Author Archives: David E. Rutkowski

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reaffirms Betz Decision Rejecting Each and Every Exposure

In December of 2010, a Philadelphia jury awarded a verdict in the amount of $14.5 million to the widow, and executrix of the estate, of James Nelson. Nelson had previously developed mesothelioma and passed away at age 54 in 2009. The defendants appealed the verdict, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet the sufficient standard of causation under Pennsylvania law. The defendants specifically argued that the trial court improperly allowed plaintiff’s expert to testify that each and every exposure must be considered a substantially contributing…

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Federal Court Defines “Other Paper” in Removal Statute § 1446 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, June 21, 2017

The plaintiff filed a petition for damages in the 18th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Iberville on February 23, 2017, and named Avondale, among others, as a defendant. The plaintiff alleged he contracted mesothelioma during his employment with Avondale caused by “dangerously high levels of toxic substances, including asbestos and asbestos containing products, in the normal course of his work.” Defendant Avondale filed a notice of removal to the United States District Court of Louisiana on April 28, 2017 under the federal…

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Successor Liability Decision Reversed in Oregon Court of Appeals of Oregon, June 7, 2017

The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s granting of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on successor liability. This suit involves the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos from his work in Portland shipyards during the 1950s. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the ground that any of its liabilities “that may have existed prior to 1965 were transferred to another company” and, therefore, it could not be held liable for the alleged injuries suffered prior to that transfer. The plaintiff appealed this decision arguing that the…

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Plaintiff’s Mesothelioma Claims Barred by Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act

In a consolidated matter, three of the plaintiffs, Diane Jacobs, Katrina Masephol, and Janice Seehar (the Weyerhaeuser plaintiffs), filed claims against various defendants after developing mesothelioma.  Each had worked for Weyerhaeuser for years in close contact with asbestos.  As such, in order to get around Wisconsin’s Workers Compensation Act, Wis. Stat. § 102.03(2), which provides the “exclusive remedy against the employer” for work-related injuries, the plaintiffs argued that their asbestos-related injuries were not caused on the job, but at home and in the community, and…

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Maryland Court Affirms Application of Statute of Repose in Asbestos Matter Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, May 31, 2017

On December 13, 2013, plaintiff James F. Piper was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on March 26, 2014 for damages caused by his occupational asbestos exposure. Piper worked as a steamfitter at the Morgantown Generating Station in Woodzell, Maryland. In early 1970, defendant Westinghouse installed a turbine generator at this site to which the specifications called for the use of insulation containing asbestos. Piper testified that while he did not work directly on the installation of the…

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Louisiana Court of Appeal Finds $500K Jury Verdict Not Enough Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, May 24, 2017

Plaintiffs Frank Romano, Sr. and Lynne Rome Romano filed suit in the Civil District Court, Orleans Parish against a number of defendants on September 12, 2014, after Romano contracted mesothelioma allegedly caused from occupational asbestos exposure. For a brief background, Romano grew up in Marrero, Louisiana and lived about two blocks away from the Johns-Manville Corporation’s plant for 20 years before he went away for college. As a result of this Johns-Manville connection, two defendants filed a third party demand against CRMC, a successor in…

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NYCAL Justices Appointed to First Department-Appellate Division

On May 22, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) Supreme Court Justices Cynthia S. Kern and Peter H. Moulton to the First Department-Appellate Division. Associate Justice Rolando Acosta was designated to the Presiding Justice of this Appellate Division and Supreme Court Justices Jeffrey Oing and Anil Singh will fill the remaining Associate Justice vacancies. The First Department covers New York and Bronx Counties. Justice Cynthia S. Kern has been a justice in the 1st Judicial District of…

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Sufficient Exposure Found to Reverse Prior Summary Judgment Decision in Favor of Asbestos Supplier Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, May 17, 2017

In October 2010, the plaintiff, Thomasina Fowler, individually and as administrator of the estate of Willis Edenfield (the decedent), brought a wrongful death and product liability action in the Superior Court of New Jersey against various defendants. The plaintiff alleged the decedent passed away from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure associated with defendants’ products. The complaint was filed after the decedent’s death and he was never deposed. Therefore, during discovery, the plaintiff produced two witnesses to testify as to the decedent’s occupational history. The decedent…

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Missouri Appeals Court Affirms $10M Punitive Damage Award Against Valve Manufacturer Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, May 2, 2017

Jeannette G. Poage, the plaintiff, filed a products liability suit against defendant Crane Co. in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, alleging that her husband, James E. Poage, suffered personal injuries and wrongful death from mesothelioma, which was caused from Mr. Poage’s work with the defendant’s products. Mr. Poage served in the U.S. Navy from 1954-58 as a machinist on the USS Haynesworth where he helped maintain the valves on the ship that required replacing gaskets and packing. The plaintiff alleged that…

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$3M Judgment Affirmed Finding Sufficient Evidence to Show Specific Causation Against Cement Supplier Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Dept., April 28, 2017

On March 22, 2017, in the Supreme Court of New York, Oneida County, a $3M judgment was awarded to plaintiff Nicholas Dominick for injuries sustained due to exposure to asbestos associated with the defendants’ products. The defendants appealed from the judgment entered upon a jury verdict finding the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos from products supplied by the defendants, that they failed to exercise reasonable care by not providing a warning about the hazards of exposure to asbestos with respect to their products, and that…

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