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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News

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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

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.

Los Angeles Jury Returns Asbestos Verdict For J&J, Talc Miner
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Nov. 16 returned a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson in the first ever cosmetic-talc asbestos case taken to trial against the company, while also handing a defense verdict to the company that mined the raw talc, sources told Mealey Publications (Tina Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC646315, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

Boiler, Furnace Companies, Supply Houses Secure Verdict In Pa. Asbestos Trial
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania jury on Nov. 15 returned a defense verdict for a handful of boiler and furnace manufacturers and parts supply houses, finding that the asbestos-containing products in question were not unreasonably dangerous and that none of the five defendants acted negligently (Diane Horst, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 15 CV 1903, Pa. Comm. Pls., Lackawanna Co.).

Justice Reduces, But Otherwise Affirms Asbestos Verdict For Bus Driver
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An automotive parts company on Nov. 8 lost its bid for a new trial in a New York asbestos case brought on behalf of a school bus driver but succeeded in getting the verdict cut nearly in half to $3.47 million (The estate of Lewis Nash, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Company Inc., et al., No. 2012-000719, N.Y. Sup., Onondaga Co.).

Talc Defendants, Plaintiff Brief Court On Proper Venue For Asbestos Fight
PITTSBURGH - Talc defendants on Nov. 3 asked a Pennsylvania judge to transfer the asbestos case against them to a different, more convenient forum, but in a Nov. 13 response, the plaintiff complains that nearly the entire argument for the new forum is a single comment posted to an online obituary suggesting that the decedent worked at a Navy base (Frank Joseph Herron, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., et al., No. GD-17-004514, Pa. Comm. Pls., Allegheny Co.).

Asbestos Law Mandates Medical Expert Weigh In On 'Smoker' Status, Company Says
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The law clearly requires those bringing asbestos-related lung cancer claims to submit a medical expert's opinion regarding whether the plaintiff qualifies as a smoker of tobacco products, language intended to prioritize asbestos lung cancer claims and insulate untrained judges from having to translate medical records, a company told the Ohio Supreme Court on Nov. 7 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).

Pennsylvania Judge Won't Reconsider Judgments After Asbestos-Talc Expert Exclusions
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge considering two companies' motion for reconsideration in light of a ruling excluding plaintiffs' experts in an asbestos-tainted talc case denied the motions without prejudice to the filing of new ones in an order docketed Nov. 7 (Sally Brandt, et al. v. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., et al., No. 151202987, Pa. Comm Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

Federal Judge Compels Discovery From Plaintiffs In Asbestos-Drilling Mud Case
BATON ROUGE, La. - Plaintiffs alleging asbestos exposure in drilling mud must respond to written discovery seeking information regarding injuries, exposure and work history and seeking the release of related medical records and work histories, a federal judge in Louisiana said Nov. 14 (Manuel Garza v. Phillips 66 Co., et al., No. 13-742, M.D. La.).

Magistrate Orders Hospital To Produce Asbestos Pathology Information For Testing
GREENVILLE, N.C. - A hospital must produce additional lung pathology materials in its possession for testing by an asbestos defendant, a federal magistrate judge in North Carolina held Nov. 3 (Faye Gore v. 3M Co., et al., No. 16-716, E.D. N.C.).

Maryland High Court To Hear Argument In Asbestos Statute Of Repose Case
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Parties recently briefed Maryland's top court on whether the statute of repose can legally bar asbestos claims involving the construction of a turbine generator completed in 1970. The court is set to hear oral arguments on Dec. 1 (June Diane Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp. et al., No. 41 September Term, 2017, Md. App.).

Radiation Didn't Cause Lung Cancer; Issue Unpreserved, Texas Court Told
DALLAS - A tire company fighting an $18.6 million asbestos verdict preserved challenges to causation but then appealed on an entirely unpreserved issue - arguing without evidence that radiation treatments contributed to a man's mesothelioma, plaintiffs told a Texas appeals court on Nov. 8 (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.).

