Articles & Publications
Despite a bipartisan push to significantly alter workplace sexual harassment law in Minnesota, the legislative session ended this week with no changes to the law. At issue was the proposed rejection of the “severe or pervasive” standard that has prevailed for sexual harassment1 claims nationally and in Minnesota for more than 30 years. Proponents of the bill contended that the legal standard is too onerous to prove an allegation of sexual harassment. Business groups, meanwhile, maintained that the proposal would have created a level of uncertainty for Minnesota employers. What remains to be seen is whether, inspired by the #MeToo movement, the Minnesota Legislature revisits this issue during its next session.
The Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition for certiorari this week in an asbestos case which may directly impact the ability of equipment manufacturers to assert the “bare metal” defense. Where applicable, the bare metal defense generally exempts manufacturers from liability for injuries caused by parts or components they did not manufacture, distribute, or sell.
Governor Scott Walker signed Wisconsin’s most recent tort reform bill into law earlier this month. Assembly Bill 773 (“AB 773”) aims to lower litigation costs for businesses by modernizing and tightening Wisconsin’s outdated rules of civil procedure.
A report recently released by consulting firm KCIC1 signals a decline in asbestos-related lawsuits filed since 2015. The report, which offers a comprehensive summary of 2017 trends and observations, found there were 4,450 asbestos lawsuits filed nationwide in 2017.
Does a Minnesota federal district court sitting in diversity jurisdiction apply state law when deciding whether to allow a claim for punitive damages? Despite longstanding precedent, a series of recent decisions suggest the answer is “maybe.”