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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News

Headline Asbestos Legal News from LexisNexis®


John Crane Tells Court Errors In Asbestos Case Led To $3M Punitive Award
PORTLAND, Ore. - Evidentiary and other errors require a new trial in an asbestos case or, at the very least, require reversing a $3 million punitive damages award, John Crane Inc. told an Oregon court on Aug. 28 (Robert G. Sprague Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 15CV14771, Oregon Cir., Multnomah Co.).

Magistrate Judge Allows Punitive Damage Claim Against John Crane To Proceed
WILMINGTON, Del. - Seemingly contradictory corporate testimony regarding any steps a company took to prevent asbestos exposures, and evidence involving media and state laws detailing the dangers exposure presented warrant allowing a couple to pursue a punitive damages claim against John Crane Inc., a federal magistrate judge in Delaware recommended Aug. 30 (Icom Henry Evans, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 15-681 D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139582).

Business Losses Are Earnings In Asbestos Case, Best Left To Jury, Judge Says
NEW ORLEANS - How much if any economic damage a business suffered from the asbestos-related death of its principal falls under the umbrella of earnings and is up to a jury, a federal judge in Louisiana held Aug. 22 (Martha Denmon Storer, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc., et al., No. 14-2488, W.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135241).

7th Circuit Rejects Asbestos Expert's Cumulative Exposure Testimony
CHICAGO - Expert testimony that cumulative asbestos exposures causes disease is not significantly different than the opinion that every exposure causes a disease, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Aug. 31. The panel also found no prejudice from a defendant company's investigation into a juror (Charles Krik v. ExxonMobil Oil Corp., et al., No. 15-3112, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16795).

Florida Court Allows Cumulative Exposure Opinion, Affirms $9M Asbestos Verdict
MIAMI - A court properly admitted an expert's testimony that cumulative asbestos exposures were sufficient to cause a man's mesothelioma, a Florida appeals court held Sept. 6 in differentiating the testimony from the opinion that every exposure leads to disease and affirming a $9 million verdict (Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al. v. Rosa-Maria Britt, et al., No. 3D16-2583, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 12834).

Company: Talc Expert Can't Establish That Asbestos Tainted Specific Bottles
SAN FRANCISCO - A woman's evidence that tests on some bottles of talc revealed the presence of asbestos does not lead to the conclusion that the asbestos contaminated the specific bottles she used, a consumer products company told a California appeals court on Aug. 11 (Mary Lyons v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., No. A150567, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).

Court Affirms Exclusion Of Asbestos Product ID Testimony As Sanction
CLEVELAND - A trial judge properly excluded deposition testimony as a sanction for failing to update interrogatories to indicate potential drywall compound exposures the witnesses testified to in asbestos bankruptcy claim forms, an Ohio appeals court held Sept. 7 (Paul Heaton, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 104636, Ohio App., 8th Dist., 2017 Ohio App. LEXIS 3800).

Texas Court: Employer Liable For Asbestos Exposure, But Economic Award Too High
DALLAS - Generalized knowledge of the risk asbestos posed is sufficient to show that an employer acted with gross negligence in exposing an individual, a divided Texas appeals court held Aug. 30 in affirming a verdict but reducing the economic damages award (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 8382).

California Appeals Panel Affirms $3.75 Million Judgment Against Tobacco Company
LOS ANGELES - A California appellate court on Aug. 30 affirmed a $3.75 million verdict in a product defect and negligence suit against a tobacco company to the widow of a man who died from lung cancer after finding that the trial court did not err in excluding evidence of the man's exposure to asbestos (Tajie Major v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. B260355, Calif. App. 2nd Dist. 8th Div., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 749).

California Judge Improperly Applied 'But-For' Standard In Asbestos Case, Man Says
SAN FRANCISCO - A trial court improperly concluded that Kansas law applied to an asbestos case and then compounded the mistake by erroneously imposing an impossible to meet but-for causation standard, a mesothelioma sufferer told a California appeals court on July 31 (Gerald Hake v. Honeywell International Inc., No. A150366, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).

