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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News

Headline Asbestos Legal News from LexisNexis®


Arizona Jury Returns Defense Verdict In Asbestos Pipe Case
PHOENIX - An Arizona jury on Feb. 1 returned a defense verdict for CertainTeed Corp. after hearing earlier in the day that plaintiffs had not shown asbestos exposure from the company's pipe and that the case rests on pieces of evidence taken out of context, sources told Mealey Publications (Francisco Herrera, et al. v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. CV2014-009632, Ariz. Super., Maricopa Co. VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.).

Asbestos-Talc Link Debated In Opening Arguments Before New Jersey Jury
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey jury heard oral arguments Jan. 30 on whether a man's mesothelioma could have been caused by asbestos that contaminated the talc he used for years (Stephen Lanzo, et al. v. Cyprus Amex Minerals Co., et al., No. L00738516, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co. VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.).

Ohio Supreme Court Finds Cumulative Asbestos Exposure Opinion Lacking
CLEVELAND - Testimony that cumulative asbestos exposures all contribute to mesothelioma does not meet the standard for causation in Ohio, the state's supreme court held Feb. 8 in reversing a ruling that affirmed a more than $1 million judgment against Honeywell International Inc. (Mark Schwartz, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 2016-1372, Ohio Sup.).

California Top Court Won't Review Expert's Asbestos-Tainted-Talc Opinion
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on Jan 31 declined to review a ruling finding that triable issues were created by an expert's testimony regarding asbestos contamination of talc a woman regularly used for more than 20 years (Mary Lyons v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., No. S245665, Calif. Sup.).

Judge Affirms Exclusion Of Unchallenged Deposition Testimony In Asbestos Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - Defendants' postponement of a deposition did not waive their right to cross-examine the witness, who died two weeks after he gave truncated testimony, a Delaware judge held Feb. 7 in finding the testimony inadmissible (William Derek Sykes, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. N14C-03-028 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Judge Considers Whether Federal Compliance Negates $4.3M Asbestos Verdict
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California state judge will hear arguments Feb. 16 on whether a company's compliance with federal regulations precluded a jury's finding that it negligently exposed a man to asbestos, leading to his lung cancer (Saipele Faiaipau v. J&H Marine Industrial & Engineering Inc., et al., No. RG1364938, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

Couple Wants Review Of Pennsylvania Fair Share Act Asbestos Liability Ruling
PHILADELPHIA - An appellate court erred in concluding that Pennsylvania's Fair Share Act overrode the existing per capita equal share basis for dividing liability in asbestos cases and in allowing a jury to consider bankrupt defendants as well, a couple told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Jan. 26 (William Roverano, et al. v. John Crane Inc., et al., Nos. 58 EAL 2018, Pa. Sup.).

City Didn't Waive Asbestos-Claim Immunity, Colorado High Court Rules
DENVER - The city of Colorado Springs' complete demolition of an office building did not constitute construction or maintenance of the facility and did not waive its sovereign immunity protection against an asbestos claim, the Colorado Supreme Court held Feb. 5 (Smokebrush Foundation, et al. v. City of Colorado Springs, No. 2018 CO 10, Colo. Sup.).

Judge: Landowner Must Address New Evidence In Asbestos Premises Suit
WILMINGTON, Del. - A landowner must address new evidence related to whether it had a duty under Louisiana law to protect a contractor from asbestos exposure, a Delaware judge held Jan. 30 (Sandra Kivell, et al. v. Murphy Oil USA Inc., et al., No. N15C-07-093 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Judge: 2009 Asbestosis Case Judgment Precludes Mesothelioma Claim
ST. LOUIS - An unopposed motion for summary judgment in an asbestosis case sufficiently shares common parties and claims with a subsequent mesothelioma case to warrant granting judgment under collateral estoppel, a federal judge in Missouri held Jan. 30 (Diane MacCormack, et al. v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. 16-414, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14579).

Asbestos Defendant Tells Top Court Oklahoma Ignores Jurisdiction Precedent
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Oklahoma appellate court's "indefensible" ruling in an asbestos case merely continues the state's disregard for U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the issue of jurisdiction, a company told the nation's top court Jan. 23 (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).

