Category Archives: Wisconsin

In Case Where Steamfitter Worked on its Premises, Owner Denied Summary Judgment Based on the Wisconsin Safe Place to Work Statute U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, January 7, 2016

In yet another follow-up decision in the Ahnert case out of Wisconsin federal court, Pabst Brewing Company moved for summary judgment. As previously reported, Foster Wheeler was granted summary judgment, but insulation contractor, Sprinkmann Sons Corp. was denied summary judgment based on the Wisconsin statute of repose. The decedent was a union Steamfitter from 1955 to 1992 and claimed exposure to asbestos while working on Pabst’s premises. In its motion, Pabst argued that there was no evidence that decedent was exposed to asbestos from…

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Work Performed by Insulation Contractor was Maintenance, Not Improvement, to Real Property; Wisconsin Statue of Repose Did Not Bar Asbestos Claims U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, January 6, 2016

In a follow-up decision from yesterday’s report regarding the summary judgment granted to Foster Wheeler, Sprinkmann Sons Corporation also moved for summary judgment.  The Wisconsin federal court denied this motion. The decedent was a steamfitter; two co-workers testified regarding their work with the decedent at various industrial facilities. They overhauled turbines and tanks, and removed/installed insulation. Sprinkmann was an insulation contractor for at least two of these facilities and moved for summary judgment based on: (1) no evidence Decedent was exposed to Sprinkmann asbestos-containing products;…

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Wisconsin Federal Court Applies Statue of Repose in Granting Summary Judgment to Foster Wheeler after Multiple Lawsuits Filed by Same Plaintiff U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, January 5, 2016

The plaintiff was a steamfitter who filed a lawsuit against Foster Wheeler and others due to asbestosis developed after alleged  asbestos exposure. After this case was transferred to MDL 875, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed a second suit, again naming Foster Wheeler. After the plaintiff died, his wife dismissed the second lawsuit; three years later she sought to amend the MDL case to include the mesothelioma diagnosis, which the MDL denied due to time. Meanwhile, the plaintiff filed a third lawsuit in…

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Statute of Repose Doesn’t Apply in Reversal of Summary Judgment as Evidence Regarding Work Deemed Insufficient to Show an Improvement to Property Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District One, December 22, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff, Sandra Brezonick, alleged that the decedent, John Brezonick, was exposed to asbestos at various sites while working as a steamfitter in the Milwaukee area between 1966 and 2000. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged product liability, negligence and safe place statute claims under Wis. Stat. § 101.11 against numerous defendants.  The defendants included property owners Pabst Brewing Company, Miller Brewing Company and Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) — where asbestos was allegedly used — and insulation contractor Sprinkmann Sons Corporation, which allegedly…

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Plaintiff Allowed to Substitute and Limitedly Amend Complaint, Several Cases Consolidated Against 3M Among Court Rulings on Daubert Hearings and Expert Preclusion U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, November 9, 2015

In these federal court cases there were several motions brought forward, including a motion by the plaintiff to substitute the estate and file a third amended complaint following the death of the decedent, defendant 3M’s motion to preclude the plaintiff’s expert Dr. Arnold Brody, and defendant Weyerhaeuser’s Daubert motion regarding the plaintiff’s experts Frank M. Mark, III, and Drs. Henry A. Anderson and Jerrold L. Abraham. Regarding the plaintiff’s motion for substitution and to amend the complaint, the court held: “The court will grant the…

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Plaintiff Widow Allowed to Proceed on Claims Even Though Not Timely Substituted as Special Administrator of Husband’s Estate U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, November 10, 2015

The decedent died of mesothelioma and the plaintiff, his widow, proceeded on the claims that had been filed prior to his death; the plaintiff did not substitute herself as special administrator of his estate. Defendant Owens-Illinois filed a notice of death pursuant to federal rules, then filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(a)(2), requiring timely substitution of a proper party. Defendants 3M and Weyerhaeuser filed motions to join. The plaintiff then dismissed Owens-Illinois, and 3M and Weyerhaeuser filed no…

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Distinction Between Gloves and Mittens Crucial In Granting Defendant’s Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, October 9, 2015

Plaintiff Janice Herr alleged that Richard Herr died of mesothelioma due to his use of Airco-distributed, asbestos-containing gloves/mittens. Herr was a sculptor and art instructor who used insulated mittens to handle heated molds. He also used raw asbestos to make molds for his sculptures. Airco never manufactured insulated gloves or mittens, but distributed welding gloves and mittens with its logo. This case was remanded for further proceedings by the MDL 875 Court, after the MDL denied the summary judgment filed by Airco, the sole remaining…

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Wisconsin Federal Court Refuses to Enforce Settlement and Ruled Defendant Waived Defenses of Standing, Mootness, and Issue Preclusion U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, September 9, 2015

The plaintiff sued the defendant, Owens-Illinois, for injuries caused to the decedent by asbestos exposure, which proceeded in multidistrict litigation for many years and was transferred back to the District Court of Wisconsin in 2014. A settlement agreement had apparently been reached, which the plaintiff’s estate representative claimed was not authorized. After the district court refused to enforce the settlement, Owens-Corning moved to dismiss the case on three grounds: the plaintiff lacked standing as the estate representative; the plaintiff’s action is moot because she failed…

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Turbine Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied on Statute of Repose; Gasket Manufacturer’s Motion Granted for Lack of Product ID U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, June 9, 2015

In this federal court case, the decedent, Charles Nuutinen, is alleged to have been exposed to asbestos while working as a pipefitter from 1959 through 1996 at various jobsites in Wisconsin, including the Point Beach Nuclear Power Station. The defendant, CBS, the entity responsible for turbine manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Corporation, moved for summary judgment on the Wisconsin statute of repose and gasket manufacturer John Crane moved for lack of product ID. The court denied CBS’ motion, but granted Crane’s motion. CBS argued, and the plaintiff…

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In Wisconsin: Single Fiber Theory on Causation Held Scientifically Unreliable; Longo Precluded; Castleman Opinion Partially Precluded U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, May 14, 2015

In two asbestos cases, Owens Illinois, Inc. sought to exclude an opinion by the plaintiffs’ experts that “any exposure to asbestos, no matter how slight, remote or insignificant, is a cause or substantial contributing factor in causing Plaintiffs’ diseases.” The company also sought to exclude the testimony and testing of William Longo under FRE 702. The plaintiffs did not substantively oppose these motions and the court granted them without opposition. With respect to the plaintiffs’ “state of the art expert,”  Barry Castleman, Owens Illinois…

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