CDC Reports Increase in Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality in Women

In spring of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 20-year rise in the number of mesothelioma deaths in women. Analyzing annual Multiple Cause of Death records from the National Vital Statistics System for 1999 to 2020, researchers found that the annual number of mesothelioma deaths among women in the United States increased from 489 in 1999 to 614 in 2020, which is a 25.6% increase. However, the age-adjusted death rate per 1 million women declined from 4.83 in 1999 …

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Parties Trade Blows as Court Rules to Preclude Expert Opinions

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, August 11, 2022

The late Robie Walls brought this asbestos action in early 2020 after a mesothelioma diagnosis. He alleged asbestos exposure from his service in the United States Navy and his civilian career as a tractor-trailer fleet mechanic. Walls died from the disease in October 2020 and his widow continued the action against the remaining defendants. After a February 2022 summary judgment ruling, defendant Ford moved the court to reconsider, resulting in in this …

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Brake Manufacturer’s Proof Insufficient to Meet Summary Judgment Burden

Supreme Court of New York, New York County, July 28, 2022

In this asbestos action, decedent Roy Barbarino alleged exposure to asbestos from brake lining as a bus maintainer for the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) from 1962 to 1987. Defendant Abex moved for summary judgment, contending that they could not have caused or contributed to Barbarino’s injury, as Barbarino did not identify an Abex product. Instead, Barbarino identified another brake manufacturer during his deposition. Further, the deposition testimony of two of Barbarino’s co-workers …

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Joint Compound Supplier’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied; Corporate Representative’s Testimony Inadmissible

Supreme Court of New York, New York County, June 15, 2022

In this asbestos action, decedent Anastasios Katechis alleged exposure to asbestos from joint compound he used as a painter for Mamais Construction from 1967 to 1971. During his deposition, Katechis identified defendant Allied Building Products Corp. as a supplier of joint compound during that time.

Allied moved for summary judgment, contending that they could not have caused or contributed to Katechis’ injury as Allied did not supply joint compound while the decedent worked for …

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Judgment Against Dryer-Felt Supplier Affirmed on Appeal

Court of Appeals of South Carolina, August 3, 2022

In this asbestos action, decedent Stephen Stewart alleged exposure from working with asbestos-containing dryer felt associated with a paper machine from 1963 until 1981.

Stewart was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in September 2012. After settling with all other defendants, Stewart proceeded to trial against Scapa Waycross, supplier of the dryer felt to Stewart’s employer. The jury found in Stewart’s favor and awarded damages in the amount of $600,000 for the survival action, and $100,000 for …

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Summary Judgment Granted for Insurer Where Plaintiff Failed to Establish Injury Occurred in Policy Period

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, August 3, 2022

Originally filed by Decedent prior to his passing related to mesothelioma, Plaintiffs were substituted as the parties in a wrongful death claim brought against Travelers Indemnity Co. (“Travelers”), among other defendants, under Louisiana’s direct actions statute, La. R.S. § 22:1269. Decedent was a vessel inspector for American Bureau of Shipping (“ABS”) who inspected vessels to determine if they met classification requirements at various shipyards from 1970 to 2006. Defendants removed the action pursuant to federal officer …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand Granted Based on Claim Disclaimer in Action against Boiler Manufacturer

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, August 2, 2022

Plaintiffs Kathryn and Earl Heilner filed a lawsuit against Foster Wheeler and 71 other defendants in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas to recover damages Earl allegedly sustained due to asbestos exposure, which caused him to develop lung cancer. The complaint asserted claims for product liability, breach of implied warranty, negligence, fraudulent concealment of the harmful nature of asbestos, conspiracy, and loss of consortium. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Earl was exposed …

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Partial Summary Judgment Granted to Insurer Under Professional Vendor Analysis

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 28, 2022

As previously reported in the Asbestos Case Tracker, decedent Callen Cortez alleged direct occupational exposure to asbestos, as well as take-home exposure from his father’s and brother’s work. As pertinent to this motion, the decedent’s father was an insulator for B&B Engineering and Supply Company from 1966 until 1968. The insurer of B&B moved for summary judgment on four grounds.

The insurer first argued that it had no duty of care to …

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Multiple Defendants Successful on Motions for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs’ Intentional Tort and Fraud Claims

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 25, 2022

As previously reported on the Asbestos Case Tracker, this matter stems from decedent Callan Cortez’s take-home exposure to asbestos, from his brother, Daniel, who lived with the decedent while he worked at Avondale Shipyards in 1967-68. Most recently, defendants ViacomCBS Inc. (Westinghouse), General Electric Company, and Foster Wheeler, LLC filed motions for partial summary judgment, seeking to dismiss the plaintiffs’ intentional-tort and fraud claims.

Summary judgment is warranted when “the movant shows that …

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Court Grants Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Discovery from Turbine Manufacturer at Various Power Stations

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence, July 22, 2022

In this asbestos-related lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the decedent, Ann Stadtler, developed mesothelioma and died due to take-home exposure to asbestos from her stepfather, Charles Ferguson, with whom she lived from 1948 to 1965. During this time, as part of his employment as a union insulator, Ferguson worked at several different power stations in the New England area.

On November 6, 2019, the plaintiffs served defendant Westinghouse with interrogatories and requests for production of documents …

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