Toxic chemicals as tourists?

Read an excerpt from Elizabeth Grossman’s important new book, “Chasing Molecules” about pollution that has made its way to Antarctica. While health care and climate change dominate the news, toxic chemicals are increasingly being used by 3rd world countries in alarming amounts. A global effort to combat these uses is needed. Read more at:


FDA bans flavored cigarettes

Fantastically, we finally have a ban on candy-flavored cigarettes.  And look for more restrictions coming in the future.  These restrictions are finally what the country needs to stop the health-related nightmare that is cigarette addiction.  Good job Obama’s FDA!

For more, read:

Bauman vs Daimler Chrysler: A winning dissent

On August 28, 2009, the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by persons allegedly tortured at the request of Mercedes-Benz personnel and their affiliation with the Argentine government in the 1980s.  The 9th Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to show "minimum contacts" Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes Benz USA.

What is striking about this opinion is the well-reasoned, lengthy and detailed dissent of Judge Stephen Reinhardt.  Judge Reinhardt explains that the 9th Circuit has now set the bar too high under the Constitution, and provides a scholarly road-map explaining why the case should be allowed to continue:

"In an increasingly complex and globalized economy, corporations such as [Daimler Chrysler] reap enormous profits from the sale of their goods in the United States, achieved through the use of distributors, frequently in the form of subsidiaries.  Many multinational companies organize their corporate structure and acquire subsidiaries for the sold purpose of obtaining maximal benefit in the American market.  ….Given these realities, and the continually evolving ways of doing business in an international area, it is a mistake for the majority to formalize and rigidify our test for personal jurisdiction with an overemphasis on control."

A must read for students of corporate jurisdiction.

Bauman et al. v. Daimler Chrysler, 2009 DJDAR 12916, AO 07-15386, August 28, 2009.

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Tobacco company considers a $13.8 million dollar punitive damages verdict a victory

Today, August 25, 2009, a Los Angeles jury awarded Jodie Bullock, daughter of Betty Bullock $13.8 million dollars in punitive damages for the death of her mother from cigarettes.

Her mother, Betty Bullock was awarded $850,000 in compensatory damages and $28 billion in punitive damages in 2002 in a landmark decision in California.  She died a year later.  An appellate court threw out the decision based on changes made by the conservative Bush U.S. Supreme Court in the law of punitive damages.

Another blow to the Bullock family is that when a person dies in California before their lawsuit is finalized, the value of the case decreases significantly as certain categories of damages die with the person.  This has resulted in a macabre game where enormous teams of defense firm law lawyers fight with all they have to stall cases until a person dies. 


Persons with lung cancer caused by cigarette smoking cannot file class actions in California, and are also faced with numerous other legal restrictions on their lawsuits.  Tobacco claimants face years in court on appeal, as nearly every single judgment and verdict is appealed for many years by the cigarette makers. 

For more on this verdict and the many years of litigation on this single case, click on the following links: (interim appellate court ruling) (trial testimony of Betty Bullock)

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NIH official convicted of lying regarding asbestos

Recently, an NIH official and physician was convicted of moonlighting for asbestos manufacturers while still in his role at the National Institutes for Health.  The details are at:



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Widow wins right to sue FMC for failing to warn her husband of asbestos risk

A Wisconsin resident earned the right to sue FMC Corp. for its failure to warn her husband of the potential risks of terminal cancer.  Her husband died in 2004 from malignant mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure.  For more on the story, read:,0,5181046.story

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Prisoners allowed to sue for asbestos exposure at Leavenworth Prison

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit filed by a former inmate of Leavenworth Prison for asbestos exposure.  Asbestos was confirmed to be at the prison in 1994, but Smith claims he was exposed to asbestos by the prison in 2003.  The appeals court said that the Byron Smith should have the chance to prove that the prison warden and his staff were aware or should have been aware of its presence in 2003 before negligently exposing inmates to the asbestos. 

For more see:

Carolin K. Shining
Trial lawyer for workers

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California legislature to consider banning all class actions. All.

As their own greed lays them low, AIG and its Wall Street accomplices are scurrying for cover by backing AB 298 (Tran), which would shield them from accountability for their malfeasance and eliminate class action lawsuits in California.

Take action NOW to defeat this assault on consumer rights.

The main backer of AB 298 is the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), a front group for AIG and large banks which have received billions in taxpayer bail-outs. CJAC also represents oil, tobacco, drug, insurance and auto companies — all of which seek to evade justice by restricting consumers' rights to sue them for their wrongdoing.

This is nothing new for AIG and its former chairman, Hank Greenberg, who have been perhaps the largest funders of the effort to restrict access to federal and state courts, giving $25 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for legal "reform" and to limit regulation.

AB 298 will be heard on Tuesday, March 31st!

Please contact your California Assemblymember RIGHT NOW to defeat this bill.

Thank you!

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Contact Sri Lankan Officials to stop asbestos factory in crowded Columbo Beach suburb

Chris Dharmakirti sent a message to the members of BAN ASBESTOS USE IN SRI LANKA AND SARC REGION on Facebook:

Subject: Please help by writing to the sri lankan newspapers about the proposed asbestos factory on templers

We need all our friends to wage a "letters to the editor" campaign asking the local municipal authorities and the board of investment to stop the proposed construction of an asbestos factory on templers road mt lavinia, one of the most populated residential areas of colombo's beach suburb.  Please do write to your local papers about the risk of locating a factory with outdated equipment and little or no pollution control and ther poor handling of asbestos materials.   You may use information gleaned from our factsheets on this group site to boslter your argument.  Please write to the local business commmunity leaders too, including the chamber of commerce and others about this.  Thank you.

Chris Dharmakirti

To reply to this message, follow the link below:

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