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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News

Headline Asbestos Legal News from LexisNexis®


California Jury Finds For 2 Defendants After Asbestos Trial
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on May 26 awarded a defense verdict to two defendants in an Alameda County asbestos case featuring alleged exposures in the U.S. Navy, sources told Mealey Publications (Roy Booth v. John Crane Inc., et al., No. RG15789131, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

Fresh New York Asbestos CMO Permits Punitive Damages, Loosens Some Evidence Rules
NEW YORK - New York asbestos plaintiffs may pursue punitive damage claims going forward under a newly instituted case management order (CMO) that also includes changes to hearsay rules designed to help offset the negative impact such a change will have on defendants, the coordinating justice said June 20 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Company: Asbestos Verdict's Apparent Inconsistencies Don't Warrant New Trial
LOS ANGELES - A jury that found no liability in an asbestos case against a brake grinder manufacturer continued to verdict questions involving apportionment and damages only because of a "glitch" in the instructions, as juror declarations clearly demonstrate, a company told a California appeals court May 22 (Sharon Linsowe, et al. v. Hennessy Industries Inc., No. B276252, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

California Court Briefed On Duty For Environmental Asbestos Exposures
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Plaintiffs, a premises owner and an asbestos fiber supplier briefed an appellate court recently on whether California recognizes a duty to prevent exposures miles away from the company's facility (Beverly Trapp, et al. v. Asbestos Corp. Limited, et al., No. H043867, Calif. App., 6th Dist.).

Ohio Top Court Urged To Reject Expert's Cumulative Exposure Testimony
CLEVELAND - Expert testimony attributing a man's mesothelioma to cumulative exposure to asbestos in automobile brakes simply dresses up the theory that every exposure leads to disease in new clothing and is inadmissible under Ohio law, a manufacturer and its amici curiae told the state's highest court on June 15 (Mark Schwartz, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 2016-1372, Ohio Sup.).

Rhode Island Judge: Knowledge, Skills Permit Expert Causation Testimony
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - An expert's knowledge and skills give him sufficient basis to testify regarding the cause of a man's mesothelioma, a judge in Rhode Island held June 9 in rejecting the need for narrow specialization (Rosie K. Sweredoski, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 2011-1544, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation, 2017 R.I. Super. LEXIS 94).

Judge Bars Opinion That Asbestos Exposure Played Role In Previous Kidney Cancer
BALTIMORE - An expert in a mesothelioma case may not testify regarding his opinion that a man's previous kidney cancer also arose from the asbestos exposures in question, a federal judge in Maryland held June 22 in granting unopposed summary judgment on numerous claims (Jeffrey Rockman and Sonja Rockman v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1169, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96227).

4th Circuit Finds Navy Control Over Asbestos Warnings Sufficient For Removal
RICHMOND, Va. - A boiler maker did not need to show that the U.S. Navy specifically rejected additional warnings related to asbestos to successfully remove a case, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held June 22, but on remand, the judge must determine whether Foster Wheeler LLC's removal was timely (Janya Sawyer, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1530 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11081).

Judge Finds Deposition Starts 'Other Paper' Removal Clock
BATON ROUGE, La. - Deposition testimony and not the transcript itself triggers the "other paper" removal clock, a federal judge in Louisiana held June 21 in remanding an asbestos action (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-269, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95308).

Judge Finds Negligent Failure-To-Warn Asbestos Claim Outside Scope Of Removal
NEW ORLEANS - Asbestos plaintiffs' claims that a shipyard negligently failed to warn about the dangers of asbestos on its premises do not create a colorable defense or causal nexus required for removal, a federal judge in Louisiana held June 19. The shipyard filed a notice of appeal on June 20 (Victor J. Blouin Sr., et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-2636, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93537).

Court Reverses Forum Ruling Where Plaintiff Couldn't Solidly Identify Exposure
CHICAGO - A trial judge erred in denying forum non conveniens transfer where the plaintiff was at best equivocal regarding his exposure in his chosen forum, an Illinois appeals court held June 13 (Irvin Rohl and Marlene Rohl v. Borg Warner Corp., et al., No. 2016 L 676, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1148).

