Author Archives: Lynn A. Lehnert

Prior Maryland Rulings Relied Upon in Denying Remand U.S. District Court of Maryland, May 5, 2017

The plaintiffs moved to remand after defendant Crane Co. removed to federal court. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion without oral argument. Decedent John Dugger served in the United States Navy during the 1960s and died of mesothelioma; the plaintiffs filed suit after his death. The plaintiffs alleged Crane manufactured and sold rope and valves to the Navy. Crane removed on the basis of the government contractor defense, and in support submitted affidavits from three individuals. Defendants may remove to federal court if it establishes…

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Coke Ovens are Real Property and Not Subject to Product Liability Theories Supreme Court of the State of New York, May 5, 2017

Defendant Honeywell International, Inc., successor in interest to Wilputte Coke Oven Division of Allied Chemical Corporation, appealed from an order denying its motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff sought damages for injuries sustained by decedent Donald Terwilliger from asbestos exposure and coke oven emissions while employed at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, New York. The court reversed and granted Honeywell’s motion. Honeywell was sued as the successor to Wilputte Coke Oven Division of Allied Chemical, the designer and builder of five coke oven batteries at Bethlehem…

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Plaintiff’s Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Denied with Respect to Two Defendants Superior Court of Rhode Island, April 20, 2017

The plaintiff filed for voluntary dismissal in order to re-file in the State of Pennsylvania. Various defendants had filed motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Two defendants, Evenheat Kiln and Sargent Art, objected to the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss without prejudice. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss with respect to Evenheat and Sargent. The case had progressed through the discovery phase, and the plaintiff was deposed over six days. Evenheat never contested jurisdiction in Rhode Island. After discovery, both Evenheat and…

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NYCAL Court Denies Motion in Limine to Preclude Plaintiff’s Causation Experts Supreme Court of New York, New York County, April 14. 2017

The court issued further rulings in a case previously reported in Asbestos Case Tracker on April 12, 2017. This case involved plaintiff Frederick Evans’ alleged exposure to asbestos-containing dust from his work as an HVAC mechanic from 1955-59. Although the defendants submitted a joint omnibus motion in limine, the only defendant remaining at trial was Burnham LLC. Here, the motion in limine to exclude the causation opinions of the plaintiffs’ experts Dr. Carl Brodkin and Dr. John Maddox was denied. Burnham argued the plaintiffs’ causation…

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Upon Reconsideration, Finding of Jurisdiction Reversed Due to Missouri Supreme Court Ruling in State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Dolan U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, April 21, 2017

The plaintiffs were the special representative of the decedent, Berj Hovsepian, a civilian employee of the Navy from 1958-64 who died of mesothelioma. Originally filed in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, it was removed to federal court where defendant CBS Corporation filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. After the motion was denied, CBS moved to reconsider due to a change in controlling law. The court reconsidered and reversed its ruling, holding no personal jurisdiction existed over CBS. Motions to reconsider…

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Automotive Manufacturer Had No Duty to Warn Regarding Third Party Replacement Parts Supreme Court of Delaware, April 21, 2017

The plaintiffs alleged Ford Motor Company was negligent in failing to warn decedent of the dangers posed by servicing asbestos brake parts in Ford vehicles. The decedent was a mechanic who died of mesothelioma. Ford moved for summary judgment, arguing that Ford had no duty to warn about asbestos replacement brake parts made by third parties, and the plaintiffs failed to produce evidence that decedent was exposed to Ford asbestos brake parts. The trial court ruled that Ford had no duty to warn about third…

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Seattle Jury Renders Enormous Verdict Against NAPA Washington Superior Court, Washington, April 18, 2017

A Seattle, Washington jury reached a unanimous verdict against NAPA/Genuine parts after 5.5 hours of deliberation. The plaintiffs alleged the decedent, Doy Coogan, developed peritoneal mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure from brake shoes, bulk brake bands, gaskets, packing, and clutches, distributed and sold by NAPA. Although punitive damages were not requested, the jury’s verdict exceeded $80 million. The jury applied pre-1981 law in awarding a total of $81.5 million for the plaintiffs. The decedent Doy Coogan was awarded $30 million; his wife of four years,…

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North Dakota Joins States Enacting Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Transparency Legislation

On April 14, 2017, North Dakota became the third state this year to enact legislation mandating disclosure of asbestos bankruptcy trust claims. The new legislation requires plaintiffs to provide, within thirty days after an asbestos action is filed, a sworn statement from both plaintiff and counsel stating that all asbestos trust claims have been made. Plaintiffs must also provide parties with all trust claim materials, which are admissible in evidence. Supplementation is required, and failure to comply may result in dismissal of the case by…

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Required Use of Asbestos Products for Proper Functioning of Steam Turbines Created Genuine Issue of Material Fact Regarding Duty to Warn Court of Appeals of Washington, April 3, 2017

The decedent served in the Navy from 1943-46 and served as a machinist on the USS George K. MacKenzie during World War II. After the war, he joined the Military Sea Transportation Service and worked as an engineer until 1952. His representatives filed a wrongful death lawsuit after he died from mesothelioma, suing, among others, General Electric. The trial court granted GE’s motion for summary judgment, and the appellate court reversed. GE designed, manufactured, and supplied the steam turbines that were on board the decedent’s…

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John Crane Fails to Establish Personal Jurisdiction against Plaintiff’s Firm in Fraud Complaint Filed in Federal Court U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, March 23, 2017

John Crane, Inc. (JCI) filed suit against Benjamin Shein and the Shein Law Center (the defendant) for fraud, alleging that the defendant fraudulently obtained settlements with and verdicts against JCI by misrepresenting the exposure of asbestos plaintiffs to JCI’s products and concealing the plaintiffs’ exposure to products of other manufacturers. The complaint focused on four specific asbestos cases filed against JCI in Pennsylvania in which verdicts were rendered against JCI. It alleged specific behavior done by the defendants, such as delaying filing claims with bankruptcy…

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