Category Archives: Pennsylvania

“Discovery Rule” Applied for Plaintiffs’ Claim to Survive Two-Year Statue of Limitations U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, March 2, 2017

The plaintiffs asserted that the decedent, Joseph Conneen, was exposed to asbestos while working as a pipefitter and plumber from 1962-80 at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Rohm and Haas. The decedent died of lung cancer. The complaint was filed on January 20, 2015. In March 2015, the case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as part of MDL-875. Defendant Goulds moved for summary judgment on the basis of Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations. The court denied this…

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Summary Judgment Affirmed Against School Board Where Exception to Immunity Applied Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, January 25, 2017

The plaintiffs filed suit against 40 defendants and the Pittsburgh School District Board of Public Education (PBE). The plaintiffs contended the defendants were responsible for Ms. Geier contracting mesothelioma while she worked as a school teacher at South Hill High School from 1959-59. During discovery, Ms. Geier stated in an affidavit that she was occupationally exposed to 1) pipe coverings, 2) floor tile, 3) drywall, and 4) joint compound. At the close of discovery, PBE moved for summary judgment and asserted the defense of governmental…

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Summary Judgment Affirmed in Favor of Successor Premises Owner Where Bankruptcy Code Extinguished Claims Superior Court of Pennsylvania, January 26, 2017

Jacqueline and Thomas Wagner filed suit against Standard Steel LLC for Ms. Wagner’s alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of take home exposure from the work clothes of her husband. Mr. Wagner worked as a laborer and crane operator at Freedom Forge from 1970-72. Freedom Forge filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2001. Appellee Standard Steel LLC purchased the sale of Freedom Forge’s assets in 2002. The bankruptcy court confirmed the sale and found: 1) the sale price was fair and reasonable at an…

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Summary Judgment Affirmed Where Plaintiff Fails to Demonstrate the Frequency, Regularity, or Proximity of Decedent’s Alleged Exposure Superior Court of Pennsylvania, January 19, 2017

Appellant James Floyd, Jr.’s Father, James Floyd Sr. (the decedent), passed away after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mr. Floyd alleged that the decedent was exposed to various asbestos-containing products, including AstenJohnson, Inc.’s dryer felts, while the decedent was employed at Sun Oil from 1939-1951 and at Scott Paper from 1951-1984. AstenJohnson made dryer felts used on paper machines that contained asbestos until 1980. Appellant provided deposition testimony that he worked with the decedent at Scott Paper from 1977-1984. Appellant testified that the decedent replaced…

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Death of Statutory Beneficiary During Pendency of Jones Act Claim Did Not Extinguish Jones Act Claims; Estate Could Recover Benefit U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, January 5, 2017

Defendant Thompson Hine filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s Jones Act survival claims abated due to no statutory beneficiary. The court denied the motion. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent, Joseph Braun, was exposed to asbestos during his work aboard ships owned by the defendants and died from an asbestos-related disease. This case was originally filed in 1989 and asserted claims under the Jones Act and general maritime common law. In April 2011, the case was transferred to MDL 875 as…

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Non-Malignant but Not Malignant Claims Part of Bankruptcy Estate U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, December 16, 2016

This case is part of the consolidated asbestos products liability multidistrict litigation (MDL 875), and is on the court’s maritime docket. The plaintiffs alleged the decedent William Lawrence was exposed to asbestos while working aboard various ships. Ship owners represented by Thomson Hine (the defendants) filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied. In 1996, Mr. Lawrence brought claims for non-malignant asbestos-related disease against various defendants, including the defendant ship owners. Two months later, Mr. Lawrence filed for bankruptcy and did not list…

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Ford’s Denial of Nonsuit Affirmed; Improper Consolidation of Meso Cases Did Not Warrant New Trial Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Eastern District, November 22, 2016

Richard and Joyce Rost filed this action against multiple defendants, including Ford Motor Company, alleging that Mr. Rost developed mesothelioma as a result of his work around asbestos products. The plaintiff worked at Smith Motors as “gofer” assisting mechanics with the removal of brake shoe linings 3-5 times per week after graduating from high school. Further, the plaintiff contended that 85-95 percent of the vehicles were manufactured by Ford. The parties stipulated that Ford vehicles utilized asbestos brakes and clutches for its vehicles made from…

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Federal Court Rejects Argument That Manufacturer Cannot Be Liable for Asbestos-Containing Component Parts U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 28, 2016

The plaintiffs filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District, Philadelphia County, against various defendants claiming that the decedent, who had been employed since the 1950s as a millwright in multiple power plants and steel mill factories, developed work-related malignant mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos and to products containing asbestos. This state action was ultimately removed to federal court and became part of Multidistrict Litigation-875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Here, the plaintiffs specifically alleged that defendant Crane Co. manufactured, produced,…

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Court Provides Mixed Ruling on Motions for Summary Judgment on Punitive Damages Brought by Boiler Manufacturers Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, July 26, 2016

The Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in Pennsylvania recently ruled on partial motions for summary judgment with respect to punitive damages asserted by the paintiffs, Robert Horst, Jr. and Diane Horst. Defendants filing said motions included Burnham, LLC , Lennox Industries, Inc., and Weil-McLain. The court stated that, in Pennsylvania, a punitive damages claim must be supported by evidence sufficient to establish that (1) a defendant had a subjective appreciation of the risk of harm to which the plaintiff was exposed and that…

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Pennsylvania Federal Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Mold Verdict and Grants Plaintiff’s Motion to Apply Delay Damages to Compensatory Damages U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, June 15, 2016

The plaintiff-decedent, Valent Rabovsky, and his wife Ann Rabovsky filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, claiming that the plaintiff-decedent, who had worked as a millwright in the 1950s, developed malignant mesothelioma from work-related exposure to asbestos and asbestos containing products, which were produced, manufactured, and/or distributed by various defendants (Case was removed to Federal Court three months later). On February 2, 2016, a jury trial was held on the issue of whether defendant Crane Co. was negligent in failing to warn…

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