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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News
Headline Asbestos Legal News from LexisNexis®
Texas Jury Awards $7.8M In Punitive Asbestos Damages Against Employer
DALLAS - A Texas jury on March 27 awarded nearly $9 million, including $7.8 million in punitive damages, to the family of a mechanical engineer who suffered occupational exposure to asbestos (Shirley Dickson v. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., No. DC-12-05995, Texas Dist., Dallas Co., 95th Dist.).
California Jury Awards $715,000 In Mesothelioma Case; Defendant 1 Percent Liable
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Feb. 3 returned a $715,000 verdict in an asbestos case arising from exposure in the U.S. Navy but held the lone remaining defendant, J.T. Thorpe & Son Inc., 1 percent liable, sources told Mealey Publications (Joseph W. Houpt, et al. v. AK Steel Corp., et al., No. BC617859, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
Roof Products, Automotive Companies Secure Verdict After California Asbestos Trial
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on March 22 found for Ford Motor Co. and a roofing products company in an asbestos case after hearing defendants' challenges to an 83-year-old man's product identification and whether he actually suffered from mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Roderick B. Currie and Ing-Marie Sundling Currie v. Ford Motor Co., Henry Co., No. BC625103, Calif. App., Los Angeles Co.).
Turbine Maker Liable For Third-Party Parts, Washington Court Says
SEATTLE, Wash. - A turbine maker knew in the 1940s and 1950s that its products required asbestos-containing insulation, gaskets and packing and can be liable for those third-party parts, a Washington appeals court held April 3 (Yeanna Woo, et al. v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 74458-5-I, Wash. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Wash. App. LEXIS 784).
Magistrate Judge Adopts Bare Metal Defense, Frees Two From Asbestos Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - A federal magistrate judge recommended March 30 that a Delaware court ignore precedent rejecting the bare metal defense and grant judgment in favor of turbine and valve manufacturers (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Ellen Jeanene Palmer, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 14-1064, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47243).
Asbestos Expert's Testimony Too Vague To Create Trial Issues, Judge Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - A naval engineer's general testimony about the types of ships and occupation in question are too speculative to create genuine issues of material fact regarding asbestos exposure, a federal judge in Delaware held March 31 in adopting a magistrate judge's recommendations (Marguerite MacQueen v. Warren Pumps LLC, et al., No. 13-831, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48476).
Court: Expert's Experience On 'Like' Ships Can't Keep Builder In Asbestos Case
SAN FRANCISCO - An expert's testimony that his experience with ships "like" those in question is insufficient to overcome a shipbuilder's motion for summary judgment in an asbestos case, a California appeals panel held March 30 (Richard Johnson, et al. v. Moore Dry Dock, No. A146775, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2308).
Judge: Jury Can Handle Asbestos Friction Products Case Without Experts
CLEVELAND - A jury does not need experts to understand how brake systems and asbestos-friction products potentially factor into a man's mesothelioma, a federal judge in Ohio said in guessing how the Ohio Supreme Court would weigh in on the issue. The ruling comes as part of a wide-ranging April 4 opinion touching on statutory, common-law and punitive damages claims as well as a motion for sanctions (Gail Hart, et al. v. Honeywell International, et al., No. 15-10000, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51163).
Missouri Court Finds Testimony, Causation Sufficient In Jury's $4M Asbestos Verdict
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri appeals court affirmed a nearly $4 million asbestos verdict on March 28, tossing aside a wire company's challenges to the admission of lay witness testimony, sufficiency of causation evidence, application of a cap on wrongful death damages and assignment of rights to recovery from bankruptcy trusts under Wisconsin law (Jean Urbach, et al. v. The Okonite Co., No. ED104393, Mo. App., Eastern Dist., 2017 Mo. App. LEXIS 207).
Testimony About Frequent Use Of Product Sufficient, Illinois Court Finds
CHICAGO - Testimony regarding the frequent use of a company's joint compound satisfies the frequency, regularity and proximity standard for asbestos exposure, even where the witness could not place the products at certain job sites, an Illinois appeals court held March 14 (Jo Ann Startley, et al. v. Welco Manufacturing Co., No. 1-15-3649, Ill. App., 1st Dist.).
