Author Archives: Sean T. Stadelman

Pre-Judgment Interest Above Policy Limits Recoverable Under Pennsylvania Law

General Refractories Company (GRC) has been named as a defendant in over 30,000 asbestos lawsuits since 1978. In 2002, GRC tendered to it excess carriers, including Travelers Casualty (Travelers) and Surety Company (formerly The Aetna Casualty and Surety Company) under a 1985-86 policy. Travelers denied coverage under an asbestos exclusion.  GRC proceeded to settle many of the underlying claims and pursued coverage from Travelers.  In March 2015, the United States District Court ruled that the asbestos exclusion was unenforceable, leaving only a calculation of damages…

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Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Denies Constitutionality Appeal of Asbestos-Related Liability Regulatory Statute Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, September 29, 2015

On September 29, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied the appeal of the executor of the estate of James Markovsky.  Markovsky, who had argued that a statute regulating asbestos-related liability should be found unconstitutional, had petitioned for appeal after the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of Crown Cork & Seal Co. Originally, on October 6, 2011, Markovsky filed a complaint against Crown alleging that he contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to the asbestos products of…

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Pittsburgh Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Secondary Exposure Friction Case

Plaintiff Larry English commenced this wrongful death mesothelioma case by claiming that his wife, Sherry English, was exposed to asbestos on Mr. English’s clothing. Mr. English, who worked for a variety of Ford dealerships between 1968 and 2011, worked with gaskets, brakes, and clutches. His claim is that the asbestos from these products remained on his clothing when he went home, allegedly exposing Mrs. English to asbestos. The plaintiff also claimed exposure to joint compound in connection with work in the home. Mrs. English was…

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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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Court Grants Non-Party Expert’s Motion to Quash Subpoena Even Though Items Sought Deemed Relevant U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, August 12, 2015

In this federal court motion, Dr. Arthur Frank moved to quash the subpoena served on him by Honeywell International Inc. as a defendant in a pending Eastern District of North Carolina asbestos case, Yates v. Ford Motor Co., et al.  Honeywell subpoenaed Dr. Frank, a prolific plaintiff’s expert in asbestos cases and a non-party to the North Carolina action, concerning his successful lobby of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to change language on its website and in its “Fact Sheets” regarding cancer risks to…

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Granting of Summary Judgment to Defendant Shipping Companies Overturned in Maritime Action, Based on Negligence Standard in Jones Act Superior Court of Pennsylvania, May 18, 2015

In this case brought under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.A. 30104, the decedent, Earl Criswell, was allegedly exposed to asbestos during his time as a Merchant Marine aboard various defendants’ vessels. The appellees, Atlantic Richfield Company and Sunoco, Inc. were both granted summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the lower court failed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and applied the wrong standard for negligence under the Jones Act. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff’s arguments…

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Pennsylvania Appellate Court Applies “Frequency, Regularity, Proximity” Standard, Dismissing Bystander Exposure Claim Superior Court of Pennsylvania, April 17, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this action, alleging bystander exposure to brake work done on a P&H crane brakes. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds there was insufficient evidence of asbestos exposure to any P&H crane brakes. In opposition to the motion, the plaintiffs relied on the following proof as recounted by the court: “Appellants contend that by P&H’s own admission, its cranes contained parts made with asbestos, including the brakes and wiring. Appellants assert Appellant Mr. Sterling’s job duties constantly put him in…

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Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules, Inter Alia, No Right to Offset for Bankruptcy Trust Claims Superior Court of Pennsylvania, April 17, 2015

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently reviewed on appeal a variety of post-trial issues in two mesothelioma cases that went to trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Of particular interest is the court’s refusal to permit defendants to offset payments received from settling non-party tort feasors, which included bankruptcy claim payments. The basis for the court’s decision is that the jury did not find that the other parties were joint tort feasors. The court described a defendants’ burden on this issue as follows:…

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Statute of Limitation in Wrongful Death Action Held to Have Commenced at Time of Decedent’s Diagnosis Superior Court of Pennsylvania, March 19, 2015

The administratrix of the decedent’s estate appealed the lower court’s time-barred dismissal of the wrongful death action she commenced on behalf of the decedent, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma on June 17, 2011 and died on July 9, 2012. The action was commenced on January 9, 2014, which was more than two years after the mesothelioma diagnosis, but less than two years after the decedent’s death. The court, in its analysis of the subject Pennsylvania statute of limitations, found that the time to file an…

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