Recent NYCAL Trends in the 2017 & 2018 Accelerated Clusters

The current state of asbestos litigation in New York City (NYCAL) continues to evolve as both the plaintiffs’ bar and defense bar deal with a revised Case Management Order (CMO) and judicial turnover. For a better understanding of the types of claims that are actually being litigated in NYCAL, and what firms are filing these claims, we can look at the current filing trends under the “cluster” procedure that is used in this jurisdiction. The CMO explains there are three dockets used in NYCAL: (1)…
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Bankruptcy Court Vigilant of Attempts to Divert Insurance Proceeds to Legal Fees United States District Court, W.D. Washington, August 20, 2018

WASHINGTON — On appeal from bankruptcy court, a federal district court denied Travelers’ motion to convert a debtor’s Chapter 11 reorganization into a Chapter 7 liquidation. In Travelers Indemnity Company v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc. BHS (W.D. Wash. Aug. 20, 2018), the debtor, Fraser Boiler Service, Inc., was a former boiler repair company that operated for decades installing and maintaining equipment.  Fraser permanently ceased all operations and sold all of its business assets, leaving behind only insurance policies to pay the claims of asbestos…
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District Court Remands Case Back to New Jersey State Court After Federal Defendant is Dismissed United States District Court, District of New Jersey, August 17, 2018

NEW JERSEY — On October 30, 2015, The plaintiffs Thomas Grimes and Estelle Grimes Estelle Grimes initially filed suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County against a number of defendants alleging that Mr. Grimes’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to defendants’ asbestos or asbestos-containing products. Shortly thereafter, the case was removed to the United States District Court, District Court of New Jersey, following Defendant Crane’s Notice of Removal relating to the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. Section 1442(a)(1). Pursuant to…
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Insulation Supplier Denied Summary Judgement Based On Residual Market Place Arguments United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina, August 8, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff brought suit against a dozen entities alleging her decedent’s exposure in the tire curing room of the Firestone factory in Wilson, North Carolina from 1975 to 1995. The plaintiff alleged that Covil Corporation was the supplier of asbestos containing pipe covering that was used to insulate steam lines located throughout the curing room. Covil moved for summary dismissal arguing that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that it was the supplier of the asbestos containing pipe covering located in the…
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Plaintiff’s Deposition Testimony Presents Sufficient Evidence to Overcome Automobile Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, August 15, 2018

DELAWARE — Plaintiffs John and Vicki DeCastro originally filed a personal injury action against multiple defendants in the Superior Court of Delaware, asserting claims arising from Mr. DeCastro’s alleged harmful exposure to asbestos. The case was properly removed to Federal Court under the federal officer removal statute. Mr. Castro alleged that he developed lung cancer as a result of his exposure to asbestos during his service in the United States Air Force, civilian employment with Pacific Bell Telephone and United Airlines, and personal automotive and…
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Channeling Injunction Protects Insurer Against Industrial Hygiene Claims U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, August 14, 2018

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a channeling injunction entered in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of W.R. Grace & Co. (Grace) protected one of its insurers, Continental Casualty Company and Transportation Insurance Company (CNA), from claims that CNA was independently liable for asbestos-related injuries because it was negligent in providing industrial hygiene services in conjunction with worker’s compensation and employer’s liability policies it issued to Grace. Mass-tort liability drove Grace into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The Bankruptcy Code…
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Exclusion of Evidence Not an Abuse of Discretion; Judgment for Railroad Defendant Affirmed Supreme Court of Montana, August 14, 2018

MONTANA — The plaintiff filed suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Company (BN) under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) and the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA). Specifically, Mr. Daley alleged he was exposed to asbestos while working at the Somers rail tie treatment plant from 1967-1986 when it closed. After a seven day trial, a verdict was entered finding BN had not violated FELA or LIA. The laintiff appealed arguing the trial court had abused its discretion on multiple evidentiary issues. The parties stipulated…
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Summary Judgment on Civil Conspiracy Claims Reversed Appellate Court of Illinois, August 10, 2018

ILLINOIS — The plaintiffs, John and Debra Jones, filed suit against Pneumo Abex LLC (Abex), Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I) and others, alleging John suffered from lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos while employed in construction. The plaintiffs alleged that Abex entered into a civil conspiracy with Johns-Manville to suppress information about the harmful health effects of asbestos. They asserted the same claim against O-I with regard to an alleged conspiracy with Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation (O-C). The trial court granted summary judgment for the…
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Plaintiff’s Expert Causation Opinion Not Considered to be Each and Every Exposure Theory The United States District Court, Western District of Washington, August 10, 2018

WASHINGTON — The United States District Court, Western District of Washington addressed several expert challenges including, among others, motions to preclude Dr. Ronald Gordon, Dr. Carl Brodkin, and Dr. Arnold Brody – all which involve the application of the “each and every exposure” and/or “cumulative exposure” theories. For a brief case background, this case centers around allegations that decedent developed mesothelioma, and ultimately passed away from the disease, due to occupational exposure to asbestos from work as a machinist in the Navy and in the…
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Naval Architect Not Qualified to Render Opinions as to Automotive Products The United States District Court, Western District of Washington, August 10, 2018

WASHINGTON — The United States District Court, Western District of Washington addressed several expert challenges including the motion of the defendant Ford (Ford) to exclude Dr. Charles Cushing’s statements regarding the plaintiffs’ likely exposure to asbestos during automotive work. For a brief case background, this case centers around allegations that decedent developed mesothelioma, and ultimately passed away from the disease, due to occupational exposure to asbestos from work as a machinist in the Navy and in the Naval reserve from 1954-1962; as a machinist and…
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Transfer Granted Where Severance of John Doe Defendants Aids Judicial Economy United States District Court, D. New Jersey. August 07, 2018

DELAWARE — The United States District Court issued a Show Cause Order requiring the parties to show why this matter should not be transferred to the District of Delaware. The plaintiff opposed the transfer arguing that two of the defendants also known as “John Doe” defendants may not be subject to personal jurisdiction in Delaware.  The defendants countered and argued that the plaintiff’s claims against those two defendants, RBC Sonic and Aetna Steel Products Corporation, could easily be severed. The court agreed that claims against…
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