Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News
LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Legal News
Headline Asbestos Legal News from LexisNexis®
New York Auto-Parts Case Nets Mesothelioma Sufferer $75 Million Verdict
NEW YORK - A New York jury on Jan. 20 awarded $75 million to a husband and wife for mesothelioma he allegedly contracted as a result of asbestos exposure related to his love of cars and drag racing (Marlena F. Robaey and Edward Robaey v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 190276/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
Court Must Reinstate Patent, Take-Home Asbestos Claims, Plaintiffs Argue
MADISON, Wis. - Plaintiffs in six asbestos cases asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on Jan. 26 to reinstate their asbestos cases, arguing that negligence law applies to a patent licensor and that take-home exposures do not fall under the state's workers' compensation law (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.).
Washington Court Finds Duty In Take-Home Asbestos Case, Reinstates Full Award
SEATTLE - An asbestos-insulation installer's conduct and knowledge supports imposing a duty on it for take-home exposure of a woman who died on the eve of trial and a resulting $3.6 million verdict, a Washington appeals court on Jan. 23 (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 73748-1-I, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2017 Wash. App. LEXIS 111).
Court Affirms Judgments In Take-Home Asbestos Automobile Parts Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A man's evidence in a take-home exposure case alleges possible exposure from asbestos-containing automobile parts but never crosses into the probable, a California appellate panel held Feb. 2 (Billy S. Johnson v. ArvinMeritor, et al., No. A131975, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 762).
Bankruptcy Asset Sale Bars Take-Home Asbestos Case, Court Says
PHILADELPHIA - A "free and clear" sale of assets in a bankruptcy court auction precludes holding the purchaser liable for pre-purchase take-home asbestos exposures, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Jan. 26 (Jacqueline S. Wagner and Thomas H. Wagner v. Standard Steel LLC, et al., No. 850 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.).
Delaware Judge Rejects Duty In Take-Home Asbestos Case Against Manufacturer
WILMINGTON, Del. - Take-home asbestos claims against a manufacturer allege nonfeasance and lack allegations of the type of special relationship between the parties needed to impose liability, a Delaware judge held Feb. 2 (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Atlas Turner Ltd., et al., No. N14C-01-287 ASB, Del. Super., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 53).
Maryland Court Affirms Judgment In Take-Home Asbestos Case
BALTIMORE - Neither the existence of changing rooms nor the availability of a commercial laundry warrants imposing a duty to warn about the dangers occupational asbestos posed to family members, a Maryland appeals court affirmed Jan. 27 (Daniel E. Hiett, et ux. v. AC&R Insulation Co. Inc., No. 2564 September Term 2015, Md. Spec. App.).
Court: Pennsylvania School Board Can Be Liable For Teacher's Asbestos Exposure
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A school board had a common-law duty to provide a teacher with a safe work space free from asbestos, and local agencies can be held liable for such exposure where it falls within an exception to the general government immunity, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Jan. 25 (John F. Geier, executor of the estate of Marianne M. Geier and John F. Geier v. Board of Public Education of the School District of Pittsburgh v. American Art Clay Company Inc., et al., No. 625 C.D. 2016, Pa. Cmwlth.).
Federal Judge Says Insurer Owes No Duty To Employee For Asbestos Exposure
NEW ORLEANS - An insurer owes no duty to an employee of an insured for damages arising out of the employee's exposure to asbestos while employed by the insured, a Louisiana federal judge said Jan. 30 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Jesse Frank Sheppard v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2401, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12011).
New York Court Upholds Denial Of Judgment Where Man Couldn't Identify Product
NEW YORK - A man's failure to identify a defendant's product is not fatal to his asbestos case, especially in light of evidence placing the company's pumps aboard the ship on which the man served, a New York appeals court held Jan. 26 (In re New City Asbestos Litigation, Susan Krok as Adminstratrix for the estate of Raymond J. Krok Sr., etc. v. Aercto International Inc., et al., Nash Engineering Co., No. 190272/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
Judge Permits Discovery Of Documentation Supporting Bankruptcy Trust Claims
NEW ORLEANS - Documents and other evidence submitted in support of asbestos bankruptcy trust claims are admissible in an asbestos injury action, but evidence relating to settlements are not, a federal judge in Louisiana said Jan. 23 (Jesse Frank Sheppard v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2401, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8595).
