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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News

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Jury Awards $24.26 Million To Man Exposed To Asbestos During Breaks In Engine Rooms
SAN FRANCISCO - A California jury on Nov. 29 awarded an 81-year-old former longshoreman $24.26 million for mesothelioma he allegedly contracted after exposure to asbestos while taking breaks in the engine rooms of ships to keep warm (George Lucas v. Triple A Machine Shop Inc., No. CGC-16-276549, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).



Judgment Entered After Rare Asbestos Renal Cancer Trial Snags Mixed Results
SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge on Dec. 20 entered judgment after a jury awarded $2.86 million in one of the first ever asbestos-related renal cancer trials. The jury found one of two defendants liable but apportioned the lion's share of the responsibility to the plaintiff (John M. Silva v. Albay Construction Co., Tosco Corp., No. CGC-15-276384, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).



Crane Co. Takes Fight Over $10M Punitive Award To U.S. Supreme Court
ST. LOUIS - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 29 gave an asbestos plaintiff more time to respond to a petition urging the court to use a $10 million verdict to clarify the proper standard for evaluating punitive damages awards under existing due process and award ratio precedent (Crane Co. v. Jeanette G. Poage, No. 17-900, U.S. Sup.).



Medical Monitoring Asbestos Plaintiffs Notice Appeal Of Opinion Striking Claims
HARTFORD, Conn. - Five mason laborers seeking medical monitoring after alleged exposed to asbestos during renovations at a school on Dec. 18 appealed a ruling striking their negligence, premises liability and recklessness claims, after arguing that the claims survive under recent Connecticut precedent construing exposures as an injury. The plaintiffs on Jan. 4 asked the court to enter default against the defendants on the negligent infliction of emotional distress claims the court did not strike (Julian Poce, et al. v. O&G Industries Inc., et al., No. HHD CV 17-60742454-S, Conn. Dist., Hartford at Hartford).



Washington Judge Keeps $81.5M Asbestos Friction-Parts Award In Place
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington state judge on Dec. 1 upheld an $81.5 million asbestos verdict, rejecting two friction-products companies' arguments about "systemic misconduct" and that the award was so excessive as to warrant a new trial or remittitur (Gerri Coogan, et al. v. Genuine Parts Co., et al., No. 15-2-09504-3, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).



Top Court Told Sales Gave Oklahoma Jurisdiction Over Asbestos Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A company's sale of tens of thousands of units of asbestos-containing drywall in Oklahoma easily surpasses the bar for jurisdiction in the state, a man told the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).



Fight Of Asbestos Transfer Order Waived Jurisdiction Defense, 3rd Circuit Says
PHILADELPHIA - Asbestos defendants waived personal jurisdiction defenses when they fought transfer to a different jurisdiction for pretrial management, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 28 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Joseph Blue, et al., No. 16-4148, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 26849).



Ship Owners Want Asbestos Jurisdiction Appeals Narrowed By 6th Circuit
CINCINNATI - A court should dismiss five asbestos plaintiffs from a group of 258 consolidated appeals, where one plaintiff's identical state court action was dismissed with prejudice and the other four failed to file timely appeals, ship owners told the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 in defense of personal jurisdiction dismissals (James Matthews, et al. v. Chas, Kurz & Co. Inc., et al., Nos. 16-4146, 16-4269, 16-4354, 16-4757, 17-3238, 17-3480, 17-3735, 17-3915, 17-3918, 6th Cir.).



Justice Orders Discovery Into Jurisdiction Over Asbestos Brewery Filters Case
NEW YORK - New York lacks jurisdiction over asbestos claims against an out-of-state jewelry-making products company, but further discovery is needed into whether the plaintiff was exposed to filters at breweries in the state, a justice held in a pair of opinions posted Dec. 27 (Richard S. Trumbull, et al. Adience Inc., et al., No. 190084/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5069, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5059).



Oral Arguments Set In Florida Asbestos Case Over Daubert Applicability
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).



Florida Court Finds Contractor Lacked Control Necessary For Premises Verdict
MIAMI - Evidence that a contractor put in more than a million hours of work at a premises is "impressive" but does not establish the type of control required for premises liability, and the company's failure to produce a witness who could testify regarding the period in question did not warrant sanctions, a majority of a Florida appeals court held Dec. 27 (Bechtel Corp., et al. v. Richard Batchelor and Regina M. Batchelor, No. 3D16-2624, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 19759).



