In-State Business Activities Unrelated to Asbestos Personal Injury Claims Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Supreme Court of New York, June 16, 2018

NEW YORK – Newly appointed NYCAL Asbestos Coordinating Judge Manuel Mendez continued the recent trend of New York trial level decisions dismissing claims for lack of personal jurisdiction following  Bristol Myers Squibb Co. v. Supreme Court of California (2017) and Daimler AG v. Bauman (2014). In the matter of Irene Grabowski, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Alex Grabowski v. A.O. Smith Corporation, the plaintiff brought suit in New York State Court against The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts), alleging exposure from using Scotts…
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Defendant’s Joinder Denied; Parallel Suits Allowed in Federal and State Court United States District Court, S.D.N.Y, June 21, 2018

NEW YORK — On October 3, 2017, the plaintiffs filed two lawsuits in New York state court against two different groups of defendants. One lawsuit was filed against 83 defendants, not including Crane Co. (Crane), alleging that John Grimes developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to defendants’ asbestos-containing products. At present, that matter remains pending in state court. The second action—the instant action—was filed against four other defendants, including Crane. The plaintiffs similarly alleged that Mr. Grimes developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure…
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Recent NYCAL Trends in the 2017 & 2018 Accelerated Clusters

The current state of asbestos litigation in New York City (NYCAL) continues to evolve as both the plaintiffs’ bar and defense bar deal with a revised Case Management Order (CMO) and judicial turnover. For a better understanding of the types of claims that are actually being litigated in NYCAL, and what firms are filing these claims, we can look at the current filing trends under the “cluster” procedure that is used in this jurisdiction. The CMO explains there are three dockets used in NYCAL: (1)…
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Allegations of “Information and Belief” Interrogatory Answers Insufficient to Overcome Summary Judgment Supreme Court of the State of New York, Fifth Judicial District, May 23, 2018

NEW YORK — The decedent Julia Sgarlata’s estate brought suit against various companies alleging that she was exposed to asbestos while employed as an inspector, and as a shipping and receiving manager at Diemolding Corporation in New York State from 1955 to 1990, causing her peritoneal mesothelioma. The court issued a written decision on its April 19, 2018 grant of summary judgment for defendant Cytec Engineering, f/k/a American Cyanamid as successor to Fiberite (Fiberite), finding no evidence that the decedent was ever in the presence…
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Insufficient Evidence to Show Chrysotile Flooring Products Caused Plaintiff’s Peritoneal Mesothelioma Supreme Court, State of New York, Nassau County, April 18, 2018

NEW YORK — The court granted summary judgment for two flooring manufacturers in this peritoneal bystander mesothelioma matter. Plaintiff Victoria Pistone alleged that she was exposed to asbestos from vinyl floor covering manufactured by Mannington Mills, and tile manufactured by American Biltrite, while she accompanied her father to work, and in their home from his clothing. The court cited prior New York law in noting that a plaintiff must use a causation expert to establish that the plaintiff was exposed to sufficient levels of asbestos…
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Removal Upheld on Government Contractor Defense for Turbine and Gasket Manufacturers U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, November 27, 2017

NEW YORK — Plaintiffs Michael and Anne Donohue brought suit against multiple defendants including Westinghouse (CBS) and Crane Co. alleging Mr. Donohue contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were liable. Mr. Donohue claimed exposure from his time working in the Navy and with the New York Fire Department (NYFD). CBS removed the case one day after the plaintiff’s trial deposition. Crane quickly joined the removal. Both asserted the government contractor defense which shields liability in certain instances. The plaintiffs…
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Mesothelioma Verdict Reduced by $4.3 Million on Appeal Supreme Court, State of New York, November 8, 2017

NEW YORK — Plaintiff Mary Nash filed suit on behalf of the plaintiff’s decedent, Lewis Nash, alleging bystander exposure to asbestos-containing dust from defendant Navistar’s brakes and gaskets while working as a janitor and bus driver in the Fayettteville-Manluis Central School District. The decedent’s exposure occurred in the bus garage at the school, where decedent routinely spent time during his bus runs. The jury awarded the plaintiff the following: three million dollars in conscious pain and suffering; three million dollars in emotional pain and suffering…
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New York Appellate Court Affirms Nine Million Dollar Verdict in Duty to Warn Grinder Case New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, October 5, 2017

NEW YORK — The plaintiff filed suit against various defendants, including Hennessy Industries’ subsidiary, Ammco, alleging that the plaintiff’s use of Ammco’s grinder on asbestos-containing brake linings exposed him to asbestos. The plaintiff’s expert testimony was sufficient to establish exposure to asbestos via use of the grinder in sufficient quantities to cause the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. Further, “because the asbestos-laden dust was created by plaintiff’s use of defendant’s grinder and defendant knew its grinder would be used on asbestos-containing products, defendant had a duty to warn…
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Massachusetts Corporation Granted Dismissal for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Supreme Court of New York, New York County, September 7, 2017

Plaintiffs Sean Snowdale and Ryan Snowdale as Co-Executors of the Estate of Donald Kenneth Snowdale initially filed this asbestos-related suit against a number of defendants, including Barnes & Jones, Incorporated on July 6, 2015 in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County (NYCAL). Barnes & Jones answered and asserted the affirmative defense that NYCAL lacked personal jurisdiction over Barnes & Jones as to each and every count in the complaint. On July 20, 2017, Barnes & Jones moved to dismiss based on lack…
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Prior Settlement that Included Future Claims Not Enough to Grant Motion for Summary Judgment Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, August 29, 2017

Plaintiffs Mason South and his wife filed suit under the Jones Act against several defendants, including Texaco, alleging his mesothelioma developed as a result of exposure to asbestos containing products for which defendants were responsible. Mr. South served as a merchant marine for 37 years. Texaco moved for summary judgment arguing that suit was precluded by a prior release signed by the plaintiff in an earlier lawsuit from 1997. Specifically, Mr. South had released Texaco from “all bodily and/or personal injuries, sickness or death” from…
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