising Law

By now, class action suits over foods using the term “natural” are old news following the age old American story:  class action plaintiff meets product, product assures plaintiff it is all-natural, plaintiff finds something in product that it doesn’t think is natural, lawsuit ensues.   Over the course of the last few years, cases challenging “natural” and “all-natural” claims have proliferated in the absence of a clear federal definition of natural, while cases involving “organic” claims have remained rare in light of detailed federal laws and regulations laying out a standard and a certification process for products labeled as organic.   On May 7th, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.) issued a ruling on a motion to dismiss in Segedie v. Hain Celestial Grp., Inc., allowing a consumer class action alleging false and misleading “organic” claims to move forward, finding that these claims under state consumer protection laws were not preempted by federal organic laws and regulations.

Full story.


How Law Firms Use Facebook and Other Data to Track Down Medical Victims

Doni Bloomfield and Shannon Pettypiece | BloombergBusiness

For ambulance chasers, persistence and a phone book just don’t cut it anymore. Law firms, which once relied on television commercials, billboards, and cold calling numbers in the white pages to find plaintiffs for medical lawsuits, have begun to embrace technology. To locate their ideal pharma victims more quickly and at lower costs, they’re using data compiled from Facebook, marketing firms, and public sources, with help from digital bounty hunters like Tim Burd.

Full story.


Dog Bites Accounted for More than One-Third of all Homeowners Liability Payouts in 2014

Insurance Information Institute | Property Casualty 360

Dog bites (and other dog-related injuries) accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2014, costing in excess of $530 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States.

Full story. 


Dad of Hurt Girl Sues Home Insurer: House Guest’s Chain Saw Prank a Foreseeable Cause of Truck Crash

Martha Neil | ABA Journal

The parents of a girl struck by a truck in an Omaha, Nebraska, street on Halloween 2011 have sued a home insurance company, among other defendants, seeking compensation for her injuries.

Full story.


Can You Sue the Boss for Making You Answer Late-Night Email?

Lauren Weber | Wall Street Journal

Company-issued smartphones have obliterated the line between the workday and off hours. For employers and workers, 8 p.m. emails from the boss aren’t just disrupting home life. They’re raising legal questions, too.

Full story.


‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit: Led Zeppelin Denies Copyright Claims, Admits Being ‘One of the Greatest Bands in History’

Time Kenneally | TheWrap.com

Led Zeppelin would like it known: They did not commit copyright infringement in the writing of “Stairway to Heaven.” The group does admit, however, to being an awesome part of rock ‘n’ roll history.

Full story.


Bill Would Make NJ False Claims Act Retroactive

Michael Booth | New Jersey Law Journal

New Jersey lawmakers are moving to overturn a published Appellate Division ruling that said the state’s False Claims Act cannot be used to sue over conduct that occurred before the law’s 2008 effective date.

Full story.


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