Admission into Evidence of Testimony and Answers to Discovery of Settled Defendants Leads to New Trial Ordered on Issue of Apportionment Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, June 29, 2018

NEW JERSEY — Donna Rowe (plaintiff), individually and as executrix and executrix ad prosequendum of the estate of Ronald Rowe (Rowe), appealed an April 27, 2015 judgment of $304,152.70 plus prejudgment interest. The plaintiffs originally sued 27 defendants, alleging that exposure to asbestos from their products caused Rowe’s mesothelioma. Twelve defendants were granted summary judgment, four were dismissed, and two never appeared and the claims against them were abandoned. Additionally, eight parties settled their claims before trial, leaving only Hilco, Inc., the successor-in-interest to Universal…
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$117 Million Verdict Upheld in Talc Case Middlesex County, New Jersey, July 2, 2018

NEW JERSEY — Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi denied motions from Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc. to set aside a $37 million verdict in compensatory damages and a combined $80 million verdict in punitive damages awarded earlier this year.  On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the court heard arguments on Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s motions to overturn the verdict. The court instead upheld the verdict. In rendering her decision, Judge Viscomi stated that the verdicts “do not shock the judicial conscience.”…
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Unavailability Exception in Asbestos Coverage Dispute Affirmed by New Jersey Supreme Court New Jersey Supreme Court, June 27, 2018

NEW JERSEY — The decision involved questions about the insurance coverage available to defendant Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell), a New Jersey based corporation, for thousands of bodily-injury claims premised on exposure to brake and clutch pads (friction products) containing asbestos.  The court first considered whether the law of New Jersey or Michigan (the headquarters location of Honeywell’s predecessor when the disputed excess insurance policies were issued) should control in the allocation of insurance liability among insurers for nationwide products-liability claims. Second, the court addressed whether…
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Court Hears Motions to Overturn Verdict in $117 Million New Jersey Talc Case Middlesex County, New Jersey

NEW JERSEY — In April of this year, a New Jersey jury awarded $37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages to plaintiff Stephen Lanzo, who alleged that he developed mesothelioma from years of use of defendants’ talcum powder, which the plaintiff claimed was contaminated with asbestos. On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the court heard arguments on Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s motions to overturn the verdict. In asking the court to overturn the verdict, Imerys argued the plaintiff had presented no competent…
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New Evidence Leads to Vacated Final Judgment in Favor of Fertilizer Company Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, February 26, 2018

NEW JERSEY — In an unpublished opinion issued by the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, the plaintiff successfully overturned the entry of summary judgment on the basis of discovery of new evidence. The plaintiff filed suit in 2012, alleging that his application of two bags of Scotts Turf Builder fertilizer twice a year, from 1967 to 1980, caused him to develop mesothelioma. He passed shortly after filing the lawsuit and his wife was substituted as executrix of the estate. The plaintiff alleged that Scotts…
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Consideration of Decedent’s Specific Exposure History Renders Testimony of Dr. Jacqueline Moline Reliable U.S. District Court, New Jersey, August 4, 2017

Decedent Gerald Hoffeditz alleged asbestos exposure from automotive and heavy equipment repair on various vehicles, including large military trucks while working at the Letterkenny Army Depot. He subsequently passed away from mesothelioma. Various defendants moved to exclude the evidence and testimony put forth by the plaintiff’s expert Dr. Jacqueline Moline. The court denied this motion. For expert testimony to be admitted, the proffered witness must: (1) be qualified; (2) testify about matters requiring scientific, technical or specialized knowledge (reliability), and (3) assist the trier of…
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Sufficient Exposure Found to Reverse Prior Summary Judgment Decision in Favor of Asbestos Supplier Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, May 17, 2017

In October 2010, the plaintiff, Thomasina Fowler, individually and as administrator of the estate of Willis Edenfield (the decedent), brought a wrongful death and product liability action in the Superior Court of New Jersey against various defendants. The plaintiff alleged the decedent passed away from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure associated with defendants’ products. The complaint was filed after the decedent’s death and he was never deposed. Therefore, during discovery, the plaintiff produced two witnesses to testify as to the decedent’s occupational history. The decedent…
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New Jersey Court Finds Plaintiff’s Certification Speculative and Grants Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motion Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, January 10, 2017

Plaintiff John Burton filed suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, against various defendants, including Ingersoll Rand, alleging he developed mesothelioma from occupational exposure to asbestos during his work at a New Jersey facility that manufactured aluminum cans. During his discovery deposition, Burton testified that the production of aluminum cans required a washing system to which the facility had two “washing machines” that incorporated washing and decorating the cans. Burton recalled these washing machines had 12 pumps and testified generally that Ingersoll…
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Motion to Dismiss on Lack of Jurisdiction Denied as Limited Discovery is Required U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, January 9, 2016

On October 28, 2015, the plaintiff, Estelle Grimes, widow of plaintiff-decedent Thomas Grimes, brought suit against the defendants and numerous other corporations who also allegedly mined, sold, or distributed asbestos in New Jersey state court. On December 1, 2015, the case was removed from state to federal court. The plaintiff amended the complaint on August 1, 2016. The defendants ACL and Bell filed mirror-image motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on August 4, 2016 before the U.S. District Court for the District of…
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“Frequency, Regularity and Proximity” Standard in New Jersey Law Acknowledged in Denying Two of Four Summary Judgments U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, December 19, 2016

The plaintiff was a machinist, pipe fitter and electrician from the 1950s-1970s and alleged asbestos exposure during his work at a variety of locations, including during home repair and automotive maintenance. In 2013, he was diagnosed with asbestosis. The plaintiff testified as to working with pumps as a machinist helper on the USS Kitty Hawk while working for the New York Shipyard. He also testified as to asbestos exposure while working as a sheet metal worker for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Defendants Buffalo Pumps, DAP, Sid…
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