Delaware Judge Finds Roof Work Testimony Can't Create Asbestos Liability
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's testimony that he used a company's product and its admission that its products often contained asbestos are insufficient to create liability under Oklahoma law, a Delaware judge held April 4 (Henry Stowers and Laura Stowers v. Bird Inc., et al., No. N14C-09-234 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 167).
New York Court Finds Reasonable Delay In Officer's Asbestos Tort
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Any delay in a retired police officer's notice of intent to file an asbestos tort action against the City of Buffalo was reasonable given the facts of the case, and no evidence suggests the municipality will suffer prejudice from the late notice, a New York appeals court held March 24 (In the Matter of James R. Diegelman, et al. v. City of Buffalo, et al., No. CA 14-01919, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2279).
Testimony Can't Link Man To Asbestos Valve Company, Judge Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - Co-worker testimony regarding a man's work in Hawaii fails to definitively link the man to asbestos or the products in question, a Delaware judge held April 3 (Theodore K. Kawasaki v. Union Pump Co., et al., No. N13C-11-314 ASB, Del. Super., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 168).
New York Justice Consolidates 11 Asbestos Cases Into 4 Trial Groups
NEW YORK - Rejecting both plaintiffs' larger proposed trial groups and concern of prejudice by defendants, a New York justice in an opinion posted March 21 found that 11 cases' similarities warranted four trial groups and two separate trials (Walter Cunningham, et al. v. Aerco Intl., et al., No. 190136/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
Judge Denies Judgment, Will Consolidate Widow's Asbestos Cases
CHICAGO - Defendants twice denied summary judgment in other asbestos cases brought by the same widow also fail in their third shot at relief, a federal judge held March 31 while granting a motion to consolidate two of the woman's three actions (Beverly Ahnert, et al. v. Brand Insulation Inc., et al., Nos. 10-156, 13-1456, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51308).
Judge Remands Case Where Plaintiff Disclaimed Military Asbestos Exposures
LOS ANGELES - An asbestos plaintiff's disclaimer for any claims arising from conduct in a military or federal worksite precluded a boiler maker's removal of the case, but enough case law supports the move that sanctions are not warranted, a federal judge in California held March 31 (John Hukkanen, et al. v. Air and Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-2227, C.D. Calif.).
Secret Asbestos Settlement Acceptance No Acceptance At All, Texas Top Court Told
AUSTIN, Texas - At some point not declaring acceptance of a settlement crosses the line into unreasonable, and asbestos plaintiffs' eight- and nine-year delay constitutes a long trip past the line, Union Carbide Corp. told the Texas Supreme Court March 28 (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).
FELA Asbestos Settlement's Impact On Lung Cancer Case At Issue In Ohio High Court
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A petition asks the Ohio Supreme Court to review whether a Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) asbestosis settlement bars a subsequent lung cancer, a question of no public or general importance and one that ignores long-established policy in Ohio, an asbestos plaintiff told the court on March 6 (Richard C. Arpin v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 2017-0171, Ohio Sup.).
Man's Land-Based Asbestos Work Dooms Insurer's Action Seeking To Recoup Benefits
NEW ORLEANS - The court lacks jurisdiction over an employer and its insurer's action seeking to recover benefits paid under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) to the widow of a primarily land-based worker, a federal judge in Louisiana held March 13 (Signal Mutual Indemnity Association Ltd., et al. v. Asbestos Corp. Ltd., et al., No. 15-00633, M.D. La.).
Judge: Insufficient Evidence Michigan Dissolution Law Bars Asbestos Claim
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Unsupported statements that a company dissolved in compliance with Michigan law do not provide sufficient evidence on which to conclude that the state's statute of repose bars an asbestos action, a Rhode Island judge held March 13 (Shirley D'Amico, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al. No. PC-12-0403, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation).