Delaware Judge Finds Product Identification Evidence Lacking
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a company did not manufacture the type of fully assembled brake product a witness identified frees the company from an asbestos action, a judge in Delaware held June 14 (Amanda Dullinger and Stephen Dullinger v. American Honda Motor Co., et al., No. N15C-04-281, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Texas Court Denies Review In Asbestos Case Involving 9-Year Settlement Delay
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on June 16 declined to wade into whether a nine-year delay in accepting the terms of settlement resolving asbestos claims was appropriate under the terms of the agreement or constituted unreasonable delay (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).

New York Court Agrees: 'Systemic Failure' Waived Asbestos Memo's Protections
NEW YORK - A company waived privilege over a redacted attorney-client memo providing advice involving the asbestos-cement pipe business due to its repeated disclosure concessions, but the company's more strenuous efforts regarding an unredacted version keeps it privileged, a New York appeals court held June 15 (Richard Warren v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., No. 4297, 190281/2014, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4808).

Court: Law Firm, Not Lawyer Retained Privilege Over Attorney's Emails
SAN FRANCISCO - A law firm retained privilege over a former asbestos attorney's work product and was not required to obtain his permission before disclosing emails between him and a scientific consulting firm, a California appeals court held June 21 (Tucker Ellis v. The Superior Court of City and County of San Francisco, Evan C. Nelson, No. A148956, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 571).

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'Substantial Justice' In $3.2M Verdict Against Jenkins Bros., Justice Says
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. - Saying a $3.2 million asbestos verdict delivered "substantial justice," a New York justice on May 12 denied a valve maker's post-trial motion challenging the jury instructions and the exclusion of settled defendants' interrogatory responses and testimony from a Navy expert (Scott Shays v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 703/2015, N.Y. Sup., Schenectady Co.).

Louisiana Court Adds $1M To Couple's 'Too Low' Asbestos Verdict
NEW ORLEANS - Evidence presented at trial and past jury awards in mesothelioma cases support raising a jury's noneconomic damages award to $1.5 million from $500,000, a Louisiana appeals court held May 24 (Frank S. Romano Sr. and Lynn Rome Romano v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 2016-CA-0954, La. App., 4th Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 961).

Defendants Tell Court No Reason Exists To Review Asbestos Expert Ruling
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Two defendants freed from an $8 million verdict after a court found expert asbestos causation testimony improperly admitted at trial have told the Florida Supreme Court that there are no grounds for reviewing the decision (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).

Parties Brief Proper Standard In Asbestos Case Against Respirator Maker
LOS ANGELES - Loosening the causation standard in asbestos cases to include safety equipment makers would only draw more cases to California's already burdened judicial system and is against public policy, amici told a California appeals court May 10 (William and Becky Tyler, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B276847, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Top Court Won't Review Reversed Asbestos Verdict Against Cruise Line
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 12 declined to wade into a dispute over the proper causation standard in a Jones Act case involving allegations of asbestos exposure aboard a cruise line (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 16-1074, U.S. Sup.).

Arizona High Court Set To Decide Asbestos Take-Home Exposure Case
PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court heard oral argument on April 25 in a case in which it will decide whether the state recognizes an employer's duty for take-home asbestos exposures in a negligence action (Mary Quiroz, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., et al., No. 16-0248, Ariz. Sup.).

Court Finds Employer Had Duty To Prevent Take-Home Asbestos Exposures
LOS ANGELES - Employers and premises owners are liable for foreseeable take-home asbestos exposures under recent California Supreme Court precedent, a state appeals court held June 5 in reversing its previous ruling (Wanda L. Beckering v. Shell Oil Co., No. B256407, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3).

Environmental Asbestos Exposure Claims Fail; Patent Claims Frivolous, Court Says
MADISON, Wis. - Environmental asbestos exposure claims appear to simply be an attempt at avoiding the exclusivity provision of the state's workers' compensation law, while claims involving the licensing of a patent appear entirely frivolous and must be explained, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal held June 6 while affirming judgment for the two companies at the heart of the appeal (Janet Pecher, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-1799, Dianne Jacobs, et al. v. Rapid American and Weyerhaeuser Co. and Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2376, Katrina Masephol v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2377, Robert Sydow, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2378, Kathy Boyer v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2379, Janice Seehafer v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2380., 7th Cir.).

