Category Archives: Case Decisions

Plaintiff’s Status as Independent Contractor Bars Negligence Claim Superior Court of Delaware, October 26, 2017

DELAWARE — Defendant Covestro was the premises owner or successor in interest to one or more prior owners of Mobay Chemical Plant. The plaintiff worked at Mobay for six months in 1979 and was employed by Dravo Corporation, a third party contractor.  The plaintiff testified that he removed insulation from pipes and other equipment; he received instruction and equipment from Dravo supervisors. The plaintiff also worked at Mobay from 1986-88 as a contract engineer for Midwest Tech and testified that he reported to two Mobay…

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Autopsy Ordered Over Plaintiffs’ Objections in Mesothelioma Case U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 23, 2017

WASHINGTON — Plaintiffs Leslie Jack and her late-husband Patrick Jack brought suit against numerous defendants, including Genuine Parts Company (GPC), alleging that exposure to their products caused Mr. Jack’s mesothelioma. Mr. Jack passed away on October 15, 2017 and defense counsel was notified on October 17, 2017. Counsel for GPC renewed a prior request for an autopsy on the same day. The plaintiffs’ counsel denied the request and informed defense counsel that Mr. Jack’s body would be cremated on October 19, 2017. Counsel for GPC,…

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Defendant’s Third-Party Claims Remain Stayed in Federal Court While Plaintiff’s State Law Claims Remanded United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, October 24, 2017

MARYLAND — The plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, MD alleging state law claims arising from asbestos exposure against defendant/appellant Campbell-McCormick (CMC) and others. CMC subsequently filed a third-party complaint against GE and 12 other co-defendants for contribution. GE removed the case to the District of Maryland, asserting federal contractor defenses. The plaintiff filed a motion to sever and remand, and specifically requested the district court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction of the plaintiff’s state law claims pursuant to…

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Plaintiff’s Incomplete Deposition Testimony Deemed Inadmissible; Summary Judgment Granted for Defendant U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, October 19, 2017

OHIO — The decedent, Donald French, filed suit as a result of his diagnosis of mesothelioma allegedly caused by occupational exposure from asbestos-containing products through his work at U.S. Steel in Dearborn, Michigan. French provided testimony as to his alleged exposures at a discovery deposition that lasted approximately 18 hours over three days. On the third day, French identified the defendant as a source of exposure. The deposition, however, was not completed. The fourth day of deposition was adjourned due to French’s poor health. French…

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Talc Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Reversed; Question of Fact as to Asbestos content of Product Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Three, October 19, 2017

CALIFORNIA — Plaintiff Mary Lyons appealed summary judgment entered against her on her product liability claim against defendant Colgate-Palmolive, which was based on the allegation that she developed mesothelioma from the use of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet cosmetic talcum powder. The plaintiff testified at her deposition that she regularly used Cashmere Bouquet after bathing from the early 1950s through the early 197’s. Colgate manufactured Cashmere Bouquet from 1871 until 1985, and continued marketing the product until 1995, which coincided with the United States EPA’s report that…

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Res Judicata Bars Plaintiff’s Mesothelioma Claim Against Prior Settled Defendant U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, October 13, 2017

LOUISIANA — The decedent filed an asbestosis lawsuit in 1991 against Owens-Illinois and other defendants. Owens-Illinois settled the claim for $4,000 as part of a group settlement. The Release Agreement stated that the decedent agreed to release the defendant from any cause of action arising out of the decedent’s asbestos-related injury, including mesothelioma, cancer, wrongful death and survival claims. Seventeen years after executing the Release Agreement, the decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma and eventually passed. His wife and children brought a second action against Owens-Illinois…

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Remand Denied and Plaintiffs’ Mesothelioma Suit Dismissed Based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, October 10, 2017

MINNESOTA — In March 2016, the plaintiffs filed suit against multiple defendants, including Conwed Corporation, in Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis alleging that the husband plaintiff’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to the defendants’ asbestos-containing products, including Conwed’s ceiling tile. On January 19, 2017, the Missouri Circuit Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint against Conwed without prejudice, finding, in part, that Conwed was “a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New York.” The plaintiffs refiled suit on March 16, 2017 in Ramsey…

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New York Appellate Court Affirms Nine Million Dollar Verdict in Duty to Warn Grinder Case New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, October 5, 2017

NEW YORK — The plaintiff filed suit against various defendants, including Hennessy Industries’ subsidiary, Ammco, alleging that the plaintiff’s use of Ammco’s grinder on asbestos-containing brake linings exposed him to asbestos. The plaintiff’s expert testimony was sufficient to establish exposure to asbestos via use of the grinder in sufficient quantities to cause the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. Further, “because the asbestos-laden dust was created by plaintiff’s use of defendant’s grinder and defendant knew its grinder would be used on asbestos-containing products, defendant had a duty to warn…

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Fraudulent Joinder Determination Turns Only on Factual and Legal Basis, Not Intent U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Central Division, October 3, 2017

MISSOURI — Kansas resident plaintiffs filed an action in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, alleging mesothelioma and asbestosis arising out of work first performed in the state of Missouri. Two defendants named in the state court petition were also residents of Kansas, and the rest were from various states. Defendant Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company removed the case on the basis of diversity. In response to the plaintiffs’ motion to remand, Athene alleged that the plaintiffs had no intention of prosecuting claims…

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Standard Based Approach in Bare Metal Defense Permits Sailors to Recover in Negligence U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, October 3, 2017

The plaintiffs filed suit in negligence and strict liability against several defendants arguing their decedents died from mesotheliomas as a result of their exposure to asbestos containing products for which defendants were responsible. Both plaintiffs alleged exposure while working on-board naval vessels. The defendants removed the case to federal court and summary judgment was granted in their favor on the bare metal defense. The plaintiff separately appealed on the issues of negligence. The appeal was remanded to sort out the negligence issue against the backdrop…

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