Category Archives: Washington

Action Dismissed Against Canadian Automotive Defendant Based on Lack of Specific Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, May 17, 2017

The plaintiffs filed suit against multiple defendants alleging Mr. Hodjera’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to the defendants’ products from 1986-94. Volkswagen of Canada (VWGC) moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction. The court started its analysis by stating that due process requires the court to have personal jurisdiction over the defendant before it can adjudicate a claim. General jurisdiction is available when the defendant’s “contacts are so constant and pervasive as to render it essentially at home.” The court…

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Required Use of Asbestos Products for Proper Functioning of Steam Turbines Created Genuine Issue of Material Fact Regarding Duty to Warn Court of Appeals of Washington, April 3, 2017

The decedent served in the Navy from 1943-46 and served as a machinist on the USS George K. MacKenzie during World War II. After the war, he joined the Military Sea Transportation Service and worked as an engineer until 1952. His representatives filed a wrongful death lawsuit after he died from mesothelioma, suing, among others, General Electric. The trial court granted GE’s motion for summary judgment, and the appellate court reversed. GE designed, manufactured, and supplied the steam turbines that were on board the decedent’s…

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Verdict Against Brand Insulation Upheld on Various Grounds, Including yhat General Negligence Duty of Care Recognized for Take Home Exposure Court of Appeals of Washington, January 23, 2017

The trial court found in favor of the plaintiff, finding Brand Insulation, Inc. liable for the mesothelioma suffered by Barbara Brandes due to secondary asbestos exposure from her husband’s work at ARCO. Brand appealed, and the plaintiff appealed the remittitur reducing the damages award from $3.5 million to $2.5 million. The court affirmed the verdict and reversed the remittitur. Brand was an insulation subcontractor during construction of the ARCO Cherry Point Refinery. At first Brand installed asbestos-free insulation, but later switched to asbestos insulation due…

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Appeals Court finds No Conflict of Laws and Reverses Dismissal Based on Alaska Statute of Repose Court of Appeals of Washington, Division Two, August 9, 2016

Plaintiff Larry Hoffman filed suit in the Superior Court of Washington, Pierce County against numerous defendants alleging he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos. Specifically, Hoffman is alleging take-home exposure from his father working as a welder for Ketchikan in Alaska in the 1950s and 1960s. Hoffman also alleges exposure from his own work at Ketchikan pulp mills in the 1960s and 1970s. Each mill featured steam turbines manufactured by General Electric (GE). Although it operated solely in Alaska, Ketchikan is a Washington corporation, having…

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Decedent’s Failure to Bring Personal Injury Claims for Known Asbestos Injuries Within Statute of Limitations Period During His Lifetime Barred Wrongful Death Suit Washington Court of Appeals, Division One, November 23, 2015

The decedent died of several asbestos related diseases in 2011; he was diagnosed with these diseases in 2003. The plaintiff brought a wrongful death claim against manufacturers and distributors of asbestos containing products, and the defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not bring a wrongful death claim because the decedent failed to bring a personal injury claim within three years of discovering his asbestos-related diseases. The trial court granted summary judgment, and the appellate court affirmed. The plaintiff argued that a…

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Washington Appellate Court Applies New Case Law to Bar Wrongful Death Suits if Statute of Limitations Expires on Personal Injury Claim During Decedent’s Lifetime Court of Appeals of Washington, November 9, 2015

In 2006, the plaintiff successfully sued two defendants for injuries related to the plaintiff’s workplace asbestos exposure. This judgment was vacated and remanded to federal district court, where it remained pending. The plaintiff passed away in 2012; two years later, his widow filed a wrongful death claim against new defendants.  The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the statute of limitations on a personal injury action during the decedent’s lifetime precludes a wrongful death action based on this underlying personal injury claim. The trial…

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Maritime Law Applied to Plaintiffs’ Claims and State Court Filing Retained Plaintiffs’ Right to a Jury Trial U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 21, 2015

In this federal court case, defendant Crane asserted that state law should apply to some aspects of plaintiffs’ claims, while the parties appeared to agree that maritime law applied generally to the matter.  The court examined this case sua sponte on the issue of whether maritime or state law governed the remaining claims of the plaintiffs, and whether the plaintiffs have a right to a jury trial.  The court found that maritime law applied and trial would be before a jury. In applying the locality…

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Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Holding a Shipbuilder is a Service Provider, Not a Seller of a Product U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 8, 2015

The plaintiffs alleged that Glenn Hassebrock was exposed to asbestos while working as a union pipefitter at various shipyards.  The defendant shipbuilding company moved for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the products liability claims on the grounds that the company acted predominantly as a service provider, rather than a distributor of asbestos-containing products.  The court agreed, finding that the shipbuilding company “was not in the chain of manufacturing and selling asbestos related products, rather it was providing the service of producing Navy vessels.  The…

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Ford Gets Defense Verdict Since Plaintiff’s Expert Could Not Proximately Link Disease to Chrysotile Exposure in Light of Previous Amphibole Exposure United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma, October 1, 2015

In this federal court case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Gregory Cannard, was exposed to asbestos insulation while serving in the Navy from 1965 to 1967, and while working for Lomac Motors from 1975 to 1978, where he allegedly ground asbestos head gaskets from Ford Motor Co. (Ford). At the time of trial, Ford was the only remaining defendant. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that the Navy and automotive exposures were indivisible and no single product could be identified as the cause of Mr.…

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Applying Admiralty Law, Court Grants Summary Judgment for Lack of Proof That Product Contained Asbestos U.S. District of Washington, Western District of Washington, March 3, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff claimed that the decedent, Alan McMann, was exposed to asbestos-containing non-skid materials as a bystander that were applied to the deck of the USS Firedrake. Defendant SB Decking, the alleged manufacturer of the non-skid material, moved for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff did not prove that the non-skid material applied in the decedent’s presence actually contained asbestos. The court initially analyzed the locality and connections tests, concluding that Admiralty Law applied. On the causation issue, the court concluded…

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