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June 20, 2017

After five trials, four single-plaintiff verdicts, almost $310 million in awarded damages, two target defendants, and one sensational claim--talc-based personal care powder causes ovarian cancer--the St. Louis County Circuit Court has declared a mistrial in trial number six following the United States Supreme Court’s personal jurisdiction ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California. 

June 2017

Georgia specifically adopted and embraced constitutional principles in its long arm jurisdiction statute. O.C.G.A. §9-10-91; Roberston v. CRI, Inc., 267 Ga. App. 757, 759, 601 S.E.2d 163 (2004). Thus, both the statute and the Constitution prohibit the plaintiff from being the only link between the defendant and the forum; it is the defendant’s conduct that must form the necessary connection with Georgia to establish a basis for Georgia courts exercising jurisdiction over him or her. Walden v. Fiore, 134 S. Ct. 1115, 188 L. Ed. 2d 12 (2014). And, although the statutory and constitutional arguments overlap, they are two separate concepts that govern jurisdiction in this State and both must be considered whenever a defendant is a non-resident.

  • Spring 2017

    “A timely notice of appeal is jurisdictional only because we say it is.” So said Professor Dorsaneo during a conversation that ultimately made me want to write this article. We were talking about Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 2 and 44.3. By the end of our discussion, I couldn’t stop thinking about the question, just what the heck makes a procedural requirement “jurisdictional”? And if a timely notice of appeal isn’t jurisdictional, then why are courts so uptight about it? Maybe our system ought to show mercy more often when a party excusably misses the deadline.

  • May 2017

    Almost all cases at trial require some form of expert testimony. Expert testimony is based, in part, by relying on literature, studies, and testing that supports the expert’s opinion. If you are using expert witness testimony to support your client’s case, chances are that the other party is too. If you try to exclude or limit the opposing counsel’s expert witness testimony, the other party will try to do the same with your expert witness.

  • May 2017

    Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote that “A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.”1 In contract law, this notion is embodied in the “surrounding circumstances” doctrine. The Texas Supreme Court gave an apt summary of this principle in City of Pinehurst v. Spooner Addition Water Co., writing that “Where a question relating to the construction of a contract is presented, as here, we are to take the wording of the instrument, consider the same in the light of the surrounding circumstances, and apply the pertinent rules of construction thereto and thus settle the meaning of the contract.”2