Court: Questions Remain Over Ship Owner's Transfer Of Asbestos Liabilities
PORTLAND, Ore. - Liability is a nebulous term and absent an actual document demonstrating that a ship owner transferred all liabilities to a subsidiary, genuine issues exist about who is responsible for a man's exposure, an Oregon court held June 8 (Clifton J. Williams Sr., et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. A158077, Ore. App., 2017 Ore. App. LEXIS 741).

Maryland Court Rejects Attempt To Keep Asbestos Case Outside Statute Of Repose
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A woman's reading of the state's statute of repose is both outdated and implausible and does not preclude application of the law to her case alleging exposure from insulation applied to a generator whose construction was completed in June 1970, a Maryland appeals court held May 31 (June Diane Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp., No. 453 September Term, 2015, June Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp., No. 40 September Term, 2016, Md. Spec. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 561).

Commercial Products Fall Under Government Contractor Defense, Court Says
SAN FRANCISCO - The government contractor defense applies to commercial products, a California appeals court panel affirmed June 6 in refusing to revisit a previous finding in an asbestos case (Jay Wanlass v. Metalclad Insulation Corp., No. A143616, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).

Justice Allows Deposition Into Italian Asbestos Products' Presence In New York
NEW YORK - Asbestos plaintiffs are entitled to discovery into how an Italian company's products ended up in a New York factory, the justice overseeing New York asbestos litigation held in an opinion posted May 25 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation David Cerutti and Steven Cerutti, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190009/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Additional Evidence Doesn't Warrant New Asbestos Trial, Connecticut Judge Says
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The existence of previously undisclosed industry group membership and asbestos air-sampling tests with little impact on a widow's environmental exposure case do not warrant a new trial, a Connecticut judge held April 26 (Marsha Lagerberg, executor of the estate of Erick Lagerberg, et al. v. Armstrong International Inc., et al., No. CV 11-6023127S, Conn. Super., Fairfield at Bridgeport, 2017 Conn. Super. LEXIS 833).

Ire Over Depositions In Asbestos Fraud Case 'Baseless,' Judge Told
NEWARK, N.J. - Having "[sown] poisoned seeds" by conducting a decades-long effort to destroy evidence of asbestos liability, a company now attempts to harvest its crop by complaining that class representatives accusing it of fraud do not know the precise impact of that scheme, plaintiffs told a New Jersey federal judge on May 30 in opposing a sanctions motion (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).

Insulation Work Could Be Improvement Or Maintenance, Federal Judge Finds
CHICAGO - There is sufficient evidence that a premises owner retained control of its property and knew or should have known of the dangers of asbestos and that work on insulation and gaskets constituted maintenance rather than improvements to real property, a federal judge in Wisconsin held in denying summary judgment on May 15 (Beverly Ahnert, et al. v. Brand Insulation Inc., et al., Nos. 10-156, 13-1456, E.D. Wis.).

Widow: Contractor's Control, Knowledge Of Asbestos Supports $21M Premises Verdict
MIAMI - Evidence that a contractor controlled its asbestos-related work and knew of the dangers the work posed supports a jury's $21 million asbestos verdict, a widow argues in a March 28 brief to a Florida appeals court (Bechtel Corp., et al. v. Richard Batchelor and Regina M. Batchelor, No. 3D16-2624, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).

Court Finds Error In Exclusion Of Co-Worker's Asbestos Testimony
AKRON, Ohio - A judge improperly excluded testimony after wrongly finding that a co-worker relied on hearsay from a supervisor rather than his own experiences regarding work with a defendant's asbestos-containing tape, an Ohio appeals court held May 31 (Ruth Williams v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and Akron Gasket & Packing Enterprises, No. 28253, Ohio App., 9th Dist., Ohio App. LEXIS 2089).

Court: Expert Can't Link Auto Part Defendants To Asbestos Exposure
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Expert testimony that no safe level of exposure to asbestos exists does not overcome summary judgment where it is equally possible that a man's mesothelioma arose from other exposures, a divided Kentucky appeals court held June 2 (Tiffany Landreth, et al. v. Brake Supply Co. Inc., et al., No. 2015-CA-000006-MR, Pneumo Abex LLC v. Genuine Parts Co., et al., No. 2015-CA-000140-MR, Brake Supply Co. Inc. and Pneumo Abex v. Fortner L.P. Gas Co. Inc., et al., No. 2015-CA-000141-MR, Ky. App., 2017 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 399).