Justice: Premises Owner Not Liable For Dual Exposure Defendant's Liability
NEW YORK - A jury's verdict against a company that exposed a man to asbestos both as a manufacturer and an employer covers only the liability as a products manufacturer, making it impossible to guess how it would calculate any liability the company faced as an employer, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Dec. 19 (Phyllis Brown, et al. v. Bell & Gossett Co., et al., No. 190415/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Court Kicks Appeal Challenging 2014 Mesothelioma Law To Missouri High Court
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Whether a 2014 law providing enhanced workers' compensation benefits for mesothelioma victims retroactively upsets vested interests is a constitutional question for the state's top court, the Missouri Court of Appeals held Dec. 19 (Accident Fund Insurance Co., et al. v. Robert Casey, et al., Nos. WD80470, WD80481, WD80525, Mo. App., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207148).



Employer: Asbestos Plaintiffs Lacked Sufficient Evidence To Support $9M Verdict
DALLAS - A Texas court on Dec. 28 gave the family of a mechanical engineer until Feb. 13 to respond to an opening brief challenging the sufficiency of the evidence underpinning a $9 million asbestos verdict that included $7.8 million in punitive damages against the man's employer (Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Shirley Dickson, et al., No. 05-17-00979-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.).



Selling Asbestos Products Created Duty To Household Members, Plaintiff Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - The affirmative act of selling asbestos-containing products is misfeasance and does not require a special relationship between the parties for imposition of a duty to protect household members from exposure, a woman told the Delaware Supreme Court on Dec. 28 (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).



Pennsylvania Court Remands $6.4M Asbestos Verdict For New Trial On Liability
PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania law all but eradicating joint and several liability applies to strict liability asbestos cases, a state appellate court held in remanding for a new trial on the issue of liability Dec. 28 (William Roverano, et al. v. John Crane Inc. et al., Nos. 2837 EDA 2016, 2847 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.)



Court Finds Motion Challenging Asbestos Conspiracy Claim Timely
WILMINGTON, Del. - A scheduling order governed motions for summary judgment on only product identification and causal nexus and does not make a motion involving a remaining conspiracy claim untimely, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held Dec. 15 (Marguerite MacQueen v. Warren Pumps LLC, et al., No. 13-831, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206223).



Law Firm: Texas Overstates Case In Urging Unsealing Of Asbestos Deposition
DALLAS - The Texas attorney general overstates the case in favor of unsealing deposition testimony from a law firm's principal and ignores that there is no evidence the record constitutes a court document, appellees told the state's appeals court on Jan. 3 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).



Court Reverses, Finds Judge Improperly Disregarded Asbestos Deposition Testimony
OAKLAND, Calif. - A judge misconstrued portions of testimony in concluding that a deposition contradicted a previous declaration, and the apparent belief that the testimony was lacking because the witness did not testify to directly witnessing asbestos exposures is contrary to the law, a California appeals court held Dec. 22 (Keith Turley and Joy Ann Turley v. Familian Corp., No. A149752, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).



Asbestos Company Says Ohio Law Requires Tobacco Users To Prove They Aren't Smokers
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Only by requiring those who use to tobacco products to submit medical reports indicating whether they qualify as "smokers" can Ohio courts give the General Assembly's choice of words meaning, a company told the Ohio Supreme Court on Dec. 22 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).



Judge Places Asbestos Evidence Under U.S. Military Technology Protection Rules
SEATTLE - Parties to an asbestos suit on Dec. 15 agreed that evidence produced during discovery should fall under various U.S. laws and regimes designed to protect against the release and export of defense and military related technologies (Thomas A. Johnson, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-834, W.D. Wash.).



Reinsurer Seeks New Trial After New York Federal Jury Awards $64M To Insurer
UTICA, N.Y. - Following a jury's verdict of $64 million, a reinsurer in a Dec. 29 motion asked a New York federal court for a new trial, arguing that it is not liable under seven reinsurance agreements for sums an insurer paid to an insured in an asbestos claims settlement (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-00853, N.D. N.Y.).