Landowners Not Liable For Asbestos Not Inherent To Premises, Judge Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - Landowners have a duty under Louisiana law to protect contractors only from hazards of which they have knowledge and that are inherent to their property, a Delaware judge held in granting summary judgment to three premises defendants Aug. 30 (Sandra Kivell, et al. v. Murphy Oil USA Inc., et al., No. N15C-07-093 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Affidavit Doesn't Establish Timeliness Of Asbestos Suit, Delaware Judge Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - An unsigned and unnotarized affidavit stating that a woman didn't learn of the potential asbestos connection to lung cancer until after her attorneys filed suit is insufficient evidence on which to deny summary judgment under the statute of limitations, a Delaware judge held Aug. 29 (Sherrie Bagwell, et al. v. BorgWarner Morse Tec LLC, et al., No. N14C-06-023 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Magistrate Judge: Bare Metal Defense Frees 5 Companies From Asbestos Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - A couple produces some evidence of exposure to products from named defendants but no evidence the products contained asbestos or that the work in question released asbestos, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held Aug. 31 in applying the bare metal defense and recommending summary judgment for five companies (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Marilyn Charlevoix, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 15-726, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140328).

Judge Adopts Report Rejecting Challenges To Asbestos Pleadings, Jurisdiction
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - An asbestos defendant's argument that a plaintiff had not met the pleading standard imposes an overly restrictive reading of federal rules, and a second defendant relies on evidence outside the pleadings in attempting to challenge jurisdiction, a federal judge in North Carolina held Sept. 5 in adopting a pair of magistrate judge rulings (Tommy Lineberger, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 16-390, W.D. N.C.).

Virginia Top Court Applies 'Risk Of Harm' Analysis To FELA Asbestos Settlement
ROANOKE, Va. - A release precluding liability for future asbestos injuries contemplated by the parties does not violate Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), the Virginia Supreme Court held Aug. 31 in applying the risk-of-harm standard (Alan Barry Cole, et al. v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 161163, Va. Sup., 2017 Va. LEXIS 109).

Railroad Asks Mississippi High Court To Allow Setoff Of FELA Asbestos Verdict
JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi Supreme Court should follow federal common law and allow a defendant to offset a Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) asbestos-related lung cancer award with recoveries the plaintiff received from asbestos bankruptcy trusts, a railroad argues in a Sept. 5 supplemental brief (Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Bennie Oakes, et al., No. 2015-TS-00644, Miss. Sup.).

New York Court Says Settlement Terms Don't Bar Mesothelioma Action
NEW YORK - A release signed in a previous tort action lists asbestos-related illnesses among the diseases for which the employee released his employer from liability, but the agreement's boilerplate language is not the type of carefully negotiated terms required to bar a subsequent lawsuit alleging mesothelioma, a majority of a New York appeals court held Aug. 29 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Anne M. South, etc. v. Chevron Corp., etc., et al., No. 4048 190029/15, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).

Citing U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Allows Discovery On Jurisdiction In Asbestos Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - Citing the recent changes to how courts handle jurisdiction wrought by the U.S. Supreme Court's Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California ruling, a Delaware judge on Aug. 30 granted an asbestos plaintiff additional time to conduct discovery into the issue of personal jurisdiction over a Michigan company (Derry L. Middleton, et al. v. McCord Corp., et al., No. N14C-05-261 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Asbestos-Talc Evidence Destruction Spat Parties Continue Throwing Barbs
NEWARK, N.J. - Former asbestos plaintiffs adopted a frivolous interpretation of a discovery ruling in an effort to avoid required production, a talc company told a New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 30. In a Sept. 1 letter, the plaintiffs, who claim that they were defrauded into settling claims for far less than they were worth after the company used a carefully crafted record retention policy to destroy evidence of asbestos contamination of its talc, lamented that the defendant brought the judge into the dispute before allowing the parties or special discovery master to resolve it (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).