Montana High Court Finds Bankruptcy Stay Tolled Asbestos Suits Against Railway
HELENA, Mont. - W.R. Grace's bankruptcy order enjoining new litigation tolled the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) three-year statute of limitations for suing an associated railroad that allegedly exposed a worker to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite, the Montana Supreme Court held Nov. 14 (Kelly G. Watson v. BNSF Railway Co., et al., No. DA 17-0229, Mont. Sup., 2017 Mont. LEXIS 678).

County Tells Texas Court Deceased Judge's Asbestos Case Barred By Workers' Comp
HOUSTON - A resolution extending benefits to optional employees is valid and places an asbestos case brought on behalf of a former judge under the exclusivity provision of the workers' compensation system, a government entity told a Texas appeals court on Nov. 15 (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).

Woman Wants Delaware Household Asbestos Case Against Manufacturers Revived
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two companies supplied tons of asbestos-containing paper to a manufacturer without any type of warning, despite clear evidence of the fiber's dangers to workers and household members, a women tells Delaware's top court in urging it to reinstate her second-hand exposure case (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).

Product ID Frees Asbestos Supplier, Auto Company From Delaware Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware judge on Nov. 8 granted summary judgment to two companies, finding insufficient evidence that asbestos from their products caused a man's fatal lung cancer (Constance L. Aveni, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 14C-06-037 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Magistrate: Insufficient Evidence Of Exposure To Original Products In Asbestos Case
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - To hold two companies liable for supplying valves to the U.S. Navy, a plaintiff must also submit evidence that the asbestos-containing gaskets and packing were original or that the companies supplied replacement parts, a federal magistrate judge in Arizona said in a Nov. 9 report and recommendation (Bobby Len Davis and Becky Davis v. Air & Liquid System Corp., et al., No. 14-2288, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186478).

Asbestos Claimants' Committee Named For Bestwall's Chapter 11 Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 appointed the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the new Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC, selecting one of three claimants who requested to sit on the committee in addition to the nine claimants proposed by the U.S. bankruptcy administrator (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).

Expert Index

California Jury Finds For Adhesives Company In Asbestos Trial
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Oct. 27 rejected claims that asbestos in a company's aerospace adhesives caused a woman's fatal mesothelioma, returning a defense verdict for Dexter Hysol Aerospace, sources told Mealey Publications (Velma Searcy v. 3M Co., et al., No. BC612205, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Agrees To Address Asbestos Bare-Metal Defense
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 26 accepted a certified question from the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals under which it will decide whether manufacturers can be held liable for asbestos-containing parts they neither manufactured nor supplied and what standard determines liability if such a duty exists (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No VI) Crane Co., No. 110EM 2017, Pa. Sup.).

Conn. Top Court: Asbestos Case Required Expert Specific Causation Opinion
HARTFORD, Conn. - To prevail on asbestos exposure claims against an aircraft adhesive manufacturer, a plaintiff needed expert testimony that sanding the product released asbestos in sufficient levels to cause mesothelioma, Connecticut's top court held in an opinion set for release Nov. 7 (Wayne Bagley, et al. v. Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. S.C. 19835, Conn. Sup.).

Delaware Judge Finds Evidence Can't Establish Exposure To Asbestos Parts
WILMINGTON, Del. - General testimony regarding a machinist's use of replacement parts in the U.S. Navy cannot be stretched to conclude that the man was exposed to asbestos from a defendant, a Delaware judge held Oct. 27 (Philip A. Walsh, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., No. N15C-08-206 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Judge Excludes Asbestos Deposition Testimony Company Never Got To Challenge
CLEVELAND - Because a defendant did not have a chance to cross-examine a man after he identified its asbestos-containing product in a deposition, his testimony does not fit with an exception to hearsay, a federal judge in Ohio held Oct. 19 (Charlene French, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 16-1777, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174020).