Illinois Judge Says Insured Failed To Prove All Primary Policies Were Exhausted
CHICAGO - Following a bench trial in an asbestos coverage dispute, an Illinois federal judge on Dec. 28 determined that a ruling regarding the exhaustion of the insured's umbrella and excess policies would be premature because the insured failed to meet its burden of proving that the primary policies were exhausted (John Crane Inc. v. Admiral Insurance Co., et al., No. 04-CH-08266, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).



Sheldon Silver Asks Court To Review Money-Laundering, Asbestos Scheme Evidence
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The circuit courts are split on how to handle commingled funds in the hundreds of money-laundering cases the government brings every year, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the nation's top court Dec. 22 (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 17-562, U.S. Sup.).



Expert Index
PLAINTIFF



When Strategies Go Awry: Part 3 In A Series On Cognitive Biases And Their Impact
By Laura A. Frase Loss Aversion and its Collaborators or



California Jury Adds $4.6M In Punitive Damages To $17.5M Asbestos-Talc Verdict
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on Dec. 11 added $4.6 million in punitive damages after finding two talc companies liable for $17.5 million in compensatory damages for a man's asbestos-related mesothelioma (Booker v. Vanderbilt Minerals, No. RG15796166, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).



Florida Jury Awards $6.93M In Asbestos Case Against Fiber Supplier
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Nov. 28 awarded $6,935,000 for a man's mesothelioma arising from exposure to Union Carbide Corp. asbestos in joint compound (Paula Font, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., No. 10-41578 CA 42, Fla. Cir., Maimi-Dade Co.).



New York Federal Jury Awards $64M To Insurer, Finds Reinsurer Is Liable
UTICA, N.Y. - A jury in a New York federal court on Dec. 15 awarded an insurer more than $64 million after finding that a reinsurer is liable under seven reinsurance agreements for sums the insurer paid to an insured in an asbestos claims settlement (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-00853, N.D. N.Y.).



Talc Plaintiff: Asbestos Case Survives Exclusion Of Experts
PHILADELPHIA - The exclusion of two experts did little to change the state of a case as two other experts hold the same opinions regarding asbestos-contaminated talc's role in causing mesothelioma, a woman told a Pennsylvania judge on Dec. 4 (Sally Brandt, et al. v. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., et al., No. 151202987, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).



Man Says Asbestos Law Doesn't Require Medical Opinion On 'Smoker' Status
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Requiring every asbestos lung cancer plaintiff who ever smoked tobacco to provide a medical expert opinion that the person doesn't qualify as a "smoker" would produce absurd results, burden nonsmokers and is at odds with a decade of precedent and the law's intent, a man told the Ohio Supreme Court Dec. 6 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).



Amici: Case Law, Logic, Preclude Manufacturer Liability For Take-Home Exposures
WILMINGTON, Del. - Imposing liability for take-home asbestos exposures on manufacturers would make no sense given Delaware's precedent and would open those defendants up to a flood of potentially limitless liability and litigation, a group of amicus parties told the Delaware Supreme Court on Dec. 15 (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).



Companies Say Time, Relevance Doom Motion Citing Asbestos Bare-Metal Ruling
WILMINGTON, Del. - A couple's motion seeking reconsideration in light of a recent appellate court ruling that the bare-metal defense is inapplicable to maritime negligence claims is untimely and ultimately ignores that independent reasons existed for granting the judgments, two defendants tell a Delaware federal court in Nov. 22 filings (Icom Henry Evans, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 15-681 D. Del.).



Magistrate Judge Finds Evidence Of Exposure To Original Vehicle Parts Sufficient
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's testimony that he worked on his wife's new Ford Motor Co. Mustang is sufficient evidence on which to allege exposure to asbestos in originally installed parts, products the company had a duty to warn about, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware said Dec. 12 while granting judgment on other alleged exposures (Gerald L. Hickman v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 16-308, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203692).



Delaware Judge Finds Evidence Can't Establish Exposure To Asbestos Parts
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's testimony that he worked on pumps replacing insulation, gaskets and packing and that it was "common knowledge" that the products contained asbestos fails to overcome a company's summary judgment motion, a Delaware judge held Nov. 29 (Philip A. Walsh, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., No. N15C-08-206 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).



