Author Archives: Scott J. McDowell

Plaintiffs Survive Summary Judgment as to Turbine and Valve Defendants; Fail to Establish Exposure to Other Equipment Defendant U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, March 31, 2017

The defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that the plaintiff, Paul Paquin, had not established that he was exposed to any asbestos containing product for which the defendants were responsible. The court launched into its analysis with the standard for summary judgment and stated that summary judgment is not appropriate unless “the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact to be tried and that the facts as to which there is no such issue warrant judgment.” The parties disputed whether maritime…

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Summary Judgment Recommended for Turbine and Valve Defendants in Mesothelioma Case U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, March 30, 2017

The plaintiff’s executrix brought this claim against multiple defendants alleging that her decedent, Mr. Denbow, developed mesothelioma as a result of his work in the U.S. Navy onboard the USS New Jersey from 1954-57 and while working at Koppers Chemical from 1965-70. The plaintiff relied upon the testimony of product identification witness Charles Ricker. Although not sure when he met Mr. Denbow, he testified that he met him while working as a machinist mate in engine room Nos. 2 and 4 during his stint on…

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Mississippi House and Senate Approves Conference Committee Report Requiring Transparency in Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Submissions

The Mississippi House and Senate approved a conference report regarding asbestos bankruptcy trust transparency legislation. The bill is expected to be signed into law. Findings of the Conference Committee include an acknowledgement that approximately 100 employers have declared bankruptcy related to asbestos litigation. Further, 85 percent of industries in the U.S. economy have been named as defendants in asbestos litigation. As a result, trusts have been established in asbestos related bankruptcy proceedings “to form a multibillion dollar asbestos bankruptcy trust compensation system outside of the…

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Port Commission’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction Granted Where Plaintiff’s Work was Predominantly Land Based U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, March 13, 2017

Mr. Genusa developed mesothelioma as a result of his work as a longshoreman, truck loader, and warehouse worker from 1963-1999. Mr. Genusa passed away and a claim was paid by Baton Rouge Marine Contractors (BRMC) and Signal Mutual Indemnity under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. The plaintiffs instituted this action against 13 defendants that allegedly “designed, tested, evaluated, manufactured, packaged, furnished, stored, handled, transported, installed, supplied and/or sold asbestos containing products to recover the benefits paid to Mr. Genusa’s wife. The last standing…

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Summary Judgment Granted as to Two Defendants and Denied for Several Others in Bare Metal Defense Case

The plaintiffs brought this action against several defendants for their decedent’s alleged development of mesothelioma while working aboard ships as an engine man, machinery repairman, and machinist mate. The defendants moved for summary judgment again after the court announced it would not adopt the Sixth Circuit’s version of the bare metal defense. The court concluded that “the bare metal defense should immunize only a narrower range of conduct.” Summary Judgment is appropriate when the court determines that there is no genuine dispute as to material…

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Pain and Suffering Damages Found as Pecuniary Under Maritime Law; Summary Judgment Granted in Part and Denied in Part U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 6, 2017

The defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that the plaintiff, John Bell, lacked standing to pursue a wrongful death or survival action under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). Specifically, the defendants relied on the language in DOHSA, which stated that “when death of an individual is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas beyond 3 nautical miles from the shore of the United States, the personal representative of the decedent may bring a civil action” and the…

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Dismissal for Failure to State a Claim Affirmed in Part and Reversed in Part U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, February 23, 2017

The plaintiff filed this appeal after the trial court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The trial court also denied the plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend on grounds of futility. Judgment was entered on behalf of Northrup Grumman. The court noted that its review of a denial of a motion for leave is de novo. The dismissal of the complaint was proper with respect to the plaintiff’s negligence and strict liability claims because it contained “insufficient, non-conclusory allegations to state a…

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Valve Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Denied in Failure to Warn Case Despite Bare Metal Defense U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division, February 13, 2017

The plaintiffs brought this action against Crane Co. alleging James Chesher developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos containing packing and gaskets found inside Crane Co. valves while he served in the United States Navy from 1965-1989. The court began its discussion by stating the standard for summary judgment. Summary judgment is appropriate when the “pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is…

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Mesothelioma Case Removed from Extremis Trial Group Where Plaintiff Failed to Identify New York City Defendant Supreme Court of New York, New York County, February 2, 2017

Talc defendants filed an appeal of a recent mesothelioma case arguing that the plaintiff should not have been added to a fast tracked “in extremis” trial group. All defendants in this matter were talc defendants. However, the plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos from ovens in Queens when he was approximately 8-10 years old. The plaintiff alleged that he accompanied his father to work and would crawl inside the “cooled oven” to retrieve the resistors that were inside since he was the only…

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Summary Judgment Affirmed Against School Board Where Exception to Immunity Applied Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, January 25, 2017

The plaintiffs filed suit against 40 defendants and the Pittsburgh School District Board of Public Education (PBE). The plaintiffs contended the defendants were responsible for Ms. Geier contracting mesothelioma while she worked as a school teacher at South Hill High School from 1959-59. During discovery, Ms. Geier stated in an affidavit that she was occupationally exposed to 1) pipe coverings, 2) floor tile, 3) drywall, and 4) joint compound. At the close of discovery, PBE moved for summary judgment and asserted the defense of governmental…

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