Judge Denies New Trial For Premises Owner Hit With $12.9M Asbestos Verdict
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California judge on Oct. 24 denied a premises owner's request for a new trial, leaving stand a jury's $12.9 million verdict for a man's environmental asbestos exposures, according to the docket (Lanette Louise Lopez, et al. v. The Hillshire Brands Co., RG14721622, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

4th Circuit Considers Jury's Intervening Cause Finding In Asbestos Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral argument Oct. 24 about whether a jury can logically find that a defendant was the proximate cause of a man's mesothelioma and that an employer was an intervening cause and whether the plaintiff properly objected to a verdict form with both issues (Erik Ross Phillips and Tina Landers v. Pneumo Abex LLC and Reddaway Manufacturing Corporation Inc., No. 16-1508, 4th Cir.).

Judge Finds Workers' Comp Law Bars Claims Against Premises Owner
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man employed by third parties at a chemical plant and whose work was controlled by those parties has no negligence claim against the premises owner, a Delaware judge held Oct. 26 (Jeffrey A. Warner v. Covestro LLC, et al., No. N15C-02-060 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Texas Court Seeks Plaintiffs' Input On Asbestos Causation Reconsideration Motion
DALLAS - A Texas appellate court asked a widow and her two children for a response to an employer's petition for rehearing that argued that its "direct, rifle-shot complaint" preserved a challenge to causation in an asbestos case that produced an $18.6 million verdict (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.).

Man Says Ceramics Firm Knew Vermiculite Packing Contained Asbestos
CLEVELAND - A ceramics company packed its products in asbestos-tainted vermiculite long after it learned of the problem and never issued warnings or recalls, a man tells an Ohio court in a Nov. 2 trial brief (Paul M. Cornett, et al. v. Clark Industrial Insulating Co., et al., No. CV-15-845107, Ohio Comm. Pls., Cuyahoga Co.).

Judge Grants 6 Judgment, Says Asbestos Exposure Evidence Falls Short
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Simply claiming exposure to asbestos-containing products without being able to name the products in question is not enough to support strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty claims, a federal judge in Kentucky held in granting six companies summary judgment on Oct. 27 (Rojelio Surita, et al. v. ArvinMeritor Inc., et al., No. 16-62, W.D. Ky., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178133).

Judge: Asbestos Auto Parts Maker's Motion Simply Rehashes Rejected Arguments
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation on Oct. 20, agreeing that an asbestos defendant's motion for summary judgment simply attempts to relitigate issues rejected on at least three other occasions (Donna Franklin, et al. v. Dana Companies LLC, et al., No. 11-2731, N.D. Ala.).

Asbestos Plaintiff Tells Connecticut Justice She Got Jurisdiction Ruling Right
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A company's shipments of talc to Connecticut, even if only a small portion of its overall business, allow for jurisdiction in the state over an asbestos case, a plaintiff told a judge in the state on Oct. 24 in urging her to deny reargument on the issue (Rice, Brooks, et al. v. American Talc Co., No. FBT CV-15-6053658-S, Conn. Super., Fairfield at Bridgeport; 2017 Conn. Super. LEXIS 4433).

Class Wants Crime-Fraud Exception In Asbestos-Talc Evidence Destruction Case
NEWARK, N.J. - The attorney-client privilege should not protect evidence in a case alleging defendants spent decades fraudulently concealing the existence of asbestos in talc, plaintiffs told a federal judge in New Jersey on Nov. 2 (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).

Federal Judge Orders Autopsy Over Objections In Mesothelioma Case
SEATTLE - An autopsy presents the best way of evaluating the role and impact asbestos may have played in a mesothelioma victim's death, a federal judge in Washington held Oct. 23 in granting an emergency motion (Patrick Jack, et al. v. Asbestos Corp LTD, et al., No. 17-537, W.D. Wash.).