N.Y. Justice: Wisconsin Dissolution Law Bars Suit Against Special Electric
NEW YORK - An asbestos action filed outside Wisconsin's two-year window for suing Special Electric Co. Inc. after its dissolution is untimely, and an earlier motion to reopen and enforce its bankruptcy plan does not save the case, a New York justice held in an opinion posted March 21 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Thomas McGlynn v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190219/2016, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 900, In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Bertle Stromholm, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190177/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
West Virginia Top Court Affirms Denial Of Widow's Benefits Claim
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - While there is evidence that a man suffered from a lung ailment, that evidence does not support a conclusion that he suffered from asbestosis or that the ailment was occupationally related, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals held March 30 (Elizabeth Foster, widow of Virgil L. Foster v. West Virginia Office of Insurance Commissioner and Glassware Acquisition Inc., No. 16-0416, W.Va. Sup. App., 2017 W. Va. LEXIS 187).
Veterans Judge: Evidence Of Asbestosis Lacking, No Service Connection For Death
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A former seaman's past asbestosis diagnosis, later rejected by other medical professionals, fails to support the conclusion that asbestos exposure in the U.S. Navy played a role in his death, a federal judge held March 30 (Mary Tomberlin v. David J. Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, No. 15-2203, Vet. Clms., 2017 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 481).
Iowa Enacts Law Codifying Bare-Metal Defense, Bankruptcy Transparency
DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa became the first state to legislatively bar asbestos claims arising from third-party parts on March 23 after its governor signed legislation codifying the bare-metal and component parts doctrine. The law also requires additional transparency in asbestos-related trust filings, imposes medical criteria from bringing asbestos- and silica-related claims, restricts trial consolidation and negates certain forms of successor liability.
Judges Dismiss John Crane's RICO Suits Against Lawyers For Lack Of Jurisdiction
CHICAGO - Illinois federal court is the wrong jurisdiction for John Crane Inc.'s fraud and racketeering claims against two law firms and their founders, two federal judges held separately March 23 in dismissing the company's lawsuits, but without prejudice to refile the actions in the proper courts (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 16-5913, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42758, John Crane Inc. v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, et al., No. 16-5918, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41840).
Utah Asks For Court Order In Investigation Of Trusts For Fraud, Abuse
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah sued four asbestos trusts March 7 in state court seeking to force the trusts to cooperate with an investigation into whether the trusts are engaged in mismanagement and abuse of the asbestos trust system (State of Utah v. Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 170901496, Utah 3rd Dist., Salt Lake Co.).
Judge Issues 'Third-Way' Opinion Addressing Bare-Metal Parts Liability
NEW ORLEANS - Manufacturers of bare metal products can be liable for asbestos in component parts if they assisted in integrating the asbestos part with their own product, knew the hazards involved in the part, or recommended the asbestos-containing part, a federal judge in Louisiana held March 6 in explaining what he earlier described as a "third way" of handling the bare-metal defense (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).
Court: Causation Opinion Admissible, Punitives OK In $6.5M Asbestos Verdict
FRESNO, Calif. - A judge properly admitted expert testimony that every identifiable exposure to asbestos contributes to mesothelioma, a California appeals court held March 17, while also rejecting challenges involving tobacco use and an award of punitive damages (Charity Faith Phillips, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. F070761, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).
Judge: Expert's Report Satisfactory, But Must Limit Opinion To General Causation
NEW ORLEANS - An expert's conclusion that six defendants' products couldn't have caused a man's mesothelioma impermissibly leaps to specific causation from his general causation opinion regarding chrysotile asbestos' role in the disease, a federal judge in Louisiana held March 6 (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31117).
Judge Affirms Exclusion Of Asbestos Experts' Specific Causation Opinions
NEW ORLEANS - Experts' failure to tether the opinion that small asbestos doses cause mesothelioma to the specific exposures in question renders their opinions too similar to the type of "every exposure" theory rejected by courts, a federal judge in Louisiana held March 6 (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31117).
Widow Who Lost $10.3M Jones Act Asbestos Verdict Urges Top Court Review
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida court ignored the "featherweight" causation standard applied in Jones Act cases while reversing a $10.3 million asbestos verdict against cruise line, plaintiffs told the U.S. Supreme Court March 3 (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 16-1074, U.S. Sup.).