Insured Seeks Coverage For $12.9M Asbestos Liability Verdict, Says Coverage Owed
LOS ANGELES - An insured claims in an Aug. 18 complaint filed in California state court that its insurers are required to indemnify it for an underlying $12.9 million jury verdict entered against it in an asbestos bodily injury and wrongful death suit (The Hillshire Brands Co., et al. v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. BC672967, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

Virgin Islands Judge Faults Defendants' Lack Of Staffing, Denies Sought-After Stay
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands - The single counsel defending asbestos litigation performed admirably, but it is clear that the two defendants have not properly staffed the more than 120 cases, a judge in the Virgin Islands held Aug. 23 in largely denying a motion to continue a case for further discovery (In re: Asbestos, Catalyst, and Silica Toxic Dust Exposure Litigation, No. SX-15-CV-096, V.I. Super., St. Croix Div., 2017 V.I. LEXIS 135).

Delaware Judge Won't Consolidate For Trial Asbestos Cases Against Georgia-Pacific
WILMINGTON, Del. - A shared defendant and expert witness alone do not provide a sufficient nexus to warrant consolidated trial, a Delaware judge held Aug. 29 (In re Asbestos Litigation, Limited to: Craig Cantarano, Donald Gladu, Nos. N15C-10-30 ASB, N15C-09-093 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 425).

3rd Circuit Affirms Asbestos Attorney's Overbilling Restitution Sentence
PHILADELPHIA - A lawyer who pleaded guilty to inserting his firm's clients as defendants and then billing them as if he represented them in the cases cannot contest a portion of his restitution sentence he claims was legitimately spent, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 29 (United States v. Arobert C. Tonagbanua, No. 17-1815, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16506).

Attorney: Revive Case Seeking To Unseal Asbestos Client-Coaching Deposition
DALLAS - A motion seeking to unseal Russell Budd's 1997 deposition involving a memo allegedly showing his law firm coaching clients for their own depositions should proceed to a ruling on the merits, an attorney told a Texas appeals court on Sept. 5 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).

Alabama Court Reinstates Class Action Over Asbestos Attorneys' Compensation
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A judge improperly concluded that ambiguity in a contract provision governing how hundreds of asbestos plaintiffs would compensate their counsel overcame class action claims arising from the attorneys' imposition of an additional fee, the Alabama Supreme Court held Sept. 1 in once again reinstating the case (Mary Hall, et al. v. Environmental Litigation Group, P.C., No. 1151077, Ala. Sup., 2017 Ala. LEXIS 81).

Expert Index

Asbestos: An Immature Tort (The Contrarian View)
By Thomas W. Tardy III and Taylor H. Wilkins A mass tort is mature, according to Duke Law School Professor Francis McGovern, "where there has been full and complete discovery, multiple jury verdicts, and a persistent vitality in the plaintiffs' contentions." Vanderbilt Law Professor Richard Nagareda added in his book Mass Torts in a World of Settlement that the "transition to the mature litigation stage comes only when the threat to prevail is such that defendants face a substantial probability of loss in the event of trial." As the asbestos litigation in the United States approaches its golden anniversary one would assume that this mass tort is "mature," and probably has been that way for many years. Data shows that assumption is wrong with respect to today's asbestos litigation environment. Whatever maturity existed earlier in the litigation vanished when the major asbestos producers exited the tort system through bankruptcy and were replaced by newer and formerly peripheral defendants as the target of plaintiffs' claims.

New York Jury Awards $20M To Widow In Mesothelioma Case
NEW YORK - A New York jury deliberated for less than two hours before awarding $20 million on June 30 to the widow of a man who contracted mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos in gaskets installed on Crane Co. valves, sources told Mealey Publications (Lorraine R. Anisansel v. AB Volvo, et al., No. 190250-2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

New York Jury Hits Jenkins Bros. With $4.6M Asbestos Verdict
NEW YORK - A New York jury on Aug. 18 awarded $4.6 million to a welder for mesothelioma he allegedly contracted after exposure to asbestos in gaskets, packing and insulation, sources told Mealey's Publications (Thomas McGlynn v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 190219-16, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Jury Finds Sugar Factory Liable For Asbestos Exposure, Awards $12,958,461
OAKLAND, Calif. - An Alameda County, Calif., jury on Aug. 16 awarded $12,958,461 in a case alleging exposure to asbestos in homes located just a few hundred yards from a food company's facilities. The jury found the lone defendant 100 percent liable for the exposures, sources told Mealey Publications (Lanette Louise Lopez, et al. v. The Hillshire Brands Co., RG14721622, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

Oregon Jury Awards $5,743,853 To Pipe Fitter, Wife, For Mesothelioma
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon jury on Aug. 4 awarded $5,743,853, including $3 million in punitive damages, to a couple in a mesothelioma case involving a pipe fitter's exposure to asbestos in gaskets and packing (Robert G. Sprague Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 15CV14771, Oregon Cir., Multnomah Co.).