Law Firm: Asbestos Deposition Isn't Court Record, Jurisdiction Can't Be Revived
DALLAS - A court lacks jurisdiction over 20-year-old deposition testimony into the creation of a memo some believe shows lawyers coaching asbestos witnesses because the testimony is not a court document, plaintiffs and their law firm told a Texas appeals court on Nov. 3 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).

Removal Was Untimely, But Also Improper, Plaintiff Tells 5th Circuit
BATON ROUGE, La. - Even if the court concludes that removal of an asbestos action was ultimately timely under the "other papers" doctrine, the court should find that removal was inappropriate, a plaintiff tells a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in a Nov. 1 sur-reply letter brief (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-30523, 5th Cir.).

Plaintiff Can't Remove Federal Allegations Post-Removal, Companies Tell 9th Circuit
PORTLAND, Ore. - The broad right to federal courts defendants who operated under a federal officer enjoy is not erased by a post-removal disclaimer of federal liability, two companies tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 20 opening brief (Melissa Coury, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-35492, 9th Cir.).

Retention Of Removed Asbestos Claims Isn't Final Decision, 4th Circuit Says
RICHMOND, Va. - A judge's decision to sever and remand state law asbestos claims while retaining jurisdiction over third-party claims is not a final decision subject to appellate review, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Oct. 24 (Wayne Oliver v. Campbell-McCormick Inc., et al. v. Clifford Oliver, June Stearns v. The Walter Campbell Co. Inc., No. 16-1895, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21220).

Company Blames Lack Of Familiarity With Asbestos Settlement On Family
NEW ORLEANS - A family's argument that they were unaware a settlement included mesothelioma claims conflicts with the clear language of the release, and any failure to investigate documents of which they had possession is their error, a company told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 (Essie Lemieux, et al. v. American Optical Corp., No. 17-30346, 5th Cir.).

Georgia-Pacific Subsidiary Bestwall Files For Bankruptcy Due To Asbestos Liabilities
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Georgia-Pacific affiliate Bestwall LLC filed a Chapter 11 petition Nov. 2 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court to create a trust to pay asbestos personal injury claims and receive an injunction forever barring future asbestos claims against the debtor, Georgia-Pacific and their dozens of affiliates (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).

Home's Liquidator Seeks Approval Of $1.7M Asbestos Settlement With Insured
CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator for The Home Insurance Co. on Oct. 23 asked a New Hampshire trial court to approve a $1.7 million settlement with an insured to resolve asbestos claims under three insurance policies (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Co., No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Super., Merrimack Co.).

Expert Index

When Strategies Go Awry: Part I In A Series On Cognitive Biases And Their Impact
By Laura A. Frase We make decisions every day. With simple questions, we normally rely upon intuition, feelings, instincts or automatic reactions to make a decision (ex: do I turn left or right?). Our brains make thousands, if not millions, of these types of decisions, with seemingly little effort or analysis. "Judgment pervades human experience."1 These intellectual shortcuts save time, take less effort and allow us to choose quickly. We do not take the time, for example, to decide which foot to put forward when we walk; we decide automatically or on "gut instinct". If we fully analyzed every simple decision, we would be paralyzed and unable to function in our daily lives. We traditionally believe that we make rational and logical decisions; we "absorb information, process it, and come up with an optimal answer of solution."2 Yet, the fact that we err is undisputed. Our missteps sometimes come when we use these same intuitive shortcuts (known as heuristics) to make complex decisions, particularly when we are dealing with uncertain or unknown information. Countless qualitative studies demonstrate that our ability to analyze intricate facts or numbers is involuntarily thwarted by various cognitive, social and emotional responses which may ultimately force us toward illogical reasoning. As lawyers, we are not immune. Why, for example, do some parties reject generous offers? Why do we invest significant resources into "losing" cases? How does the first demand, even if it is outrageous, tilt negotiations? Why do our brains play these games?