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Eye Drops Plaintiffs Get Relief on Appeal

Don't shed a tear for the plaintiffs in the wasted eye drops case.

Their putative class-action was dismissed for lack of standing, but the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in Cottrell v . Alcon Laboratories. The appeals court said the trial judge applied a too-narrow definition of injury.

The plaintiffs alleged eye drop bottles wasted their medicine. In other words, standing is in the eye of the bottle holder.

Maritime Law Protects Sailors From Asbestos

Maritime law applies to a different world, one where ships and sailors live.

But if the "special solicitude for the safety and protection of sailors" goes further ashore, machine makers may have a problem. In re. Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, a federal appeals court said manufacturers may be liable for injuries from parts added to their products later.

That means the "bare metal defense" won't work. Manufacturers can be held liable even for asbestos they don't put in their machines.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of an employee's slip and fall injury accident case against the Cabot Oil and Gas company, and the drilling outfit, Patterson UTI, where he worked. However, the lawsuit was not dismissed on summary judgment, nor via the all too familiar 12(b)(6), but rather via a 12(b)(2) jurisdictional challenge.

In short, both the district and appellate courts ruled that the court did not have sufficient jurisdiction over the defendants due to their lack of contact with the state of New Jersey, where the case was filed.

Drunken Brawl on Ship and Maritime Law

'Drunken sailor' is probably an unfair, stereotypical label, but it works for a case that arose from a drunken brawl on the Delaware River.

Michael Bocchino was aboard a cruise vessel, the "Ben Franklin Yacht," when a fight broke out among some passengers. He didn't know who hit him, but it was enough for him to file a lawsuit in state court against the boat's owner.

The owner filed an action in federal court for lack of maritime jurisdiction, but a federal appeals court reversed. So the blurry question was, what is maritime jurisdiction for brawls anyway?

Court Rejects Football Player's Concussion Case

For Sheldon Mann, it started when he got hit twice in one day playing high school football. The coach told him to get back into the game after the first collision without evaluating him for a concussion injury.

After the second hit, Mann started suffering the effects of a traumatic brain injury, including headaches, hallucinations, short-term memory loss, and seizures. Mann would never play competitive football again.

His parents sued on his behalf, alleging the coach did not protect their child. But now that's over because an appeals court said the law didn't protect him either.

Court Refuses to Revive Nuclear Power Cancer Cases

A federal appeals court dealt another blow to Pennsylvanians suing over a nuclear facility they claimed caused cancer.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said they could not prove the facility damaged them. In affirming a dismissal of consolidated cases against the successor to Nuclear Material and Equipment Corp., the court may have ended a battle for more than 70 plaintiffs.

"Plaintiffs are missing critical elements, and therefore their claims fail," Judge D. Brooks Smith wrote in the unanimous decision, McMunn v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc.

A former teen actress went before the Third Circuit on Friday in an attempt to revive her defamation suit against Bill Cosby. Renita Hill has accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting her when she was a 16-year-old actress on the TV show "Picture Pages."

When Cosby's lawyer denied Hill's accusations, as well as those of scores of other women, she sued, alleging that the denial rose to the level of defamation. A district court tossed that suit last January, but victory in the Third Circuit could revive Hill's claims. Given oral arguments, though, victory is far from assured.

Google and Viacom Win Suit Over Tracking Children Online

The nationwide class action suit that involved Google and Nickelodeon allegedly tracking our innocent, innocent children was largely defeated by the defending companies recently. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit felt that planting cookies on children's computers and devices didn't run afoul of both state and federal laws, at least not the ones the parents identified.

It wasn't a complete victory for Viacom, Nickelodeon's parent company, though. The federal court allowed one privacy claim against the entertainment company stand as it had collected children's information despite promises not to do so. It looks like completely fibbing parents still isn't kosher in corporate America.

An Internet privacy class action against Google was revived by the Third Circuit recently. The class action began after it was revealed that Google was circumventing cookie blockers, the browser features that prevent advertisers and other third parties from tracking Internet users.

The class action was originally dismissed on summary judgment, but the Third Circuit found that Google's actions, as alleged, "highly offensive," deceitful, and possibly in violation of California privacy law.

'Renewal' Means More of the Same for Insurance Policies

What does the word 'renewal' mean? The answer to that question could have greater legal import that you might expect. In fact, that question essentially sums up the legal issue that was the core of Indian Harbor Insurance v. F&M Equipment, Ltd.

The 3rd Circuit Ruled on October 15 that "renewal" -- at least in the context of insurance terms -- means "more of the same."