Proposed PROTECT Asbestos Victims Act Seeks to Prevent Fraud and Preserve Victim Compensation

On March 3, 2021, the PROTECT Asbestos Victims Act, otherwise known as S.574, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). This legislation attempts to reform the asbestos bankruptcy trust system by providing oversight of asbestos bankruptcy trusts, ensuring those harmed by asbestos receive fair and just compensation, and eliminating fraud and abuse within the trust system.

Since its creation in 1994, the asbestos bankruptcy trust system has received little independent oversight. This legislation hopes …

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Executive Officers Considered Employees for Co-Employee Exclusions

Louisiana Court of Appeals, First Circuit, April 9, 2021

The plaintiffs brought suit on behalf of deceased against a number of manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos containing products allegedly causing asbestos-related lung cancer. The plaintiffs amended to add Arrowood Indemnity, successor of an insurer which issued a policy to Stone & Webster which was in effect from January 1, 1965 to June 2, 1971.

Arrowood moved for summary judgment asserting that the CGL policies contained employee exclusions which precluded coverage to Stone & Webster for …

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Plaintiffs’ Federal Court Action Time-Barred After Choice of Law Analysis

U.S. District Court for the Western District Court of New York, April 6, 2021

In this asbestos action, plaintiffs John and Joyce Castro commenced this lawsuit against several talc defendants in February 2019. As per their interrogatory responses, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma on February 29, 2016. As to defendant Revlon, the plaintiff’s alleged indirect exposure to one of Revlon’s talcum powder products occurred only in Virginia.

Revlon filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs’ claims are time-barred under New York …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion to Sever Brake Defendants’ Third-Party Complaint Denied

U.S. District the court for the Western District of Kentucky, April 2, 2021

Plaintiff Jack Papineau and his wife sued manufacturers of products that allegedly contained asbestos following Mr. Papineau’s mesothelioma diagnosis. Remaining defendant Brake Supply sued three other manufacturers of products that Brake Supply claims are liable for some or all damages that the court may award the plaintiffs on theories of common-law indemnification and statutory apportionment. The plaintiffs, fearing that the third-party defendants will complicate and slow the plaintiffs’ case against Brake Supply, …

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Plaintiff Expert Opinion on “Every Exposure” Testimony Precluded under Daubert

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Plaintiffs Thomas Toy, Jr. and Agnes Toy allege that Mr. Toy developed malignant mesothelioma and later died from exposure to asbestos-containing products or equipment that Defendants manufactured or supplied. Pending before the court are motions to strike or exclude the anticipated testimony of the plaintiffs’ causation expert Dr. Arnold Brody and motions to exclude evidence or testimony that “every exposure” to asbestos causes mesothelioma, as well as the plaintiffs’ motion to strike two defense experts.

The …

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Plaintiff’s Naval Expert Excluded Based on Lack of Qualifications

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 31, 2021

In this asbestos action, Mr. Toy (the plaintiff) alleges that his work with or around Warren pumps and Armstrong steam traps while serving in the United States Navy exposed him to asbestos. In support of his allegations, the plaintiff served an expert report of Captain Francis Burger, who opined as to asbestos-containing products and materials on Navy ships and in Naval shipyards. Captain Burger based his opinions on his extensive experience gained throughout …

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Defendants’ Request of Sanctions for Plaintiffs’ Counsel Failure to Preserve Lung Tissue Denied

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, March 31, 2021

In this asbestos action, Mr. James LaFrentz (the decedent) wore a 3M dust mask while working for General Dynamics from 1978 until 1984. The issue of whether the decedent suffered from mesothelioma or lung cancer was in contention before his passing. Several defendants, including General Dynamics and 3M, informed the plaintiffs’ counsel that the decedent’s diagnosis was in dispute and requested that the plaintiffs’ counsel preserve the decedent’s tissue, both orally …

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Defendants Prevail on Removal to Federal Court Based on Federal Officer Removal Statute

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 31, 2021

In October 2019, plaintiff Stephen Legendre, filed a lawsuit alleging that he contracted mesothelioma in September 2019. He alleged that his mesothelioma was caused by take-home exposure to asbestos from his father who worked at Avondale from 1943 to 1945.

The defendants removed this matter pursuant to the Federal Officer Removal Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1442. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion to remand asserting federal jurisdiction is not warranted.

28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1) makes removable …

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Equipment Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 31, 2021

In October 2019, Plaintiff Stephen Legendre, filed a lawsuit alleging that he contracted mesothelioma in September 2019. He alleged that his mesothelioma was caused by take-home exposure to asbestos from his father who worked at Avondale from 1943 to 1945.

Avondale removed the case to federal court, and thereafter filed a third-party claim against Mestek, Inc, as the successor corporation to L.J. Wing Manufacturing Company, which had allegedly supplied forced draft blowers and …

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Jurisdictional Discovery Allowed Over Successor Entity in Take-Home Exposure Case

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 31, 2021

In October 2019, plaintiff Stephen Legendre, filed a lawsuit alleging that he contracted mesothelioma in September 2019. He alleged that his mesothelioma was caused by take-home exposure to asbestos from his father who worked at Avondale from 1943 to 1945.

Avondale removed the case to federal court, and thereafter filed a third-party claim against Mestek, Inc, as the successor corporation to L.J. Wing Manufacturing Company, which had allegedly supplied forced draft blowers and …

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