Judge Orders New Deposition, Imposes Fees And Costs In Asbestos Witness Dispute
NEW ORLEANS - Producing an unprepared corporate witness who failed to answer almost 100 noticed matters despite months of preparation time was akin to offering no witness at all, a federal judge in Louisiana held Jan. 31 in ordering a new deposition and imposing costs and fees (Martha Denmon Storer, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., et al., No. 14-2488, W.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13349).
Joinder Of Montana In Asbestos Action, Remand, Proper, Judge Says
BILLINGS, Mont. - Allegations that the state of Montana declined to act after its investigation discovered asbestos contamination at the Libby, Mont., are sufficient to keep it in a case and defeats diversity, a federal judge in Montana held Jan. 30 in adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation and remanding the case (Timothy S. McDowell, personal representative of the estate of Susan K. McDowell v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co., et al., No. 16-67, D. Mont., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12524).
Judge Dismisses After Finding Insufficient Support For Asbestos Fraud Claim
NEW ORLEANS - The failure to adequately support a fraud claim for the second time warrants dismissal of the claim with prejudice, a federal judge in Louisiana said Jan. 24 (Jesse Frank Sheppard v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2401, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159338; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9527).
Canadian Judge: Allegations By Asbestos Entities 'Scandalous And Baseless'
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The claim by asbestos abatement and surveying companies and their principles that the government targeted them for enforcement actions based on their race "is arrant nonsense" unsupported by any facts, a Canadian judge held Feb. 1 (Manoj Singh aka Mike Singh, et al. v. Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia, et al., No. S166982, British Columbia Sup.).
Split 6th Circuit: Kentucky Never Adopted Every-Exposure Causation Theory
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The state of Kentucky never clearly adopted the every-exposure asbestos causation theory, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 10 in affirming summary judgment for a joint compound maker (Carol Lee Stallings, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., et al., No. 15-6387, 6th Cir.).
New York Justice Denies Motion Seeking Exclusion Of Every-Exposure Testimony
NEW YORK - Experts in an asbestos case may make qualitative evaluations regarding exposure and need not precisely identify the quantity of exposure, a New York justice held in a Jan. 9 opinion denying defendants' wide-ranging motion (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Geraldine Andrews, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190034/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 12).
Impermissible Inferences Led To $4M Asbestos Verdict, Wire Company Says
ST. LOUIS - In the absence of any evidence of actual product use or exposure, a woman built her asbestos exposure case on inferences and speculation to secure a $4 million verdict, a wire company told a Missouri appeals court on Dec. 13 (Jean Urbach v. The Okonite Co., No. ED104393, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.; 2016 MO App. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1109).
Crane Co. Takes Last Shot At Convincing Court To Reject $11.5M Asbestos Verdict
ST. LOUIS - The evidence does not support imposing liability for third-party parts on a valve maker, and it falls even shorter of the standard for imposing punitive damages, Crane Co. told a Missouri appeals court on Dec. 6 in seeking to reverse an $11.5 million asbestos verdict (Jeanette G. Poage, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. ED 103953, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.).
Delaware Judge Finds Lack Of Precise Recollection Doesn't Doom Asbestos Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's failure to precisely recall the name of an asbestos-containing product he used decades ago is understandable, and his counsel's suggestion of the name was not leading, but clarifying, a Delaware judge held in denying summary judgment Jan. 17 (Jesse Hastings and his wife, Diane Hastings v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. N15C-06-014, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
Judge Adopts Magistrate Judge Report Granting Judgment For Pump, Boiler Maker
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently rejected the foreseeability standard plaintiffs seek in an asbestos action, a Delaware judge federal held Jan. 9 in adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation that two motions for summary judgment be granted (Jimmy R. Mitchell and Connie Mitchell v. Atwood & Morill Co., et al., No. 15-958, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115210).
Judge Orders Discovery Into Canadian Companies' Contacts With New Jersey
TRENTON, N.J. - Additional discovery is needed into two Canadian companies' contacts with New Jersey so that a woman can fairly contest motions to dismiss her asbestos action on jurisdictional grounds, a federal judge in New Jersey said Jan. 9 (Estelle Grimes, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. 15-8466, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181534).
Utilities Urge Court To Affirm Asbestos Verdict Based On Contractor Knowledge
SAN FRANCISCO - A jury got it right when it found that a contractor knew or should have known about the dangers of asbestos in a case against two public water companies, the utilities told a California appeals court in a pair of December briefs (Shirley Hubbard, et al. v. California Water Service Co., et al., No. A145804, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
New York Court Finds Control Over Worksite, Reinstates Asbestos Verdict
NEW YORK - A power company's specification that contractors use asbestos and its ability to prevent the related injuries allow it to be held liable under New York Labor Law Section 200, a divided New York appellate court held Jan. 10 (Phyllis Brown, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190415/12, 206, 205, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 98).
