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Criminal and Product Liability Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on March 03, 2010 11:17 AM

The Eighth Circuit decided three criminal matters, all involving sentencing issues, and one product liability case.

In US v. McCarther, No. 08-3169, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's drug conspiracy sentence, holding that 1) two of the counts against defendant were not improperly joined at the outset simply because the government was not ultimately able to convince the district court at sentencing that the discharge of the firearm and the drug conspiracy were related for purposes of the Sentencing Guidelines calculation; and 2) prior offenses that were part of the same conspiracy being sentenced can be used for 18 U.S.C. section 841 enhancement.

In re: Baycol Prods. Litig., No. 08-3524, involved a failure-to-warn case involving the prescription drug Baycol, a cholesterol-reducing medication.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) an expert relied upon by plaintiff to prove causation had inadequate factual evidence on which to base his opinion; and 2) plaintiff received what he bargained for and therefore could not demonstrate that defendant was unjustly enriched as a result of plaintiff purchasing Baycol.

In US v. Jones, No. 08-3994, the Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's firearm possession sentence, on the grounds that 1) the court's review of defendant's criminal history convinced the court that the district court did not err when it increased his offense level by two levels and sentenced him to 240 months' imprisonment; 2) the district court did not err by independently considering the applicable Guidelines range and the government's upward departure motion; and 3) defendant's contention that the district court ignored the discretionary nature of U.S.S.G. section 4A1.3(a)(1) was unsupported by the record.

In US v. Woods, No. 09-1794, the court of appeals affirmed another firearm possession sentence, on the grounds that 1) the record contained abundant evidence that a witness's statements were probably accurate; 2) the district court did not clearly err in finding an officer credible, or in finding that defendant possessed the gun with an intent to use the weapon in connection with another felony, assaulting a law enforcement officer; and 3) the district court properly found defendant ineligible for a sentence reduction based upon acceptance of responsibility.

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