Author Archives: David E. Rutkowski

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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Employer Found to Have Duty to Prevent Reasonably Foreseeable Injuries in Take-Home Exposure Case U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, April 26, 2017

Barbara Bobo was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in 2011. Her husband, James Bobo, worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from 1975-1997 as a laborer and labor foreman, primarily at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Alabama. Mr. Bobo was previously diagnosed with asbestos-induced lung cancer but passed away from a heart attack in 1997. Mrs. Bobo passed away in 2013 from mesothelioma, and prior to her death, she filed a lawsuit against TVA and eight other defendants alleging “take-home” asbestos exposure, from…

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Roofing Cement Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment Based on Insufficient Evidence of Exposure Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle, April 4, 2017

Plaintiffs Henry Stowers and his wife Laura Stowers filed suit in the Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle County, alleging that Henry Stowers was exposed to asbestos from various defendants’ products which caused his lung cancer. Stowers, as the plaintiffs’ sole product identification witness, testified that between 1985-87, Stowers was a self-employed roofer. His work included building cabinets and removing/placing old shingles on roofs with new ones. Stowers stated that the new shingles were made by Owens-Corning and Heritage but he was aware of the…

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Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment on Failure to Warn Claims U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, April 4, 2017

Plaintiff Gail Hart, executor of the estate of the decedent Alva Coykendall (the plaintiff), filed suit alleging that her husband worked with a substantial amount of asbestos-containing brake and clutch friction materials manufactured by various defendants. Prior to his death, Coykendall was deposed and testified that he did work as an uncertified mechanic from approximately 1972 through 2014. Coykendall further specified he performed work on brakes and clutches which included exposure to brake dust when working on vehicles that did not require a full brake…

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Missouri Court of Appeals Finds Totality of Circumstances Standard Sufficient to Prove Causation under Wisconsin Law Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Division Three, March 28, 2017

Plaintiff Jean Urbach filed suit against 29 defendants on claims of negligence, strict liability, willful and wanton misconduct, and loss of consortium arguing that the defendants’ products caused her husband, Keith Urbach, to be exposed to asbestos, develop mesothelioma, and ultimately was the cause of his death. The plaintiff argues that Urbach was exposed to and inhaled friable asbestos fibers during his career as an electrician from 1963 to 2001. Urbach was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2011 and passed away in February 2012. The…

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Summary Judgment Granted to Valve Manufacturer Based on Insufficient Evidence of Exposure Superior Court of Rhode Island, March 13, 2017

The plaintiff filed suit in the Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence for personal injuries and wrongful death alleging plaintiff’s decedent use of asbestos products with defendant’s valves were foreseeable to the defendant and, under a negligence theory, the defendant failed to warn of the associated hazards. The defendant moved for summary judgment under Maine Law, to which both parties agreed upon, on November 16, 2016, and argued that the plaintiff failed to offer, and have no reasonable expectation of offering any evidence that plaintiff’s…

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Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal in Federal Court Without Prejudice; Allows Plaintiffs to Refile in State Court U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, March 9, 2017

Plaintiffs Richard Zanowick and Joan Clark-Zanowick filed suit in state court in July 2014. The defendants timely removed the case to federal court on diversity grounds a month later. With the case now in federal court, Richard Zanowick passed away on October 12, 2014. The plaintiffs filed and electronically served a notice of his death on November 17, 2014. Pursuant to Rule 25(a)(1), the plaintiffs were required to file a motion to substitute a new party for Richard Zanowick within 90 days, or in this…

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