Justice Won't Re-evaluate Jurisdiction Ruling In Asbestos Floor Tile Case
NEW YORK - Insufficient evidence links an asbestos floor tile company to New York for jurisdiction to exist in the state, a state justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 30, denying reargument (Richard S. Trumbull, et al. Adience Inc., et al., No. 190084/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5069, 2018 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 276).

Judge Finds Allegations Against Employee Keep Asbestos Case In State Court
GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Allegations against a former railway employee allegedly responsible for safety destroy complete diversity and warrant remanding five asbestos cases, a federal judge in Montana held Feb. 1 (Kenneth Braaten, et al. v. BNSF Railway Co., et al., No. 17-94, D. Mont.).

Judge: Emails Made Case Removable; Asbestos Disclaimer Keeps It In State Court
PORTLAND, Ore. - Contacts in furtherance of settlements suggesting asbestos exposures aboard U.S. Navy ships are "other paper" that make a case removable, but a woman's subsequent waiver of such claims warrants remanding the case, a federal judge in Oregon held Feb. 2. On Feb. 5, the defendants filed an emergency motion to stay remand (Maxine Pelker, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-1107, D. Ore., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17466).

Judge: Continental Shelf Platform Work Keeps Asbestos Case In Federal Court
NEW ORLEANS - Work constructing or maintaining continental shelf platforms, and resulting asbestos exposures, is enough to keep a case in federal court, a Louisiana federal judge held Jan. 24 in denying remand (Frederico Lopez v. McDermott Inc., et al., No. 17-8977, E.D. La.).

2nd Asbestos Disclaimer Can't Void Removal, Judge Finds
PORTLAND, Ore. - A woman who reasserted asbestos exposure allegations giving rise to federal jurisdiction after remand cannot avoid removal a second time by once again rejecting those claims, a federal judge in Oregon held Feb. 2 (Melissa Coury, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 16-1796, D. Ore., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17463).

3rd Circuit Keeps Federal Maritime Asbestos Jurisdiction Challenge Alive
PHILADELPHIA - Three maritime plaintiffs' challenge of a federal asbestos multidistrict litigation judge's order dismissing their cases for lack of personal jurisdiction will proceed after the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 found that jurisdictional defects did not prevent the appeal (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [VI], No. 17-3471, 3rd Cir.).

Magistrate Judge Recommends Judgment For 6 In Asbestos Aircraft Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's recollection of work on airplanes and limited recall of asbestos-product manufacturers are not enough to overcome summary judgment, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held in recommending summary judgment for six defendants (In re: Asbestos Litigation, John DeCastro, et al. v. Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc., et al., No. 16-951, D. Del., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12104).

Asbestos Case Never Involved Navy, Required Remand, Woman Tells 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - An asbestos case never involved exposures in the U.S. Navy, a conclusion the turbine defendants' own evidence supports, and a judge properly relied on a post-removal explanation of the claim in remanding the case, a woman tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal in a Jan. 31 brief (Melissa Coury, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-35492, 9th Cir.).

Court Affirms Benefits Award For Lung Cancer Death
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A company agreed to take on workers' compensation claims when it purchased a facility, and a widow's lung cancer claim falls within the list of compensable claims, even though some doctors concluded that asbestos was not a cause of the disease, West Virginia's top court held Jan. 25 (Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood v. Delores M. Ambro, et al., No. 17-0753, W.Va. Sup. App., 2018 W.Va. LEXIS 73).

Judge Finds Reasons For Denying Veteran's Asbestos Claim Unsupported
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A veterans affairs appeals board improperly discounted a man's lay testimony regarding his diagnosis while accepting a largely irrelevant and "difficult to decipher" medical opinion, a U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims judge held Jan. 29 (Arthur M. Bernal v. David J. Shulkin, et al., No. 16-3524, U.S. App. Vet. Clms., 2018 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 89).

Expert Index

When Strategies Go Awry: Part 4 In A Series On Cognitive Biases And Their Impact
By Laura A. Frase But Wait - I Remember It Differently: Cognitive Biases That Mess with Our Memories "'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards' the Queen remarked."

