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August 2017 Archives

Defending Proposition 65 Claims Related To Cannabis

With literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Proposition 65 ("Prop 65") notices going out to cannabis growers, suppliers and businesses, many of the recipients of these notices are struggling with how to respond. The notices typically provide for a 60-day response period and threaten litigation. One of the individuals that has been sending many of the notices in Southern California is "Michael Murphy" on behalf of the "Clean Cannabis Initiative, LLC." Interestingly enough, "Clean Cannabis Initiative, LLC" cannot be located on the California Secretary of State's biz portal online calling into question whether the entity actually exists and/or is authorized to do business in California. Another group, Center for Advanced Public Awareness ("CAPA") has also sent out many notices. Prop 65 notices and lawsuits are nothing new. Critics of the law have complained for years about "bounty hunter" attorneys who routinely target a particular industry and file hundreds, if not thousands, of notices and in many instances lawsuits in an attempt to coerce settlements from the parties. The "bounty hunter" attorneys typically associate with an individual and/or some type of "consumer group" that is routinely formed for the sole purpose of pursuing these type of claims. Typically, the "bounty hunter" attorneys seek "settlements" wherein individuals in the targeted industries pay the attorneys thousands of dollars for their "attorneys' fees and costs" or risk having to litigate the matter. However, individuals receiving these notices also need to understand that defenses do exist to the adequacy of the notice itself and in many instances as to whether a warning is even required. For example, many products sold to consumers contain "Prop 65" listed chemicals but most do not contain any warning because the amount and duration of exposure is such that it does not reach the threshold for requiring a warning label. Moreover, there are threshold requires for the number of employees and other related defenses. The strength of the potential defenses can be a factor in reducing the amount of the eventual settlement or deciding to fight the matter in Court. Settling is an option, but does raise the risk of creating a target for future claims while litigation can be expensive and have it's own risks.

PROPOSITION 65 CLAIMS TARGETS MEDICAL CANNABIS BUSINESSES

Thousands of cannabis companies, suppliers and manufacturers have been recently served with Proposition 65 (also referred to a "Prop 65") notices. Historically, Prop 65 resulted in literally thousands if not tens of thousands of lawsuits against many different businesses and food supplies. Typically, a law firm would find a lead "plaintiff" who was ostensibly a concerned member of the public and file dozens and/or even hundreds of lawsuits in that person's name. As a result of those claims, businesses were either forced to defend the lawsuits or pay money in "settlement" of those claims. Many commentators to the perceived abuse of Prop 65 by legal counsel felt in many instances the intent and purpose of the law was being abused by attorneys looking to effectively "shake down" companies and businesses for "settlement" money. In many instances, in representing clients we were able to prevail on claims against the clients in showing that their lack of a warning on a produce did not violate Prop 65. In other instances, settlements were negotiated based on the facts and/or financial circumstances of the clients.

Work with experienced legal counsel to build strong product defect defense

Previously, we began looking at the massive jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a talc liability case against Johnson & Johnson. As we noted, talc liability litigation has to be a frustrating thing for the company to be dealing with, given that the weight of the overall evidence does not support finding a connection between use of talc-containing products and development of ovarian cancer.

J&J loses another talc liability case, marking fifth loss

Earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson was hit hard in another talcum liability case. As readers may know, the company is currently facing thousands of lawsuits involving allegations that the company failed to warn consumers of the known connection between use of its talc-containing products and the development of ovarian cancer.

4 options to help settle a business partner dispute

Working with a business partner is like any other relationship. You are going to have your ups and downs, there will be things on which you do not see eye to eye and there will be issues where you completely agree. And, just like your other relationships, it is important to choose a business partner who is committed to achieving a shared vision for the company.

Looking at the elements of a bad faith insurance claim

Previously, we began looking at California’s Fair Claims Settlement Practice Regulations, which identify some of the minimum standards insurance companies need to follow in order settle claims fairly. In addition to this statute, another source of law for bad faith insurance claims is implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Looking at California’s Fair Claims Settlement Practice Regulations

Last time, we began looking at the difference between breach of contract and bad faith insurance claims, noting that breach of contract claims are the more common form of litigation since most of an insurance company’s duties to insured are governed by the contractual agreement between the two parties. When an insurance company doesn’t honor its obligations under the contract, the insured is entitled to seek relief in court based on the insurance company’s contractual obligations.

What is the difference between a breach of contract and bad faith insurance claims?

Whether you are an individual or a business, insurance coverage is critical to protect against certain risks. As consumers of insurance products, individuals and businesses expect that their insurance carriers will honor their agreements and their legal duties to consumers. When they don’t, the costs to insurance consumers can be significant.

Contact us now to begin a confidential case evaluation:

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