Recent NYCAL Trends in the 2017 & 2018 Accelerated Clusters

The current state of asbestos litigation in New York City (NYCAL) continues to evolve as both the plaintiffs’ bar and defense bar deal with a revised Case Management Order (CMO) and judicial turnover. For a better understanding of the types of claims that are actually being litigated in NYCAL, and what firms are filing these claims, we can look at the current filing trends under the “cluster” procedure that is used in this jurisdiction. The CMO explains there are three dockets used in NYCAL: (1)…
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Asbestos Case Tracker Mid-Year Compendium 2018

With reported asbestos decisions continuing to rise, the need to keep informed on developments across the country is imperative. Goldberg Segalla’s Asbestos Case Tracker blog — ranked on the ABA Journal Blog 100 list of the best legal blogs — is the go-to resource for up-to-date asbestos decisions happening in courts throughout the United States. Our blog also reports on legislative updates, significant verdicts, and other critical developments in the asbestos area. We provide summaries of and access to decisions, along with insightful commentary from…
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St. Louis Jury Renders $4.69 Billion Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson in Talc Trial St. Louis Circuit Court, July 12, 2018

MISSOURI — On July 12, 2018, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury rendered a verdict against Johnson & Johnson in less than eight hours of deliberation following a six week trial involving 22 plaintiffs who alleged their ovarian cancer was caused by J&J talc products.  The jury awarded $25 million to each plaintiff, for a total of $550 million in compensatory damages, and found J&J liable on counts of strict liability and negligence.  The jury then spent less than two hours deliberating the punitive damages…
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Delaware Supreme Court Affirms No Excess Coverage in GM Asbestos Cases Motors Liquidation Company DIP Lenders Trust v. Allstate Ins. Co. et al., No. 381, 2017, 2018 WL 3360976 (Table) (Del. July 10, 2018)

DELAWARE — The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that several excess policies issues to General Motors do not provide coverage for asbestos-related and environmental claims against the company.  GM purchased primary coverage from Royal Insurance Company for more than 50 years ending in 1993.  Royal handled asbestos claims made under the policies during that period.  The claims at issue were filed after 1993.  Following declaratory judgment actions filed in both Delaware and Michigan, GM and Royal reached a settlement that released all of Royal’s policies from…
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Lack of Personal Jurisdiction over Talc Defendant Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Part U.S. District Court, M.D. Florida, July 10, 2018

FLORIDA — The plaintiff Susan Stevenson maintained suit against several defendants including Imerys Tac America Inc. (Imerys) alleging that her decedent, Judith Minneci, had developed peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos contaminated talc and talcum powder. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the plaintiff used Johnson and Johnson baby powder from 1942-1985. Imerys moved for summary judgment arguing that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over it. The plaintiff responded that two contacts between Florida and the defendant established jurisdiction. First, its predecessor was…
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$650,000 Verdict Vacated Based on Lack of Evidence That Cement Manufacturer Was “Exclusive Supplier” to Boiler Company Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, July 9, 2018

NEW JERSEY — The plaintiff’s Decedent William Condon and Plaintiff Debbie Condon originally filed suit in 2014 against 97 defendants, alleging that Decedent’s exposure to asbestos from their products caused his mesothelioma. On June 19, 2014, a Law Division judge denied Defendant Pecora Corporation’s motion for summary judgment. Of the defendants who settled with the plaintiff, nine did so before trial. At trial, the jury apportioned liability and damages between eleven defendants, including Pecora. Six of the eleven defendants went to trial; the others were
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Removal Under Federal Enclave Jurisdiction Deemed Timely U.S.D.C. for the Western District of Pennsylvania, June 28, 2018

PENNSYLVANIA — The plaintiff, Harald Mehnert, filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, alleging he suffered from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure incurred while working on Mass Spectrometers at the U.S. Geological Survey Department in Denver, Colorado, from 1959 to 1995. He filed suit on November 27, 2017 and all defendants were served with process by January 17, 2018. The complaint did not allege the location of the plaintiff’s work. On April 3, 2018, the plaintiff served answers to interrogatories indicating that…
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West Virginia Law Applied in Granting Summary Judgment Due to Speculative Testimony” Delaware Superior Court, June 28, 2018

DELAWARE — The plaintiff’s decedent, Marchie Dolley, a lifetime non-smoker, passed from lung cancer. The sole product identification witness was his son, Ringo, who testified about his father’s work as a truck mechanic at Ryder Truck Rental and General Truck Delivery. Ringo visited his father at the former job and later worked with him at the latter. He could not offer any specific testimony about how many times he worked on certain manufacturer’s trucks at either job, or whether original or replacement parts were used.…
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Admission into Evidence of Testimony and Answers to Discovery of Settled Defendants Leads to New Trial Ordered on Issue of Apportionment Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, June 29, 2018

NEW JERSEY — Donna Rowe (plaintiff), individually and as executrix and executrix ad prosequendum of the estate of Ronald Rowe (Rowe), appealed an April 27, 2015 judgment of $304,152.70 plus prejudgment interest. The plaintiffs originally sued 27 defendants, alleging that exposure to asbestos from their products caused Rowe’s mesothelioma. Twelve defendants were granted summary judgment, four were dismissed, and two never appeared and the claims against them were abandoned. Additionally, eight parties settled their claims before trial, leaving only Hilco, Inc., the successor-in-interest to Universal…
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$117 Million Verdict Upheld in Talc Case Middlesex County, New Jersey, July 2, 2018

NEW JERSEY — Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi denied motions from Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc. to set aside a $37 million verdict in compensatory damages and a combined $80 million verdict in punitive damages awarded earlier this year.  On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the court heard arguments on Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s motions to overturn the verdict. The court instead upheld the verdict. In rendering her decision, Judge Viscomi stated that the verdicts “do not shock the judicial conscience.”…
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In-State Business Activities Unrelated to Asbestos Personal Injury Claims Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Supreme Court of New York, June 16, 2018

NEW YORK – Newly appointed NYCAL Asbestos Coordinating Judge Manuel Mendez continued the recent trend of New York trial level decisions dismissing claims for lack of personal jurisdiction following  Bristol Myers Squibb Co. v. Supreme Court of California (2017) and Daimler AG v. Bauman (2014). In the matter of Irene Grabowski, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Alex Grabowski v. A.O. Smith Corporation, the plaintiff brought suit in New York State Court against The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts), alleging exposure from using Scotts…
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