On February 23, 2011, Martin won a unanimous decision in the United States Supreme Court. The case is Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc., No. 08-1314. Martin represented the family of a woman who died in a car crash from injuries caused by a lap-only seatbelt installed in a Mazda minivan. The Supreme Court ruled that a state tort claim against Mazda for failure to install a lap/shoulder belt was not preempted by federal law. The majority opinion was written by Justice Breyer, with concurring opinions by Justices Sotomayor and Thomas. Martin briefed the case and argued it in the Supreme Court on November 3, 2010.
In the December 2010 issue of The Advocate Magazine, Martin published an article entitled “Answering Questions at Oral Argument.”
On November 13, 2010, Martin was the featured guest on Champions of Justice, a radio talk show hosted by attorney Tom Girardi and aired in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
On November 3, 2010, Martin presented oral argument to the United States Supreme Court in Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc., No. 08-1314. Martin represents the family of a woman who died in a car accident when she jackknifed over a lap-only seatbelt installed in the aisle seat of a 1993 Mazda mini-van. The issue before the Supreme Court is whether the plaintiffs’ state common-law claim alleging that Mazda should have installed a combination lap/shoulder belt is preempted by a 1989 federal motor vehicle safety regulation permitting but not requiring lap/shoulder belts for aisle seating positions.
On October 12, 2010, the United States Supreme Court declined to review a published decision in favor of Martin’s clients in In re Prempro Products Liability Litigation, 591 F.3d 613 (8th Cir. 2010). Martin represented 116 plaintiffs who alleged that they developed breast cancer as a result of their use of prescription hormone replacement therapy drugs. On consolidated appeals from orders dismissing their cases, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reversed the dismissals and directed the district court to remand the cases to Minnesota state court where they were first filed.
On October 6, 2010, Martin was elected to the board of Appellate Defenders, Inc. and Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
On September 23, 2010, Martin filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court in Bryant v. Media Right Productions, Inc., 603 F.3d 135 (2d Cir. 2010). The issue raised in the petition is whether statutory damages under the Copyright Act for unlawfully distributing individual songs from an album on the Internet should be calculated on a per-song or per-album basis.
On July 22, 2010, the California Supreme Court granted Martin’s petition for review in Shalant v. Girardi, No. S182629. The issue before the Supreme Court is whether a vexatious litigant must obtain permission to proceed in pro per if he or she becomes self-represented while the case is pending.