Author Archives: Lynn A. Lehnert

Release Agreement in Prior Claim Does Not Bar Future FELA Claim U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015

Plaintiff Roger Lee Hindle was a railroad employee who developed lung cancer and brought a suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop the condition. The plaintiff had previously brought a claim against the same railroad defendants for hearing loss; in settling the previous claim, he signed a Release Agreement discharging them from any and all losses, known or unknown, including cancer. The railroad defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that this release barred the…

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Decedent’s At-Home Asbestos Exposure From Employer’s Products Does Not Bar the Application of California Workers’ Compensation Act Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, September 17, 2015

After working for defendant Ameron International for approximately 24 years, Lario Melendrez passed away from mesothelioma. The plaintiffs commenced a wrongful death action, alleging Mr. Melendrez was exposed to asbestos both during the manufacture of Ameron’s Bondstrand pipe products and in bringing scrap products home for use. Ameron moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs’ sole remedy against Ameron lies in the California Workers’ Compensation Act. The trial court granted summary judgment and the appellate court affirmed. While the issue of whether Mr. Melendrez’s…

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Louisiana Federal Court Grants Three Defendants’ Summary Judgment Motions Due to Lack of Exposure U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 9, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death mesothelioma case, alleging in part that his father was exposed to asbestos-containing products while in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the 1950s and 1960s. The defendants, GE, CBS, and Foster Wheeler, moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s evidence was insufficient to establish the decedent’s exposure to their products. The plaintiff opposed the motion with an expert affidavit, described by the court as follows: “Plaintiff relies on the expert report of Laurence Durio, who opined that Mr. Laurent…

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Wisconsin Federal Court Refuses to Enforce Settlement and Ruled Defendant Waived Defenses of Standing, Mootness, and Issue Preclusion U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, September 9, 2015

The plaintiff sued the defendant, Owens-Illinois, for injuries caused to the decedent by asbestos exposure, which proceeded in multidistrict litigation for many years and was transferred back to the District Court of Wisconsin in 2014. A settlement agreement had apparently been reached, which the plaintiff’s estate representative claimed was not authorized. After the district court refused to enforce the settlement, Owens-Corning moved to dismiss the case on three grounds: the plaintiff lacked standing as the estate representative; the plaintiff’s action is moot because she failed…

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Court of Appeals Upholds Lower Court’s Rulings Denying Caterpillar’s Motions for Summary Judgment, a New Trial, and to Vacate Jury Award Court of Appeals of Washington, Division One, September 8, 2015

In this case, it was alleged that the decedent, Edwin Estenson, was exposed to asbestos while in the Navy from 1948 to 1952 and while working on Caterpillar equipment for three contractors between 1955 and the late 1960s. Prior to trial, Caterpillar’s  motion for summary judgment was denied.  Following trial, where Caterpillar was the only defendant, the jury awarded the plaintiff a verdict of approximately $4.5 million. Caterpillar subsequently appealed the court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment, motion for a new trial, and…

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Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment on Judicial Estoppel Grounds Denied Because Plaintiff Did Not Act in Bad Faith When He Failed to Disclose His Asbestos Lawsuit in Subsequent Bankruptcy Filing U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 4, 2015

The plaintiff claims he developed an asbestos-related illness as a result of exposure to asbestos while working aboard various ships. The plaintiff originally brought his asbestos-related claims against several defendants in 1997. His claims were administratively dismissed in a manner allowing for those claims to be brought at a later time; the claims were reinstated in 2001, but there was no evidence that the plaintiff had been informed that his lawsuit had been reinstated.  Following the reinstatement, the plaintiff filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7…

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Court Rejects Plaintiffs’ Experts’ Opinions Because They Did Not Read Plaintiff’s Deposition Testimony and Grants Summary Judgment Based on Insufficient Product Exposure Court of Appeal of California, September 8, 2015

In this mesothelioma case, plaintiff James Shiffer worked at a power plant for several months in 1969 and 1970, during which time he claimed exposure to a Westinghouse turbine with asbestos-containing components that was present at the plant. Westinghouse moved for summary judgment because “…[t]here is no dispute Shiffer did not repair or maintain any Westinghouse equipment, and did not install or remove any insulation material himself. Nor is there any dispute that no already-installed insulation was removed or disturbed during Shiffer’s time at Ginna.”…

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