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SCOTUS Recognizes Insurer’s Right to Object to Asbestos Bankruptcy Plans

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 6 unanimously held in Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum Company Inc. that insurers with financial responsibility for bankruptcy claims are a “party in interest” that may object to a reorganization plan under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.

In 2016, building material manufacturer Kaiser Gypsum Co. and its parent company Hanson Permanente Cement (hereinafter collectively, Kaiser) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after facing numerous asbestos lawsuits. Kaiser proposed a reorganization plan under Section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code, …

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Summary Judgment Denied as to U.S. Navy Ship Product Suppliers; Court Determines Florida Law Applies

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Plaintiff Leona Rhoades, on behalf of the estate of her husband, Dewey T. Rhoades, commenced this action against a variety of defendants, alleging that their products contained asbestos that contributed to her husband’s lung cancer and eventual passing. Mr. Rhoades had been employed as a mechanical repair worker on various jobsites, including on U.S. Navy Ships in Florida. The three remaining defendants, General Electric Company (GE), Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTC), and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) each …

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Auto Parts supplier obtains defense verdict at trial

California Superior Court, Alameda County

Decedent Gene Hankes Sr. passed away of mesothelioma at 85 years old. His estate brought this action against various brake manufacturers and auto-parts suppliers. At the time of trial, the only remaining defendant was O’Reilly Auto Enterprises LLC, an auto parts supplier. Each side presented their case, with experts. A California jury returned a defense verdict on behalf of O’Reilly after trial. They held that O’Reilly was not negligent in selling Bendix brakes, despite the notion that the brakes didn’t …

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Oregon Jury Renders $260M Verdict for Plaintiff in Talc Trial

Fourth Judicial District Circuit Court for Mulnomah County, Oregon (Portland)

In this matter, plaintiff Kyung Lee claimed that she developed mesothelioma from her use of Johnson & Johnson baby powder, which she alleges was contaminated with asbestos. After a multi-week trial, the jury determined that Johnson & Johnson was responsible for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma and awarded $200 million in compensatory damages and $60 million in punitive damages. The Asbestos Case Tracker will continue to monitor this matter for any post-judgment motions and appeals.…

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Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied as Plaintiff’s Former Employer Satisfies the Federal Officer Removal Statute

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Plaintiff Wilson Goffner, Sr. was diagnosed with malignant lung cancer in March 2020following his employment at the Avondale shipyard in the late 1960s and 1970s. In February 2021, the plaintiff filed a petition for damages in the Civil District Court for the Parish of New Orleans, asserting claims under Louisiana state tort law against numerous defendants, including his former employer, Avondale Industries. Avondale then removed the action to the Louisiana Eastern District Court, invoking federal jurisdiction …

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Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint Granted in Part

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

Plaintiffs James and Lucretia Sarjeant brought suit in California state court following Mr. Sarjeant’s diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. He alleged exposure from asbestos-containing products through his employment at the Todd Shipyards, on the RMS Queen Mary, automotive work, and home renovation projectsfrom the 1960s to 1990s. The plaintiffs alleged multiple products liability and fraudulent concealment claims against the various defendants.

After removal to federal court, defendant Honeywell International, Inc. f/k/a AlliedSignal Inc., successor-in-interest to The Bendix …

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Gasket/Packing Manufacturer Prevails after Jury Trial

Court:  United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Decedent Arnold L. Pritt was diagnosed with singular mesothelioma, epithelioid type in September 2019. He alleged he was exposed to asbestos during his service in the U.S. Navy and as a civilian electrician. During his service, Pritt served aboard the USS Purdy as a machinist mate from December 1961 to August 1964. He often installed asbestos sheet gaskets and removed and replaced valve and pump packing. He alleged exposure to a number of manufacturer’s gaskets, flanges, pumps, and valves, …

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Chemical Company’s Renewed Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint Granted

Jurisdiction: United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Plaintiff Douglas S. Johnson, one of the surviving children and personal representative of the estate of decedent French E. Johnson, filed an amended complaint against 50 defendants, including The Dow Chemical Company. The amended complaint alleged that decedent developed mesothelioma due to his exposure to asbestos while serving in the United States Navy, during his employment with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, and in connection with non-occupational automotive maintenance and repairs.

In response …

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Talc Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Texas Law Granted on Appeal

Court: Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

In September 2023, the trial court denied talc defendant Colgate-Palmolive Co.’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint against it. On appeal, the First Department unanimously reversed and granted Colgate’s motion.

“When a foreign resident’s exposure to a toxin occurs in foreign states, New York’s connection to the action is tenuous at best.” See Kush v. Abbot Labs., 238 AD2 172, 172 [1st Dept 1997].

Here, while plaintiff’s decedent allegedly used talcum powder …

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Court Vacates $15m Verdict against Joint Compound Manufacturer; Upholds Evidentiary Rulings

Court: Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

In November 2023, a jury awarded plaintiff $15m for past pain and suffering and found defendant Kaiser Gypsum Company 70-percent liable. Kaiser subsequently filed post-trial motions, which were denied. The instant appeal followed.

First, on appeal Kaiser argued that the trial court should not have permitted plaintiff to admit the videotaped de bene esse deposition of plaintiff’s decedent Munir Seen into evidence because Kaiser was not a party to the action when that event occurred. …

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