Category Archives: Summary Judgment

Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Causation and Lack of Opposition Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, October 27, 2017

KENTUCKY — Rojelio Surita brought this action against several defendants alleging his decedent, Nancy Surita, developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos containing products for which Defendants were liable. Nancy Surita gave deposition testimony stating that she assisted in brake jobs on the family farm while growing up in Illinois. She also recalled maintenance on vehicles while serving in the National Guard. Later she testified as to working on military trucks. Although she recalled Caterpillar as the manufacturer of the transmissions, she testified that she did…

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Plaintiff’s Status as Independent Contractor Bars Negligence Claim Superior Court of Delaware, October 26, 2017

DELAWARE — Defendant Covestro was the premises owner or successor in interest to one or more prior owners of Mobay Chemical Plant. The plaintiff worked at Mobay for six months in 1979 and was employed by Dravo Corporation, a third party contractor.  The plaintiff testified that he removed insulation from pipes and other equipment; he received instruction and equipment from Dravo supervisors. The plaintiff also worked at Mobay from 1986-88 as a contract engineer for Midwest Tech and testified that he reported to two Mobay…

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Plaintiff’s Incomplete Deposition Testimony Deemed Inadmissible; Summary Judgment Granted for Defendant U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, October 19, 2017

OHIO — The decedent, Donald French, filed suit as a result of his diagnosis of mesothelioma allegedly caused by occupational exposure from asbestos-containing products through his work at U.S. Steel in Dearborn, Michigan. French provided testimony as to his alleged exposures at a discovery deposition that lasted approximately 18 hours over three days. On the third day, French identified the defendant as a source of exposure. The deposition, however, was not completed. The fourth day of deposition was adjourned due to French’s poor health. French…

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Summary Judgment Granted Where Worker’s Compensation Act Bars Plaintiff’s Claims U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, September 29, 2017

NORTH CAROLINA — Plaintiffs filed suit against Alcatel Lucent, as successor in interest to Western Electric and Bell Labs (Alcatel), alleging Mr. Moore developed mesothelioma as a result of his work as a cable puller from 1965-95. Alcatel moved for summary judgment, arguing that the North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act (Act) prohibited the plaintiffs’ claims. The plaintiffs opposed summary judgment and took the position that the exception laid down by the court in Woodson applied. The court’s analysis began with the standard for summary judgment.…

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Collateral Estoppel Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment for Pump Manufacturer U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, September 11, 2017

MISSOURI — The plaintiffs filed suit in Missouri against multiple defendants including Buffalo Pumps, arguing that their decedent, Berj Hovsepian, developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were responsible. The case was removed to the U.S. District Court. Prior to filing the Missouri suit, the plaintiffs filed suit against Buffalo in Massachusetts asserting very similar allegations. Buffalo moved for summary judgment in the Massachusetts case. The motion was granted as unopposed. In the instant matter, Buffalo moved…

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Gasket Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Affirmed Where Plaintiff Failed to Timely Disclose Exposure Affidavits of Fact Witness Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga County, September 7, 2017

Plaintiff Paul Heaton sued multiple defendants including an automotive gasket manufacturer and Honeywell International alleging his decedent, Robert Brawley, developed mesothelioma for which defendants were responsible. Fact witness Michael Victor was deposed on Brawley’s use of the gasket manufacturer’s gaskets on shade tree mechanic work from 1974-2010. The deposition lasted three days. On day one of Victor’s deposition, he denied having any knowledge regarding Brawley’s work on home renovations. However, Honeywell probed on that issue later during the deposition. The plaintiff’s counsel refused to permit…

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Court Denies Partial Motion for Summary Judgment on Punitive Damages Against John Crane While Granting Full Summary Judgment for Other Defendants U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, August 30, 2017

Icom Henry Evans and Johanna Elaine Evans filed an asbestos related personal injury action in the Delaware Superior Court against multiple defendants on June 11, 2015, asserting injuries arising from Mr. Evans’ alleged harmful exposure to asbestos. Defendant John Crane filed a partial motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ punitive damages claim. John Crane admits to having knowledge of the hazards of asbestos by 1970. However, the parties dispute whether John Crane had knowledge of the hazards of asbestos before 1970. The parties…

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Summary Judgment Granted to Premises Owner Because Asbestos Not Inherent on the Premise Superior Court of Delaware, August 30, 2017

Plaintiff Sandra Kivell alleged her husband developed and died from mesothelioma due to his asbestos exposure as a union pipefitter and welder.  Defendant Union Carbide moved for summary judgment, which was granted. Union Carbide was a premises owner of a petrochemical facility in Taft, Louisiana, where decedent worked from January 1967-October 1969.  Decedent did not work for and did not receive instruction from Union Carbide, which employed third-party contractors to build process units.  Decedent testified he ran pipe and worked side by side with insulators.  …

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Brake Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Granted Based on Statute of Limitations Superior Court of Delaware, August 29, 2017

The plaintiff brought suit in Delaware contending that David Bagwell contracted lung cancer from Pneumo Abex’s products. Bagwell was diagnosed in May 2009 and passed away from cancer on January 28, 2010. Plaintiff contacted an attorney regarding this matter in August or 2012. This matter was ultimately filed on June 2, 2014. Under South Carolina law, the defendant argues that the plaintiff’s case must be dismissed because wrongful death claims must be filed within three years of the date of the decedent’s death. However, Delaware…

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Summary Judgment Upheld for Georgia Pacific Because Proof Didn’t Distinguish Between Asbestos and Non-Asbestos Product Superior Court of Delaware, August 18, 2017

Defendant Georgia Pacific was granted partial summary judgment, in that all claims against the defendant “pre-1973” were barred. The plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that the court overlooked the fact that the defendant stopped distributing asbestos joint compound in September 1973. In response to the plaintiff’s motion, the defendant argued that the court properly granted partial summary judgment relating to the plaintiff’s pre-1973 claims as the decision was based on a Stigliano analysis, which states “ when the record reveals that a defendant…

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