Category Archives: Punitive Damages

Missouri Appeals Court Affirms $10M Punitive Damage Award Against Valve Manufacturer Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, May 2, 2017

Jeannette G. Poage, the plaintiff, filed a products liability suit against defendant Crane Co. in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, alleging that her husband, James E. Poage, suffered personal injuries and wrongful death from mesothelioma, which was caused from Mr. Poage’s work with the defendant’s products. Mr. Poage served in the U.S. Navy from 1954-58 as a machinist on the USS Haynesworth where he helped maintain the valves on the ship that required replacing gaskets and packing. The plaintiff alleged that…

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Boiler Manufacturer Granted New Trial Due to Plaintiff’s Counsel’s Comments in Closing Arguments Court of Appeals of Iowa, April 19, 2017

Defendant Weil McLain appealed the jury’s award of damages and punitive damages to plaintiffs to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The appeal stems from the death of Larry Kinseth as a result of his alleged exposure to asbestos containing products. Mr. Kinseth worked in the heating and plumbing industry beginning in 1957. As part of his work, he tore out old boilers and installed new boilers, both in residential and commercial applications. At the time, Mr. Kinseth was working in the heating and plumbing industry,…

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California Appellate Court Reverses $3.6M Punitive Damages Award Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One, February 15, 2017

In November 2005, after William Saller was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the plaintiffs filed suit naming 22 defendants, including the manufacturers of various asbestos products. After Saller passed away in February 2006, his wife and daughters added a wrongful death claim and continued the lawsuit. In 2007, the plaintiffs proceeded to trial against two remaining defendants: Crown Cork and Bondex International, Inc. The jury returned a defense verdict, rejecting the plaintiffs’ strict liability design defect claim and their negligent failure-to-warn claim. The plaintiffs appealed and the…

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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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Court Issues Significant Verdict Reduction Based in Part on Jury Error of Finding Intentional Misrepresentation and Fraudulent Concealment Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, July 18, 2016

In a case previously reported on in ACT, a California jury found for the plaintiffs, Louis Tyler and Elizabeth Tyler and against defendant American Optical Corporation (AOC), the lone defendant remaining at trial, with an award of $22.8 million. This award consisted of $1.8 million in economic damages (medical expenses, lost income, household services, etc.) and $21 million in non-economic damages. The jury also found that AOC acted with malice, oppression and fraud, and awarded $10 million in punitive damages. The overall verdict totaled…

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Court Denies Honeywell’s Appeal on Expert and Causation Challenges and Reverses Directed Verdict on Punitive Damages in Plaintiff’s Favor Court of Appeals of Ohio, May 26, 2016

The defendant, Honeywell International appealed the judgment entered upon a jury verdict that found Honeywell was five percent responsible for the injuries of the decedent Kathleen Schwartz, who died from peritoneal mesothelioma. The amount of the judgment against Honeywell was $1,011,639.92. The plaintiffs filed a cross-appeal challenging the trial court’s decision to grant a directed verdict against them on their claim for punitive damages. Honeywell’s appeal challenged the trial court’s denial of motions in limine and the court’s denial of a motion for directed verdict.…

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U.S. District Court of Connecticut Denies Motion to Dismiss Punitive Damages Count Based on Sufficiency of Pleading U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, May 4, 2016

In this case pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the plaintiffs’ third count of their complaint alleges reckless conduct by the defendants and seeks punitive damages. Defendant Aurora Pump Company moved to dismiss this count, arguing that the plaintiff failed to assert specific allegations of recklessness. The court noted, however, that the plaintiff alleges that the defendants manufactured, distributed, sold or otherwise placed into the stream of commerce products which contained asbestos and that the defendants intentionally and fraudulently concealed…

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Punitive Damages Not Allowed Against Bendix; Memos Showed a Corporation Struggling With Evolving Science on Asbestos and Mesothelioma U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, April 4, 2016

The plaintiff alleged that her husband was exposed to asbestos from brakes, and as a result died from mesothelioma. She sued Honeywell International, as successor-in-interest to Bendix, alleging negligence, breach of implied warranty, fraud, failure to warn, and wrongful death, and asked for actual and punitive damages. Bendix moved for summary judgment on the breach of implied warranty, fraud, and failure to warn claims, and punitive damages claims. The court denied summary judgment as to the breach of implied warranty and products liability claims, but…

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California Appellate Court Reverses $32.5 Million Punitive Damage Award Against BorgWarner, Among Other Rulings Court of Appeal of California, July 15, 2015

  In this wrongful death lawsuit, the decedent was allegedly exposed to asbestos from BorgWarner clutches while working as a security guard at a General Motors assembly plant. The case went to trial and the jury awarded various economic and noneconomic damages to the family of the decedent. During the punitive damages phase of the trial, the plaintiff’s expert testified as to the financial condition of BorgWarner over objections that he improperly considered the financial condition of other separate corporate entities. The jury unanimously awarded punitive…

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Under Georgia Law, Appellate Court Rejects Defendant’s Daubert Challenge to Dr. Abraham and Allows Punitive Damage Claim Court of Appeals of Georgia, March 30, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff and his wife, Roy and Milva Knight, sued Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc., alleging that Roy’s mesothelioma was caused from exposure to asbestos while he was working as an independent sheet metal contractor at Scapa’s facility. It was alleged that Scapa used asbestos fibers in its manufacturing process and there was asbestos insulation on pipes and boilers. The plaintiffs also sued Union Carbide Corp., claiming that it supplied asbestos to non-party Georgia Pacific, which made joint compound that Roy used on…

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