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Harvard University Legal Business Environment Discussion Post Questions

Harvard University Legal Business Environment Discussion Post Questions

Question Description

Hey guys, I really need help with this homework assignment.There are 3 discussion post problems and I need them to be well thought out andwell written. The answers do not have to be long, I just need all the pointsmentioned.

Discussion post 1


Grocery store chain isn’t liable for motorized cart collision,state supreme court rules BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS(HTTP://WWW.ABAJOURNAL.COM/AUTHORS/4/) SEPTEMBER 19, 2019, 2:35 PM CDT

The Ohio Supreme Court has reversed an award of more than$360,000 in a suit against a grocery store chain that provided a motorizedshopping cart to a customer who caused a collision and injured the plaintiff.The court said Giant Eagle wasn’t liable because there is insufficient evidencethat its actions caused the incident. Court News Ohio( and coverage. The plaintiff in the case, Barbara Rieger, died last month. Shewas injured in December 2012 at a Giant Eagle in Brook Park, Ohio, when anothershopper, Ruth Kurka, hit Rieger’s shopping cart with her motorized cart,according to the Ohio Supreme Court’s Sept. 19 opinion (, who had been standing at the bakery counter, was knocked to the groundand taken to the hospital by ambulance, incurring $11,511 in medical bills.Kurka died before trial, and her estate settled with Rieger for $8,500. Attrial, Rieger provided deposition testimony by Kurka’s husband, who said hiswife had never been trained on how to operate the motorized cart. Rieger alsopresented evidence that there were 117 incidents involving motorized cars atGiant Eagle stores from 2004 to 2012. TweetLike 19 Share Share
10/3/2019 Grocery store chain isn’t liable for motorized cart collision, statesupreme court rules… 2/3

Deposition testimony by a Giant Eagle representative submitted at trialestablished that there are no instructions for operation on the motorizedcarts, and Giant Eagle assumes that people who use the carts know how to drivethem. Jurors also heard evidence that Kurka had been driving motorized cartsfor more than a year and had no prior incidents. She was diagnosed withdementia before the incident. Jurors awarded $121,000 in compensatory damagesand nearly $1.2 million in punitive damages. An appeals court lowered thepunitive damages to $242,000. On appeal, Giant Eagle contended that the appealscourt had eliminated the need to prove negligence and made the store an insurerfor motorized cart incidents when it affirmed the verdict. The Ohio SupremeCourt agreed with Giant Eagle and said a trial judge should have granted adirected verdict to the grocery store chain.
10/3/2019 Grocery store chain isn’t liable for motorized cart collision, statesupreme court rules… 3/3

Copyright 2019 American Bar Association. All rights reserved.
It isn’t enough for a plaintiff to assert or speculate that a defendant’sactions or failure to act might have a caused an injury, the court said.Instead, the plaintiff has to show that the harm would not have occurred butfor the defendant’s behavior. “Despite the fact that Giant Eagle does not providetraining for its customers who use the motorized carts, there is no evidencethat training would have prevented the accident in this case,” the court said.


Inside the Mass-Tort Machine That Powers Thousands of RoundupLawsuits The weedkiller made by Bayer is the target of a sophisticated legalecosystem; ‘call the number on your screen now’

In late 2016, a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers took the stage at the year’slargest gathering of their colleagues to talk up a promising new target. For 30minutes, they laid out arguments linking the popular weedkiller Roundup tocancer. An arm of the World Health Organization had pegged Roundup’s mainchemical ingredient as a probable carcinogen the year before, and it wasquickly becoming a focus of the plaintiffs’ bar.

Some product-liability lawyers in the audience in Las Vegas wereskeptical. Tying exposure from everyday products like Roundup to cancer oftenis less straightforward than linking illness to medications or medical devices,said Chase Givens, a lawyer with the Cochran Firm who attended the event. Butthe presenters’ track records mounting complex cases got the audience’sattention.

Three years later, more than 42,700 farmers, landscapers andhome gardeners have sued Bayer AG, Roundup’s manufacturer, claiming the companyknew the herbicide posed a cancer risk but failed to warn consumers. Bayer iscontesting the lawsuits and argues that scientific research and regulatoryreviews, including from the Environmental Protection Agency, prove Roundup’ssafety.