Court Affirms Denial Of Motion To Seal Confidential Asbestos Memo
LOS ANGELES - A company's failure to try to contain a memo containing confidential attorney-client advice for more than three years, even as it went "viral" in asbestos litigation, warrants denying a motion to seal, a California appeals court held June 8 (Elaine Margie Paulus, et al. v. J-M Manufacturing Company Inc., No. B269904, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Judgment In Asbestos Molding Compound Cases
WILMINGTON, Del. - A judge properly granted summary judgment in two asbestos cases based on inability to link the product in question to the plaintiffs, the Delaware Supreme Court held May 18 (Phyllis Gordon, et al. v. Reichhold Inc., No. 534, 2014, Michael J. Jamesson v. Reichhold Inc. No. 219, 2016, Del. Sup.).

Court: Asbestos Sales For Pipe Sold In Washington Don't Create Jurisdiction
SEATTLE - A broker's sales of asbestos to a California company selling pipe in Washington state do not create specific jurisdiction, but on remand the trial court should consider recently revealed evidence and precedent in deciding that the state had jurisdiction, a majority of the Washington State Supreme Court held June 8 (Candance Noll, et al. v. American Biltrite Inc., et al., No. 91998-4, Wash. Sup.).

5th Company Secures Jurisdiction Dismissal In Asbestos Action
SEATTLE - A couple alleging asbestos exposures in Canada lacks specific or general jurisdiction for a suit in Washington state against a defunct automobile parts seller, a federal judge held May 23 (Matthew Hodjera and Sylvia Hodjera v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 17-48, W.D. Wash.).

Trial Justice Approves $10M Settlement Of Asbestos Claims In Insurer's Liquidation
CONCORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire trial justice on May 22 approved a $10 million settlement between an insolvent insurer's liquidator and a manufacturer with regard to asbestos claims (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Co., No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).

Court: Action Alleging Asbestos Defendant Withheld Insurance Coverage Time-Barred
BALTIMORE - Asbestos plaintiffs were on notice that a settling defendant could have more access to insurance coverage than previously disclosed after Porter Hayden, in which a court concluded that the aggregate limits in product liability policies did not apply to installation or operation claims, a Maryland appeals court held June 1 (Estate of Harold L. Adams, et al. v. Continental Insurance Co. No. 1065 September Term 2014, Md. Sp. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 567).

Judge Finds Joinder Of Asbestos-Product Supplier Proper, Remands
NEW ORLEANS - A man's claims that his employer used products originally supplied by a defendant and that his work in two facilities could have put him in contact with other asbestos-containing products from the supplier create enough of a case to overcome claims that the defendant was improperly joined to defeat complete diversity, a federal judge in Louisiana held in remanding a case on May 22 (Ronald Smith v. Georgia-Pacific LLC, et al., No. 17-4698, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77044).

Judge Orders Briefing On Dismissal, Jurisdiction In Asbestos Case
SEATTLE - A couple must file supplemental briefs explaining why dismissal of a complete diversity defeating defendant is possible and providing a better explanation of a second defendant's corporate structure, a federal judge overseeing an asbestos action in Washington state held May 24 (Patrick Jack, et al. v. Asbestos Corporation LTD., et al., No. 17-537, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79813).

Asbestos Exposure Disclaimer Erases Doubt About Jurisdiction, Judge Finds
PORTLAND, Ore. - A disclaimer of any asbestos claims that would invoke federal jurisdiction erases any doubt raised by a woman's production of a list of U.S. Navy ships, a federal judge in Oregon held May 26 in adopting a magistrate judge's report and remanding a case (Melissa Coury, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 16-1796, D. Ore.).

Court Affirms Remand Where Couple Abandoned Federal Asbestos Claims
NEW YORK - A judge properly remanded a couple's asbestos action after they abandoned claims invoking federal jurisdiction, and dismissal of the last nondiverse defendant does not require a different outcome, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 31 (Alton Chapman, Frances Chapman v. Crane Co., et al., No. 16-933, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9732).

Judge Allows Amendment, Finds Allegations Support Removing Asbestos Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A shipyard may supplement its removal notice with government contracts and affidavits detailing the role the U.S. Navy played in requiring asbestos aboard ships, a Louisiana federal judge held June 2 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-1220, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84804).

