Defense Counsel Journal

Editor's Page - Volume 84, Number 2

Volume 84, No. 2

February 07, 2020

Smith_Michael_F_2016_sized Michael Franklin Smith

Michael Franklin Smith

Michael Franklin Smith is the current Editor and Chair of the Board of Editors for the Defense Counsel Journal. He is a shareholder at McAfee & Taft and a member of the IADC.

It’s spring time in my home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma (in the central region of the United States, north of Texas). Spring is my favorite time of year. It comes with the promise of new beginnings and fresh starts. I have a green thumb so every spring I spend my evenings and weekends planting annuals and perennials with their own promise of growth and beauty throughout the season and beyond. Those planting efforts take a little time in the spring but I get to enjoy the fruits of that labor and their beauty well into the fall.

Year round, I also spend time learning new things about the practice of law, whether the subject matter is for more in-depth understanding in my specialty area or learning a new practice area. Like planting flowers, my ongoing educational efforts pay off in the form of making me a better advocate for my clients and allowing me to expand my areas of expertise. You reap what you sow, so I strive to constantly plant new seeds so I can continually enjoy the fruits of those labors. This issue of the Defense Counsel Journal provides four practical articles on topics that offer in-depth review and analysis of topics for every practitioner.

In this issue, we examine recent attempts by plaintiffs’ lawyers to invoke the product line theory of liability for imposing liability for allegedly defective products on successor manufacturers who acquired the assets of a predecessor manufacturer responsible for manufacturing the product at issue. The article demonstrates why the majority of jurisdictions in the United States have rejected that theory and then provides a 50-state review of the case law addressing the product line theory.

Second, we take an in-depth look at the rapidly evolving defense of lack of personal jurisdiction since the United States Supreme Court’s 2014 opinion in Daimler AG v. Bauman. The authors look at the issues presented by the lower courts’ interpretations of Daimler through the lens of two cases working their way through the appellate process up to the Supreme Court for much anticipated, and much needed, clarification of that defense.

We also get a detailed analysis of the case law discussing insurance coverage for malicious prosecution under comprehensive general liability policies and the policy exclusions that can affect that coverage. Although coverage for malicious prosecution has been available since 1973 when it was included in the definition of “personal injury,” the case law analyzing that coverage and standard exclusions is not unanimous.

Finally, we look at the development and evolution of judicial notice, a tool that can greatly increase the efficiency of certain kinds of proof if used properly. That article also looks at some examples of when to use and when not to use judicial notice.

So please read this issue of the Defense Counsel Journal to plant a few seeds for your practice and reap what you sow in your future representations of clients. I’ve read them and look forward to the opportunity to use this new knowledge. In the meantime, you can find me in my garden.

Michael Franklin Smith
Editor and Chair of the Board of Editors, Defense Counsel Journal
Shareholder, McAfee & Taft, A Professional Corporation