Plaintiff Urges Florida Court To Allow Asbestos Experts, Award, Reject Daubert
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two amicus curiae parties on Aug. 15 joined a plaintiff in urging the Florida Supreme Court to reject the Daubert standard and reverse an appellate court's ruling excluding experts and negating an $8 million asbestos award (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).

Court Says Expert May Offer Causation Opinion On Colon Cancer-Asbestos Link
SAN FRANCISCO - A doctor with 30 years of experience reviewing asbestos and colon cancer cases satisfies the standard for offering an opinion on causation, a California appeals court held Aug. 14 in dismissing a company's complaints about the quality of some of the underlying evidence the expert relied upon (Dolores Duty, et al. v. TRZ Realty LLC, Nos. A142167, A143260, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5616).

Court Affirms Exclusion Of Asbestos Expert Testing, Opinion, From Talc Trial
LOS ANGELES - A trial court properly excluded an asbestos expert's testing and resulting causation opinion after concluding that chain-of-custody concerns regarding vintage bottles of talcum powder rendered the evidence unreliable, a California appeals court held Aug. 25 (Delgadina Alfaro v. Imerys Talc America Inc., et al., No. B277284, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5875).

Court Finds Hygienist's Testimony Establishes Last Injurious Asbestos Exposure
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - An industrial hygienist's affidavit and supporting evidence conclusively establish the last injurious exposure in an asbestos workers' compensation case, West Virginia's top court held Aug. 24 (Arnold Marcum v. Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, No. 16-0924, W.Va. Sup. App., 2017 W. Va. LEXIS 622).

Shipbuilder Appeals Ruling That Asbestos Mandate Didn't Preclude Safety Measures
NEW ORLEANS - A ship builder on Aug. 17 appealed a federal judge's conclusion that remand was warranted because the U.S. Navy's mandate that ships contain asbestos-containing insulation aboard warships did not prevent the company from warning employees of the dangers or from implementing adequate safety programs (George K. Mayeaux Jr. v. Taylor-Seidenbach Inc., et al., No. 16-16813, E.D. La.).

Judge Remands, Says Asbestos Case Focuses On Insulation, Not Prototype
LOS ANGELES - Commercially available insulation, and not the working prototype of a U.S. Navy nuclear propulsion system on which it was applied, is the focus of a widow's case, a federal judge in California held Aug. 21 in reversing course and remanding an asbestos case originally removed under the government contractor statute (Wayne Yocum, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-1061, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133418).

Magistrate Judge Finds Bare-Metal Defense Would Bar Asbestos Claims
WILMINGTON, Del. - Co-worker testimony does not establish exposure to a boiler maker's product and, at best, establishes exposure to products for which the original manufacturer is not liable, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held Aug. 21 in a report recommending that the court grant summary judgment (In re: Asbestos Litigation [Edna S. Esser a/k/a Edna Tallman, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al.], No. 13-395, D. Del.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133094).

Federal Judge Finds Common-Law Loss Of Consortium Asbestos Claim Barred
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Loss of consortium claims in North Carolina must be statutory, barring a common-law claim for such relief in an asbestos case, a federal judge in the state held Aug. 9 (Mary Lou Stewart v. Aurora Pump Co., et al., No. 17-79, M.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125983).

