Category Archives: Case Decisions

Dissolved Company Failed to Meet Notice Requirements of Statute of Repose Superior Court of Rhode Island, March 13, 2017

Defendant Grover S. Wormer Company, individually and as successor-in-interest to Wright-Austin Company, brought a motion to dismiss the asbestos litigation filed on behalf of Frank D’Amico in the Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence.  Wormer originally brought its motion under Super. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6) and contended that the plaintiff’s claims for liability are barred under Michigan’s Business Corporation Act Chapter 8 (the BCA), which governs the dissolution of corporations and provides a Statute of Repose to bar continued liability.  The plaintiff did not contest…

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Case Remanded to State Court Following Resolution of Claims that Invoked Federal Officer Statute U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, March 17, 2017

The plaintiffs commenced this action in state court alleging that various products caused plaintiff Ralph Shonkwiler to develop mesothelioma. Defendant CBS Corporation (Westinghouse) removed the matter to federal court based on the federal officer statute since the plaintiffs claimed exposure to their product was a Navy turbine and the claimed exposure took place while plaintiff was serving in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Ingram. In January 2017, the plaintiffs informed the court that all claims against Westinghouse were resolved and Westinghouse was dismissed from the…

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Rhode Island Court Applies Maine Law to Deny Summary Judgment to Insulation Contractor Superior Court of Rhode Island, March 13, 2017

The laintiffs alleged negligence and breach of warranty based upon asbestos exposure sustained by dececdent during his work at various job sites through the Laborer’s Union from 1969-1990. Defendant New England Insulation Company (NEI) filed a motion for summary judgment based upon various theories, which the court denied. During his deposition, the decedent testified that he worked as a laborer for general contractors at job sites in Maine.  From 1973-1976 he worked at International Paper Mill around other trades, such as pipefitters and insulators. His…

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Summary Judgment Granted to Valve Manufacturer Based on Insufficient Evidence of Exposure Superior Court of Rhode Island, March 13, 2017

The plaintiff filed suit in the Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence for personal injuries and wrongful death alleging plaintiff’s decedent use of asbestos products with defendant’s valves were foreseeable to the defendant and, under a negligence theory, the defendant failed to warn of the associated hazards. The defendant moved for summary judgment under Maine Law, to which both parties agreed upon, on November 16, 2016, and argued that the plaintiff failed to offer, and have no reasonable expectation of offering any evidence that plaintiff’s…

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Exception to Boiler Manufacturer’s Bare Metal Defense Found in Denial of Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, March 16, 2017

James Stevens served as a boiler technician aboard the USS Allagash from July 7, 1951 until October 11, 1952. The boilers on the Allagash were manufactured by Foster Wheeler and included asbestos containing materials in their construction. Foster Wheeler additionally provided additional asbestos containing materials to be used in the boilers. Mr. Stevens was diagnosed with mesothelioma and passed away in 2015. The plaintiffs brought suit against various defendants, including Foster Wheeler, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, alleging Mr.…

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$3.5 Million Punitive Damages Upheld Against Brake Manufacturer on Appeal Court of Appeal of California, Fifth Appellate District, March 17, 2017

James Phillips was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March of 2012 and died in February of 2013. In May of 2012, Phillips and his wife, Charity Phillips, filed a complaint seeking damages for personal injuries caused by asbestos in the Superior Court of Fresno County, California. In May 2013, after Phillips’s death, Charity, individually and as the personal representative of his estate, filed a first amended complaint alleging negligence and strict liability. The first amended complaint named more than 25 defendants engaged in the manufacture or…

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Plaintiffs Presented Sufficient Evidence to Withstand Motion for Directed Verdict Appellate Court of Illinois, March 14, 2017

The decedent’s estate filed a claim alleging asbestos exposure caused decedent to develop mesothelioma. The trial court directed a verdict in favor of Welco Manufacturing Company because no witnesses could specify how often the decedent used Welco’s products. The plaintiffs appealed, and the appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial. The decedent’s cousin, Walter, testified that he and the decedent applied joint compound on close to 50 commercial and residential sites for four months in Illinois in 1965. Walter testified they used, among…

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Port Commission’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction Granted Where Plaintiff’s Work was Predominantly Land Based U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, March 13, 2017

Mr. Genusa developed mesothelioma as a result of his work as a longshoreman, truck loader, and warehouse worker from 1963-1999. Mr. Genusa passed away and a claim was paid by Baton Rouge Marine Contractors (BRMC) and Signal Mutual Indemnity under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. The plaintiffs instituted this action against 13 defendants that allegedly “designed, tested, evaluated, manufactured, packaged, furnished, stored, handled, transported, installed, supplied and/or sold asbestos containing products to recover the benefits paid to Mr. Genusa’s wife. The last standing…

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Case Remanded to Florida State Court Because Defendant Not Fraudulently Joined to Defeat Diversity U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, March 10, 2017

In this case alleging asbestos exposure from talc, mesothelioma plaintiff filed a motion to remand back to Florida state court after defendant Johnson & Johnson removed to federal court based upon diversity jurisdiction. The defendant argued that the plaintiff fraudulently joined defendant Publix Super Markets, Inc. (Publix) to destroy diversity. The court determined Publix was not fraudulently joined and remanded. In determining remand, the court must evaluate the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. If there is even a possibility that…

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Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal in Federal Court Without Prejudice; Allows Plaintiffs to Refile in State Court U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, March 9, 2017

Plaintiffs Richard Zanowick and Joan Clark-Zanowick filed suit in state court in July 2014. The defendants timely removed the case to federal court on diversity grounds a month later. With the case now in federal court, Richard Zanowick passed away on October 12, 2014. The plaintiffs filed and electronically served a notice of his death on November 17, 2014. Pursuant to Rule 25(a)(1), the plaintiffs were required to file a motion to substitute a new party for Richard Zanowick within 90 days, or in this…

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