Man's Recall Doesn't Overcome Expert Testimony In Asbestos Roof Compound Case
LOS ANGELES - A man's inability to recall a brand name or even if he repeatedly used the same roof product dooms his asbestos claim against the alleged manufacturer, a California appeals court held March 2 (John DeLoof, et al. v. Ace Hardware Corp., et al., No. B265886, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1503).
Court Rejects Mandamus Challenge To Texas Asbestos MDL Expert Ruling
DALLAS - Two asbestos defendants have not shown that a traditional appeal could not remedy their complaints about a judge's ruling regarding the admissibility and sufficiency of experts, a Texas appeals court held March 2 in denying a petition for writ of mandamus (In re Exxon Mobil Corp., f/k/a Exxon Corp., SeaRiver Maritime Inc. and SeaRiver Maritime Financial Holdings Inc., et al., No. 14-17-00133-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.).
Heeding Presumption Rejected In Tobacco User's New York Asbestos Lung Cancer Trial
NEW YORK - A New York justice refused to impose a heeding presumption in an asbestos trial in an opinion posted March 20, saying that absent evidence that a cigarette user who ignored tobacco warnings would have acted differently in the asbestos context, she would not impose such a standard (Donna Castorina, et al. v. A.C.&S., et al., No. 123077/01, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
Plaintiffs To Texas Top Court: Asbestos Settlement Envisioned Delayed Submissions
AUSTIN, Texas - Having enjoyed the benefits of a settlement resolving all of the firm's asbestos suits, Union Carbide Corp. now seeks to rewrite its contract to block individuals with late-forming diseases from receiving their side of the bargain, plaintiffs told the Texas Supreme Court on March 13 (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).
9th Circuit Rejects 'Game Over, Man' Reading Of Party Substitution Rule
LOS ANGELES - A rule requiring dismissal when asbestos plaintiffs failed to substitute a party within the allotted time frame is not the fatal weapon defendants wish it was, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held March 9 (Richard Zanowick, an individual and Joan Clark-Zanowick v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., et al., No. 15-56047, 9th Cir.).
Judge Applies Differing State Laws To Survivorship, Punitive Damages Claims
NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana law will govern a survivorship claim as its application does not substantially affect Idaho, while the latter state's policy against punitive damages precludes allowing that claim to proceed in an asbestos action, a federal judge in Louisiana held March 6 (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).
Judge Finds Grocery Properly Joined In Asbestos-Talc Case
MIAMI - A retail grocery was not fraudulently joined in an asbestos case because allegations regarding what it should have known sufficiently support a negligence action, a federal judge in Florida held in remanding the case on March 10 (Andrienne Fransas v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 17-80058, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35545).
Unopposed Summary Judgment Estops Asbestos Action, Federal Judge Says
ST. LOUIS - An unopposed summary judgment motion involved the same parties and allegations, despite longer alleged exposures to asbestos and the original plaintiff's death, a federal judge in Missouri held March 8 in finding that collateral estoppel precluded the action (Diane MacCormack, Nancy Broudy, and Karen Loftus, as personal representatives of Berj Hovsepian v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. 16-414, E.D. Mo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32652).
Justice: Advertising Doesn't Subject Tile Maker To New York Jurisdiction
NEW YORK - A decades-old marketing and advertising campaign for an asbestos-containing product allegedly similar to one a man bought in Missouri does not create jurisdiction in New York, a justice held in an opinion posted March 13 (Richard S. Trumbal and Margaret Trumbal v. Adience Inc., f/k/a BMI Inc., et al., No. 190084/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
Judge Remands Case After Dismissal Of Lone Federal Officer Defendant
BALTIMORE - Dismissal of all claims against the lone defendant claiming a federal officer defense to asbestos claims does not strip a court of jurisdiction, but remand is nonetheless warranted, a federal judge in Maryland held March 7 (Esther Rhodes, et al. v. MCIC Inc., et al., No. 16-2459, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31852).