After $4.3M Asbestos Verdict, Flooring Company Says Evidence Requires New Trial
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California judge must grant a new trial in an asbestos lung cancer case that produced a $4.3 million verdict because plaintiffs did not show that a marine flooring company violated federal regulations and, thus, lack evidence that the company breached standard of care necessary to prevail on a negligence claim, the company argues in a Dec. 19 brief (Saipele Faiaipau v. J&H Marine Industrial & Engineering Inc., et al., No. RG1364938, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

New York Court Affirms Sanctions For Destruction Of Evidence
NEW YORK - A New York court on Jan. 18 affirmed imposition of an adverse jury instruction as a sanction for a company's "egregious" loss or destruction of between 37 and 77 boxes of potential evidence involving its asbestos-containing pipe (Richard Warren v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., No. 5493N 40000/88 190281/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 351).

Rail Car Pipe Insulation Asbestos Claims Survive Preemption, Federal Judge Says
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Claims of asbestos exposure from pipe insulation aboard railway passenger cars do not clearly implicate federal statutes governing locomotives or safety appliances and avoid preemption, a federal judge in Kansas held Jan. 12 (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5794).

Parties To $1M Verdict, Pennsylvania Bare-Metal Issue Resolve Asbestos Case
PHILADELPHIA - Crane Co. and two women awarded more than $1 million for their decedent's exposure to asbestos settled their case on Dec. 20, resolving an appeal to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and resulting certified question to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court about whether the company had a duty to warn about the dangers of third-party asbestos (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).

New York Top Court Rejects Brake-Grinding Maker's Challenge To $9M Asbestos Award
NEW YORK - New York's top court on Jan. 11 denied leave to appeal after a lower court found a manufacturer of brake-grinding machines had a duty to warn about the dangers the use of its machines with asbestos-containing brakes posed and affirmed a stipulated $9 million award (Walter Miller v. BMW of North America LLC, et al., No. 2017-1076, N.Y. App., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 48).

Time For Challenging Asbestos Settlement Expired, 5th Circuit Says
NEW ORLEANS - All of the grounds for finding an asbestos settlement precluding any future wrongful death claim null were "readily apparent" within the five-year period for annulling a contract, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 4 in affirming (Essie Lemieux, et al. v. American Optical Corp., No. 17-30346, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 231).

Widow Says Evidence Supports Claim Crane Co. Conspired To Hide Asbestos Danger
WILMINGTON, Del. - Viewed in favor of the nonmoving party, evidence supports the conclusion that Crane Co. knew of the dangers posed by asbestos and cooperated with the U.S. Navy to conceal that danger from serviceman, a widow told a Delaware federal judge on Jan. 19 in defending her civil conspiracy claim against the company (Marguerite MacQueen v. Warren Pumps LLC, et al., No. 13-831, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206223).

California Court Won't Revisit Asbestos Deposition Testimony Ruling
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California appeals court on Jan. 12 denied a petition for rehearing, refusing to again visit its conclusion that a judge erred in excluding deposition testimony in the apparent belief that the witness needed to testify to directly witnessing asbestos exposures, according to the court's docket (Keith Turley and Joy Ann Turley v. Familian Corp., No. A149752, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).

Florida Top Court Stays Cumulative Asbestos Exposure Case
MIAMI - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 11 stayed a case challenging expert testimony regarding the "cumulative exposure" asbestos causation theory while it resolves a case that will determine the standard for admission of expert testimony in Florida (Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al. v. Rosa-Maria Britt, et al., No. SC17-1780, Fla. Sup.).

Federal Judge Affirms Jurisdictional Dismissals In Missouri Asbestos Case
ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Jan. 11 denied a motion for reconsideration, saying the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion clarifying the standard for jurisdiction before he issued his own opinion, while also saying the newly minted precedent would not change the outcome (Willie Everett, et al. v. Aurora Pump Co., et al., No. 17-230, E.D. Mo.).

Judge Dismisses Insurer's Declaratory Action Involving Workers' Compensation
ST. LOUIS - A workers' compensation judge is fully capable and willing to decide whether an insurance company's contract with an employer puts it on the hook for asbestos-related claims, a federal judge in Missouri held Jan. 18 (New Hampshire Insurance Co. v. Alyce Pennington, et al., No. 17-142, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7751).

