U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has reversed a district court’s dismissal of an action alleging consumer claims against MusclePharm Corp., a manufacturer of nutritional supplements, for making false or misleading statements about the protein in one of its products. The case was sent back to the trial court for further proceedings.

The district court dismissed the action as preempted by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”), 21 U.S.C. ¶¶ 301-399(i), reasoning that any declarations of protein content anywhere on a product label could not be false or misleading if the listed amount of protein reflected measurements made in accordance with federal regulations concerning the federally mandated nutrition panel. The court of appeals held that, as relevant here, the FDCA and its implementing regulations concerned only the calculation and the disclosure of protein amounts. Specifically, the panel held that the FDCA preempted the state-law misbranding theory premised on the supplement’s use of nitrogen-spiking agents to inflate the measurement of protein for the nutrition panel.

The court of appeals held that the FDCA did not, however, preempt a state-law misbranding state-law theory premised on the label’s allegedly false or misleading implication that the supplement’s protein came entirely from two specifically named, genuine protein sources.

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The defendant, Toad L. Dragonfly Express Inc., appealed an award of contribution entered against it and in favor of the defendant C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. and other corporate entities collectively, CHR.

After the jury trial, judgments totaling $23,225,000 were entered, jointly and severally against Dragonfly and its owner, Luann G. Whitener-Black who is now deceased, DeAn Henry, and CHR in three consolidated tort actions stemming from the fatal automobile crash. Henry was the driver of the semi-tractor involved in the incident. Dragonfly is a federally licensed motor carrier that had leased Henry’s semi-tractor at the time of the accident and CHR was the broker of the load Henry was carrying at the time.

After CHR fully satisfied the tort judgments (including postjudgment interest), CHR sought contribution from Dragonfly under the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act (Act) (740 ILCS 100/0.01 et seq. (West 2014)). The trial court granted CHR’s contribution claim against Dragonfly for 50% of the jury’s total award in the underlying tort actions, including post-judgment interest. Dragonfly then appealed the trial court’s order granting contribution to CHR. Dragonfly argued that CHR is not entitled to contribution from Dragonfly because the Act creates a right of contribution based upon comparative fault, and neither CHR nor Dragonfly were at fault in this case.

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Robert Frederickson, 39, was a passenger in a vehicle that was being driven by his wife near their apartment complex. Cecilia Martin, a Special Occasions Catering employee, was driving an SUV when she reached for her phone in her purse causing her to rear-end the Fredericksons’ stopped car.

Martin, who was stunned by the crash, allegedly pressed the SUV’s accelerator striking the Fredericksons’ car a second time. As Frederickson attempted to exit the vehicle, Martin struck it a third time causing it to move for a distance before reaching a stop.

Frederickson suffered multiple injuries in this crash including left sacroiliitis, a disk herniation at L4, and a left labral tear.

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Allison VanDerMaelen was riding on the back of a motorcycle that was approaching an intersection. A garbage truck driven by Robert Choinski for CWPM, LLC was traveling westbound while the motorcycle was eastbound.

Choinski’s garbage truck crossed the centerline and entered the eastbound lane crashing head on into the motorcycle.

VanDerMaelen suffered serious injuries including brain hemorrhaging, chest trauma, and multiple fractures. She underwent numerous surgeries and was hospitalized for almost three months. She then underwent six months of physical therapy, rehabilitation and additional leg surgeries. VanDerMaelen continues to suffer pain and restrictions in her daily living activities and uses a wheelchair or walker to move around.

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David Sikkelee was killed when a Cessna aircraft he was piloting crashed after taking off from North Carolina’s Transylvania County Airport. The plane had a Lycoming engine. In the lawsuit, his wife, Jill Sikkelee, alleged that the aircraft lost power due to defects in the design of the engine and its carburetor.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued Lycoming a type of certificate for the engine, certifying that the design performs properly and satisfies federal regulations.

Jill Sikkelee brought strict liability and negligence claims against Lycoming alleging design defects. On appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court for the 3rd Circuit, it was held that her state-law claims were not barred based on the doctrine of field preemption. On remand, the federal district court concluded that the claims were conflict-preempted and that Lycoming was entitled to summary judgment on Sikkelee’s strict liability and negligence claims based on Pennsylvania law.

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The contract clause of the United States Constitution restricts the power of states to disrupt contractual arrangements. It provides that “No state shall  pass any . . . law impairing the obligation of contracts.” U.S. Const., Art. I, ¶ 10, cl. 1.

This was a case about life insurance proceeds. It generated a single dissent in the U.S. Supreme Court about the Constitution’s contract clause, which prohibits states from enacting laws that impair the obligation of contracts.

Mark Sveen named his wife, Kaye Melin, as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy he purchased in 1998. A 2002 Minnesota statute automatically revoked the designation (as beneficiary) when the couple divorced in 2007. Sveen’s children from a prior marriage claimed the life insurance proceeds as contingent beneficiaries when he died in 2011.

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Blinderman Construction Co. was hired by the Public Building Commission of Chicago to be the general contractor for a construction project at an elementary school. Blinderman hired JM Polcurr Inc. as a subcontractor to do the electrical work on the project.

Following the contract, Polcurr purchased an insurance policy that named Blinderman as the additional insured from Hastings Mutual Insurance Co.

On July 19, 2011, Robert Woods, an employee of Polcurr, fell from a ladder while working at the school. He was rushed to a hospital; unfortunately he did not regain consciousness until a month later. He has not been able to work since that time due to his injuries.

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The plaintiffs, Brittany N. Hage and Joann M. Blackmore, appealed the dismissal of their Count VI of Hage’s Fourth Amended Complaint, which added Blackmore as a party plaintiff in the Hage cause of action. The suit was filed against the defendant, Trisha L. Pannkuk.

Because the allegations in Count VI did not arrive out of the same transaction or occurrence as Hage’s original complaint, Count VI was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.  Accordingly, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District affirmed the dismissal of Count VI.

This incident arose out of the Feb. 1, 2011 13-vehicle crash that occurred on Route 72 in Ogle County, Ill.  The weather conditions included snow on the roadway and blowing snow, which greatly reduced visibility. There were several other lawsuits that arose out of this incident.

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Matthew Martin, 19, was riding in the back seat of a Mini Cooper driven by his friend, Raymond Consul.  As they drove a winding road, Consul chose not to properly negotiate a curve.  He lost control of his car, which traveled off the roadway and hit a concrete barrier.

Martin suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and fell into a vegetative state. In addition, he suffered a spinal cord injury that caused paralysis. Martin had worked as an automotive detailer before this unfortunate crash.  Through a guardian, Martin sued Consul alleging that he was negligent in driving 60 mph in a 30-mph zone and in failing to maintain control of his vehicle.  The plaintiff guardian claimed lost wages for Martin totaling more than $138,200 and past medical expenses of $530,400.

The defendant argued that Martin’s injuries resulted from his choosing not to wear a seatbelt.

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago filed a complaint against Global Marketing Enterprises Inc., Lifeline Nutrients Corp. and Pronto Foods alleging that they violated the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

This act regulates the production and sale of drugs and dietary supplements, including how they are prepared, packaged and labeled.

A settlement was reached on Aug. 3, 2018 against these three Chicago companies, which were accused of selling misbranded dietary supplements and unapproved and misbranded drugs.

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