Author Archives: Timothy C. Connor

Community Exposure Claims by Former Employees Not Barred by Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Act U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, April 17, 2018

WISCONSIN — Two deceased Weyerhauser employees brought claims against their former employer for common law negligence, negligent nuisance, and intentional nuisance. In an effort to avoid the exclusivity provisions of Wisconsin’s Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA), both plaintiffs alleged that the defendant Weyerhauser’s activities exposed them to asbestos in the community, not during the course of their employment with the defendant, causing their mesothelioma. Weyerhauser challenged the pleadings on several bases, and the court granted and denied their motion in part. The court denied Weyerhauser’s motion…

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Cases Remanded After Court Determines Defendant Shipbuilder Controlled Safety Procedures U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, April 11, 2018

LOUISIANA — The Eastern District of Louisiana granted motions to remand in two separate mesothelioma cases arising out of alleged exposure to asbestos through work for defendant Avondale Industries, Inc., a shipbuilder for the United States Navy. Each plaintiff originally filed their actions in state court, alleging that Avondale failed to warn of the hazards of asbestos and failed to implement proper safety procedures for the handling of asbestos. Avondale removed the matter to federal court on federal officer jurisdiction. In remanding, the court focused…

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$80 Million Punitive Award in Asbestos-Talc Case

NEW JERSEY — Following up on a prior ACT post  regarding a compensatory damages verdict of $37 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc., the same New Jersey jury awarded a total of $80 million in punitive damages. This case involved allegations that plaintiff Stephen Lanzo developed mesothelioma after years of use of talcum powder that plaintiff claimed was contaminated with asbestos.  Of the total punitive damages sum, $55 million was awarded against Johnson & Johnson and $25 million against Imerys.…

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Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment Under Massachusetts Statute of Repose, But Grants Defendants’ Motions on Other Grounds U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, March 30, 2018

MASSACHUSETTS — The plaintiffs allege that the decedent, Wayne Oliver, developed mesothelioma from bystander exposure to asbestos during his work as a pipe inspector on the construction of two power plants in the 1970s. Defendant General Electric Company (GE) specified and produced steam turbine-generators for the power plants, and supervised their installation. Defendant NSTAR, formerly known as Boston Edison Company (NSTAR/BECO), owned one of the power plants during the time of the decedent’s work. The decedent worked for non-party Bechtel Corporation, who acted as the…

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Limited Access to Exhibits Filed in Asbestos-Related Bankruptcy Cases was Proper Under Bankruptcy Code Section 107 U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, March 27, 2018

DELAWARE — Appellants Honeywell and Ford filed a request seeking unlimited access to thousands of exhibits (2019 Exhibits) filed in nine Delaware bankruptcy cases commenced in connection with the debtors’ asbestos-related liabilities (Consolidated Cases). All but one of the nine Consolidated Cases was closed. The appellants argued they were entitled to indefinite access to the 2019 Exhibits, including investigating potential fraud in the claims process and advancing the appellants’ legislative and lobbying activities. The appellees (various Trust Advisory Committees and Future Claimants Representatives) opposed the…

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Personal Jurisdiction Motion Denied as Court Focuses on State-Related Contact U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, March 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — Decedent Donald Varney alleged that he developed mesothelioma from ambient exposure to defendants’ products while working in various positions at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, and at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, CA. Defendants Taco, Inc. and Aurora Pump Company filed identical Motions to Strike and Motions to Dismiss, which the court denied. The defendants’ Motion to Strike pre-judgment interest argued that Washington law made prejudgment interest unavailable for claims of unliquidated damages, and that the plaintiffs’ damages were…

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Jury Finds Pipe Manufacturer Did Not Have a Duty to Warn Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, March 23, 2018

PENNSYLVANIA — Decedent Ernest Schrader alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from dozens of products during 40 years of working in a DuPont facility in Delaware. Pipe manufacturer Ameron International Corporation was the lone defendant at a two week trial in state court in Philadelphia. Earlier this week, the jury determined that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from Ameron. However, the jury did not find that Ameron was negligent, evidently accepting evidence that the company complied with OSHA standards at the…

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District Court Denies Sheldon Silver’s Motion to Dismiss Following Remand U.S. District Court for the Southern District New York, March 20, 2018

NEW YORK — The saga of former New York Assemblyman Sheldon Silver continues as the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Silver’s Motion to Dismiss charges against him. Among other contentions, the government’s indictment against Silver includes allegations that Silver received more than $3 million dollars in referral fees from the Weitz & Luxenberg firm for clients sent to it by Dr. Taub, a physician specializing in the treatment of mesothelioma. The indictment further alleges that Silver disbursed state funds…

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Plaintiffs’ Experts Permitted to Testify Regarding Conspiracy Claims U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, March 14, 2018

Defendant Crane Company filed motions to strike the plaintiff’s expert reports from James A. Bruce, M.D., Barry Castleman Sc.D, and Captain Francis J. Burger as violating Federal Rules of Evidence 402 and 702 in this lung cancer case that was removed to Federal Court. The plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure through his work on two ships in the United States Navy, and through his work as a salesman. Only one count remained from the plaintiff’s Fourth Amended Complaint following Crane’s summary judgment motion, and it alleged…

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Plaintiff Can Serve Jurisdictional Disclosure Demands Regarding Potential Successor Liability in Talc Case New York Supreme Court for New York County, February 20, 2018

NEW YORK — Plaintiff Richard Arazosa alleged that he was injured as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing cosmetic talcum powder products.  Defendant Imerys SA filed a pre-answer motion to dismiss claims against it, arguing a lack of jurisdiction given its existence as a French holding company with no assets or presence in the United States.  The plaintiff asked the Special Master for permission to serve jurisdictional disclosure demands on Imerys SA with the intent of proving that Imerys SA was the successor to Talco…

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