Man's Asbestos Case Against Pipe Manufacturer Can Keep Trucking, Judge Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's testimony that he encountered dust when loading a company's asbestos-containing cement pipe onto his flat-bed truck, even where potentially questionable, sufficiently identifies the product and creates genuine issues of material fact, a Delaware judge held Aug. 17 (Jack E. Trousdale, et al. v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. N15C-08-186 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Delaware Judge: Unsupported Affidavit Can't Trump Statute Of Limitations Defense
WILMINGTON, Del. - A woman's unsupported claim that she first learned of the potential asbestos-lung cancer connection when her attorneys filed suit are insufficient to overcome a defendant's statute of limitations challenge, a judge in Delaware held Aug. 18 (Sherrie Bagwell, et al. v. BorgWarner Morse Tec LLC, et al., No. N14C-06-023 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Judge Won't Reconsider Judgment For Asbestos Joint Compound Maker
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's motion for reconsideration of a ruling granting judgment to an asbestos-containing joint compound maker, while timely, simply rehashes points previously rejected and must be denied, a Delaware judge held Aug. 18 (Lorenzo I. Garcia v. Georgia Pacific LLC, et al., No. N16C-03-185 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

9th Circuit Affirms Counsel's $250 Sanction Over Asbestos Expert's Testimony
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge did not err in finding that whether a man's chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma exacerbated his kidney disease was a hotly contested trial issue or that an attorney attempted to sneak in expert testimony on the issue after explicitly telling the court the expert would not testify on such matters, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Aug. 21 in affirming an award of sanctions (Barry Kelly and Molly Kelly v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 15-16457, 9th Cir.).

Judge Denies Sanctions, Says Motion To Apply Florida Asbestos Law Reasonable
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Two nonbinding opinions involving different portions of Florida's asbestos law did not foreclose on a company's ultimately futile argument that a third section of the law should apply to the case against it, a federal judge held Aug. 22 in denying sanctions (Stacey Doolin, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. 16-778, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134425).

Asbestos Verdicts And Settlements: January 2016 - December 2016
Every year, Mealey's Litigation Report: Asbestos compiles, analyzes and reports on verdict information appearing in the report from the previous calendar year. The following report contains that information.

Expert Index

California Jury Awards Couple $5,321,050 For Man's Mesothelioma
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on July 14 awarded $5,321,050 to a man who allegedly contracted mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos during underground work with cement pipe, sources told Mealey Publications (Frank Hart, et al. v. Calaveras Asbestos Ltd., et al., No. RG16838191, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

South Carolina Jury Awards $300,000 To Worker, Wife In Power Plant Asbestos Trial
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - A South Carolina state court jury on Aug. 3 awarded $300,000 to a former power plant inspector and his wife after finding that two defendants negligently exposed the worker to asbestos that caused his mesothelioma (Beverly Dale Jolly, et al. v. General Electric Company, et al., No. 2016-CP-43-01592, S.C. Comm. Pls., Spartanburg Co.).

Federal Jury Hearing Asbestos Case Returns Verdict For John Crane Inc.
MADISON, Wis. - A federal jury in Wisconsin returned a defense verdict for John Crane Inc. on July 19, finding that the company did not act negligently or defectively design or fail to warn about the alleged dangers posed by its asbestos-containing gaskets and packing (Patricia L. Carroll, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 15-373, W.D. Wis.).

Reconsideration Of Exclusion Of Cumulative Exposure Asbestos Testimony Sought
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A medical expert's opinion that exposure to asbestos in gaskets substantially contributed to the entire dose that caused a man's mesothelioma simply reiterates scientific fact and is sufficiently case-specific to avoid being the "every exposure" theory, a man told a federal judge on July 24 in asking that he reconsider his ruling excluding the testimony (John E. Haskins and Mary L. Haskins v. 3M Co., et al., No. 15-2086, James Willson Chesher, et al. v. 3M., No. 15-2123, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113657).

Federal Judge Denies Defendants' Motion To Bar Expert In Asbestos Case
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 4 said a doctor called upon to be a plaintiff's expert witness in an asbestos exposure suit was qualified and used approved methodology, denying the defendants' joint motion to bar the expert's testimony (Judith L. Hoffeditz v. AM General LLC, et al., No. 09-0257, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123493).

Illinois Court Leaves Stay In Place While Parties Wage Asbestos Discovery Battle
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Nothing in the record suggests that a company's appeal of a ruling ordering it to produce index cards it claims contain trade secrets is a frivolous one or that the move is simply a ploy designed to delay trial, an Illinois appeals court held July 26 (Larry Salvatore Sr., et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks, et al., No. 4-17-0244, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).

