Category Archives: Case Decisions

NYCAL Court Consolidates Nine Cases Into Three Groups Based on Malcolm Factors and Common Questions of Law and Fact NYCAL, April 29, 2015

In this NYCAL case, the plaintiff brought a motion to consolidate nine asbestos actions for joint trial, claiming that there are common questions of law and fact. The court relied on the factors set forth in Malcolm v. National Gypsum Co., 995 F.2d 346, 350-351 (2d Cir. 1993): common worksite;  similar occupation;  similar time of exposure; type of disease; whether plaintiffs were living or deceased; status of discovery in each case;  whether all plaintiffs were represented by the same counsel; and type of cancer…

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Question of Fact Found Regarding if Asbestos Insulation Supplied by Company Was for Improvement of Real Property as Required Under Wisconsin Statute of Repose Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District One, April 28, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff, Robin Sorenson, filed strict product liability and negligence claims on behalf of herself and the estate of the decedent who worked as an insulator from 1955 to 1997 and died of lung cancer in 2009. One of the defendants, Building Services Industrial Sales, Inc. (BSIS), a supplier of asbestos insulation to the decedent’s employers, moved for — and was granted — summary judgment on the Wisconsin statute of repose, WIS. STAT. § 893.89(2) (2013-14). The plaintiff appealed, arguing that material…

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Federal Procedural Law Applied Over State Law in Summary Judgment Motions Brought by Manufacturers of Safety Mask and Aircraft Component Parts in Naval Exposure Case U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, April 27, 2015

In this federal court case that was removed from Florida state court, the plaintiff, Darryl Dugas, and his wife filed a second amended complaint alleging four causes of action regarding their claim that Mr. Dugas developed mesothelioma from his work as an aircraft structural mechanic with the U.S. Navy between 1967 and 1971. The four causes of action were: negligence, strict liability, fraudulent concealment, and loss of consortium. Several defendants moved to dismiss all or a portion of the amended complaint, arguing it failed to…

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Premises Defendant Granted Conditional Mandamus Relief in Finding the Lower Court Abused its Discretion in Ordering a New Trial Following a No Liability Jury Verdict Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, April 23, 2015

The plaintiff’s decedent, Willis Whisnant, Jr., worked as a pipefitter at various plants from 1947 through 1986. He worked off and on at DuPont from 1966 through 1975, where he was allegedly exposed to airborne asbestos fibers. The decedent, who had a 40-year smoking history, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1997. He commenced his personal injury action in 1998 and died, prior to trial, in 1999. Nine years after the original suit was commenced, the plaintiff’s attorneys engaged additional experts who opined that decedent’s…

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Pennsylvania Appellate Court Applies “Frequency, Regularity, Proximity” Standard, Dismissing Bystander Exposure Claim Superior Court of Pennsylvania, April 17, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this action, alleging bystander exposure to brake work done on a P&H crane brakes. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds there was insufficient evidence of asbestos exposure to any P&H crane brakes. In opposition to the motion, the plaintiffs relied on the following proof as recounted by the court: “Appellants contend that by P&H’s own admission, its cranes contained parts made with asbestos, including the brakes and wiring. Appellants assert Appellant Mr. Sterling’s job duties constantly put him in…

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Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules, Inter Alia, No Right to Offset for Bankruptcy Trust Claims Superior Court of Pennsylvania, April 17, 2015

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently reviewed on appeal a variety of post-trial issues in two mesothelioma cases that went to trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Of particular interest is the court’s refusal to permit defendants to offset payments received from settling non-party tort feasors, which included bankruptcy claim payments. The basis for the court’s decision is that the jury did not find that the other parties were joint tort feasors. The court described a defendants’ burden on this issue as follows:…

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Southern District of Illinois Denies Motion to Remand Alleged Aircraft Engine Asbestos Exposure Based on Federal Contractor Defense U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, April 14, 2015

After the plaintiff commenced an action alleging asbestos exposure in connection with Air Force aircraft engines, the defendants removed the action to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1), which permits removal “by federal officers or any persons acting under a federal officer for any act under color of such office where such person asserts a colorable defense.” The plaintiff moved to remand the case, claiming the defendants could not establish a colorable defense in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Boyle, which…

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NYCAL Issues Bombshell Decision, Ruling Exposure to Friction Products Is Incapable of Causing Mesothelioma and Rejecting the Cumulative Exposure Theory NYCAL, April 13, 2015

In a decision that could change the landscape of NYCAL asbestos litigation in New York, Justice Barbara Jaffe issued a post-trial decision following an $11 million verdict against Ford, essentially precluding Drs. Steven Markowitz and Jacqueline Moline on Frye grounds because there is no established scientific connection between exposure to friction products and mesothelioma. Additionally, Justice Jaffe ruled that the plaintiff’s theory of cumulative exposure without quantifiable exposure is insufficient to establish legally sufficient asbestos exposure. Justice Jaffe determined that the testimony of the plaintiff’s…

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Federal Court Precludes Plaintiff Aircraft Expert Under Daubert and Grants Summary Judgment U.S. District Court Central District of California April 2, 2015

In this case, the plaintiffs pursued an action claiming that the  decedent, while working as an aircraft electrician for the U.S. Air Force between 1952 and 1961, was exposed to various electrical component parts. Several electrical component part defendants moved for summary judgment claiming that the plaintiffs did not meet the threshold exposure standard under California law. In opposing the motion, the plaintiffs relied on the expert testimony of Mark Thomson, an experienced pilot and civilian aviation mechanic and custodian of one of the world’s…

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Lack of Evidence of Exposure to Asbestos-Containing Products Leads to Multiple Defendants Obtaining Summary Judgment Under New Jersey and Maritime Law U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, April 9, 2015

The plaintiff’s decedent, Harold Thomasson, had mesothelioma that was alleged to be a result of his service in the U.S. Navy between 1952 and 1954, and his work as a maintenance man/pipefitter for various employers between 1954 and 1985. The decedent died prior to testifying and 19 defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from any products manufactured or supplied by them. Prior to oral argument, four defendants obtained voluntary dismissals. The remaining 15…

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