Photo of Sean Wajert

Sean P. Wajert is a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, and the Managing Partner of Shook's Philadelphia office.  He concentrates his complex litigation practice on the defense of companies from a variety of industries, including the chemical, consumer product, drug and medical device industries.  His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, mass tort, toxic tort and product liability litigation, and appellate work. For a decade he served as Chair of the Products Liability Group of his prior firm.  Sean also taught complex litigation issues for ten years as a Lecturer-in-Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

In Rochkind v. Stevenson, 2020 WL 5085877 (Md. Aug. 28, 2020), the Maryland Court of Appeals (that is the state’s highest court), recently adopted the Daubert standard for assessing the reliability of proffered expert opinion evidence.  This is the test used in federal courts and most other states, but not all.  The court’s move away from the Frye test reflected a “jurisprudential drift” over the past 40 or so years towards more careful scrutiny of expert evidence in an effort to prevent unreliable science from entering into a trial. 471 Md. 1, 5, 236 A.3d 630, 633..

The case involved the claim that plaintiff’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had been caused by her childhood exposure to lead. She sued the landlord of the apartment where she had lived, and sought to rule out other risk factors, such as a family history of learning disabilities, through expert testimony. The landlord challenged the reliability of the proposed expert’s causation methodology and conclusions.
Continue Reading Maryland Adopts Daubert Test

We all know that the pandemic has impacted a number of aspects of litigation, especially trials, but what is going on with filings.  In federal court, trial courts saw about 30% more pending cases as of June 30 than at the same time last year.  The increase comes mostly from personal injury and product liability cases, according to the recent statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Continue Reading Report on Federal Caseload and Trials

The federal Judicial Conference recently recommended a series of reforms to increase security for judges.  This comes in the wake of the tragic attack at the home of a federal jurist in New Jersey.

The measures approved by the Judicial Conference:

  • Seek legislation to enhance the protection of judges’ personally identifiable information, particularly on the

From afar it may seem that any large number of federal cases can garner MDL status, but it only seems that way.  Recently, for example, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation rejected petitions to coordinate multiple cases filed by businesses seeking insurance coverage for alleged losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There were two groups of

The short opinion in Stirling v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 2020 WL 4259035 (Idaho Dist. Ct., July 13, 2020), comes at the intersection of personal jurisdiction rules and innovator liability claims.  As readers will recall, plaintiffs who allege injury from ingestion of a generic version of a prescription drug cannot prevail on a failure to

Roy Hobbs returned to baseball after 16 years; Grover Cleveland returned to the White House after a four year hiatus, and Gen. MacArthur returned to the Philippines in 1944.  Perhaps with less drama and certainly less fanfare, your humble blogger returns with today’s post on MassTortDefense.

A California federal judge recently denied the motion by customers of a San Francisco fertility clinic seeking class certification of their claims alleging that a defective storage tank damaged their embryos.  The case, In Re Pacific Fertility Center Litigation, No. 3:18-cv-01586, 2020 WL 3432689 (N.D. Cal. June 23, 2020), is interesting for the court’s treatment of superiority and damages issues in the class context.

Pacific Fertility provides fertility services including egg and embryo cryopreservation. Cryopreservation involves preservation of tissue using cooling techniques. In 2018, there was an apparent incident where one of the storage tanks lost coolant for a period of time. At the time of the incident, the tank contained eggs and embryos from 600+Pacific Fertility customers. All these eggs and embryos were exposed to the temperature increase. Plaintiffs were notified, and eventually sued.

We will skip the procedural history up to the point where Plaintiffs sought certification of a class of: All individuals, and their reproductive partners, whose eggs or embryos were in Tank 4 at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, California on the date of the incident.
Continue Reading Class Certification Denied in Cryopreservation Litigation

The Supreme Court has decided a case involving injury-in-fact and standing issues that may have significant impacts on class actions.  See Spokeo Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339 (U.S. 5/16/16).

Spokeo, Inc. operated a “people search engine,” which searches a wide spectrum of databases to gather and provide personal information about individuals to a variety

The Ninth Circuit this week declined to revive a proposed class action in Washington federal court accusing defendant of mis-labeling a water drink containing caffeine.  See Harold Maple v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, No. 13-36089, 14-35038 and 14-35059, 2016 WL 2621345 (9th Cir. 5/9/16).

This was a putative class action arising from allegedly unfair or deceptive

The First Circuit recently affirmed the exclusion of plaintiff’s expert in a toxic tort claim, leading to summary judgment. See Milward v. Rust-Oleum Corp., No. 13-2132, 2016 WL 1622620 (1st Cir. 4/25/16).

Plaintiff Milward worked as a pipefitter and refrigerator technician for over thirty years. During the course of his employment, Milward was exposed to

Part of Tim Allen’s character, Tim the Tool Man, included teaching the fictional Tool Time tv audience how to fix things at home, preferably with larger, louder, power tools.  Often something would go wrong, and there would be a hole, a leak, or a fire instead of a job well done.  That same spirit infuses