Routine Work Renders Man Statutory Employee, Louisiana Court Says
NEW ORLEANS - A man's employment in routine maintenance activities at a facility renders him a statutory employee and bars his asbestos claim, a divided Louisiana appeals court held Jan. 11 (James Huey Fletcher and Janet S. Fletcher v. Anco Insulations Inc., et al., No. 2016-CA-0424, La. App., 4th. Cir.; 2017 La. App. LEXIS 67).
Alabama Panel: Asbestosis Claim Versus Employer Named Only Worker, Expired At Death
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A man's asbestosis action against his employer mentions only himself and not his wife, making it a workers' compensation claim that expired upon his death, an Alabama appeals court held Jan. 13 in ordering dismissal of the action (Ex parte Thompson Tractor Company Inc., In re: Ray Franklin and Donna Franklin v. Thompson Tractor Company Inc., et al., No. 2160086, Ala. App.).
Court: Lack Of Workers' Comp Claims Dooms Asbestosis Sufferers' Malpractice Case
RICHMOND, Va. - Four asbestosis sufferers who claim that their attorneys mishandled their case cannot show that they were disabled at the time they left work and therefore lack evidence that the alleged conduct cost them workers' compensation claims, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 12 (Larry Southern, et al. v. Richard H. Bishoff, et al., No. 15-2008, 4th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 593).
Court Reverses Remand, Finds Judge Imposed Too Strict A Standard
NEW ORLEANS - Requiring production of contracts and other evidence of precise government oversight into the use of asbestos in the military oversteps the boundaries of federal officer removal, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 20 (Howard Zeringue v. Allis-Chalmers Corp., et al., No. 16-30058, 5th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1077).
Judge Finds Navy Guidelines Sufficiently Precise For Removal Of Asbestos Case
TAMPA, Fla. - Experts' testimony that the U.S. Navy issued reasonably precise specifications for private manufacturers to meet sufficiently demonstrates control over the products in question, and Crane Co. need not show that the government would not have permitted additional warnings, a federal judge in Florida said Jan. 9 in denying remand of an asbestos case (Ralph Donson v. Air and Liquid Systems Inc., No. 16-3022, M.D. Fla.).
Court: Jury Properly Tasked With Determining 'Consumer' Of Asbestos Fibers
LOS ANGELES - A pipe manufacturer and its employees can properly be considered the ordinary consumers of asbestos fibers supplied for the use in the employer's product, a California appeals court held Dec. 21 (David Baeza, et al. v. Special Electric Company Inc., No. B264220, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9178).
Asbestos Plaintiffs Urge 3rd Circuit To Reject Bare-Metal Defense
PHILADELPHIA - The entire bare-metal defense relies on a misreading of an appellate opinion that did not even involve negligence claims and should be rejected, plaintiffs told the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 20 (Roberta G. DeVries, et al. v. Buffalo Pumps Inc., et al., No. 16-2602, Shirley McAfee, et al. v. Ingersoll-Rand & Co., No. 16-2669, 3rd Cir.).
New York Justice: Chef May Rely On Cumulative Asbestos Exposure Causation Opinion
NEW YORK - An expert need not offer quantitatively precise descriptions of asbestos exposure to render causation opinions, a New York justice held Dec. 21 in allowing an expert's testimony that cumulative exposures to asbestos from commercial kitchen equipment substantially contributed to a chef's mesothelioma (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Dario Battistoni v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190103/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2016 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4775).
Court Affirms Asbestos Verdict Where Jury Heard About 'Drive-By Screenings'
NEW ORLEANS - A judge did not err in admitting an advertisement related to asbestos screenings, closing comments about "drive-by screenings" or in allowing pictures of clinic where the plaintiff went for a diagnosis, a Louisiana appeals court held Dec. 21 (Dan Freeman v. Phillips 66 Co., et al., No. 2016-CA-0247, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89).
Companies Tell 7th Circuit Patent, Take-Home Asbestos Claims Must Fail
MADISON, Wis. - Workers' compensation law precludes employees' tort actions alleging asbestos exposure at home, and claims based on licensing a patent ask a court to completely misapply patent law, two companies told the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 (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.).
