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A German newspaper reports that judges are considering jailing senior Bavarian officials for failing to take action against air pollution in Munich, home to automaker BMW.

Daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Monday that the southern German state's administrative court believes jailing officials may be the most effective way of forcing the Bavarian government to enforce emissions-cutting measures.

Munich topped the ranks of 65 German cities that exceeded levels of harmful particles last year. Bavarian officials have refused to impose measures in the state capital — such as limited bans on driving diesel vehicles — despite heavy fines.

According to the report, Bavarian judges want to seek legal guidance from the European Court of Justice on whether jailing officials — including state Environment Minister Marcel Huber and Governor Markus Soeder — would be permissible.



The Supreme Court has dismissed a dispute between the Trump administration and Microsoft over emails the government wanted as part of a drug trafficking investigation.

The justices on Tuesday agreed with both the administration and Microsoft that last month's passage of the Cloud Act as part of a spending bill resolves the dispute and makes the court's intervention unnecessary.

The legislation updated a 32-year-old law that governs how authorities can get electronic communications held by technology companies. The issue was whether Microsoft had to turn over emails that were stored on its server in Ireland.

The Cloud Act makes clear that the government can obtain the emails. The court says in an unsigned opinion that "no live dispute remains between the parties."


Eye drop users everywhere have had it happen. Tilt your head back, drip a drop in your eye and part of that drop always seems to dribble down your cheek.

But what most people see as an annoyance, some prescription drop users say is grounds for a lawsuit. Drug companies' bottles dispense drops that are too large, leaving wasted medication running down their faces, they say.

Don't roll your eyes. Major players in Americans' medicine cabinets — including Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Merck and Pfizer — are asking the Supreme Court to get involved in the case.

On the other side are patients using the companies' drops to treat glaucoma and other eye conditions. Wasted medication affects their wallets, they say. They argue they would pay less for their treatment if their bottles of medication were designed to drip smaller drops. That would mean they could squeeze more doses out of every bottle. And they say companies could redesign the droppers on their bottles but have chosen not to.

The companies, for their part, have said the patients shouldn't be able to sue in federal court because their argument they would have paid less for treatment is based on a bottle that doesn't exist and speculation about how it would affect their costs if it did. They point out that the size of their drops was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and redesigned bottles would require FDA approval. The cost of changes could be passed on to patients, possibly resulting in treatment that costs more, they say.

Courts haven't seen eye to eye on whether patients should be able to sue. That's why the drugmakers are asking the Supreme Court to step in. A federal appeals court in Chicago threw out one lawsuit over drop size. But a federal appeals court in Philadelphia let the similar case now before the Supreme Court go forward. That kind of disagreement tends to get the Supreme Court's attention.

And if a drop-size lawsuit can go forward, so too could other packaging design lawsuits, like one by "toothpaste users whose tubes of toothpaste did not allow every bit of toothpaste to be used," wrote Kannon Shanmugam, a frequent advocate before the Supreme Court who is representing the drug companies in asking the high court to take the case.


A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

The verdict in the lawsuit brought by the California woman, Eva Echeverria, marks the largest sum awarded in a series of talcum powder lawsuit verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in courts around the U.S.

Echeverria alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder's potential cancer risks. She used the company's baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, according to court papers.

Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a "proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder," she said in her lawsuit.

Echeverria's attorney, Mark Robinson, said his client is undergoing cancer treatment while hospitalized and told him she hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warnings on its products.

"Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years," Robinson said.

"She really didn't want sympathy," he added. "She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women."

The jury's award included $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages, Robinson said. The evidence in the case included internal documents from several decades that "showed the jury that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer," Robinson said.

"Johnson & Johnson had many warning bells over a 30 year period but failed to warn the women who were buying its product," he said.

Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement that the company will appeal the jury's decision. She says while the company sympathizes with women suffering from ovarian cancer that scientific evidence supports the safety of Johnson's baby powder.

The verdict came after a St. Louis, Missouri jury in May awarded $110.5 million to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

She had blamed her illness on her use of the company's talcum powder-containing products for more than 40 years.

Besides that case, three other trials in St. Louis had similar outcomes last year — with juries awarding damages of $72 million, $70.1 million and $55 million, for a combined total of $307.6 million.

Another St. Louis jury in March rejected the claims of a Tennessee woman with ovarian and uterine cancer who blamed talcum powder for her cancers.