Behind the surge in lawsuits is a little-known, sophisticatedlegal ecosystem that includes marketing firms that find potential clients,financiers who bankroll law firms, doctors who review medical records, scientistswho analyze medical literature and the lawyers who bring the cases to court.

Individual plaintiffs can become commodities that are bought andsold by marketers, with prices based on demand. The more lawsuits that getfiled, the more pressure companies face to settle.

Building up thousands of cases against a single target gains momentum atconferences like the one in Las Vegas, called Mass Torts Made Perfect. Thetwice-yearly shindig is product-liability law’s big stage, drawing more than athousand plaintiffs’ lawyers and vendors vying for their business overinformational panels, cocktail hours and appearances by celebrities such asPeyton Manning and Nelly.

The real headliners are the target products. They include e-cigarettes, babypowder, firefighting foam and birth-control devices. None have sparked the samelevel of interest as the weedkiller.
The Roundup litigation is a big threat to Bayer, the 156-year-old Germancompany that last year acquired Monsanto, Roundup’s inventor and main marketer,for $63 billion. Since the deal closed, juries have awarded $2.4 billion toplaintiffs in the first three Roundup cases to go to trial. Bayer’s shares havedropped 27% since the first verdict in August 2018. Bayer is appealing the threeawards, which courts have reduced to $190.5 million. Additional trials havebeen delayed as the company and plaintiffs’ lawyers discuss settlement.

The herbicide first caught plaintiffs’ lawyers’ eyes in the spring of 2015, whenthe International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World HealthOrganization, deemed Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, “probablycarcinogenic” to humans. Bayer rejected that finding, accusing the group ofcherry-picking studies and ignoring others that regulatory agencies have reliedon to determine Roundup’s safety.

Just days after the WHO agency published its findings, personal-injury law firmWeitz & Luxenberg PC registered the domain name months, television advertisements hit the air seeking Roundup users whogot cancer. Before year’s end, the first lawsuits were filed.

Florida plaintis’ lawyer Mike Papantonio speaks about Roundup at Mass TortsMade Perfect, a conference he founded.

Lawyers have clamored to sign up Roundup plaintiffs, making itthe top product targeted by mass-tort lawyers and marketing companies in recentyears, according to X Ante, which sells data to companies on mass-tortadvertising. Between January and September, the weedkiller appeared in 654,280broadcast and cable-TV advertisements costing an estimated $77.8 million, an XAnte analysis of Kantar Media CMAG and Media Monitors data shows. The number ofadvertisements is four times that of the next most-targeted product or drug formass-tort lawsuits.

Bayer blamed lawyer advertisements for more than doubling the number ofplaintiffs from July to October.

Bayer officials and industry groups say the ability of plaintiffs’ lawyers torapidly build injury lawsuits burdens companies with costs and threatensinnovation, raising the prospect that a product declared safe now could betargeted for damages years or decades later.
Personal-injury lawyers say they advocate for consumers with no other recourseagainst big companies—and that their sprawling system lets them compete againstdeep-pocketed corporations.

“We operate just like any other industry,” said Mike Papantonio, a Floridaplaintiffs’ lawyer who founded Mass Torts Made Perfect. “One firm may bewonderful on memos, appeals and briefings, another firm is really good at tryingthe case.”

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, a frequent critic of theplaintiffs’ bar, estimates that in 2016 plaintiffs’ lawyers collected $77 billionin fees on tort cases. Lawyers collect a percentage of settlements struckbetween companies and plaintiffs.
The first step is getting the word out about an allegedly harmful product, oftenthrough TV and online advertisements.

“If you or someone you love used Roundup, and were diagnosed with cancer, callthe number on your screen now,” says one TV spot sponsored by Guardian LegalNetwork. The ad touts the multimillion-dollar verdicts and urges callers to filea claim before it’s too late.
Callers to Guardian, one of the largest mass-tort marketing companies, arerouted to call centers around the country. There, operators run through a listof questions: Has the caller used Roundup? When, and for how long? When was thecaller diagnosed with cancer, and what type?

Law firms also buy targeted online ads and create social-media pages, some ofwhich steer users to automated chat programs that run through similar screeningquestions.
If hotline callers qualify as potential plaintiffs, the lead-generationcompanies hired by law firms send them law-firm contracts to sign and requesttheir medical records for further
screening. Other lead-generation companies working on spec sell the leads tolaw firms. Brokers sometimes stand between a lead generator and a law firm.