Company Says No Need To Reinvent Wheel On Successor Liability
WAUSAU, Wis. - Wisconsin courts need not turn to unfair transfer law because successor liability law already includes a fraudulent transfer analysis baked in, defendant companies told the Wisconsin Supreme Court Dec. 22 in urging it to extinguish its liability for a predecessor's asbestos activities (Penny L. Springer v. Nohl Electric Products Corp., et al., No. 2015AP000829, Wis. Sup.).
Judge: Nonmalignant Claims Fall To Bankruptcy Court; Later Cancer Claims Proceed
PHILADELPHIA - While there was no bad faith in a man's failure to disclose a nonmalignant asbestos action in two personal bankruptcies, the bankruptcy trustees are the tort action's rightful owners; but a claim arising from a later diagnosed colon cancer is properly before the court, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Dec. 16 in denying ship owners' motions for summary judgment (Willard E. Bartel (Administrator for the estate of William A. Lawrence), et al. v. A-C Product Liability Trust, et al., No. MDL 875, 11-45628, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174817).
Judge Improperly Granted Judgment, Rejected Amendment, Woman Claims In Appeal
MADISON, Wis. - A judge erred both in rejecting a motion to amend or add findings to a ruling and in the original order granting judgment to an asbestos-insulation manufacturer after a bench trial, a woman claims in Dec. 19 filing with the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Gary Souja, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-4177, 7th Cir.).
Federal Judge Finds Submarines' Construction Doesn't Warrant Maritime Law
WILMINGTON, Del. - Submarines under construction are not vessels under maritime law, a federal judge in Delaware held Dec. 30 in finding that Connecticut law applies to the asbestos case (Ralph Elliott Shaw and Joan Sanderson Shaw v. Andritz Inc., et al., No. 15-725, D. Del. 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180137).
Federal Magistrate Judge Finds No Evidence Exposures Were Substantial Cause
WILMINGTON, Del. - A federal magistrate judge in Delaware recommended granting four motions for summary judgment, saying Dec. 30 the plaintiffs, who had not responded, failed to show that exposure to the products in question were a substantial factor in the man's mesothelioma (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Charlevoix, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 15-726, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180138).
Beneficiaries May Pursue Jones Act Survival Claim, Asbestos MDL Judge Rules
PHILADELPHIA - Surviving beneficiaries of a Merchant Marine's Jones Act survival action originally filed in 1989 should not be penalized simply because the court lacked the resources to quickly resolve asbestos cases, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Jan. 6 (Creighton E. Miller (administrator for estate of Joseph F. Braun v. Manville Corporation Asbestos Disease Compensation Fund, et al., No. MDL 875, 11-33896, E.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1975).
Judge Finds Asbestos Complaint Overly Broad, But Allows Plaintiff Chance At Remedy
BALTIMORE - "Formulaic" allegations of asbestos exposure failing to distinguish between defendants or time periods fall short of pleading standards, but the plaintiff may amend in an effort to cure the deficiencies, a federal judge in Maryland held Jan. 3 (Esther Rhodes, et al. v. MCIC Inc., et al., No. 16-2459, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89).
3rd Circuit Approves Of Future Asbestos Cancer Release In FELA Case
PHILADELPHIA - A Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) release properly included future asbestos-related cancer claims based on evidence that both parties understood it as a "known risk," a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Dec. 16 in affirming dismissal of a lung cancer case (James S. Collier, Mary Elizabeth Collier, H/W v. CSX Transportation Inc., No. 16-1999, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22464).
FELA Asbestosis Settlement Doesn't Preclude Later Cancer Claim, Ohio Court Says
CLEVELAND - A Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) settlement involving nonmalignant asbestos disease improperly attempted to extinguish future claims and does not bar a man's lung cancer action, an Ohio appeals court held Dec. 22 (Richard C. Arpin v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 104279, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 5168).
Judge: Navy Specifications Keep Asbestos Case In Florida Federal Court
TAMPA, Fla. - Evidence that a company complied with the U.S. Navy's precise specifications for products it ordered from private contractors keeps an asbestos case in federal court, a federal judge in Florida held Dec. 27 (Marc Killam v. Air & Liquid Systems Inc., et al., No. 16-2915, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178637).
Government Contractor Defense Change Leads 4th Circuit To Vacate Remand Ruling
RICHMOND, Va. - An intervening understanding of how the circuit applies the government contractor defense to failure-to-warn cases requires vacating a remand order, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Dec. 21 (Charles and Louise Brinkman v. General Dynamics Corp., Electric Boat Corp., et al., No. 15-1752, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22907).