Bankruptcy Judge Declines to Prevent Hypothetical Talc Liability Restructuring

Johnson & Johnson currently has approximately 25,000 lawsuits pending against it related to its talc products, including talcum powder and baby powder

Reports have circulated that Johnson & Johnson is considering a strategic plan to move its liabilities from talcum litigation related to baby powder and other products into a newly created business that would later seek bankruptcy protection. Recently, lawyers for plaintiffs requested that the bankruptcy judge block the move of Johnson & Johnson. However, bankruptcy judge Laurie Selber Silverstein declined to prevent Johnson …

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Boiler Defendant Had No Duty to Warn; Granted Summary Judgment

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, September 16, 2021

The decedent, John Grimes, and his domestic partner filed two lawsuits in New York State Court against two different sets of defendants, alleging that the decedent developed mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing products while working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the early 1960s.

The decedent testified that he worked aboard the USS Constellation, and defendant Foster Wheeler admitted that it manufactured boilers that were present on this …

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Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Granted as Specific Jurisdiction Not Established

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

In this asbestos action, plaintiff Frank Shelton alleged exposure to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Navy from the mid-1960s until the early 1970s. Defendant Superior Lidgerwood Mundy Corporation filed a motion to dismiss this matter, contending that the court did not have general or specific jurisdiction over the defendant. In support of its motion, the defendant submitted a declaration from its vice president and chief financial officer, setting forth that:

[Defendant] is not headquartered in …

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Insurer Liability Remanded for Further Factual Findings as to Statutory Relationship Requirement

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, September 15, 2021

W.R. Grace & Co. (Grace) operated an asbestos mining and processing facility in Montana from 1963 to 1990. After declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Grace emerged and reorganized. Its reorganization plan included the establishment of an asbestos personal-injury trust, through which all asbestos-related personal injury claims against Grace were to be enjoined and channeled. The question before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit panel involved the Grace insurers and whether they could …

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Plaintiff Prevails on Defendant’s Expert Appeal; Court Affirms Seven-Figure Judgment

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Eight, September 13, 2021

This matter was brought on behalf of decedent Donald Vanni in 2014, alleging two causes of action for negligence and strict product liability against defendant Honeywell International, Inc. among others. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from owning and operating a bowling alley from 1957 to 1986. Specifically, the decedent was responsible for drilling finger holes in plastic bowling bowls manufactured by Ebonite. The decedent was diagnosed with …

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Court Grants Plaintiff’s Motion for Remand Finding No Connection Between Alleged Exposure and the Federal Office

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, September 10, 2021

In 2019, plaintiff Robert Murphy was diagnosed with mesothelioma. After being diagnosed, the plaintiff sued the defendants, claiming that his mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to asbestos at the Key Highway Shipyard where the plaintiff worked in 1973 and 1974.

With respect to Hopeman Brothers, Inc., the plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos-containing dust from Micarta paneling which was cut, manipulated and applied by employees of Hopeman Brothers. The plaintiff also …

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Motion to Remand Granted; Defendants Failed to Timely File Notice of Removal

U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division, September 8, 2021

In this asbestos action, plaintiff Cynthia Warren commenced an action alleging that her husband, Bobby Warren, developed mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos from several defendants’ products, including Westinghouse. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1446(a), Westinghouse filed a Notice of Removal on September 11, 2020. Westinghouse argued that removal was timely as they removed the matter less than thirty days following the plaintiff’s service of supplemental discovery responses. The plaintiff filed a motion …

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Asbestos Action Remanded Based on Allegations Against Insulation Defendant

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, August 31, 2021

Plaintiffs David and Dorothy Bateman commenced this lawsuit in Broward County, Florida, alleging that Mr. Bateman developed mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing products while serving in the British Royal Navy from 1967 to 1975. The defendants filed a notice of removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441, and 1446. In response, the plaintiffs filed a motion to remand, alleging that the notice of removal was procedurally defective and …

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Court Denies Post-Trial Appeals of Control and Valve Defendants

Court of Appeals of South Carolina, September 1, 2021

The plaintiffs filed this action against numerous defendants, including Fisher Controls International LLC and Crosby Valve, LLC, alleging that the husband plaintiff was exposed to asbestos emanating from the defendants’ products. The plaintiffs alleged, inter alia, that (1) the defendants were strictly liable for the harm caused to the plaintiff by their products because the lack of an adequate warning or adequate use instructions rendered the design of these products defective and dangerous; (2) the defendants …

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Remand Proper Without Evidence of Fraudulent Joinder

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, September 3, 2021

Plaintiff John Rathbun was diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma on July 8, 2020, and on December 22, 2020, he and his wife filed suit in state court, asserting claims for negligence, strict liability, negligent misrepresentation, fraud by nondisclosure, and loss of consortium. On April 30, 2021, Chattem removed this action to federal court on diversity grounds, and the plaintiffs have filed a motion to remand to state court.

The defendants argue that the two …

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