Texas Court Won't Reconsider $18.6M Verdict, Radiation-Asbestos Causation Issue
DALLAS - A Texas appeals court on Dec. 12 declined to once again wade into a dispute over whether a company preserved the right to appeal a ruling on the role radiation may have played in a man's lung cancer and the resulting $18.6 million asbestos verdict (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.).



4th Circuit Affirms Jury's Intervening Cause Finding In Asbestos Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - How a judge instructed the jury made possible a verdict finding that automobile product defendants' negligence was a proximate cause of a man's mesothelioma and that a third party's negligence was an intervening cause, a divided Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Dec. 14 (Erik Ross Phillips, et al. v. Pneumo Abex LLC, et al., No. 16-1508, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 25252).



Court: Company Must Produce Evidence It Proffered For Asbestos Plaintiff's Review
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A judge properly ordered a boiler company to produce more than 5,000 index cards after the company voluntarily permitted inspection by an asbestos plaintiff, an Illinois appeals court held Dec. 5 (Larry Salvatore Sr., et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks, et al., No. 4-17-0173, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).



Oregon Judge Rejects Punitive Damage Challenge, Upholds $5.7M Asbestos Verdict
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon judge on Oct. 27 denied motions seeking a new trial, directed verdict or judgment notwithstanding the verdict, turning away an asbestos defendant's challenges to a $5.7 million verdict that includes $3 million in punitive damages (Robert G. Sprague Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 15CV14771, Oregon Cir., Multnomah Co.).



Ohio Federal Judge: Testimony On Auto Shop Visits Keeps Asbestos Action Alive
CLEVELAND - A woman's testimony regarding her regular visits to a mechanic's garage to visit her fiance and the work she witnessed while there satisfies Ohio's standard of proof for asbestos cases, a federal judge held Dec. 13 (Julia C. Alexander, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 17-504, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205053).



Lawyer Wants Action Seeking Asbestos Witness Coaching Deposition Reinstated
DALLAS - A judge stepped outside the bounds of a motion challenging jurisdiction and resolved merit questions, a woman told a Texas appeals court on Dec. 8 in asking it to reinstate her case seeking to obtain a copy of a deposition she claims will show an asbestos law firm coaching witnesses (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).



Judge Finds Evidence Lacking In Laborer's Asbestos Case Against Union Carbide
DURHAM, N.C. - Two co-workers' inability to recall how a man could have been exposed to a defendant's product is the extent of a man's asbestos case and falls short of the regular, frequent, proximate standard for causation, a federal judge in North Carolina said Dec. 7 (Jonathan A. Queen, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 16-330, M.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201299).



Court Seeks Response To Claim That Asbestos Appeal Came 4 Days Too Late
MINNEAPOLIS - Asbestos plaintiffs appealing a summary judgment ruling must respond to defendants' claim that the time to appeal began with the original judgment, not an amended one, making the appeal four days too late, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 11 (Marlin P. Filipek, et al. v. The Boeing Co., et al., No. 17-3363, 8th Cir.).



Judge Finds Evidence Lacking In Asbestos Case Against Fiber Supplier
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that Union Carbide Corp. was one among a group of asbestos fiber suppliers to a joint compound maker is insufficient evidence on which to overcome summary judgment, a judge in Delaware held Dec. 11 (Larry Sturgill, et al. v. 3M Co. Inc., et al., No. N15C-12-188 ASB., Del. Super., New Castle Co.).



U.S. Top Court Asks Man To Defend Asbestos Verdict From Jurisdiction Challenge
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 asked a man awarded $6 million for his mesothelioma to respond to a drywall materials company's petition asking the court to find jurisdiction lacking and vacate the verdict (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).



Judge Denies Transfer In Pennsylvania Asbestos-Talc Case
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania judge on Nov. 22 denied a motion to transfer venue of an asbestos case, turning away talc defendants' argument that another forum in the state is more convenient (Frank Joseph Herron, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., et al., No. GD-17-004514, Pa. Comm. Pls., Allegheny Co.).



Judge: Deleting Asbestos Claim Doesn't Eliminate Federal Jurisdiction
NEW ORLEANS - The presence of a second defendant entitled to federal jurisdiction means that despite proper elimination of claims against a shipyard, an asbestos case will stay in federal court, a federal judge in Louisiana held Dec. 6 (Diane Pitre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-7029, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200355).



