Category Archives: Case Decisions

Wrong Standard Applied in Remanding Case against Boiler Manufacturer to State Court; Remand Reversed United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit June 22, 2017

Decedent Joseph Morris worked as a shipbuilder at the Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard from 1948-1970s, and died of mesothelioma in 2015. The plaintiffs commenced this action in Maryland state court, and Foster Wheeler removed pursuant to government contractor immunity. The district court remanded to state court because Foster Wheeler did not make a sufficient showing that it had a colorable federal defense; Foster Wheeler appealed. The Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court applied the wrong standard for determining removability and reversed and remanded…

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Pfizer Not an “Apparent Manufacturer” of Refractory Products Used at Shipyard; Summary Judgment Affirmed Court of Appeals of Washington, June 26, 2017

Plaintiff Margaret Rublee appealed the summary judgment dismissal against defendant Pfizer, Inc. The decedent, Vernon Rublee, was a machinist at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1965-1980 and died of mesothelioma in 2015. The appellate court affirmed summary judgment for Pfizer. While at the shipyard, he worked on steam turbines with asbestos lagging. In replacing the lagging they used two refractory products — Insulag and Panelag. Both the decedent and other workers testified as to seeing “Pfizer” on the bags. Quigley Company made the products,…

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reaffirms Betz Decision Rejecting Each and Every Exposure

In December of 2010, a Philadelphia jury awarded a verdict in the amount of $14.5 million to the widow, and executrix of the estate, of James Nelson. Nelson had previously developed mesothelioma and passed away at age 54 in 2009. The defendants appealed the verdict, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet the sufficient standard of causation under Pennsylvania law. The defendants specifically argued that the trial court improperly allowed plaintiff’s expert to testify that each and every exposure must be considered a substantially contributing…

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Federal Court Defines “Other Paper” in Removal Statute § 1446 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, June 21, 2017

The plaintiff filed a petition for damages in the 18th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Iberville on February 23, 2017, and named Avondale, among others, as a defendant. The plaintiff alleged he contracted mesothelioma during his employment with Avondale caused by “dangerously high levels of toxic substances, including asbestos and asbestos containing products, in the normal course of his work.” Defendant Avondale filed a notice of removal to the United States District Court of Louisiana on April 28, 2017 under the federal…

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Denial of Remand Based on Government Directed Actions of Airplane Manufacturing Process United States District Court for the Northern District of California, June 20, 2017

The plaintiff filed a motion to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California. The plaintiff, Joseph Thrash, alleged he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2016, and was exposed to asbestos while he worked on B-52, C-141, and C-5 airplanes in the United States Air Force from 1975 through the 1980s and while doing automotive work at various locations. The defendant, The Boeing Company, removed the case to federal court; shortly thereafter, defendants…

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Timely Removed Take-Home Exposure Case Remanded for Failure to Establish Colorable Federal Defense U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 19, 2017

The plaintiffs filed suit against several defendants including Avondale alleging that their decedent, Ms. Blouin, contracted mesothelioma after washing the laundry of her husband’s work clothes. Victor Blouin worked as an electrician for Avondale onboard two government vessels from April 1972 until August 1972. The plaintiffs’ claims were brought in negligence and not for strict liability. Avondale removed the case to federal court on March 28, 2017, 26 days after receiving a copy of the deposition transcript. The plaintiffs’ moved to remand. The plaintiffs took…

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Lung Cancer Case Transferred After Defendants Successfully Argue Forum Non Conveniens on Appeal Appellate Court of Illinois, June 13, 2017

Plaintiffs Irvin and Marlene Rohl brought this action against several defendants including Caterpillar and Navistar. The plaintiffs argued that Mr. Rohl’s lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos from brakes, gaskets, clutches, engines, and heavy duty equipment made by Caterpillar and Navistar. At the trial level,  the defendants moved to transfer the case from Cook County to Winnebago County on the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The court denied the motion after a finding that the plaintiff had attended trade school in Cook County…

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Misidentification of Brake Manufacturer’s Name Sufficient for Summary Judgment Superior Court of Delaware, June 14, 2017

The plaintiffs filed suit in the Superior Court of Delaware claiming that Amanda Dullinger was secondarily exposed to Defendant Abex LLC’s asbestos containing brakes while she was a child causing her to develop mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s mother, Tammy Allen, was the plaintiffs’ primary product identification witness. Ms. Allen testified that Ms. Dullinger was present when automotive work was done between 1982 and 1986. Specifically, Ms. Dullinger testified that “Apex” brakes were one of the top three brands of brakes used around Ms. Dullinger. Further, she…

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Raw Asbestos Supplier to Transite Pipe Manufacturer Not Subject to Personal Jurisdiction Supreme Court of the State of Washington, June 8, 2017

Plaintiff Donald Noll sued a number of manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, including Special Electric. Noll alleged that he developed malignant mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos when he worked construction in Washington between 1977 and 1979 cutting asbestos-cement pipes. Those asbestos-cement pipes were manufactured by CertainTeed Corporation, and CertainTeed received most of its asbestos from Special Electric. Special Electric moved to dismiss on the basis that the trial court lacked specific personal jurisdiction over it because its contacts were limited to…

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Successor Liability Decision Reversed in Oregon Court of Appeals of Oregon, June 7, 2017

The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s granting of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on successor liability. This suit involves the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos from his work in Portland shipyards during the 1950s. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the ground that any of its liabilities “that may have existed prior to 1965 were transferred to another company” and, therefore, it could not be held liable for the alleged injuries suffered prior to that transfer. The plaintiff appealed this decision arguing that the…

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