Category Archives: Case Decisions

Abandonment of Claims Alleging Asbestos Exposure at Government Facilities Eliminated Federal Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, May 31, 2017

Defendant Crane Co. appealed the remand ordered by the district court to New York State Court. Crane had removed based upon the federal officer removal statute. The appellate court affirmed the remand without a summary of the underlying facts. First, Crane argued remand was erroneous because the federal courts had original subject matter jurisdiction. The district court had concluded that the plaintiffs had abandoned any claims arising from asbestos exposure occurring at a government facility; thus, the basis on which this action was originally removed…

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Maryland Court Affirms Application of Statute of Repose in Asbestos Matter Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, May 31, 2017

On December 13, 2013, plaintiff James F. Piper was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on March 26, 2014 for damages caused by his occupational asbestos exposure. Piper worked as a steamfitter at the Morgantown Generating Station in Woodzell, Maryland. In early 1970, defendant Westinghouse installed a turbine generator at this site to which the specifications called for the use of insulation containing asbestos. Piper testified that while he did not work directly on the installation of the…

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Automotive Parts Manufacturer Granted Dismissal due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, May 23, 2017

In another decision out of the Hodjera suit in the Western District of Washington, the motions to dismiss of Dana Companies, LLC and Dana Canada Corporation (the defendants), were granted based on lack of personal jurisdiction. Dana Companies is a Virginia corporation with its principal place of business in Ohio. Dana Canada is a Canadian corporation with its principal place of business in Ontario. The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos in Toronto, Ontario, between 1986 and 1994. Neither company is registered to…

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Louisiana Court of Appeal Finds $500K Jury Verdict Not Enough Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, May 24, 2017

Plaintiffs Frank Romano, Sr. and Lynne Rome Romano filed suit in the Civil District Court, Orleans Parish against a number of defendants on September 12, 2014, after Romano contracted mesothelioma allegedly caused from occupational asbestos exposure. For a brief background, Romano grew up in Marrero, Louisiana and lived about two blocks away from the Johns-Manville Corporation’s plant for 20 years before he went away for college. As a result of this Johns-Manville connection, two defendants filed a third party demand against CRMC, a successor in…

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Defendant Fails to Establish Improper Joinder in Mesothelioma Case; Remand Granted U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, May 22, 2017

Plaintiff Ronald Smith sued multiple defendants, including Honeywell, alleging he developed mesothelioma from occupational exposure to asbestos. Honeywell removed the case the United States District Court, arguing that the plaintiff only joined defendant Taylor-Seidenbach Inc. to defeat diversity. The plaintiff moved to remand. The case was originally set on an expedited trial date because of the mesothelioma diagnosis. Discovery was ongoing when the plaintiff produced his work history relied upon by the plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Arthur Frank. Honeywell took the position that the work history…

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Action Dismissed Against Canadian Automotive Defendant Based on Lack of Specific Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, May 17, 2017

The plaintiffs filed suit against multiple defendants alleging Mr. Hodjera’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to the defendants’ products from 1986-94. Volkswagen of Canada (VWGC) moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction. The court started its analysis by stating that due process requires the court to have personal jurisdiction over the defendant before it can adjudicate a claim. General jurisdiction is available when the defendant’s “contacts are so constant and pervasive as to render it essentially at home.” The court…

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Summary Judgments Based on Wisconsin Safe Place Statute and Statute of Repose Denied U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, May 15, 2017

The court issued another decision in a case originally reported in Asbestos Case Tracker on May 15, 2017. Plaintiffs Daniel and Beverly Ahnert originally filed a case in 2010 alleging Daniel Ahnert developed asbestosis; that case was transferred to the MDL of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In 2013 Beverly Ahnert filed a new case in the Eastern District of Wisconsin after Daniel Ahnert died of asbestos-related diseases. In September 2014, the 2011 case was remanded back to Wisconsin. The plaintiff then moved to consolidate…

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Sufficient Exposure Found to Reverse Prior Summary Judgment Decision in Favor of Asbestos Supplier Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, May 17, 2017

In October 2010, the plaintiff, Thomasina Fowler, individually and as administrator of the estate of Willis Edenfield (the decedent), brought a wrongful death and product liability action in the Superior Court of New Jersey against various defendants. The plaintiff alleged the decedent passed away from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure associated with defendants’ products. The complaint was filed after the decedent’s death and he was never deposed. Therefore, during discovery, the plaintiff produced two witnesses to testify as to the decedent’s occupational history. The decedent…

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Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdict Against Ford Vacated Based on Defective Jury Verdict Form Court of Appeals of Tennessee, May 12, 2017

In this secondary exposure case alleging mesothelioma, defendant Ford Motor Company appealed after the jury rendered a verdict against it for $3.4 million. The appellate court vacated the trial court’s judgment on the jury verdict and remanded the case because the jury verdict form was defective, in that it omitted two necessary questions in product liability cases — that the product at issue was unreasonably dangerous or defective and that the plaintiff’s injuries were reasonably foreseeable. Plaintiff Ronnie Stockton was an automobile mechanic since 1971.…

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Deere Granted Summary Judgment Based on Speculation Tractor Contained Asbestos Parts it Manufactured Superior Court of Delaware, May 10, 2017

The Superior Court of Delaware issued another ruling in a case reported in Asbestos Case Tracker on May 15, 2017. In this ruling, the court granted defendant Deere & Company’s motion for summary judgment. The decedent died from lung cancer. Counsel stipulated that his asbestos exposure occurred from 1955-79. Prior to his death, the decedent gave a deposition stating that he worked on “older” John Deere tractors from 1953-79. This work included grinding head gaskets once per year or every other year. Replacement parts came…

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