United States: Upcoming Trial Of Sheldon Silver Requires Denying Petition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Supreme Court review of an interlocutory order would potentially waste judicial resources with a new trial scheduled for the spring, the United States tells the court in a Dec. 13 response to former New York Speaker Sheldon Silver's petition for review (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 17-562, U.S. Sup.).



English Master Grants Third Party Access To Documents In Settled Asbestos Case
LONDON - Documents submitted in a settled case between two companies offer an unprecedented look into what an asbestos products company knew about the dangers and must be disclosed, an English master said Dec. 5 (Graham Dring v. Cape Distribution Limited, et al., No. HQ12X01829, HQ13X02470, U.K. High).



New York High Court Finds No Set Rule On Reinsurer's Liability Cap On Defense Costs
NEW YORK - In a coverage dispute over asbestos litigation costs, the New York Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 ruled that one of its previous rulings did not establish a general rule that a reinsurance contract's total liability cap encompasses both indemnity and defense costs incurred by an insurer (Global Reinsurance Corporation of America v. Century Indemnity Co., No. CTQ-2016, 0005, N.Y. App., 2017 N.Y. LEXIS 3723).



Expert Index
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New York Jury Awards $2M In Asbestos Case Against Jenkins Bros.
NEW YORK - A New York jury on Oct. 17 awarded $2 million to the estate of man exposed to asbestos in Jenkins Bros. Co. valves and held the company 4 percent liable for the man's fatal mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Donald Snowdale v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No.190202/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Action Arose At Asbestos Exposure, Before Statute Of Repose, Maryland Court Told
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The state's statute of repose acts prospectively and does not cover exposures occurring before enactment, and its "improvement to real property" language cannot possibly be interpreted as covering the asbestos dust in a man's lungs, a woman told Maryland's top court on Nov. 21. Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 1 (June Diane Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 41 September Term, 2017, Md. App.).



Amici: Severe Departure From Delaware Asbestos Law In Case Against Manufacturers
WILMINGTON, Del. - A court erred "in the most fundamental sense" in applying the wrong standard and relieving manufacturers of liability for take-home asbestos exposures simply because they were more distant from the exposed individual than the premises owner, amici curiae tell Delaware's top court in a Nov. 20 brief (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).



Company: Oklahoma Courts Ignored Jurisdiction Precedent In $6M Asbestos Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A man awarded $6 million for his mesothelioma on Nov. 20 waived his right to respond to a drywall materials' U.S. Supreme Court petition seeking to vacate the verdict (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).



Judge Finds Jurisdiction Lacking In Asbestos Bowling-Shoe Product Case
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A distributor's sale of a bowling ball product in North Carolina does not create jurisdiction absent evidence that the manufacturer specifically targeted the state, a North Carolina federal judge held Nov. 21 (Vickie Young, et al. v. American Talc Co., et al., No. 13-864, M.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192356).



Federal Maritime Asbestos Plaintiffs Appeal Personal Jurisdiction Ruling
PHILADELPHIA - Three maritime plaintiffs whose cases were part of the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation judge's order dismissing 4,400 cases for lack of personal jurisdiction appealed that 2014 decision on Nov. 9 to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Louis Munnier, William D. Schroeder, Richard G. Williams v. Charles Kurz & Co. Inc.., No. 17-3471, 3rd Cir.).



5th Circuit Considers Whether Removal Clock Starts At Deposition, Or Transcript
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel is set to decide whether deposition testimony counts as "other paper" and triggers the time for removing an action or whether the clock starts only after defendants receive the transcript, after the court held oral arguments Nov. 8 in an asbestos case (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-30523, 5th Cir.).



Judge Finds Alleged Navy Control Over Products Sufficient For Removal
NEW YORK - Claims by two defendants that they designed and manufactured products at the direction of the U.S. Navy are sufficient to remove an asbestos case, a federal judge in New York held Nov. 27 (Michael B. Donohue, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-7232, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195159).