N.Y. Justice Consolidates 2 Asbestos Cases, Leaves 2 Others For Separate Trial
NEW YORK - A living mesothelioma sufferer and a plaintiff alleging asbestos exposure in the U.S. Navy are sufficiently unique to require individual trials, a New York justice held May 18 while consolidating two other cases (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Murphy-Clagett, as temporary administrator of the estate of Pietro Macaluso v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190311/15, Joseph Fleigner v. A.O. Smith, et al., No. 190245/15, Ruth Story, individually and as the legal representative of the estate of Eugene Story v. A.O. Smith, et al., No. 190285/15, Kelly O'Connor, personal representative of the estate of Raymond Flood v. A.O. Smith, et al., No. 190147/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Justice Consolidates 22 Asbestos Cases Into 14 Trial Groups
NEW YORK - A New York justice on May 19 fashioned 14 trial groups, ranging from single cases up to a grouping of four, from 22 asbestos cases. The plaintiffs had sought seven trial groups (Richard Aquitato, et al. v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., No. 190253/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

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Louisiana Jury Returns Verdict For ExxonMobil In Asbestos Case
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana jury on April 11 returned a defense verdict in an asbestos case claiming that a former contractor developed mesothelioma and died after exposures at an ExxonMobil Corp. facility, sources told Mealey Publications (Thomas H. Hayden and Jaqueline S. Hayden v. 3M Co., et al., No. 15-03732, La. Dist., Orleans Parish).

Jury Returns Defense Verdict On Environmental Asbestos Exposure Claims
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A Connecticut jury on March 17 found for a special materials company in a man's case alleging exposure to asbestos fibers that escaped from the company's facility (Audrey Gough, et al. v. Rogers Corp., et al., No. FBT-CV-15-6049135-S, Conn. Super., Fairfield at Bridgeport).

Justice Receives Briefing On Import Of New York Asbestos Causation Ruling
NEW YORK - Parties filing post-trial motions after a $7 million asbestos-tainted talc verdict in New York briefed a justice on May 15 over whether a February ruling involving the state's causation standard eliminates the ability to prove asbestos cases using cumulative exposure and visible dust evidence or whether it simply reiterates the existing framework (Claudine Discala, as administrator of the estate of Joan Robusto v. Charles B. Chrystal Company Inc., et al., No. 190413/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Cruise Line: No Review Needed In Attempt To Revive $10.3M Jones Act Verdict
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A trial court and subsequent state appellate court merely found that an asbestos plaintiff did not meet the causation standard for a Jones Act claim, a sufficiency-of-the-evidence ruling unworthy of U.S. Supreme Court review, a cruise line argues in a May 4 response, urging the court to reject a petition (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 16-1074, U.S. Sup.).

Conn. Top Court Hears Need For Expert's Opinion In Product Defect Asbestos Case
HARTFORD, Conn. - Parties briefed the Connecticut Supreme Court on May 3 on whether a recent "modest refinement" to Connecticut's product liability standard requires expert testimony establishing that an asbestos-containing rotor blade adhesive was defective and unreasonably dangerous (Wayne Bagley, et al. v. Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. S.C. 19835, Conn. Sup.).

Court Finds Work Testimony, Presence Of Asbestos Establish Exposure
TRENTON, N.J. - Evidence that a man worked with asbestos and that Union Carbide Corp. supplied more than 40,000 pounds of the mineral to the facility at which he worked are enough to establish exposure, even without a direct link, a New Jersey appeals court held in reversing judgment May 17 (Thomasina Fowler, et al. v. Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc., et al., No. A-2300-15T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.).

Judge Finds No Evidence Farm Hand's Work Included Manufacturer's Parts
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a farm hand worked with a company's tractors during a certain period does not establish that the parts he encountered originated with the manufacturer, a judge in Delaware held May 10 (Nathanial Harris v. Deere & Co., et al., No. N14C-03-220 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Judge: No Evidence Asbestos Exposure Came From Ford Tractor Parts
WILMINGTON, Del. - A farm hand lacks sufficient evidence that the tractor parts he worked with were original or that they originated with Ford Motor Co., a judge in Delaware held May 10 (Nathanial Harris v. Deere & Co., et al., No. N14C-03-220 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Judge Again Denies Sprinkmann Judgment In Asbestos Case
CHICAGO - An insulator must proceed to trial on asbestos exposure claims that it was previously denied summary judgment on by two other judges, and a footnote disclaimer of exposures filed in a parallel case does not prevent the man's widow from pursuing those claims, a federal judge in Wisconsin held May 11 (Beverly Ahnert, et al. v. Brand Insulation Inc., et al., Nos. 10-156, 13-1456, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72048).

