Author Archives: Timothy C. Connor

Jury Finds Asbestos-Cement Pipe Supplier Was Not a Substantial Contributing Factor to Plaintiff’s Lung Cancer Louisiana Civil District Court for Orleans Parish, January 29, 2018

LOUISIANA — After a three-week trial, a jury reached a defense verdict in this lung cancer case in favor of lone defendant Ferguson Enterprises and its alleged predecessor Louisiana Utilities Supply Co. (LUSCO), a supplier of asbestos-containing cement pipe.  Plaintiff Thomas Handy claimed that he cut asbestos cement pipe supplied by LUSCO while working as a laborer and pipefitter, and that this exposure among others, caused his lung cancer.  Defendant Ferguson argued that it was not a successor corporation to LUSCO under Louisiana law, that…

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Plaintiff’s “Every Exposure” and “Cumulative Exposure” Theories Unreliable; Various Plaintiff’s Experts Excluded U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, February 12, 2018

WASHINGTON — Defendant Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc. filed motions to exclude the plaintiff’s exposure and causation experts in this mesothelioma death matter. The Ninth Circuit remanded this matter for a new trial after finding that the District Court failed to make appropriate determinations under Daubert and Federal Rule of Evidence 702 in allowing expert testimony. The plaintiff alleged asbestos exposures during work at the Crown-Zellerbach Pulp and Paper Mill in Camas, WA. The plaintiff worked with dryer felts, among other products, in his time at…

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Four Cases Improperly Removed Due to Citizenship of Managing Agent of Defendant U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, February 1, 2018

MONTANA — Four plaintiffs originally filed suit in the Eighth Judicial District of Cascade County Montana alleging exposure to asbestos in Libby, Montana. Defendant BNSF removed the case to federal court on diversity of citizenship grounds, and alleged that BNSF’s managing agent John Swing was fraudulently joined. The court reviewed the Magistrate Judge’s Findings and Recommendations following a November 2017 hearing, and remanded all four cases to state court. Each of the four plaintiffs named 80-year-old Montana resident John Swing in their complaints, and gave…

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Federal Court Collaterally Estops Claims in Separate Disease Case U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, January 30, 2018

MISSOURI — Over a period of six years, plaintiff Berj Hovsepian filed two separate actions for two separate diseases, asbestosis and mesothelioma, arising out of his work with various products as a civilian employee of the United States Navy in Boston from 1958-1964. The current action sits in federal court, having been removed from a December 2015 case filed in state court in Missouri. The court granted defendant Ingersoll-Rand’s summary judgment motion on collateral estoppel for the reasons discussed below. In December of 2009, Hovsepian…

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Jury Verdict Against Construction Company Reversed in Premise Liability Case District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, December 27, 2017

FLORIDA — Appellant/defendant Bechtel appealed the trial court’s final judgment after a Florida jury found that plaintiff Richard Batchelor’s mesothelioma was caused in part by exposure to asbestos at Florida Power and Light (FPL) during the years 1974 to 1980. Bechtel built the plant at issue, and was responsible for ongoing maintenance services throughout the plaintiff’s six years at FPL, providing over a million contracted man hours during that time period, and having trailers on site for office space and storage. A three judge panel…

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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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