Category Archives: Other Asbestos News

NYCAL Justices Appointed to First Department-Appellate Division

On May 22, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) Supreme Court Justices Cynthia S. Kern and Peter H. Moulton to the First Department-Appellate Division. Associate Justice Rolando Acosta was designated to the Presiding Justice of this Appellate Division and Supreme Court Justices Jeffrey Oing and Anil Singh will fill the remaining Associate Justice vacancies. The First Department covers New York and Bronx Counties. Justice Cynthia S. Kern has been a justice in the 1st Judicial District of…

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Compound Manufacturer’s Directed Verdict Reversed Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division, May 9, 2017

The estate of decedent Ronnie Startley filed a complaint against multiple defendants, including Welco Manufacturing Company, alleging that the defendants’ products caused the decedent to contract mesothelioma. All defendants except Welco either were dismissed or settled with plaintiffs prior to trial. Welco proceeded to trial. After trial, the trial court directed a verdict in favor of Welco, holding that there was not sufficient evidence to create an issue of material fact as to whether the use of Welco’s products caused the decedent to develop mesothelioma.…

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Mississippi House and Senate Approves Conference Committee Report Requiring Transparency in Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Submissions

The Mississippi House and Senate approved a conference report regarding asbestos bankruptcy trust transparency legislation. The bill is expected to be signed into law. Findings of the Conference Committee include an acknowledgement that approximately 100 employers have declared bankruptcy related to asbestos litigation. Further, 85 percent of industries in the U.S. economy have been named as defendants in asbestos litigation. As a result, trusts have been established in asbestos related bankruptcy proceedings “to form a multibillion dollar asbestos bankruptcy trust compensation system outside of the…

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John Crane Fails to Establish Personal Jurisdiction against Plaintiff’s Firm in Fraud Complaint Filed in Federal Court U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, March 23, 2017

John Crane, Inc. (JCI) filed suit against Benjamin Shein and the Shein Law Center (the defendant) for fraud, alleging that the defendant fraudulently obtained settlements with and verdicts against JCI by misrepresenting the exposure of asbestos plaintiffs to JCI’s products and concealing the plaintiffs’ exposure to products of other manufacturers. The complaint focused on four specific asbestos cases filed against JCI in Pennsylvania in which verdicts were rendered against JCI. It alleged specific behavior done by the defendants, such as delaying filing claims with bankruptcy…

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John Crane Fails to Establish Personal Jurisdiction in RICO Claim Against Plaintiff Law Firm

Plaintiff John Crane Inc. brought a six-count complaint against defendants Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C., Jeffrey B. Simon, and David C. Greenstone, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq., and common law claims for conspiracy and fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The defendants contemporaneously filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, however, as a matter of…

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South Dakota Enacts Legislation Allowing Transparency in Bankruptcy Trust Claims

An ongoing issue in asbestos litigation is whether plaintiffs have received monies from bankruptcy trusts. The plaintiff’s bar has traditionally fought discovery of this information, but recently South Dakota became the first state to enact legislation regarding this issue.  Senate Bill No. 138 recommends amending the code to order plaintiffs to identify any asbestos trust claims filed by them not more than one hundred and twenty days before trial. Such identification shall include: information about the trust claim itself; the amount claimed, or to be…

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Louisiana Worker is a Statutory Employee Entitled Exclusively to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Plaintiff James Fletcher was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2015. From 1988 until 1997, he worked in a tool trailer at the Exxon refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During that time, Fletcher was employed by J. E. Merit, a contractor that provided additional workers for Exxon during maintenance activities known as “turn-arounds.” On February 4, 2016, the Civil District Court in Orleans Parish, Louisiana rendered judgment after a trial on the merits that Fletcher was a statutory employee of ExxonMobil. Fletcher appealed a threshold determination…

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New York Police Officer Diagnosed with Mesothelioma Allowed to File for Both Line-of-Duty Benefits and Salary/Medical Expense Benefits Court of Appeals of New York, November 21, 2016

The plaintiff was a police officer for the City of Buffalo from 1968-1995. In 2012, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed this proceeding asking permission to serve a late notice of claim against the city. The plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure during his work at properties owned by the city and by the Board of Education. The city argued that leave should not be given to the plaintiff to file a late notice of claim because New York General Municipal Law Section 207-c provided the…

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Certification of Class for Unmanifested Asbestos Claims in Bankruptcy Court Denied U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, September 28, 2016

Debtors filed voluntary petitions for relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court; certain debtors’ subsidiaries have potential liability related to former employees’ alleged exposure to asbestos in power plants owned or operated by debtors’ predecessors. The bankruptcy court issued an order setting a bar date for all asbestos claimants, establishing requirements for proofs of claim for manifested and unmanifested asbestos claimants, and notice procedures. Appellants filed a motion seeking to have the court, among other things, certify a class of persons holding unmanifested asbestos claims.…

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Beware Drafters of Purchase Agreements — Unambiguous Terms in Stock Purchase Agreement Assigns Asbestos Liabilities to Purchasers U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, September 12, 2016

Plaintiff Cooper Industries brought a declaratory judgment against Precision Castparts Corp. and Wyman-Gordon Company, for defense and indemnification costs for personal injury asbestos lawsuits, pursuant to a stock purchase agreement between Cooper and Wyman. The plaintiff and defendants both filed summary judgments; the plaintiff’s summary judgment was granted in part, and the defendants’ summary judgment was denied. Cooper acquired Cameron Iron Works in 1989; in 1994 Wyman purchased the Forged Products business unit from Cooper pursuant to a Stock Purchase Agreement (SPA). In 1995, Cooper…

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