July 26, 2018 – LOS ANGELES, CA – – The National Law Journal announced today that the law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman is a finalist for the 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers.

The Elite Trial Lawyers honors the country’s top plaintiffs’ lawyers and their firms for outstanding work representing and advocating for their clients.

Editors and reporters from American Lawyer Media and The National Law Journal reviewed more than 300 submissions across 23 categories to select the finalists for the 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers. The attorneys and law firms selected “demonstrated exemplary performance in cutting-edge work on behalf of plaintiffs over the last 18 months.”

The winners will be announced at the Elite Trial Lawyers event at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas on Oct. 5, 2018.

BHAG a Finalist for 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers in Consumer Protection and Pharmaceutical Litigation Categories

American Lawyer Media and The National Law Journal selected Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman as a finalist for the 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers in the categories of Consumer Protection and Pharmaceutical Litigation. The nominations were based on two landmark cases against a foreign airline and one of the largest drug companies in the world.

Raymond C. SELKE, et al., Plaintiffs, v. GERMANWINGS GMBH, et al., Defendants. Case No. 1:17–cv–00121–GBL–TCB

A federal judge ruled that the family of two victims from Virginia (our clients) who perished in the 2015 Germanwings crash can sue the airline in the United States. Germanwings filed a motion to dismiss the case alleging lack of personal jurisdiction over it in Virginia, on the grounds that it was a German corporation, with no office in the U.S. and never flew its planes into the U.S., and plaintiffs’ tickets for the fatal flight were not codeshare tickets with United.

On July 20, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee ruled that the “Court has personal jurisdiction over Germanwings because the airline purposely availed itself of Virginia by transacting business in the Commonwealth through its agent, United. This business activity resulted in the sale of tickets that gave rise to Plaintiffs’ cause of action.”

This is a significant ruling given the tide of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have restricted personal jurisdiction. The ruling should serve as a ray of sunshine to the plaintiffs’ community, especially in international plane crash cases. This case shows that if American residents are killed while flying overseas, their families can still bring an action against a foreign airline in America.

Published case: Selke v. Germanwings GmbH, 261 F. Supp. 3d 645, 649 (E.D. Va. 2017) (Virginia court had personal jurisdiction over a German airline, involving Germanwings Flight 9525 from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany, whose pilot committed suicide by crashing the plane into the French Alps and killing all 150 on board, because the airline sold its tickets to passengers that resided in Virginia through its authorized agent, United Airlines).

More information about the Germanwings decision

WENDY B. DOLIN v. SMITHKLINE BEECHAM CORPORATION D/B/A GLAXOSMITHKLINE – Case No. 12 cv 6403, United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

This was a scientifically complex, high-profile case against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), involving a prominent Chicago Reed Smith attorney, Stewart Dolin, who took his life in 2010 while under the influence of generic paroxetine, an antidepressant sold under the brand-name Paxil.

The landmark verdict is a significant legal victory not only for the plaintiff, but for consumers of generic medications generally. It is the first jury verdict holding a brand-name drug manufacturer responsible for the death of a person taking a generic drug.

The pre-trial court rulings, subsequent verdict and post-trial rulings, concluded that a brand-name manufacturer can be held accountable for foreseeable harms induced by inaccuracies in a drug label, whether or not the person is taking a brand or generic version of the drug. The verdict and both pre-trial and post-trial rulings address a gap in consumer protection following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Pliva v Mensing (holding failure to warn claims against generic manufacturers are preempted by federal law).

Our lawyers argued that brand manufacturers are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of a drug’s label, and they are privy to the internal adverse event data regarding the drug, so they are aware of the foreseeable harm to be suffered from a label that inaccurately minimizes or omits a fatal risk.

Since generic manufacturers are required to use the brand drug’s label, it is fundamental negligence to leave the label inaccurate for both brand and generic drug consumers. Thus, if the Court were to reject brand-name liability in the wake of Mensing, consumers would have no legal recourse when injured by a generic version of a brand-name drug.

The case has been described as groundbreaking and likely to shape the landscape of pharmaceutical litigation for years to come. GSK has appealed the court’s rulings and oral argument is scheduled to take place in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on May 30, 2018.

Assuming the court’s rulings and verdict stand, Illinois will be one of the few states where a brand-name manufacturer can be held liable for failing to ensure the label is accurate. Other states could be expected to follow suit.

More information about the Dolin verdict

Dolin trial transcripts

Dolin trial exhibits

About Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman handles serious personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits across the nation stemming from commercial transportation, consumer products and pharmaceutical drug products liability. The firm also litigates class actions and whistleblower claims.

Since 1973, we have recovered over $1.6 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients across all areas of practice, and our firm has developed a reputation for breaking new ground, holding Fortune 500 companies accountable, influencing public policy, raising public awareness and improving product safety.