Category Archives: Maryland

Prior Maryland Rulings Relied Upon in Denying Remand U.S. District Court of Maryland, May 5, 2017

The plaintiffs moved to remand after defendant Crane Co. removed to federal court. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion without oral argument. Decedent John Dugger served in the United States Navy during the 1960s and died of mesothelioma; the plaintiffs filed suit after his death. The plaintiffs alleged Crane manufactured and sold rope and valves to the Navy. Crane removed on the basis of the government contractor defense, and in support submitted affidavits from three individuals. Defendants may remove to federal court if it establishes…

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In Bystander Exposure Case, Plaintiff Failed to Demonstrate that Defendant Had a Duty to Warn Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, January 27, 2017

Plaintiff Daniel Hiett developed mesothelioma and alleged bystander exposure from his father’s work. The plaintiff alleged negligence and strict liability claims based on a failure to warn theory. The circuit court granted defendant AC&R Insulation Company, Inc,.’s (AC&R) motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that several material facts distinguished their case from Georgia Pacific, LLC v. Farrar, 432 Md. 532 (2013), which held that a manufacturer/distributor of a product containing asbestos did not owe a duty to warn the household member of…

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Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Granted, but Plaintiffs Allowed to Amend Complaint U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, January 3, 2017

The plaintiffs initially filed a “short form asbestos complaint” in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland, that included general counts for negligence, strict liability, loss of consortium, conspiracy, and fraud. The plaintiffs also realleged and incorporated counts for wrongful death from the naster complaint. The case was removed to federal court and the defendants filed the motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c), among other arguments, with the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. A motion for judgment on…

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Same Facts = Same Ruling? Nope! Baltimore Issues Grant and Denial of Summary Judgment In Two Groups of Smoking Lung Cancer Cases Circuit Court for Baltimore City, November 29, 2016

Two opposing decisions were rendered by two different judges in two factually and legally similar groups of smoking lung cancer cases. In Harrell et al. and Boston et al., asbestos defendants filed nearly identical motions for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs could not recover because (1) the plaintiffs knew the hazards of smoking and assumed the risk, and (2) were contributorily negligent. Summary judgment was granted in one group (Harrell et al.) and denied in the other (Boston et al

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Identity of Navy Ship Where Plaintiff Served Enough to Trigger Federal Officer Removability Clock U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, October 27, 2016

Plaintiff Marvin Smith alleged asbestos exposure while serving as a fireman in the U.S. Navy from 1951-54, and while working as a fireman and warehouseman at various shipyards and warehouses. The plaintiff and his wife sued various defendants in state court after he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Defendant Crane Co. removed this mesothelioma case to federal court under the federal officer removal statute; the plaintiffs moved to remand, alleging untimely removal, which the court granted. The plaintiffs argued removability was ascertainable when Smith was…

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Government Contractor Defense Applied to Crane Such That Motion to Remand to State Court Denied U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, September 29, 2016

The decedent’s family filed a complaint in state court, which was removed to federal court by Crane Co. based upon the federal officer defense. The plaintiffs filed a motion to remand or, in the alternative, to sever all claims other than those against Crane and to remand all other claims. The motion to remand was denied. The decedent served in the Navy from 1952-56, and was then employed at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard from 1956-59; from 1959-63, the decedent worked as a laborer at…

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Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment to Defendants for Plaintiffs’ Failure to Establish Substantial Factor but Denies It as to Joint Compound and Outside Contractor Defendants United States District Court for the District of Maryland, July 25, 2016

Plaintiffs Charles Arbogast and Barbara Arbogast brought this action against multiple defendants for Mr. Arbogast’s alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of his occupational exposure at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Steel Mill, amongst other sites. Several defendants moved for summary judgment, including Eaton Corporation (Cutler Hammer), Foster Wheeler, MCIC, Georgia Pacific (GP), Schneider Electric (Square D), Union Carbide (UCC), and Crane Co. The court began its analysis by reciting the standard for summary judgment, which is appropriate when “the movant shows there is no…

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Court of Appeals Denies Plaintiff’s Request of Joinder for Claims Against Both Asbestos Tobacco Defendants Court of Appeals of Maryland

In an asbestos matter, 15 months after filing suit—after most of the deadlines for discovery and naming of witnesses had passed—the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint joining several tobacco companies on a theory of synergy. The plaintiff’s argued that their lung cancer was caused both by smoking and exposure to asbestos. The Circuit Court dismissed them as being improperly joined on the special asbestos docket but with leave to refile the case on the general civil docket. Sixteen months later, after all claims against the…

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Plaintiff’s Expert Testimony Precluded and Summary Judgment Granted Where Expert Opinion Did Not Rely Upon Sufficient Facts or Data U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, June 6, 2016

Plaintiffs Charles Lemuel Arbogast, Jr., et al. filed suit against a number of companies, including defendant CBS Corporation of Delaware (Westinghouse), that allegedly manufactured and/or distributed products containing asbestos to which the plaintiff was exposed, thereby causing his mesothelioma. The plaintiff offered Dr. Robert Leonard Vance as an expert in matters involving industrial hygiene and asbestos exposures.  Dr. Vance’s written opinion as to Westinghouse focused on two products:  asbestos “socks” and Micarta.  The plaintiff later conceded that that no liability existed as to the asbestos…

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Court Denies Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration on Grant for Summary Judgment in Determination That Defendant Did Not Qualify as “Apparent Manufacturer” Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, May 31, 2016

The plaintiff, Harriette Stein, personal representative of the Estate of Carl Stein, filed an amended complaint with claims against defendant Pfizer under the theory that the decedent’s exposure to an asbestos-containing refractory cement, called “Insulag,” which was supplied to the decedent’s employer, Bethlehem Steel, by Pfizer’s subsidiary, Quigley Company, Inc., was a substantial factor in the decedent’s illness and eventual death from mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleged that Pfizer was the “apparent manufacturer” of this product because Quigley’s invoices and marketing materials bore Pfizer’s trademarks, as…

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