Category Archives: Case Decisions

Summary Judgment Affirmed in Delaware Maritime Action Based Upon Lack of Product Identification Superior Court of Delaware, November 29, 2017

DELAWARE — In an unreported opinion issued on November 29, 2017, the Superior Court of Delaware affirmed the entry of summary judgment on behalf of Warren Pumps. The plaintiff, Phillip Walsh, served aboard the USS Halsey and USS Bigelow from 1975 to 1977 as a machinist in the U.S. Navy. He was the only product identification witness offered. He testified that he removed insulation from pumps, and also removed and installed packing and gaskets on the pumps. With regard to the manufacturer of those replacement…

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Removal Upheld on Government Contractor Defense for Turbine and Gasket Manufacturers U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, November 27, 2017

NEW YORK — Plaintiffs Michael and Anne Donohue brought suit against multiple defendants including Westinghouse (CBS) and Crane Co. alleging Mr. Donohue contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were liable. Mr. Donohue claimed exposure from his time working in the Navy and with the New York Fire Department (NYFD). CBS removed the case one day after the plaintiff’s trial deposition. Crane quickly joined the removal. Both asserted the government contractor defense which shields liability in certain instances. The plaintiffs…

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Summary Judgment Affirmed in Favor of Insulation Suppliers Based Upon Lack of Product Identification Circuit Court for Baltimore County, November 20, 2017

MARYLAND — The Circuit Court for Baltimore County affirmed the entry of summary judgment for two insulation suppliers-installers in a mesothelioma case arising from Bethlehem Steel’s Key Highway Shipyard (KHS), agreeing that the plaintiffs failed to present evidence linking the plaintiff to the products or employees of the insulation defendants. The evidence demonstrated that MCIC, Inc. (formerly the McCormick Asbestos Company) and Wallace & Gale Settlement Trust (formerly the Wallace & Gale Company) both supplied and installed insulation at KHS during the plaintiff’s years of…

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Plaintiff’s FELA Claim Against Railroad Survives Limitations Challenge Supreme Court of Montana, November 14, 2017

MONTANA — The plaintiff worked for Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Corporation (BNSF) and claimed exposure to amphibole containing vermiculite in that capacity as BNSF transported vermiculite for W.R. Grace. The plaintiff filed suit against BNSF for his asbestos related disease under FELA. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant and the plaintiff appealed. Prior to the suit, W.R. Grace filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001. A temporary restraining order (TRO) was immediately issued prohibiting any suits against third parties arising from…

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Mesothelioma Verdict Reduced by $4.3 Million on Appeal Supreme Court, State of New York, November 8, 2017

NEW YORK — Plaintiff Mary Nash filed suit on behalf of the plaintiff’s decedent, Lewis Nash, alleging bystander exposure to asbestos-containing dust from defendant Navistar’s brakes and gaskets while working as a janitor and bus driver in the Fayettteville-Manluis Central School District. The decedent’s exposure occurred in the bus garage at the school, where decedent routinely spent time during his bus runs. The jury awarded the plaintiff the following: three million dollars in conscious pain and suffering; three million dollars in emotional pain and suffering…

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After Close of Discovery Motion for Release of Pathology Materials Granted U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, November 3, 2017

NORTH CAROLINA — Defendant John Crane filed a motion for an order governing the release of pathology materials following the close of discovery. Although pathology materials had been requested from the plaintiff’s counsel nearly a year and a half prior to the discovery end date, they were not produced until eight days after that deadline had passed. John Crane then learned that there were additional pathology materials in the possession of Duke University Hospital System (DHUS). John Crane requested the additional slides in April 2017,…

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Lack of Product Specific Expert Testimony About Respirable Asbestos Fibers Reverses Mesothelioma Verdict Supreme Court of Connecticut, November 2, 2017

CONNECTICUT — Plaintiff Marianne Bradley, as executrix of her husband Wayne Bagley’s estate, sought to recover damages pursuant to Connecticut’s Product Liability Act for the wrongful death of the decedent under theories of negligence and strict liability. Plaintiff alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos-containing dust from FM-37, a product manufactured by the defendant, while working at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and this exposure caused decedent’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff further alleged that the defendant’s actions in selling its product constituted violations of the Act in…

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Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Causation and Lack of Opposition Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, October 27, 2017

KENTUCKY — Rojelio Surita brought this action against several defendants alleging his decedent, Nancy Surita, developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos containing products for which Defendants were liable. Nancy Surita gave deposition testimony stating that she assisted in brake jobs on the family farm while growing up in Illinois. She also recalled maintenance on vehicles while serving in the National Guard. Later she testified as to working on military trucks. Although she recalled Caterpillar as the manufacturer of the transmissions, she testified that she did…

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Los Angeles Jury Concludes Mesothelioma Not Caused By Asbestos Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, October 27, 2017

CALIFORNIA — The estate of Velma Searcy (plaintiffs) filed suit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles for the personal injuries and subsequent death of Velma Searcy at age 51. The plaintiffs argued that Searcy’s mesothelioma diagnosis and death was caused from occupational exposure to asbestos through Searcy’s work as an electrician in the aerospace industry. The plaintiffs’ claims also included allegations of take-home asbestos exposure as a child watching her father perform brake changes on various vehicles. Most of the defendants either settled with…

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Consider Manufacturer’s Liability for Asbestos-Containing Component Parts Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, October 26, 2017

PENNSYLVANIA — The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit submitted a Petition for Certification of Question Law on the following issues for consideration: (1) Whether, under Pennsylvania law, a manufacturer as a duty to warn about the hazards of asbestos relating to component parts it has neither manufactured or supplied and (2) if such a duty exists, what is the appropriate legal test to determine liability. On October 26, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to consider these issues and instructed parties…

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