Category Archives: Case Decisions

Valve Manufacturer’s Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Granted Based on Preclusion of Plaintiff’s Expert Witness U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, March 29, 2018

SOUTH CAROLINA — In this mesothelioma case, the plaintiff, James Chesher, sued alleging asbestos exposure while serving as a machinist mate and commissioned officer in the Navy from 1965 to 1989. Defendant Crane had moved for and was denied summary judgment. However, Crane’s motion to preclude the plaintiff’s causation expert, Dr. Carlos Bedrossian, was granted. The plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the preclusion of his expert and Crane moved to renew its motion for summary judgment. The parties agreed that maritime law applied. The court…

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Summary Judgment Denied Based on Potential Successor-In-Interest Liability of Pump Manufacturer U.S. District Court for the Middle District Georgia, Albany Division, March 28, 2018

GEORGIA — The plaintiff Mary Farmer, individually and as the surviving spouse of Bobby Lee Farmer, initiated this action in the Superior Court of Dougherty County, Georgia on February 26, 2016. On March 28, 2016, the defendants filed a Notice of Removal, invoking Federal Court diversity jurisdiction. With leave, the plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on December 22, 2016. The plaintiff sued 25 defendants, alleging negligence, product liability negligence, loss of consortium, punitive damages, and wrongful death. Three defendants, Fisher Controls, Inc., Honeywell International Inc.…

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Five Million Dollar Mesothelioma Punitive Damages Award Upheld U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, March 29, 2018

ARIZONA — Plaintiff Goerge Coulbourn was a machinist for the United States Navy from 1959 to 1966, during which time he worked with several products sold by defendant Crane Company that contained “significant amounts of asbestos.” The plaintiff sued Crane, alleging, amongst other things, that Crane’s products were defective in failing to warn of the dangers that asbestos posed. The plaintiff died in August 2013, and his wife, Sandra Coulbourn, filed an amended complaint on behalf of herself and her family, asserting a claim for…

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Case Remanded After Appeals Court Finds Plaintiff’s Expert Unreliable Court of Appeals of Texas, March 29, 2018

TEXAS — Plaintiff Leonard Baca alleged that while working for defendant BNSF’s predecessor in interest, he was exposed to asbestos, causing him to develop asbestosis. The plaintiff retained an expert, Dr. Alvin Schonfeld, a pulmonogist, who provided a report in which he concluded that Baca’s asbestosis was causally related to his exposure to asbestos during his employment. BNSF moved to exclude Dr. Schonfeld’s causation opinion as inadmissible because it was unreliable under well-established case law. The trial court denied the motion, but also granted permission…

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Limited Access to Exhibits Filed in Asbestos-Related Bankruptcy Cases was Proper Under Bankruptcy Code Section 107 U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, March 27, 2018

DELAWARE — Appellants Honeywell and Ford filed a request seeking unlimited access to thousands of exhibits (2019 Exhibits) filed in nine Delaware bankruptcy cases commenced in connection with the debtors’ asbestos-related liabilities (Consolidated Cases). All but one of the nine Consolidated Cases was closed. The appellants argued they were entitled to indefinite access to the 2019 Exhibits, including investigating potential fraud in the claims process and advancing the appellants’ legislative and lobbying activities. The appellees (various Trust Advisory Committees and Future Claimants Representatives) opposed the…

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Personal Jurisdiction Motion Denied as Court Focuses on State-Related Contact U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, March 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — Decedent Donald Varney alleged that he developed mesothelioma from ambient exposure to defendants’ products while working in various positions at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, and at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, CA. Defendants Taco, Inc. and Aurora Pump Company filed identical Motions to Strike and Motions to Dismiss, which the court denied. The defendants’ Motion to Strike pre-judgment interest argued that Washington law made prejudgment interest unavailable for claims of unliquidated damages, and that the plaintiffs’ damages were…

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Jury Finds Pipe Manufacturer Did Not Have a Duty to Warn Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, March 23, 2018

PENNSYLVANIA — Decedent Ernest Schrader alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from dozens of products during 40 years of working in a DuPont facility in Delaware. Pipe manufacturer Ameron International Corporation was the lone defendant at a two week trial in state court in Philadelphia. Earlier this week, the jury determined that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from Ameron. However, the jury did not find that Ameron was negligent, evidently accepting evidence that the company complied with OSHA standards at the…

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Certiorari for Appeal of Punitive Damages Award U.S. Supreme Court, March 26, 2018

MISSOURI — In the matter of Jeannette G. Poage vs. Crane Co., Docket No. 17-900, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Crane Co. affirmed, among other things, the lower’s court punitive damages award in favor of plaintiff. Crane Co. appealed to the Supreme Court, requesting the high court address two key issues:  (1) Whether the due process clause requires appellate review that considers factors undermining the reasonableness of the punitive damages award; and (2) whether the due process clause prohibits a punitive damages…

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Louisiana Statute of Limitations Bars Wrongful Death Claim Filed in Delaware Superior Court of Delaware, March 26, 2018

DELAWARE — The plaintiff, Sandra Kivell, filed a wrongful death and survival claim alleging her husband’s death was caused by mesothelioma. He passed on September 5, 2015, and the new claims were filed on September 30, 2016. The plaintiff’s decedent had originally filed a complaint before his death. Georgia-Pacific filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the claims were filed beyond Louisiana’s one year statute of limitations for wrongful death and survival claims. The plaintiff did not contend that the Louisiana statute…

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Court Finds Jurisdictional Discovery Relevant to Specific Jurisdiction Inquiry U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 23, 2018

LOUISIANA — In this case, the plaintiff filed suit in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, alleging the Decedent William Leech was diagnosed with mesothelioma on January 11, 2016 and passed away on January 14, 2016. The plaintiff further alleges the decedent was a construction engineer who worked with and was exposed to asbestos at numerous job sites in Louisiana, California, Arizona, Virginia, and other states from approximately 1965 through 1992, including the Morton Salty facility in Weeks Island,…

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