Tennessee resident Sherry Brobeck was browsing Facebook about two years agowhen an advertisement popped up, alerting non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients thatlawyers were evaluating cases for potential Roundup lawsuits.

“I called them immediately,” Ms. Brobeck said. Her husband, Michael, died fromthat cancer in early 2010, and she had searched unsuccessfully for a locallawyer to file a lawsuit. She said the family’s oncologist wondered at the timeof her husband’s 2009 diagnosis if the cancer arose from the Roundup Mr.Brobeck bought by the case to clear weeds from land in the Appalachianfoothills they converted to an RV campground.

Ms. Brobeck had struggled to repay debts racked up after her husband’suninsured cancer treatments and for a time took a second job as a grill cook.“I didn’t have anything to lose,” Ms. Brobeck said of her decision to call.

After giving an operator her basic information, she got a call two hours laterfrom a lawyer at Louisiana-based law firm Pendley, Baudin & Coffin LLP. Heasked about her husband’s illness, she said, whether she had receipts for theirRoundup purchases, and if she could send a copy of the death certificate. Shedid.

While Ms. Brobeck worked to pay down property liens brought on by her husband’smedical bills, her lawyers contacted the St. Louis-based Onder Law Firm, a bigpersonal-injury firm. Onder was compiling plaintiffs to sue Bayer in St. LouisCircuit Court, which has attracted thousands of other lawsuits over drugs andmedical devices.

Pendley and Onder struck a deal for Ms. Brobeck’s case that is typical in thepersonal-injury law business. Onder handles local matters such as filings andjury selection, and if the case makes it to trial, Pendley lawyers will argueit, lawyers for the firms say. If Ms. Brobeck’s case settles, Pendley willreceive the majority of the fees, with a smaller amount going to Onder. InNovember 2018, Ms. Brobeck became part of a group suing Bayer in a St. Louiscourt.
Lead generators can charge law firms for each signed plaintiff, or a flat monthlyrate. The price of a mass-tort client, like any commodity, rises and fallsdepending on market interest.

What’s the best way to resolve claims that a company’s product is dangerous?Join the conversation below.

Legal marketers say the price to acquire a signed Roundup client peaked inAugust and September at between $3,000 and $6,000 a plaintiff, after a reportthat Bayer was close to settling the litigation. Lower-value cases, by comparison,can cost $100 or less per plaintiff.
Edward Lott, president of lead-generation firm ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, saidhis law-firm clients have paid around $1,350 each for “zero-risk” Roundup leadsthat he will replace with a new plaintiff if, for instance, their medicalrecords don’t back up the injuries they described over the phone.

“For every big mass-tort attorney out there, it’s very much a science in howmuch they’re paying per lead,” said Scott Hardy, a marketer who charges lawfirms a flat rate of as much as $15,000 a month to sponsor case-specific pages onhis website,
Consumer Attorney Marketing Group, one of the largest lead generators, sendslaw-firm clients data on how many leads come a week from their TV, radio andonline advertisements. Ads the company runs for hundreds of law firms sendbetween 20,000 and 25,000 calls a month to a call center in Hermosillo, Mexico.Those who meet initial standards get a call from a CAMG employee in California,who walks them through the paperwork needed to sign with a law firm.
On a recent afternoon, CAMG’s Los Angeles call center buzzed with conversationsbetween operators and potential plaintiffs for cases related to metal hip implants,asbestos and contaminated Flint, Mich., water. Between 7,000 and 8,000 callersa month become signed clients, said company co-founder Steve Nober. The TV ads,he said, help people connect an injury or disease to its possible cause. “It’sthat ah-ha moment,” he said.

Roundup has been one of the firm’s top campaigns for years, Mr. Nober said. Hisdata shows Roundup ads have had the most success airing during daytime rerunsof programs including “The FBI Files,” “M*A*S*H” and “My Wife and Kids,” a timeof day when people who have purchased garden or landscaping items are likely tobe watching.

Mr. Lott and other marketers say some law firms will sign up almost anyone whosays they used Roundup and got non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the primary cancer thelitigation is focused on. Others want only those who used Roundup at least 30times a year for many years, or those who used Roundup at work.

Lawyers and marketers describe the mass-torts practice like an investmentportfolio: Firms take on some high-risk cases that are years from a payday butcheaper to acquire, and pricier ones that are surer bets and close to aconclusion. If done right, money will trickle in regularly as cases resolve.

