First-of-its-Kind Epidemiology Study Establishes a Lack of Pleural Mesothelioma Risk From Ambient Asbestos Exposure Levels

In nearly every asbestos trial, the plaintiffs’ experts will invariably compare asbestos exposure levels from defendants’ products to airborne concentrations of asbestos in the ambient air. The apparent purpose of such a comparison is to provide a bare semblance of quantitative rigor to otherwise unsupported causation opinions. However, such an argument depends in part on taking a position that the risk from exposure to ambient asbestos levels caries some minute, but unquantifiable, level of risk. The plaintiffs’ experts correctly note that because every living human…
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Covil Corp. Seeks to Overturn $33 Million Verdict in North Carolina U.S. District Court. for the Middle District of North Carolina, November 19, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — In October, the plaintiff, Ann Finch, prevailed against Covil Corp. in a mesothelioma case involving her husband’s workplace exposure at Firestone. Covil made asbestos insulation that Mr. Finch worked around daily while changing molds on tire presses. The plaintiffs were awarded $32.7 million by the jury, which found that Covil failed to warn Mr. Finch that there was asbestos present in the insulation and that it posed a hazard to his health. Covil has filed a motion to overturn the verdict or,…
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Defense Verdict for California Water Companies Affirmed California Court of Appeal, First District, November 19, 2018

CALIFORNIA — On November 19, 2018, the California Court of Appeal affirmed judgment in favor of the defendants, California Water Service Company and San Jose Water Company (Water Companies), following a trial in which it was alleged that the plaintiff died from mesothelioma developed from cutting asbestos pipe while employed by Fairly Constructors. The Water Companies hired Fairly to install water pipes from 1959 to 1989. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to warn Fairly of the danger of using a power saw to…
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Pennsylvania Superior Court Refuses to Extend Statute of Limitations for Employee’s Exposure Claims Pennsylvania Superior Court, November 16, 2018

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Superior Court, in an unpublished opinion, recently declined to extend the statute of limitations for workplace exposure claims brought by employees. Since the Tooey case was decided in 2013, Pennsylvania law has allowed employees to bring lawsuits against their employers if the diagnosis of an occupational disease occurred more than 300 weeks after the date of last exposure to the hazardous substance. However, the new case law did not alter the statute of limitations for brining such claims. In Moeller v.
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Second Mistrial Declared in South Carolina Talc Case Court of Common Pleas for the Fourth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina. November 15, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff’s decedent’s second trial related to claims that Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) talcum powder products caused her mesothelioma ended a mistrial on Thursday, November 15, 2018. The plaintiffs filed suit against fifteen companies in May of 2017, alleging that exposure to asbestos caused the thirty year old attorney to develop mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s decedent Antione Bostic passed away on October 2017; one month prior, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding talcum powder defendants, including J&J. The plaintiffs first trial ended in…
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Policy Covered Injuries Arising From Operations During Policy Period Supreme Court, Appellate Division. November 15, 2018

In a brief opinion, a New York appellate court held that an insurance policy covered injuries arising out of operations performed during the policy period, and therefore was not limited to injuries that actually occurred during the policy period. This meant that coverage was triggered under the policy by claims arising from use of spray-on asbestos fireproofing during the policy period, even though the injury did not manifest until later. The court further held that the claims did not arise from a single occurrence and…
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South Carolina Workers Compensation Statute of Repose Bars Claims for Latent Asbestos Diseases United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division. November 13, 2018

SOUTH CAROLINA — A federal court in South Carolina granted the summary judgment motion of defendant E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) on the theory that DuPont was a statutory employer, and South Carolina Workers Compensation law provided the exclusive remedy for the plaintiff.  For at least two years in the 1960s, decedent Jerry Matthews worked as an insulator for Armstrong Contracting & Supply Company at DuPont facilities in South Carolina, where he alleged he was exposed to asbestos insulation that caused his…
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Defense Verdict for Johnson & Johnson in California Asbestos-Talc Case Superior Court of California. Humboldt County. November 14, 2018

CALIFORNIA — On November 14, 2018, before the Honorable Timothy Canning, a Northern California state jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The jury found the defendant not liable for the plaintiff Carla Allen’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff initially filed suit earlier this year, pleading both negligence and strict liability causes of action, and alleged that defendants knew its talcum products contained asbestos and were likely hazardous to the health of consumers. The main allegation in this case centered on the…
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Special Master’s Recommendation Vacated; Order Permitting Limited Discovery of Co-Defendants to Establish Apportionment Granted

The defendant John Crane (JCI) has been granted limited discovery of co-defendants to establish apportionment of fault. JCI’s request had been denied by the Special Master. However, JCI argued that the Case Management Order (CMO) placed it in an unfair position for trial. The CMO encouraged defendants to use depositions in asbestos litigation from other defendants and permitted a second deposition by stipulation or permission only. According to JCI, these constraints made it impossible for JCI to meet its burden of proof at trial with…
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Submission of Conflicting Expert Reports Leads to Denial of Summary Judgment in Talcum Powder Case

The plaintiff Donna Olson filed suit against the defendants Johnson and Johnson and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. (defendants) alleging she developed pleural mesothelioma as a result of exposure to cosmetic talcum powder, including baby powder and Shower to Shower from 1953-2015. Additionally, the plaintiff claimed exposure from her mother’s application of the same. Ms. Olson stated in deposition testimony that there were no warnings. However, she conceded that she heard about a “possible link to ovarian cancer” in 2015. The defendants moved for summary…
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We Need Your Vote!

Attention blog readers! We are proud to announce that our Asbestos Case Tracker blog has made it to the voting round in The Expert Institute’s 2018 Best Legal Blog Contest! Over the past month, this contest received thousands of nominations, which were then narrowed to the “most exciting, entertaining, and informative legal blogs online today.” The polls are now open – if you like our blog, please consider voting. How it works: You can submit one vote per blog. In order to cast your vote,…
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