Two similar cases in New Jersey were thrown out by a judge who said the plaintiffs' lawyers did not presented reliable evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer.

More than 1,000 other people have filed similar lawsuits. Some who won their lawsuits won much lower amounts, illustrating how juries have wide latitude in awarding monetary damages.

Johnson & Johnson is preparing to defend itself and its baby powder at upcoming trials in the U.S., Goodrich said.



A Supreme Court ruling this week could have a "chilling effect" on the many lawsuits filed in St. Louis claiming talcum powder causes a deadly form of cancer in women, including cases under appeal in which stricken women and their survivors have been awarded more than $300 million, experts said Tuesday.

Justices ruled 8-1 Monday that hundreds of out-state-residents can't sue Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in California state court over adverse reactions to the blood thinner Plavix. It followed a similar ruling in May related to out-of-state injury claims against BNSF Railway Co. Both were seen as wins for companies opposed to "venue shopping," in which those filing suit seek out favorable state courts.

Almost immediately after the Supreme Court ruling, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison declared a mistrial in a Missouri state court case in which three plaintiffs, two from out-of-state, sued Johnson & Johnson, claiming its talcum powder caused ovarian cancer.

More than 1,000 others have filed similar lawsuits in St. Louis against Johnson & Johnson, but most don't live in Missouri. Five trials have already taken place over the past 16 months. In four of those cases, jurors awarded more than $300 million combined.

Johnson & Johnson believes that the Supreme Court ruling "requires reversal of the talc cases that are currently under appeal in St. Louis," spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in an email. She said the ruling "makes it clear that Johnson & Johnson was wrongfully forced to defend itself in multiple trials in Missouri, a state with no connection to the plaintiffs."

Jim Onder, whose suburban St. Louis-based law firm is representing many women and survivors who filed suit, said Missouri is a proper venue because Johnson & Johnson, though based in New Jersey, uses a factory in Union, Missouri, to package and label talcum products.



Consumers have a right to file lawsuits under California law alleging food products are falsely labeled "organic," the state Supreme Court ruled.

Thursday's ruling overturned a lower court decision that barred such suits on the grounds that they were superseded and not allowed by federal law.

Congress wanted only state and federal officials to police organic food violations in order to create a national standard for organic foods, a division of the 2nd District Court of Appeal decided in 2013.

But the state Supreme Court said allowing consumer lawsuits would further congressional goals of curtailing fraud and ensuring consumers can rely on organic labels.

"Accordingly, state lawsuits alleging intentional organic mislabeling promote, rather than hinder, Congress's purposes and objectives," Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote for the unanimous court.

The ruling will have an impact beyond California's borders, said Marsha Cohen, a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

"Nothing in here is irrelevant to a parallel case in another state," she said. "The court is simply saying federal law does not supersede our consumer protection functions."

At issue were allegations in a lawsuit by consumer Michelle Quesada that Herb Thyme Farms Inc. — one of the nation's largest herb producers — mixed organic and non-organic herbs then falsely labeled the product "100 % organic." The term "organic" means the food was produced using sustainable practices and without synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering, according to the California Department of Public Health. The department says products labeled "100% organic" must consist of only organic ingredients.

A call to Cliff Neimeth, an attorney for Herb Thyme Farms, was not immediately returned.

The company said in court documents it had been authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use the organic label.


Emmanuelle Maria's breasts were burning and globules of silicone gel were protruding into her armpits. Her implants had exploded inside her. Yet her doctors, she says, told her nothing was wrong.

Now, she wants the French government to tell 30,000 women to get their implants removed — at the state's expense — to call attention to their risks and save others from potential pain and indignity.

Prompted by calls from implant wearers and leading doctors, French health authorities are considering a drastic and unprecedented move: recommending mass surgery to rid the country of a type of breast implant that investigators say was secretly made with cheap industrial silicone whose medical dangers remain unclear.

Governments around Europe are hanging on France's decision Friday. Tens of thousands more women in Britain, Italy, Spain and other European nations are walking around with the same pre-filled implants, made by the now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP.

Health officials from several European countries held a conference call Wednesday to discuss the implants, Portugal's Director-General of Health, Dr. Francisco Jorge, told The Associated Press. European Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent said no decisions were made, but France informed the others of the situation.

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