Author Archives: Timothy C. Connor

Summary Judgment Granted for Ford on Strict Liability, Punitives, and Conspiracy Claims U.S. District Court, District of Delaware December 12, 2017

DELAWARE — Asbestosis plaintiff Gerald Hickman alleged take home, bystander, and direct exposure to asbestos from, among others, defendant Ford Motor Company. Ford moved for summary judgment, which was granted in part and denied in part. The plaintiff alleged exposure to Ford products during his work around others in garages and gas stations, from his father’s work in the family service station, and from his own repair work on his wife’s new Ford Mustang. Applying Delaware law, the court denied summary judgment as to the…

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No Reasonable Inference that Union Carbide Supplied Asbestos to Joint Compound Manufacturers; Summary Judgment Granted Superior Court of Delaware, December 11, 2017

DELAWARE — Plaintiff Larry Sturgill, who died of mesothelioma, worked in home remodeling and construction for three years, using joint compound manufactured by three companies. Defendant Union Carbide moved for summary judgment, which the court granted. U.S. Gypsum and National Gypsum, were allegedly supplied with Calidria asbestos for their joint compound products by Union Carbide. Virginia substantive law governed the case. Union Carbide argued that 1) the plaintiff could not establish that he worked with any joint compound containing Calidria, 2) that a bulk supplier…

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California Jury Finds Against Asbestos/Talc Defendants for $22.17 Million Alameda County Superior Court, California December 12, 2017

CALIFORNIA — Earlier this week, an Alameda County, California jury awarded plaintiffs $22.17 million dollars, comprised of $17.6 million in compensatory damages and $4.6 million in punitive damages.  Defendants Imerys Talc America Inc. (40 percent) and Vanderbilt Minerals LLC (60 percent) were found liable.  Vanderbilt Minerals reportedly settled the case after the compensatory verdict.  The plaintiffs alleged that the 72-year-old decedent developed mesothelioma after working with paint made with talc that was contaminated with asbestos.  According to the plaintiffs’ closing arguments, the defendants had denied…

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Amended Complaint Deleting Federal Claims Does Not Destroy Jurisdiction Over a Validly Removed Case U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, December 6, 2017

LOUISIANA — This decision arises out of the court’s review of the plaintiffs’ motion to remand, and appellant’s motion for review of an order granting plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint. The shipyard worker plaintiff originally filed an action in state court naming numerous defendants. The initial petition included failure to warn and negligence claims against the appellant, among other causes of action, and strict products liability and failure to warn claims against a boiler defendant, who also opposed the motion to remand. Approximately three…

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A Look Back at the Bare Metal Defense in 2017

In the past year, the bare metal defense continued to see some variance from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with at least one federal appellate court taking up an issue for further clarification late in the year. The bare metal or component parts defense essentially provides that a manufacturer is not liable for harm caused by asbestos products that the manufacturer did not manufacture or distribute, and owes no duty to warn of the hazards inherent to those products. It is viewed in some jurisdictions in the…

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Johnson & Johnson Found Not Liable in California Talcum Trial Los Angeles County Superior Court, November 16, 2017

After almost three days of deliberation following a four week trial, a Los Angeles area jury reached a defense verdict in a mesothelioma case against Johnson & Johnson and its supplier Imerys Talc America, Inc. In closing arguments, the plaintiff urged the jury to consider evidence that allegedly documented Johnson & Johnson’s long awareness of asbestos contamination in its talc mines in attributing the plaintiff’s disease to the defendants. Defense arguments focused on a lack of asbestos markers in the plaintiff’s lungs, and pointed to…

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Defendant’s Third-Party Claims Remain Stayed in Federal Court While Plaintiff’s State Law Claims Remanded United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, October 24, 2017

MARYLAND — The plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, MD alleging state law claims arising from asbestos exposure against defendant/appellant Campbell-McCormick (CMC) and others. CMC subsequently filed a third-party complaint against GE and 12 other co-defendants for contribution. GE removed the case to the District of Maryland, asserting federal contractor defenses. The plaintiff filed a motion to sever and remand, and specifically requested the district court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction of the plaintiff’s state law claims pursuant to…

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Fraudulent Joinder Determination Turns Only on Factual and Legal Basis, Not Intent U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Central Division, October 3, 2017

MISSOURI — Kansas resident plaintiffs filed an action in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, alleging mesothelioma and asbestosis arising out of work first performed in the state of Missouri. Two defendants named in the state court petition were also residents of Kansas, and the rest were from various states. Defendant Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company removed the case on the basis of diversity. In response to the plaintiffs’ motion to remand, Athene alleged that the plaintiffs had no intention of prosecuting claims…

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