Asbestos Discovery Master Says Alleged Conflicts Don't Warrant Disqualification
NEWARK, N.J. - The special master appointed to oversee discovery issues in a seven-year-old asbestos lawsuit involving allegations of fraud on the part of a talc defendant and its lawyer said in an Aug. 11 letter that a law firm's representation of an unrelated party does not disqualify him from serving (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).

California Panel Reverses Judgment For Employer In Take-Home Asbestos Case
LOS ANGELES - A California appellate panel on July 28 reversed summary judgment for an employer on a couple's take-home asbestos complaint, noting that the state Supreme Court ruling in Kesner v. Superior Court, filed after the couple noticed its appeal, disproved prior case law indicating that a property owner has no duty to its workers' family members from secondary exposure to asbestos used during the course of its business on its premises (San Juana Sandoval, et al. v. American Appliance Manufacturing Corp., No. B278952, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5203).

Washington Top Court Won't Weigh In On Household Exposure Case
SEATTLE - The Washington Supreme Court on June 27 declined to weigh into a household exposure asbestos case that produced a $3.6 million verdict against an insulator and involved questions regarding the state's statute of repose, liability and whether the company was a seller of the product in question (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 94199-8, Wash. Sup.).

9th Circuit Lifts Stay In Pfizer Asbestos Liability Case Involving Quigley
SEATTLE - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 14 lifted a stay of an asbestos case asking whether Pfizer Inc. is liable for a subsidiary's products under the Restatement (Second) of Torts, but said the plaintiff may seek to reimpose the stay if the Washington Supreme Court accepts review of a similar case (Sharleen Sprague, et al. v. Pfizer Inc., No. 15-35051, 9th Cir.).

Federal Magistrate Judge Finds Insufficient Evidence, Recommends Judgment For 7
WILMINGTON, Del. - A couple has at least some evidence of a man's encounters with some of the defendants' products, but no evidence that those products contained asbestos or that the parts in question were manufactured by the defendants, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held July 21 in recommending summary judgment for seven companies (Harold Haynes and Judy Haynes v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 16-607, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113828).

Judge Rules For 2 Defendants In Asbestos Case, Denies Plaintiffs Leave To Amend
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington in separate July 31 rulings granted one company's motion for judgment on the pleadings and another company's motion to dismiss and denied a couple's motion for leave to amend their asbestos complaint, which had been previously dismissed without prejudice; all three rulings were based on jurisdictional issues (Matthew Hodjera, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 17-48, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119940, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119942, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119945).

Judge: Navy Asbestos Mandate Didn't Affect Shipyard's Conduct Toward Employees
NEW ORLEANS - The Navy's mandate that a shipbuilder use asbestos-containing parts did not prevent it from warning employees about the presence of asbestos at the facility or from implementing safety procedures, a federal judge in Louisiana held Aug. 4 in remanding a negligence action (Robert Templet Sr. v. Avondale Industries Inc., et al., No. 17-5935, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123216).

GM's Suit Against Manville Trust Barred By Injunction, Bankruptcy Judge Rules
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - General Motors LLC cannot sue Johns-Manville Corp.'s asbestos personal injury trust in Ohio state court to recover money for payments made to a widow because GM's claim for contribution is barred by the decades-old injunction issued in Johns-Manville's Chapter 11 case, a New York federal bankruptcy judge held July 24 (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656 [General Motors LLC v. Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 1:17-ap-1032], S.D. N.Y. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 2063).

Expert Index

What's New In 2017? Filing Trends And Developments In Asbestos Litigation
By Daniel J. Ryan, John J. Hare and Mark A. Behrens Introduction Asbestos litigation defense is primarily a "micro" endeavor for companies and their counsel, focusing on the plaintiff's exposure allegations, the product at issue, the applicable law, and the particular judge and plaintiff's counsel in the case. Individual cases, however, comprise the fabric of the most expensive and enduring mass tort litigation in history. This article explores that "macro" context.