Asbestos Case Tracker Named Best Litigation Blog for 2017!

We are pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, the Asbestos Case Tracker blog has been named the best litigation blog in the country in The Expert Institute’s Best Legal Blog Contest! The Expert Institute’s annual contest considered thousands of legal blogs online today. After an extended public voting process, Asbestos Case Tracker secured the top spot as best litigation blog. A huge thank you goes out to all of our readers who made this honor possible. We certainly could not have done it without you and truly appreciate all your support. We promise to continue working hard to keep you up to date on asbestos litigation with our summaries of — and access to — the latest court decisions, legislative updates, and other developments from across the country.  
Continue Reading...


A Look Back at the Bare Metal Defense in 2017

In the past year, the bare metal defense continued to see some variance from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with at least one federal appellate court taking up an issue for further clarification late in the year. The bare metal or component parts defense essentially provides that a manufacturer is not liable for harm caused by asbestos products that the manufacturer did not manufacture or distribute, and owes no duty to warn of the hazards inherent to those products. It is viewed in some jurisdictions in the context of causation, with manufacturers of products that did not originally include asbestos component parts escaping liability given a lack of proximate cause for plaintiffs’ injuries. Other courts try to examine whether the risks of asbestos hazards were reasonably foreseeable to defendants whose products may ...
Continue Reading...

Susan Van Gelder to Speak at Upcoming Asbestos Conference

On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, Susan Van Gelder, partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Toxic Tort Practice Group, will be speaking at Perrin Conference’s New York Asbestos Litigation Conference tomorrow. This day-long seminar will feature several topics, including: What NYCAL looks like today and what to expect in 2018 The in-house and insurance perspectives An update on talc litigation Susan will be part of the “Overview on Upstate New York” panel. For nearly 15 years, Susan has handled thousands of asbestos cases, representing manufacturers of asbestos-containing equipment and component parts in lawsuits spanning the Northeast. To register, please click here.
Continue Reading...

Removal Upheld on Government Contractor Defense for Turbine and Gasket Manufacturers U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, November 27, 2017

NEW YORK — Plaintiffs Michael and Anne Donohue brought suit against multiple defendants including Westinghouse (CBS) and Crane Co. alleging Mr. Donohue contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were liable. Mr. Donohue claimed exposure from his time working in the Navy and with the New York Fire Department (NYFD). CBS removed the case one day after the plaintiff’s trial deposition. Crane quickly joined the removal. Both asserted the government contractor defense which shields liability in certain instances. The plaintiffs moved to remand. In order to invoke the defense, the defendants must show that 1) the defendant is a federal agency or officer, or acted under the control of one 2) the defendant has a colorable federal defense and 3) the defendant can establish a ...
Continue Reading...

Summary Judgment Affirmed in Favor of Insulation Suppliers Based Upon Lack of Product Identification Circuit Court for Baltimore County, November 20, 2017

MARYLAND — The Circuit Court for Baltimore County affirmed the entry of summary judgment for two insulation suppliers-installers in a mesothelioma case arising from Bethlehem Steel’s Key Highway Shipyard (KHS), agreeing that the plaintiffs failed to present evidence linking the plaintiff to the products or employees of the insulation defendants. The evidence demonstrated that MCIC, Inc. (formerly the McCormick Asbestos Company) and Wallace & Gale Settlement Trust (formerly the Wallace & Gale Company) both supplied and installed insulation at KHS during the plaintiff’s years of employment at the shipyard. A co-worker testified that the plaintiff worked on all the ships at KHS, but during oral argument, the plaintiff’s counsel conceded that this testimony meant the plaintiff worked on most of the ships, not all of them. Other co-workers testified about ...
Continue Reading...

Johnson & Johnson Found Not Liable in California Talcum Trial Los Angeles County Superior Court, November 16, 2017

After almost three days of deliberation following a four week trial, a Los Angeles area jury reached a defense verdict in a mesothelioma case against Johnson & Johnson and its supplier Imerys Talc America, Inc. In closing arguments, the plaintiff urged the jury to consider evidence that allegedly documented Johnson & Johnson’s long awareness of asbestos contamination in its talc mines in attributing the plaintiff’s disease to the defendants. Defense arguments focused on a lack of asbestos markers in the plaintiff’s lungs, and pointed to breast cancer radiation treatments as an alternate cause of the mesothelioma. The jury found that the defendants’ talc was not defective or unsafe, that the defendants did not fail to warn of potential risks, that the talc was not negligently designed, and that the talc ...
Continue Reading...

Plaintiff’s FELA Claim Against Railroad Survives Limitations Challenge Supreme Court of Montana, November 14, 2017

MONTANA — The plaintiff worked for Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Corporation (BNSF) and claimed exposure to amphibole containing vermiculite in that capacity as BNSF transported vermiculite for W.R. Grace. The plaintiff filed suit against BNSF for his asbestos related disease under FELA. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant and the plaintiff appealed. Prior to the suit, W.R. Grace filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001. A temporary restraining order (TRO) was immediately issued prohibiting any suits against third parties arising from W.R. Grace’s mining operations. The court entered a preliminary injunction in 2001, which stayed all actions pending or not filed. Years later, W.R. Grace moved to enlarge the language of the injunction to include claims arising from its mining operations, e.g., those against BNSF. The ...
Continue Reading...

Los Angeles Jury Deliberating in $24M Talcum Product Trial Los Angeles County Superior Court, November 13, 2017

CALIFORNIA — Closing arguments were conducted on Monday, November 13, 2017 in a trial against Johnson & Johnson and its supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., alleging that asbestos in talcum powder caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s counsel argued that Johnson & Johnson and Imerys pushed to delay regulation of talc for years, and that the companies advocated for methods of testing their products for asbestos that could not detect the levels actually present. The plaintiff suffers from mesothelioma, and her life is predicted to be cut short by 23 years. The plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $1M in non-economic damages for each of those years, in addition to approximately $1M in lost wages and medical bills. Punitive damages were also alleged. Johnson & Johnson countered by arguing ...
Continue Reading...

Mesothelioma Verdict Reduced by $4.3 Million on Appeal Supreme Court, State of New York, November 8, 2017

NEW YORK — Plaintiff Mary Nash filed suit on behalf of the plaintiff’s decedent, Lewis Nash, alleging bystander exposure to asbestos-containing dust from defendant Navistar’s brakes and gaskets while working as a janitor and bus driver in the Fayettteville-Manluis Central School District. The decedent’s exposure occurred in the bus garage at the school, where decedent routinely spent time during his bus runs. The jury awarded the plaintiff the following: three million dollars in conscious pain and suffering; three million dollars in emotional pain and suffering between the onset of the decedent’s disease and death; 200,000 dollars for loss of services and society from the onset of the decedent’s disease until his death; one million dollars for wrongful death from the date of death until the verdict, and; 500,000 dollars for ...
Continue Reading...

After Close of Discovery Motion for Release of Pathology Materials Granted U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, November 3, 2017

NORTH CAROLINA — Defendant John Crane filed a motion for an order governing the release of pathology materials following the close of discovery. Although pathology materials had been requested from the plaintiff’s counsel nearly a year and a half prior to the discovery end date, they were not produced until eight days after that deadline had passed. John Crane then learned that there were additional pathology materials in the possession of Duke University Hospital System (DHUS). John Crane requested the additional slides in April 2017, to which the plaintiff’s counsel objected. In July 2017, DHUS informed John Crane that it would not voluntarily release the additional pathology materials, even if DHUS’ conditions for release were met. John Crane then filed a motion for leave to file the motion for order governing ...
Continue Reading...