Connecticut Panel Says Insured Not Responsible For Costs During Uninsured Years
HARTFORD, Conn. - In reversing a number of rulings entered by a trial court as part of the second phase of an asbestos and silica coverage dispute, the Connecticut Appellate Court on March 7 said the trial court construed the occupational disease exclusions too narrowly and erred in finding that the insured is responsible for defense costs from 1993 through 2007 when it was uninsured (R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. et al., Nos. AC 36749, AC 37140, AC 37141, AC 37142, AC 37143, AC 37144, AC 37145, AC 37146, AC 37147, AC 37148, AC 37149, AC 37150, AC 37151, Conn. App., 2017 Conn. App. LEXIS 59).
Judge Finds Asbestos Claims Against English Insurer Related To Arbitration Clause
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on March 16 found that an English insurer's removal of a former machinist's asbestos-related claims from a state court was appropriate, finding that the dispute could relate to an underlying arbitration agreement contained in an insurance policy (James Edward O'Connor v. Maritime Management Corp., et al., No. 16-16201, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37798).
Maryland Federal Judge Says Insured's Claims On Policy Exhaustion Not Timely Filed
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on March 10 granted motions for partial summary judgment filed by a number of insurers involved in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that the insured's claims regarding the exhaustion of the insurers' policies were not timely filed (General Insurance Company of America v. The Walter E. Campbell Co. Inc., et al., No. 12-3307, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34348).
"ME THINKS THE LAWYERS DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH" A Response to "The Irony of Tort Reform"
By Peggy Ableman Introduction Faced with ever-increasing instances of inconsistencies in trust claiming in asbestos tort litigation, plaintiffs and their attorneys have once again solicited the assistance of one of their longstanding advocates, Elihu Inselbuch, Esquire, together with his colleague, Andrew J. Sackett, Esquire, to put forth a defense. Both are counsel for existing asbestos claimants in bankruptcy as well as for the Trust Advisory Committees ("TACs") associated with several asbestos trusts. In their recent article "The Continuing Irony of 'Tort Reform,'"1 they take great pains to try to refute and undermine the express findings of judges, economists and defense attorneys, as well as the raw data itself, in an effort to legitimize plaintiffs' widespread practice of obtaining compensation for injuries from exposure to the products of bankrupt companies without admitting to these exposures in tort litigation against solvent defendants.
California Jury Awards More Than $10 Million In Asbestos-Pipe Case
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on Feb. 24 awarded $10,026,201 to a man who developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos while cutting and working with pipe. The jury found that CertainTeed Corp. knew of the risks but misrepresented the safety of its product and that its negligence contributed to the man's disease (Michael B. Burch and Cindy Burch v. CertainTeed Corporation, et al., No. RG16819332, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
New York Jury Returns Defense Verdict In Chef's Commercial Equipment Action
NEW YORK - A chef and butcher suffered exposure to asbestos from asbestos-containing materials in commercial kitchen equipment, but the defendant did not fail to exercise reasonable care, a New York jury held Feb. 16 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Dario Battistoni v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190103/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
9th Circuit Revives Only Premises Asbestos Claim Against Aircraft Company
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs' premises liability allegations in an action against aircraft company are sufficiently detailed to permit the claims to go forward, but strict liability and negligence claims lack supporting evidence regarding the products in question or are barred by law, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Feb. 23 in partially reversing dismissal of a case (Titus May, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al., No. 15-56219, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3314).
Texas Top Court Rejects Jurisdiction In Asbestos Claims Collusion Case
AUSTIN, Texas - Settlement negotiations in Texas involving asbestos liabilities do not support the conclusion that the parties sought to avail themselves of the state's laws, even if the company eventually selected to manage a resulting trust is based there, the Texas Supreme Court held March 3 in finding that the state lacked jurisdiction (M&F Worldwide Corp., et al. v. Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company Inc., No. 15-0083, Texas Sup.).