Court Questions Duty Precedent On Way To Vacating $4.6 Million Asbestos Award
JACKSON, Tenn. - A divided Tennessee Court of Appeals panel vacated a $4.6 million take-home asbestos verdict May 12, finding that the jury instructions improperly allowed a jury to find negligence without first finding a defective product. All three judges questioned precedent governing how the state's courts decide whether a duty exists to prevent harm (Joyce and Ronnie Stockton v. Ford Motor Co., No. W2016-01175-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2017 Tenn. App. LEXIS 308).

Delaware Judge Won't Reconsider Manufacturer Take-Home Duty Ruling
WILMINGTON, Del. - A woman allegedly exposed to asbestos carried home on her husband's clothing has not alleged a change in law or newly discovered evidence that warrants revisiting a ruling that a manufacturer is not liable for her injuries, a Delaware state judge held May 11 (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Atlas Turner Ltd., et al., No. N14C-01-287 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).

Insulator Covers Liability, Statute Of Repose In Household Exposure Petition
SEATTLE - Summary judgment on the question of whether the state's statute of repose applies to a take-home asbestos case precluded litigating the issue at trial, and plaintiff's argument that the failure to raise the issue waived the right to appeal the ruling is nonsense, a company told the Washington Supreme Court on May 5, while also challenging whether it owed household members any duty at all (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 94199-8, Wash. Sup.).

Communications Companies Fight Strict Standard Applied In Remand Of Asbestos Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge applied an impermissibly high standard that federal contractors plead detailed facts in support of removal of an asbestos case, a "clean break" from controlling precedent that requires reversal, a trio of telecommunications companies say in a May 5 brief filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (William Davidson, et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., et al., No. 16-17252, 9th Cir.).

Judge Finds Jurisdiction Lacking In Asbestos Case Against German Auto Maker
MIAMI - A German automaker's contacts with Florida are insufficient grounds on which to exercise jurisdiction over the company, a Florida appeals court held May 17 (Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft d/b/a Volkswagen AG v. Carol Jones, et al., No. 2D15-5716, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).

Jurisdiction Frees 3 Automaker Entities, Talc Company From Asbestos Case
SEATTLE - A couple alleging asbestos exposures in Canada lacks specific or general jurisdiction for a suit in Washington state against a trio of Volkswagen entities or talc company Whittaker Clark Daniels, a federal judge held May 17 (Matthew Hodjera and Sylvia Hodjera v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 17-48, W.D. Wash.).

Justice Allows Addition Of Improperly Named Company To Maritime Asbestos Suit
NEW YORK - A man's maritime asbestos suit improperly naming a successor as a defendant put an independent corporation that operates as a subsidiary of the named defendant on notice that it was being sued, a New York justice held in an opinion posted May 18 (Joseph J. Crandley v. Farrell Lines Inc., et al., No. 190033/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1836).

John Crane Takes RICO Claims Against Lawyers To Pennsylvania Federal Court
PHILADELPHIA - Less than two months after having its fraud and racketeering claims against two law firms and their founders dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, John Crane Inc. (JCI) filed the identical claims against one of the firms and its principals in Pennsylvania federal court May 15 (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 2:17-cv-02210, E.D. Pa.).

Talc Company Accused Of Fraud Doesn't Need Discovery, Asbestos Plaintiffs Argue
NEWARK, N.J. - Discovery into underlying asbestos claims is not warranted in a class action alleging that a talc company destroyed evidence relevant to asbestos claims because the case involves the scheme to protect the company from liability, not the tort actions, plaintiffs told a federal judge in New Jersey on May 12 (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).

Mississippi Supreme Court Reverses $14M Silicosis Verdict As Time-Barred
JACKSON, Miss. - A man's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis started the clock on the statute of limitations and bars his silicosis claim against a respirator manufacturer, a divided Mississippi Supreme Court held May 18 in reversing a $14 million verdict (American Optical Corp. v. Estate of Robert Lee Rankin Sr., et al., No. 2015-CA-0166-SCT, Miss. Sup., 2017 Miss. LEXIS 190).

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