LG Exploding Battery Suits Find Likely Path Forward In Ga.
Product Liability attorney Caroline Tanner spoke with Law360 about the sprawling litigation facing LG Chem Ltd. over its allegedly exploding lithium-ion batteries. The manufacturer has consistently argued it can't be tied to any state's jurisdiction because it's a South Korean company that doesn't sell batteries in America. In Georgia, LG has used that argument to successfully exit a number of lawsuits brought in the federal Northern District, where its distribution subsidiary LG Chem America Inc. is located.
This article describes how the decision in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court could impact the LG Chem litigation. The ruling, issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, said that major manufacturers, like Ford, with a global reach can expect to be sued in states where they do a substantial amount of business, striking at the heart of LG Chem's attacks on jurisdiction.
"The Ford ruling is interesting in that it looks like it may expand the reach of specific jurisdiction to instances in which the defendant does enough business in the state that it may relate to the state or venue, as opposed to being the causation or the but-for cause of the injury in the state," said Ms. Tanner.
She said she expects to see new LG Chem cases being brought in state court rather than federal court. "It wouldn't benefit the plaintiffs, I don't think at this point, to try and continue pursuing actions in the federal courts. ... They're [LG Chem] swatting them down as they pop up. They [plaintiffs] may still have a shot in state court."