Judge Rejects Punitive Damage Award In Asbestos Case, But Otherwise Affirms
LOS ANGELES - A jury awarded $3.6 million in punitive damages without the necessary evidence that Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. could satisfy such a judgment, but the remainder of the verdict stands as the company mounted "very limited and highly generalized" testimony supporting the contention that it was insulated from liability by a sophisticated intermediary, a California appeals court held Feb. 15 (Donna Saller, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc., et al., No. B260277, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 1, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1062).
Judge: Internal Hospital Record Doesn't Doom Asbestos-Lung Cancer Suit
PHILADELPHIA - A reference to asbestos in what appears to be an internal hospital document is not sufficient to put a couple on notice of a potential cause of his lung cancer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held March 8 (Joseph Conneen and Kathleen Conneen v. Amatek Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 15-1063, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29787).
Evidence Falls Short In Case Against Auto Maker, Magistrate Judge Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - Testimony that a man worked with gaskets during an engine overhaul lacks any reference to who manufactured the gaskets or whether they contained asbestos, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held Feb. 16 in recommending summary judgment based on the lack of triable issues (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Charlevoix, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 15-726, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22590).
Judge Nixes Asbestos Contribution, Set-Offs From Third-Party Counterclaims
CHRISTIANSTED, Virgin Islands - While the Virgin Islands continues to recognize the doctrines, an oil company's attempt to bring contribution and set-off claims fail, leaving only its indemnification claim in an asbestos third-party case, a Virgin Islands judge held in an opinion posted March 2 (Albina Willie, personal representative of the estate of Terence Willie v. Amerada Hess Corp., et al., No. SX-06-CV-202, V.I. Super., St. Croix Div.).
N.Y. Court Explains Causation Standard In Affirming Rejection Of $11M Verdict
NEW YORK - Causation requires more than evidence of a mechanic's exposure to dust from asbestos-containing brakes, the majority of a New York appeals court held Feb. 28 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Juni, etc. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190315/12, 2457-2458, N.Y. Sup. App., 1st Dept.; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1505).
Wrongful Death Act Requires Couple Be Married At Time Of Injury, Court Says
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The state's Wrongful Death Act does not permit a widow's wrongful death loss of consortium claim arising from asbestos exposure occurring before the couple's marriage, a divided Florida court held Feb. 22 (Janis Kelly, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific LLC, et al., No. 4D15-4666, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2413).
Plaintiffs In Asbestos-Talc Fraud Suit Urge Court To Reject Subpoena
NEWARK, N.J. - A company accused of destroying evidence and fraudulently concealing evidence of asbestos contamination of its talc should not get to relitigate 25-year-old cases and has no legitimate need for discovery into them, named plaintiffs in a class action told a federal court on Feb. 21 (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
Jurisdictional Discovery, More Specific Allegations Required, Judge Says
NEW ORLEANS - Plaintiffs in an asbestos exposure case are entitled to further discovery in an attempt to muster the difficult support they need to overcome jurisdictional issues against one defendant and must amend their complaint to allege more specifics against a second company, a federal judge in Louisiana held Feb. 16 (Robin Murphy, et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., et al., No. 15-5566, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21979).
Magistrate Judge Largely Limits Discovery Requests In Ford Asbestos Case
BALTIMORE - While Ford Motor Co. must respond to discovery requests in an asbestos action, the plaintiffs' requests are overly broad and the company's responses can be limited to the vehicles and times in question, a federal magistrate judge in Maryland said Feb. 21 (Helen Thomas Fish, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 16-496, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24188).
Texas' Top Court Urged To Reject Settlement Accepted 9 Years After Offer
AUSTIN, Texas - An appeals court opinion allowing a jury to decide the reasonableness of a nine-year delay in accepting an asbestos settlement ignores both the terms of the offer and Texas precedent, Union Carbide Corp. tells the state's top court in a Feb. 20 opening brief (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).
House Judiciary Committee Passes Reintroduced FACT Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congress' latest measure aimed at requiring asbestos trusts to make claimant information public and provide the information to defendant companies in asbestos lawsuits was approved Feb. 15 by the House Judiciary Committee after being reintroduced by a Texas Republican a week earlier.