5th Circuit: Receipt Of Deposition Transcript Starts Removal Clock
BATON ROUGE, La. - The clock for removing an asbestos case began with the receipt of the deposition transcript, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Jan. 11 in adopting a bright-line test (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-30523, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 741).

After 4th Circuit Finds Asbestos Removal Proper, Judge Finds It Timely
RICHMOND, Va. - Adopting an asbestos plaintiff's timeliness argument in opposing removal requires the court to impermissibly determine a boilermaker's subjective knowledge, a federal judge in Maryland held in denying remand on Jan. 10 (Janya Sawyer, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1530 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4991).

Military Contractor Defense Applies To Insulation On Prototype, Company Says
LOS ANGELES - A judge erroneously required a company to prove that it had a federal defense, rather than just a colorable one, and improperly focused on the fact that asbestos-containing insulation was commercially available rather than the fact that it was applied to a military nuclear propulsion prototype, CBS Corp. told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Jan. 16 (Wayne Yocum, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-56344, 9th Cir.).

Judge Finds Asbestos Mishandling Claim Escapes Removal
NEW ORLEANS - Claims that a shipyard mishandled the asbestos the U.S. Navy mandated it use allege negligence and escape removal under the federal office removal statute, a federal judge in Louisiana held Jan. 19 (Melancon v. Lamorak Ins. Co., No. 17-12367, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8765).

Federal Judge Won't Remand Asbestos Case After Improper Naming Of Defendant
NEW YORK - A woman failed to correct her mistaken naming of a nondiverse defendant until after her asbestos case was removed and is not entitled to remand after attempting to join new defendants with vague allegations, a federal judge in New York held Dec. 19 (Dawn Grant v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 17-3356, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214078).

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Money-Laundering, Asbestos Scheme Evidence
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 16 declined to address former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's claim that a circuit court split exists over how to handle commingled funds in money-laundering cases and whether directing individuals to a law firm constitutes normal attorney conduct or is something more untoward (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 17-562, U.S. Sup.).

Dismissal Of Bankrupt Asbestos Defendants Paves Way For Long-Pending Appeal
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Jan. 9 adopted a report recommending dismissal of two formerly bankrupt asbestos companies from a case, saying the subsequent bankruptcy of a previously dismissed defendant does not prevent the action. The ruling clears the way for an appeal of a 2011 order dismissing 17 defendants (Charles Corley, et al. v. Fairbanks Morse Pump Corp., et al., No. 09-1812, N.D. Ala.).

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.).

Reinsurers Breached Their Contract By Failing To Pay Share Of Loss, Insurer Says
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - With regard to settlements of underlying asbestos claims, two reinsurers breached their contract by failing to pay their share of losses, an insurer says in its Jan. 16 complaint filed in Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-00088, D. Conn.).

Expert Index

The Scourge Of Over-Naming In Asbestos Litigation: The Costs To Litigants And The Impact On Justice
By James Lowery Asbestos personal injury litigation has seen a number of dramatic changes since the first case was filed in Texas nearly 50 years ago: the bankruptcy of more than 100 defendants (including many of the most significant defendants such as Johns Manville); the increase in the number of companies named as defendants from a few dozen to an estimated 10,000 or more; the change in docket profile from one overwhelmed by the filing of more than 100,000 suits by unimpaired claimants, typically generated by for-profit litigation screenings, to one dominated by a comparatively smaller number of malignant (principally mesothelioma) claims; and the willingness of some courts to alter procedural safeguards in an attempt to "process" and settle as many claims as possible. A somewhat more recent phenomenon has further increased the scope of the "elephantine mass" of asbestos litigation: the repeated over-naming of defendants that have no reason to be included in complaints or petitions. Perhaps only in asbestos litigation would it be commonplace for companies that have no connection to asbestos claims to nevertheless be sued over and over again. There are of course rules of professional conduct in virtually every jurisdiction that require a plaintiff attorney to undertake some type of pre-suit inquiry into the applicable law and facts before filing a complaint in order to avoid filing litigation that is obviously non-meritorious or frivolous. One might think that, if followed, these types of ethical requirements would prevent the types of filing practices seen by so many defendant companies.

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

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