Plaintiffs’ law firms may spend $20 million to $30 million pursuing long-term,complex cases like Roundup, said Mr. Papantonio, the Florida lawyer who hasrepresented plaintiffs in large cases such as the BP PLC oil-spill litigation.“You have to have a war chest so you can run as long
as you want to,” said Mr. Papantonio, who estimates his firm represents about2,000 Roundup plaintiffs.

Jean McCrea called a number from a TV advertisement earlier this year that saidRoundup could be linked to a cancer her husband has had since 2013, chroniclymphocytic leukemia. She had heard before that Roundup could be carcinogenic,but didn’t realize CLL, a type of nonHodgkin lymphoma, could qualify for alawsuit.

“We’ve never done anything like this,” the 74-year-old Arizona resident said ofresponding to the advertisement from local law firm Goldberg & Osborne. Shetold the firm her husband used Roundup on a half-acre property sprinkled withfruit trees they used to live on in Madera, Calif. After a few phone calls, shewas sent paperwork to sign.

Consumer Attorney Marketing Group signs up between 7,000 and 8,000 clients amonth for law irms, says co-founder Steve Nober.

A lawsuit was filed on the couple’s behalf in Arizona in August and sent to U.S.District Court in San Francisco, where thousands of federal-court Rounduplawsuits have been centralized.
Retired Californian Brenda Huerta didn’t know lawyers had gone forward with alawsuit in her name for months after its January 2016 filing, she said, untilher sister’s friend saw mention of it online.

Ms. Huerta had been in remission from cancer for about a year when a call camein 2014 from her husband’s health insurer looking to recoup the more than $1million it paid to treat her nonHodgkin lymphoma. “We were so grateful to them,we said absolutely,” the 65-year-old Ms. Huerta said.

A lawyer at the Miller Firm in Virginia told her the cancer could be tied toyears of Roundup exposure. She and her husband had used it in their yard, ashad sod farmers who leased their land in Tehachapi, Calif.

Companies facing such lawsuits argue the mass-tort machine encourages theproliferation of claims, which in turn pressures them to settle, even if theybelieve their products are safe. They say the system makes it easy for lawyersto file nearly identical complaints in rapid succession, with just a few paragraphschanged about each plaintiff, giving defendants little to go on to gauge thelegitimacy of any given case.

Defense lawyers point to the Vioxx painkiller litigation, in which courtdocuments show that nearly one-third of plaintiffs who had filed claims by thetime of a $4.85 billion settlement with drugmaker Merck & Co. failed tomeet the criteria necessary to collect any money.
TV lawyers who pass on clients to bigger firms “are building inventory withoutclose scrutiny being given to the claims that they have filed, and hoping thathard work by other lawyers will lead to a mass settlement that will allow themto cash in,” said Mark Behrens, a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP whoadvises Bayer on mass-tort issues.

Bayer said it would like to see more transparency around who is sponsoring andfunding plaintiffs’ lawyer advertising.

Gary Falkowitz, whose call-center company Intake Conversion Experts has signedup 50,000 cases for lawyers since 2016, sees it differently. “Claimants willhave an almost impossible job to bring these claims on their own,” he said.“The more people law firms are representing, the more of a chance you can holdthese companies responsible.”

A rumor this summer that Bayer had made a multibillion-dollar settlement offer,said Mr. Lott, caused the marketer’s phone to ring off the hook, and drove up theprice brokers were charging
11/25/2019 Inside the Mass-Tort Machine That Powers Thousands of RoundupLawsuits – WSJ… 8/8
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for leads. Anticipation grew for a payout to be shared by the advertising lawfirms, legal funders, trial lawyers and Roundup users.
“What they hope for is that the Monsantos of the world come in and say, here’s$10 billion, spread it how you like,” Mr. Lott said of the lawyers he sellsleads to. “That’s what they’re looking for.”


As we are all adjusting to life with the Coronavirus there islarge ethical dilemma confronting business. Who do save and who do allow todie? What resources are expended and what resources are expended? Imagine thatyou are the CEO or Risk Mitigation Officer at a hospital and the doctors presentyou with the ethical question that is posed in the Washington Post article thatI’m posting. How do you respond? Is a hospital negligent that it was unpreparedfor a pandemic? Would it be considered wrongful death? Of course there probablyare not any right or wrong answers but you must provide some guidance. Time tospeak up give your thoughts.

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