Plaintiff’s Objections to Magistrate’s Recommendation for Granting Summary Judgment Overruled U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, March 31, 2017

The plaintiff filed objections to the Magistrate’s recommendation for granting summary judgment, arguing that his expert’s affidavit was enough to create an issue as to material fact. The court began its analysis and stated that its review of objections to a magistrate’s decision are de novo. The issue at heart was the plaintiff’s reliance on the Boyd case to support his claim that the affidavit of his expert, Captain Bulger, established an issue of fact. The court found that the affidavit only “bolstered” was had been established in that decision. According to the court, the plaintiff had not cited anything other than circumstantial evidence. Consequently, the recommendation was affirmed. Read the full decision here. Click here to read Asbestos Case Tracker’s summary of the Magistrate’s decision.
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Plaintiffs’ Motion for Remand Granted After Defendant Removes on Federal Officer; Sanctions Denied U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, March 31, 2017

The plaintiffs filed this action against multiple defendants including Foster Wheeler for Mr. Hukkanen’s alleged development of mesothelioma after serving as a machinist onboard the USS Somers and USS Walke from 1960 through 1968. Foster Wheeler removed the case, arguing that it was acting under an officer or agency of the United States. Foster Wheeler quickly moved for remand claiming that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiffs specifically waived claims sounded in military contractors immunity defense. Foster Wheeler took the position that removal was proper because the removal statute provides that “the United States or any agency thereof or any officer (or any person acting under that officer) of the United States or of any agency thereof, sued in an official or individual capacity for any act ...
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Plaintiffs Survive Summary Judgment as to Turbine and Valve Defendants; Fail to Establish Exposure to Other Equipment Defendant U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, March 31, 2017

The defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that the plaintiff, Paul Paquin, had not established that he was exposed to any asbestos containing product for which the defendants were responsible. The court launched into its analysis with the standard for summary judgment and stated that summary judgment is not appropriate unless “the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact to be tried and that the facts as to which there is no such issue warrant judgment.” The parties disputed whether maritime law or the Connecticut Product Liability Act applied. The court noted that both require the plaintiff to “demonstrate that the defendants manufactured or distributed a defective product, that the defect existed at the time the plaintiff utilized the product, that the plaintiff was exposed to ...
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Summary Judgment Recommended for Turbine and Valve Defendants in Mesothelioma Case U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, March 30, 2017

The plaintiff’s executrix brought this claim against multiple defendants alleging that her decedent, Mr. Denbow, developed mesothelioma as a result of his work in the U.S. Navy onboard the USS New Jersey from 1954-57 and while working at Koppers Chemical from 1965-70. The plaintiff relied upon the testimony of product identification witness Charles Ricker. Although not sure when he met Mr. Denbow, he testified that he met him while working as a machinist mate in engine room Nos. 2 and 4 during his stint on the New Jersey. The testimony also included that repairs would have been made to the Westinghouse turbine including the removal of insulation. Mr. Ricker believed the insulation contained asbestos but he was not sure who made any of the replacement parts including the valves or ...
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Missouri Court of Appeals Finds Totality of Circumstances Standard Sufficient to Prove Causation under Wisconsin Law Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Division Three, March 28, 2017

Plaintiff Jean Urbach filed suit against 29 defendants on claims of negligence, strict liability, willful and wanton misconduct, and loss of consortium arguing that the defendants’ products caused her husband, Keith Urbach, to be exposed to asbestos, develop mesothelioma, and ultimately was the cause of his death. The plaintiff argues that Urbach was exposed to and inhaled friable asbestos fibers during his career as an electrician from 1963 to 2001. Urbach was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2011 and passed away in February 2012. The plaintiff specifically claimed that defendant Okonite’s asbestos fixture wires contributed to Urbach’s death. Urbach passed away before he had the opportunity to testify regarding his exposures to asbestos-containing products. As a result, the plaintiff introduced product identification through the videotaped depositions of co-workers and union ...
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Mississippi House and Senate Approves Conference Committee Report Requiring Transparency in Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Submissions

