Author Archives: David E. Rutkowski

Friction Defendants Granted Summary Judgment on the Issue of Causation Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County, August 2, 2017

On August, 2, 2017, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Julianne Capetola granted various defendants’ motion to renew and re-argue the court’s prior denial of the defendants’ combined Frye/summary judgment motions as to the issue of causation. Upon renewal, the court granted summary judgment to the defendants. By way of background, plaintiffs Giulio Novello and Rosaria Novello brought suit in the Nassau County Supreme Court seeking damages for personal injuries against various automotive-related defendants. The plaintiffs contended that Novello’s lung cancer diagnosis was causally related…

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Brake and Talc Supplier Successfully Move to Dismiss on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, July 31, 2017

Following up on prior ACT posts as to the Hodjera suit out of the Western District of Washington, the court granted motions for summary judgment filed by defendants Honeywell International  and Imerys Talc America Inc. under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court reiterated that due process requires a district court to have personal jurisdiction over a defendant in order to adjudicate a claim against it. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746, 753 (2014).  Further, the plaintiffs…

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Each and Every Exposure Theory Insufficient to Prove Specific Causation in South Carolina Federal Court U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, July 21, 2017

This decision addresses a similar issue from two different cases and therefore was decided within the same order. Both sets of plaintiffs offered the opinions of Carlos Bedrossian, MD to provide evidence of specific causation. For a brief factual background, plaintiff John E. Haskins served in the U.S. Navy as a fireman aboard the USS Coney. Haskins was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November of 2014 allegedly caused by his cumulative exposure to asbestos from working with and around asbestos-containing products manufactured or distributed by the…

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Generic Expert Report Insufficient to Satisfy Summary Judgment Causation Standard Superior Court of Delaware, July 19, 2017

Plaintiff James Blair as the administer of the estate of Walter Godfrey, Jr. filed suit against defendant Cleaver-Brooks in the Superior Court of Delaware claiming that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from the defendant’s boilers and a result, was diagnosed and ultimately passed away from lung cancer. As the sole product identification witness, Walter Godfrey, Jr. testified to working with Cleaver-Brooks boilers at various locations between 1977 and 2013 while employed with Connecticut Boiler Repair. The defendant moved for summary judgment and argued, among…

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Appellate Division Grants Temporary Stay on NYCAL CMO

On July 19, 2017, Justice Ellen Gesmer of the Appellate Division, First Department generally granted various NYCAL defendants’ order to show cause seeking a temporary stay of the implementation of a new NYCAL Case Management Order (CMO), which was issued by prior NYCAL Justice Peter Moulton. The order provides for a minor exception to the temporary stay. The order includes a briefing schedule for the motion seeking a stay of the New CMO during the pendency of the NYCAL defendants’ appeal from the NYCAL CMO…

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Summary Judgment Overturned as Lab Suppliers Found to Have Burden of Causation State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department, July 6, 2017

Plaintiff Eileen A. O’Connor was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma allegedly caused from exposure to equipment containing asbestos while working at a research lab from approximately 1975-79. The plaintiff filed suit in February 2015 against several defendants, including suppliers of various products used at this research lab. Supplier defendants moved for summary judgment arguing, among other things, that the plaintiffs failed to identify them as the suppliers of the asbestos-containing products in question. The Supreme Court granted the defendants’ motions dismissing the complaint against them, finding…

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Registered Agents Found Not to be Enough to Establish Personal Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, June 27, 2017

Plaintiff Willie Everett, resident of Missouri, brought suit in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, claiming personal injuries after he allegedly inhaled, ingested, or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers and/or asbestiform fibers emanating from certain products he was working with and around which were manufactured, sold, distributed, or installed by the defendants. The defendants removed the case to federal court on January 19, 2017. The respective Petition contends the defendants maintained registered agents in the state of Missouri and engaged in business in…

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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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