Category Archives: Case Decisions

Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Quash Granted Based on Lack of Specific Personal Jurisdiction Superior Court of California, County of Los Angles, October 16, 2015

In this California case, the plaintiffs allege that the decedent, Oscar Villanueva, was exposed to asbestos contaminated talc from the use of Old Spice Talcum powder.   Defendant Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc. (WCD) was one of the suppliers of talc to Shulton, Inc. (Shulton), the former manufacturer of the Old Spice product. WCD moved to quash for lack of personal jurisdiction and the court allowed plaintiffs the opportunity of jurisdictional discovery. Following the discovery, the court granted WCD’s motion to quash. In its analysis, the…

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Case Remanded Based on Dismissal and Settlement of Defendants with Federal Defenses U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, October 20, 2015

This case was originally filed in the Third Judicial Circuit in Madison County. The defendant, Crane Co., removed based on the Federal Officer Removal Statute 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1) and defendant General Electric Company (GE) joined in. The plaintiff moved to remand the case and GE was the only defendant to oppose. Prior to the court rendering a decision, GE was dismissed from the case and Crane settled. CBS Corporation then filed a notice of joinder or removal, which the court found untimely. The court granted…

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Merchant Mariner Plaintiffs’ Allegations Focusing on Vessel Operation — Instead of Vessel Design — Prohibited Removal Under Federal Officer Removal Statute U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Louisiana, October 19, 2015

This is a consolidated case in which various plaintiffs alleged asbestos exposure while working as merchant mariners aboard many different vessels and employers. Each plaintiff also served on at least one Navy ship. The plaintiffs sued their former employers in Louisiana state court under the Jones Act and general maritime law. The defendants removed to federal court, and the district court remanded. The 5th Circuit held that remand was proper. The defendants argued for removal under the Federal Officer Removal Statute, in which actions…

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Federal Court Remands Action Based on Equity Even Though Removal Was Proper on Bankruptcy Issue U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, October 13, 2015

In this federal court case, the plaintiffs commenced an action against various defendants for the alleged asbestos exposure and development of mesothelioma for decedent, George Fenicle.  Following decedent’s death, plaintiffs amended their complaint to name Boise Cascade Company and OfficeMax (“Defendants”). The defendants subsequently removed the matter to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1441, for putative federal question jurisdiction, and 28 U.S.C. 1452, as a bankruptcy-related action. The plaintiffs moved to remand, arguing removal was improper since the defendants did not seek approval from all…

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Claim Representatives For Filing Bankruptcy Trust Claims Have No Standing To Sue Bankruptcy Trusts For Suspending Claims U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, October 15, 2015

Plaintiff Mandelbrot Law Firm specialized in preparing and filing asbestos personal injury claims  to various bankruptcy trusts. In 2002, one such trust, the Delaware Trusts, suspended all payment of claims from claimants who the plaintiff represented, due to proceedings in California regarding allegedly fraudulent claims filed by the plaintiff.  The plaintiff then filed this declaratory judgment, arguing that this decision was unauthorized and in violation of the Trusts’ distribution procedures, and that he lost fees. The district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack…

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Plaintiff’s Failure to Connect Replacement Parts to Pump Manufacturer Key To Upholding Summary Judgment on Appeal United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, October 14, 2015

Plaintiffs Jeffrey Lannes and Kristi Johnson appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Flowserve, Jerguson Gage & Valve, and Warren Pumps. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment. Decedent Vernon Lannes was allegedly exposed to asbestos gaskets, packing, and insulation while serving in the Navy. The court noted that “…the defendants shifted the burden of demonstrating a material issue of fact by ‘pointing out … that there is an absence of evidence to support the [plaintiffs’] case.’” Regarding insulation on Warren Pumps, the…

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Distinction Between Gloves and Mittens Crucial In Granting Defendant’s Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, October 9, 2015

Plaintiff Janice Herr alleged that Richard Herr died of mesothelioma due to his use of Airco-distributed, asbestos-containing gloves/mittens. Herr was a sculptor and art instructor who used insulated mittens to handle heated molds. He also used raw asbestos to make molds for his sculptures. Airco never manufactured insulated gloves or mittens, but distributed welding gloves and mittens with its logo. This case was remanded for further proceedings by the MDL 875 Court, after the MDL denied the summary judgment filed by Airco, the sole remaining…

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Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Holding a Shipbuilder is a Service Provider, Not a Seller of a Product U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 8, 2015

The plaintiffs alleged that Glenn Hassebrock was exposed to asbestos while working as a union pipefitter at various shipyards.  The defendant shipbuilding company moved for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the products liability claims on the grounds that the company acted predominantly as a service provider, rather than a distributor of asbestos-containing products.  The court agreed, finding that the shipbuilding company “was not in the chain of manufacturing and selling asbestos related products, rather it was providing the service of producing Navy vessels.  The…

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Valve Manufacturer Denied Summary Judgment on Bare Metal Defense Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 5, 2015

In this NYCAL case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Mark Ricci, was exposed secondhand to asbestos from his father’s air conditioning and ventilation work. Aldo Ricci (Aldo), Mark Ricci’s father, testified that he was exposed to asbestos from working near others working on Crane Co. valves. Crane moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove he was exposed to asbestos from any asbestos-containing product manufactured or supplied by Crane. It was Crane’s position that it should be entitled to summary judgment…

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Motion to Consolidate Trials Granted Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 2, 2015

The plaintiffs brought a motion to consolidate separate actions into three separate groups for joint trial.  The court noted that as to the three groups, all of the plaintiffs are represented by the same law firm, are in the same phase of discovery, and the plaintiffs allege the same type of cancer. The court granted the motion, finding “…that the trials in each of the groups involve common questions of law and fact and that consolidation of these cases into the three groups will not…

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