The Mississippi House and Senate approved a conference report regarding asbestos bankruptcy trust transparency legislation. The bill is expected to be signed into law. Findings of the Conference Committee include an acknowledgement that approximately 100 employers have declared bankruptcy related to asbestos litigation. Further, 85 percent of industries in the U.S. economy have been named as defendants in asbestos litigation. As a result, trusts have been established in asbestos related bankruptcy proceedings “to form a multibillion dollar asbestos bankruptcy trust compensation system outside of the tort system” and that a lack of transparency exists between the “two paths of recovery.” The intent of the legislature is to “provide transparency with respect to asbestos bankruptcy trust claims in civil asbestos actions by creating substantive rights for defendants to obtain bankruptcy trust ...
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John Crane Fails to Establish Personal Jurisdiction against Plaintiff’s Firm in Fraud Complaint Filed in Federal Court U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, March 23, 2017

John Crane, Inc. (JCI) filed suit against Benjamin Shein and the Shein Law Center (the defendant) for fraud, alleging that the defendant fraudulently obtained settlements with and verdicts against JCI by misrepresenting the exposure of asbestos plaintiffs to JCI’s products and concealing the plaintiffs’ exposure to products of other manufacturers. The complaint focused on four specific asbestos cases filed against JCI in Pennsylvania in which verdicts were rendered against JCI. It alleged specific behavior done by the defendants, such as delaying filing claims with bankruptcy trusts until after verdicts against JCI were returned, in order to mislead JCI and other asbestos defendants into paying larger verdict sums. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss on various grounds, including lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction. The court granted the motion ...
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John Crane Fails to Establish Personal Jurisdiction in RICO Claim Against Plaintiff Law Firm

Plaintiff John Crane Inc. brought a six-count complaint against defendants Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C., Jeffrey B. Simon, and David C. Greenstone, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq., and common law claims for conspiracy and fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The defendants contemporaneously filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, however, as a matter of economy, the court first addresses the defendants’ motion to dismiss for personal jurisdiction and venue. The plaintiff was a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Morton Grove, Illinois that manufactured and distributed industrial sealing products. Defendant Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, a ...
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Dissolved Company Failed to Meet Notice Requirements of Statute of Repose Superior Court of Rhode Island, March 13, 2017

Defendant Grover S. Wormer Company, individually and as successor-in-interest to Wright-Austin Company, brought a motion to dismiss the asbestos litigation filed on behalf of Frank D’Amico in the Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence.  Wormer originally brought its motion under Super. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6) and contended that the plaintiff’s claims for liability are barred under Michigan’s Business Corporation Act Chapter 8 (the BCA), which governs the dissolution of corporations and provides a Statute of Repose to bar continued liability.  The plaintiff did not contest the applicability of the BCA, however, the plaintiff contended that Wormer did not provide sufficient discovery for the court to resolve the applicability of the Statute of Repose. The defendant was incorporated in the State of Michigan, with its principal place of business in Michigan ...
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Case Remanded to State Court Following Resolution of Claims that Invoked Federal Officer Statute U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, March 17, 2017

The plaintiffs commenced this action in state court alleging that various products caused plaintiff Ralph Shonkwiler to develop mesothelioma. Defendant CBS Corporation (Westinghouse) removed the matter to federal court based on the federal officer statute since the plaintiffs claimed exposure to their product was a Navy turbine and the claimed exposure took place while plaintiff was serving in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Ingram. In January 2017, the plaintiffs informed the court that all claims against Westinghouse were resolved and Westinghouse was dismissed from the action. The plaintiff subsequently moved to remand the action back to state court. Defendant Warren Pumps opposed the plaintiff’s motion and moved to dismiss. In its papers, Warren argued that it also could rely on the federal officer statute. Warren pointed out that while there ...
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