Asbestos Plaintiff Says County's Workers' Comp Brief Untimely, Unconvincing
HOUSTON - A Texas county's post-argument submission is improper and fails to prove that it provided workers' compensation benefits for a judge employed in its courthouse, a woman pursuing an asbestos action on behalf of the former judge told a Texas appeals court on Nov. 22 (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).



Maryland Court Finds Circumstantial Evidence Against Contractors Lacking
BALTIMORE - Testimony that a man worked on "all of" the vessels at a shipyard cannot realistically mean he worked on every ship and, even when combined with evidence of two insulation contractors' presence at the facility, is not enough to establish exposure to asbestos from their work, a Maryland appeals court held Nov. 20 (Kathryn A. Davenport, et al. v. MCIC Inc., et al., No. 1204 September Term, 2016, Md. Spec. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 1162).



Delaware Judge: Asbestos Exposure Evidence Lacking In Friction Product Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - A medical expert cannot simply conclude that occupational exposures included a defendant's product, and absent that link, the claim fails, a Delaware judge held Nov. 8 (Tawnya Ardis v. ArvinMeritor Inc., et al., No. N13C-10-020 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).



Justice Says Evidence Keeps 2 Boiler Makers In Asbestos Case
NEW YORK - Two boiler makers have failed to show that they could not have foreseen that their products would need to be demolished for removal from residences, thereby exposing the worker to asbestos, a New York justice held Nov. 1 (Mary Murphy-Clagett, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190311/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4145, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4152).



N.Y. Justice Rejects Power Company's Reargument Of Asbestos Indemnity Claim
NEW YORK - A power company's contracts with its contractors requires indemnification only after the establishment of liability, a New York justice held in denying reargument in an asbestos case in an opinion posted Nov. 30 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation Michael Koulermos and Marian Koulermos v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190406/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4530).



Asbestos Case Proceeds Against Brake Company, Not Raw Fiber Supplier, Judge Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man presents sufficient evidence that he regularly used a company's brakes during the time it used asbestos, but his claims against a raw asbestos fiber supplier fail, a Delaware judge held Nov. 8 in applying Rhode Island law (Raymond K. Leathers v. Borgwarner Morse Tec, et al., No. N15C-11-224 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).



Montana Supreme Court Creates Special Asbestos Docket
HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Supreme Court on Nov. 28 ordered the creation of an asbestos claims court to oversee pretrial proceedings in the state's more than 540 asbestos cases (In re: Asbestos Litigation, No. AC 17-0694, Mont. Sup.).



Australia Court Grants Record $250,000 In Exemplary Damages In Asbestos Case
ADELAIDE, South Australia - An Australian appeals court on Oct. 30 dramatically increased an exemplary asbestos damages award, increasing the verdict to a record-setting $250,000, saying that while Australian courts are loath to award such damages, James Hardie's "reprehensible" conduct renders the original award "manifestly inadequate" (Amaca Pty Ltd v. Latz, No. [2017] SASCFC 145, S. Australia Sup.).



Coverage Triggered By Exposure To Asbestos, New York Justice Determines
NEW YORK - Coverage for underlying asbestos claims arising out of the construction of the original World Trade Center towers is triggered if the underlying claims allege that the exposure occurred during the construction of the towers even if the disease did not develop until years later, a New York County Supreme Court justice said Nov. 29, noting that the policy at issue provides coverage for any injury arising out of the construction project (American Home Assurance Co. v. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, et al., No. No. 651096/2012, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Expert Index
PLAINTIFF



When Strategies Go Awry: Part 2 in a Series on Cognitive Biases and Their Impact
By Laura A. Frase Anchoring Effect: "Draggin the Line"1 in Litigation and Negotiation One of the most well researched cognitive bias is the Anchoring Effect; "the human tendency to adjust judgments or assessments higher or lower based on previously disclosed external information - the anchor."2 This mental short-cut involves starting with an initial known number or information (explicitly or implicitly conveyed) and then adjusting to generate the final answer for which we are searching. Once we believe we have reached the realm of a plausible answer, we stop adjusting from the initial reference point. For example, we want to purchase a quart of cream. We know the price of a quart of milk so we adjust from that number to estimate the cost of the same amount of cream. If we want to buy a particular car, we may recall prices for similar makes and models and use those numbers to estimate the cost of the car we want to purchase. The numbers or information we start with and use as comparisons are anchors.