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Supreme Court Developments to Watch in Products Liability

(122 reviews)

Produced on November 30, 2018

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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Personal Injury and Negligence

Course Description

Over the past two years, two new justices have been appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Join Elizabeth Christen, Russell Chibe, and Abigail Lahn from Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP as they look at both recent and upcoming decisions, as well as the records of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, to examine the current and future state of products liability law.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Analyze the current state of personal jurisdiction law in the wake of the Supreme Court’s December 2017 ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court
  2. Become familiar with the issues at stake in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation v. Albrecht, No. 17-290—considering the issue of federal preemption of state failure-to-warn claims—which will be heard by the Court this term
  3. Examine the records of newly-appointed Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh for indications as to how the Supreme Court might shift with respect to products liability law

Credit Information

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Elizabeth Christen

Drinker Biddle

Elizabeth Christen focuses her practice on product liability, mass tort, commercial and professional negligence matters, concentrating on the defense of pharmaceutical, medical device and other highly regulated companies in state and federal courts. She has significant experience advising clients through all phases of litigation, including trials, depositions, mediations, settlements, motion practice and appeals.

Prior to joining the firm, Elizabeth worked for an Illinois defense firm representing insurance companies, medical institutions, and health and legal professionals in malpractice lawsuits. In that capacity, she successfully first-chaired one bench trial and second-chaired eight jury trials. She also served as lead local counsel for a national manufacturer and retailer confronting multiple mass-tort class actions in the Northern District of Illinois.

During law school, Elizabeth earned awards for her legal writing and oral argument skills. She interned with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and clerked for the Honorable Judge Elizabeth Budzinski in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Russell Chibe

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Russ focuses his product liability practice on multifaceted litigation matters at the trial and appellate levels. He has particular experience managing multidistrict litigation (MDL) and mass torts on behalf of major pharmaceutical companies for products such as ethylene oxide, latex glove, benzene, blood thinner, antibiotic, NSAID, and artificial knee and hip products liability litigation, and asbestos.

Russ counsels product manufacturers regarding safety, labeling, data security and regulatory compliance and in connection, he drafts manuals and warning labels. He has helped clients respond to Consumer Product Safety Commission investigations. Russ also assists clients in developing a variety of products from mobile apps to wearable technology to industrial lubricants.

Russ is uniquely suited for working with science and engineering clients – primarily medical device, prescription and over-the-counter medication manufacturers – due to his STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) background. He worked with engineers, computer scientists, physicists and chemists while completing his master’s degree at Colorado State University’s School of Engineering. Russ also completed research at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center’s Laboratory for Atmospheres and the Desert Research Institute’s Snow Peak Laboratory.

Russ has authored and presented seminars on topics ranging from preemption for generic over-the-counter medications, premises liability to the regulation of mobile medical apps. He has also published articles on the opioid crisis, data security and the Internet of Things.

Outside of his product liability clients, Russ consults with local craft breweries regarding business development, regulatory compliance and intellectual property matters. His familiarity with the craft beer industry goes beyond the law as he has won multiple home-brewing awards and helped develop the recipe for Ironworks Altbier, a seasonal beer from Metropolitan Brewing in Chicago.

While attending law school, Russ worked in Northwestern’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, where he helped draft a clemency petition on behalf of an Indiana Death Row inmate whose sentence was subsequently commuted.

A native southsider, Russ resides in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood and his active in his community. When he is not counseling or representing clients, Russ can be found at one of the city’s ice rinks, either playing hockey himself or cheering for his goalie daughter and her Chicago Jets teammates.

Abigail Luhn

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Abigail M. Luhn supports the firm’s Products Liability & Mass Tort group at various stages of the litigation practice, drafting legal memoranda and motions, among other assignments. Before joining Drinker Biddle, Abigail was a law clerk for the Honorable Jack M. Sabatino, Presiding Judge, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division in Trenton, New Jersey, where she gained in-depth knowledge of the workings of the appellate process.

As a law clerk, Abigail contributed to numerous published opinions concerning civil, criminal and family law matters. She also researched and drafted legal memoranda regarding issues of first impression in New Jersey. Abigail had the opportunity to work with three Appellate Judges on published opinions during her clerkship. While in law school she served as judicial intern for the Honorable Michael L. Ravin, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part in Newark, New Jersey. Abigail also served two internships at the Mercer County Prosecutors Office and was a research assistant to Paula A. Franzese, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law. She was a summer associate with Drinker Biddle in 2016.

While at Seton Hall University School of Law, Abigail received an award for her Outstanding Contribution to the Civil Litigation Clinic in The Center for Social Justice, where she completed a record-breaking number of pro bono hours and wrote a brief that resulted in an appellate victory. In addition, Abigail received the ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in Labor/ Employment Law, and the Best Appellate Brief and Oral Argument in Appellate Advocacy.

Abigail has a conversational familiarity with the Russian language.


Susan K.

Excellent program

Steven G.

Well researched program

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