Category Archives: California

Motion for Reconsideration of Summary Judgment of Defendants Electric Boat and General Dynamics Denied for Failure to Establish Material Difference in Fact or Law U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, August 1, 2016

The plaintiffs’ filed suit in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, alleging her decedent developed mesothelioma as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos while he worked as a machinist on various U.S. Navy ships manufactured by the defendants. The case was removed to federal court and Electric Boat and General Dynamics moved for summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs’ claims. The court denied the motions. The defendants’ included in their motions the argument that strict liability claims could not be…

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Appellate Court Allows Industrial Hygienist’s Reliance on Hearsay Evidence in Overturning Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant Lumber Company Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division One, July 27, 2016

The plaintiff, Jerry Charlifue, sued Goodman Lumber Company after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He worked as a taper and painter for U.S. Taping Company between 1972 and 1978. His duties involved applying joint compound and smoothing out walls and ceilings where drywall had been hung. The plaintiff worked with dry joint compound for the first three to four years of the job, which produced respirable dust. Goodman moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff could not prove that he was exposed…

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Court Issues Significant Verdict Reduction Based in Part on Jury Error of Finding Intentional Misrepresentation and Fraudulent Concealment Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, July 18, 2016

In a case previously reported on in ACT, a California jury found for the plaintiffs, Louis Tyler and Elizabeth Tyler and against defendant American Optical Corporation (AOC), the lone defendant remaining at trial, with an award of $22.8 million. This award consisted of $1.8 million in economic damages (medical expenses, lost income, household services, etc.) and $21 million in non-economic damages. The jury also found that AOC acted with malice, oppression and fraud, and awarded $10 million in punitive damages. The overall verdict totaled…

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Summary Judgment Granted to Cleaver Brooks Because Vague Witness Testimony Not Enough to Establish Exposure U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, May 24, 2016

The decedent in this case, Michael Walashek, alleged exposure to asbestos from various products, including Cleaver-Brooks boilers, during the course of his work for various entities between 1967 and 1986. The exposure allegedly caused him to “suffer severe and permanent injury and ultimately death.” The plaintiff, Gail Walashek, subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant Cleaver-Brooks, Inc. and other entities alleging claims of negligence and strict liability in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Following discovery, the defendant moved for summary…

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Special Electric’s Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict Overturned on Appeal Despite Sale of Raw Asbestos Was to Sophisticated User Johns Manville Supreme Court of California, May 23, 2016

Plaintiff William Webb brought a claim against multiple defendants for his alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of his occupational exposure to crocidolite while working for Pyramid Pipe as a warehouseman and truck driver. A supplier of raw asbestos, defendant Special Electric, was found liable for failure to warn and negligence. Special Electric supplied the Johns Manville Corporation with raw crocidolite asbestos to be used in the manufacturer of multiple Johns Manville products. The court noted that Johns Manville was a vast manufacturer with…

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California Appeals Court Applies “Inevitable Use” and Reverses Grant of Summary Judgment as to Brake Arcing Defendant Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Four, May 9, 2016

The appellant brought an appeal on behalf of her late husband, Frank Rondon, arguing that the trial court erred in its grant of summary judgment as to her claims for strict liability and negligence. Frank Rondon worked as a mechanic using defendant Hennessy’s (Ammco Tools) brake arcing machines designed to grind asbestos brake shoes. Hennessy moved for summary judgment, arguing that it did not manufacturer, distribute, or design asbestos containing products. Hennessy relied upon expert declarations that non-asbestos brake show linings were available in the…

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Summary Judgment Reversed on Appeal for Brake Shoe Grinder Manufacturer on the Basis of Foreseeable Hazard With Inevitable Use and Normal Operation of its Non-asbestos Containing Product Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division One, April 28, 2016

The plaintiff’s decedent, who developed breathing difficulties and lung damage as a result of asbestos exposure, filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that from approximately 1958-62, he was a mechanic who utilized brake shoe arcing machines (known as “grinders”) manufactured by the defendant for the purpose of grinding down/reshaping the friction material of brake shoes via mechanical abrasion. When a grinder came into contact with a brake shoe which contained asbestos in is lining, it would release asbestos into the air. Accordingly, it was…

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Boilermaker Contractor Granted Summary Judgment Over Past Employee as No Proof Existed of Exposure Outside of His Work Directly for Contractor U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, April 25, 2016

The plaintiffs filed a wrongful death and survival action claiming their decedent, Michael Walashek, developed mesothelioma from his work as a career boiler maker from 1967-86. The plaintiff’s social security records listed his employers FBS, Inc. and Camass Company, along with others. The case was removed to federal court and FBS, Inc. moved for summary judgment. Previously, a gasket manufacturer and cloth manufacturer moved for and were granted summary judgment.  A summary of that decision can be found here. Specially, FBS, Inc. argued that…

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Jury’s Finding of No Liability for Manufacturer’s Failure to Warn of Dangers of Exposure to Asbestos Reversed on Basis That Evidence was Insufficient to Support Verdict Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, April 13, 2016

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that from 1968 to 1980, he was a salesman for Kaiser Refractories whose clientele was primarily large industrial facilities to which a quarter of what he sold was asbestos-containing insulation, including refractory material, or material used to insulate the interior metal surfaces of industrial boilers and heaters. He also frequently helped remove and install insulation and refractory at his clientele’s facilities. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011 and then sued a number of manufacturers…

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U.S. District Court for Northern California Grants Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Case Based on Untimely Diversity Jurisdiction Removal U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 28, 2016

The plaintiff brought an action for alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure on April 15, 2014. After the plaintiff passed on July 7, 2015, his wife filed a second amended complaint, adding a wrongful death and survival claim on October 28, 2015. The defendant removed the case based on diversity jurisdiction and the plaintiff’s moved to remand as untimely. Although the removal statute requires removal within 30 days from date of service of the complaint, the defendant relied upon two arguments…

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