Category Archives: Case Decisions

California Appellate Court Reverses $32.5 Million Punitive Damage Award Against BorgWarner, Among Other Rulings Court of Appeal of California, July 15, 2015

  In this wrongful death lawsuit, the decedent was allegedly exposed to asbestos from BorgWarner clutches while working as a security guard at a General Motors assembly plant. The case went to trial and the jury awarded various economic and noneconomic damages to the family of the decedent. During the punitive damages phase of the trial, the plaintiff’s expert testified as to the financial condition of BorgWarner over objections that he improperly considered the financial condition of other separate corporate entities. The jury unanimously awarded punitive…

Continue Reading....

District Court Denies Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand Case Against Airplane Manufacturer U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 14, 2015

In this federal court case, the plaintiffs allege that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while working as a civilian flight mechanic at the Belle Chasse Air Force Base from the early 1950s through 1979. The Boeing Company removed the case to federal court. The plaintiffs then moved to remand the case back to state court, arguing that the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case since defendants do not meet the removal requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C. 1442 (a)(1). In the…

Continue Reading....

Railroad Companies Awarded Dismissals for Plaintiffs’ Failure to Properly Plead Successor-In-Interest Liability Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle, July 13, 2015

In these actions, plaintiffs Dennis Franco and James Nelson claimed exposure to asbestos while working, respectively, as a track repairman for the Reading Company and as a machinist for Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail). Defendants CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway are successor-in-interest to Reading and Conrail and moved to dismiss several of the plaintiffs’ claims, including common-law negligence and premises liability, arguing that the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) provides the exclusive remedy to railroad carrier employees who suffer work-related injuries resulting from the employer’s…

Continue Reading....

Court Analyzes Damages Under FELA Supreme Court of Tennessee, at Knoxville, July 1, 2015

In this case, a railroad worker who was diagnosed with lung cancer filed suit under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) alleging the railroad had exposed him to asbestos as well as other hazardous materials. The jury awarded $8.6 million, finding the railroad negligent and negligent per se, but it also found the decedent was 62 percent at fault due to his smoking history. Following the return of the verdict, the trial court instructed the jury that because of its finding that the railroad had…

Continue Reading....

Plaintiff’s Expert Industrial Hygienist Found to Be Qualified to Offer Testimony on Non-Specific Levels of Asbestos Exposure U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 25, 2015

In this federal court case, the decedent, Sally Gros Vedros, is alleged to have been exposed to asbestos from laundering her father’s work clothes during the time he worked as a welder at the Avondale shipyard from 1943 to 1976 and from her own work at Avondale in the purchasing department from 1960 to 1963. The defendant, Bayer CropScience, Inc., which was the successor to several companies that formerly were known as Amchem Company, moved to preclude plaintiff’s industrial hygienist, Frank Parker, III, from testifying,…

Continue Reading....

Court Denies Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Complaint to Reflect Only Remaining Parties U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division, June 26, 2015

In this federal court case, the plaintiff alleged exposure to asbestos while serving in the Navy from 1957 to 1960 aboard the USS Jonas Ingram and the USS Clarence Bronson, as well as from “other sites of asbestos exposure from approximately 1956 to 1970.” In November 2013, eight defendants moved for summary judgment, and the plaintiff only opposed the motions by Ford Motor Company and Honeywell International, Inc. Following the granting of summary judgment to all of the defendants with unopposed motions, the plaintiff moved…

Continue Reading....

California Court Rejects Plaintiffs’ Expert Opinion and Grants Railroad Summary Judgment Under FELA on Lack of Causation Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, June 24, 2015

In this California case, the decedent was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working for a railroad as a switchman, conductor, and brakeman, later developing mesothelioma. Specifically, the decedent claimed exposure was from changing railcar brake shoes, being in the vicinity of insulation removal from refrigerator cars, and staying in a boarding house run by the railroad that had insulation-covered pipes in the room where he slept. The defendant railroad moved for summary judgment, arguing “that plaintiffs were required but failed to prove negligence under FELA,…

Continue Reading....

General Electric Granted Summary Judgment on the Bare Metal Defense Under Maritime Law U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, June 24, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this action by claiming he was exposed to insulation on General Electric products while in the U.S. Navy. GE moved for summary judgment on three grounds: the government contractor defense, the bare metal defense under maritime law, and on no evidence of GE actually furnishing the component parts. The court ruled that maritime law — rather than New Jersey law — governed the case. The court only addressed the bare metal defense, ruling that GE was entitled to summary judgment: “The Court…

Continue Reading....

California Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal of Two Cases Where Equipment Was Used in Connection With Asbestos Brake Linings California Court of Appeals, June 18, 2015

In the first California case, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014. He had previously worked as an auto mechanic in New York City and Los Angeles, during which he purchased an AMMCO machine equipped with a dust collection system. This machine was “an ‘arcing’ machine designed to grind drum brake linings for cars and light passenger trucks with standard sized brake shoes. From the early 1950’s to the 1980’s, the great majority of such drum brake linings contained asbestos. Because the AMMCO machines…

Continue Reading....

Valve Manufacturer’s Appeal on Summary Judgment Denied on Foreseeable Use of Asbestos-Containing Component Parts Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, June 12, 2015

In this case, it is alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos gaskets and packing in valves manufactured by Crane Co., while working at an industrial plant from 1956 to 1982. Crane appealed from the lower court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment and the Fourth Department affirmed the decision. In its appeal, Crane alleged that it could not be liable for failure to warn of the dangers associated with asbestos, since it did not produce or sell the asbestos-containing component parts. The…

Continue Reading....