Upcoming Developments in Asbestos Litigation — in Pennsylvania and Nationally

With 2019 now in its second month, there are a number of imminent developments on which members of the asbestos bar should keep an eye. While this post will primarily focus on litigation in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, it touches on one national topic as well. The following is a summary of four important pending events: First Talc Trial in Philadelphia Trial of the first talc mesothelioma case in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas begins this week. The plaintiff alleges the decedent, Sally Brandt, developed…
Continue reading...

Date of First Purchase Creates Material Fact Dispute, Automotive Supplier’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied U.S. District Court, W.D. Washington, March 13, 2019

WASHINGTON — The plaintiff Eric Klopman-Baerselman originally filed suit in state court on behalf of the plaintiff’s decedent Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, alleging that his exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured, sold, or distributed by the defendants substantially contributed to his mesothelioma. The defendants subsequently removed the case to federal court. The allegations against the moving the defendant, O’Reilly Automotive Stores, Inc. (O’Reilly) are that the plaintiff’s decedent was exposed to asbestos-containing brakes, clutches, and gaskets purchased at Schuck’s, an entity under the O’Reilly umbrella. O’Reilly moved for…
Continue reading...

Lung Cancer Plaintiff Allocated 60 Percent of Fault in $937,500 Verdict Los Angeles County Superior Court, March 12, 2019

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff worked in the entertainment industry as a lighting technician for approximately 40 years, and alleged that asbestos exposure from plastic cement, construction and lighting products was a substantial factor in causing his lung cancer. Evidence showed that the plaintiff had a 37-50 pack year smoking history. After a four week trial, the jury found that the plaintiff was exposed to the defendant CalPortland’s Colton gun plastic cement, but that CalPortland was not negligent and the exposure was not a substantial factor…
Continue reading...

California Plaintiff Alleging Meso Due to Talc Awarded $29.5M Verdict Alameda County Superior Court, March 13, 2019

CALIFORNIA — On March 13,the plaintiff Teresa Leavitt was awarded a $29.5 million dollar verdict by an Oakland jury, who found that Johnson & Johnson, J&J Consumer, Inc., and J&J’s supplier Cyprus Mines Corporation were liable for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleged that her mother had used J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talc products on her as an infant in the 1960s. Further, the plaintiff personally used the product cosmetically throughout the 1970s. The jury was unanimous in finding that J&J failed to warn the plaintiff of…
Continue reading...

Balance of Justice a Factor in Court’s Granting of Motion for Leave to Add Gasket Defendant U.S. District Court, W.D., Washington at Tacoma, March 11, 2019

WASHINGTON — The plaintiff filed suit against numerous defendants alleging his decedent was exposed to asbestos for which the defendants were liable. The plaintiff sought leave of court to amend the pleadings three times. The instant request to add the defendant DCo LLC was made after the case was removed. The paintiff contends that not adding DCo LLC was an oversight until a family friend testified that he believed that the plaintiff had a box of Victor gaskets in his garage. The plaintiff also believed…
Continue reading...

Lack of Evidence Against Premise Defendants Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Mesothelioma Case United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina, March 11, 2019

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants including Farmers Chemical and Storage (Farmers) and Schlage alleging he developed mesothelioma from his occupational exposure to asbestos. Specifically, he claimed he was exposed to asbestos while working as a plumber and pipefitter from 1965-1982 for the local union. Farmers and Schlage moved for summary judgment. The court began its analysis and stated that summary judgment is warranted “the movant shows there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is…
Continue reading...

Summary Judgment Denied to Asbestos Clothing Manufacturer Based on Plaintiff ‘s Contradictory Affidavit United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division, March 12, 2019

OHIO –The plaintiff Donald MacLachlan brought suit against several defendants including American Optical (AO) alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working at the Weirton Steel plant from 1971-2008. He was deposed in 2015 and also alleged exposure to steam turbines manufactured by General Electric. As for AO, The plaintiff testified that he wore asbestos containing thermal gloves and coats manufactured by that defendant beginning in 1979 while working as a cast house helper. The plaintiff was adamant that the…
Continue reading...

Expansion of Employer Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Duty Reaches Nine States Supreme Court of Virginia, February 21, 2019

VIRGINIA — The State of Virginia recently expanded the potential duty to warn owed for take-home asbestos exposures in the Quisenberry case. The plaintiff Wesley Quisenberry filed suit on behalf of his decedent mother, alleging that her exposure to asbestos while laundering her father’s clothes caused her mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s decedent’s father worked at a shipyard for 35 years, and the plaintiffs allege that asbestos dust adhered to his clothing, contaminated his car, and came home with him. The defendant removed the case to federal…
Continue reading...

Fifth Circuit Affirms Remand of Shipyard Case U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, March 11, 2019

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff James Latiolas, filed suit in Louisiana State Court alleging asbestos exposure while working at the Avondale shipyard. The plaintiff only asserted a negligence claim against Avondale and Avondale removed the case on the basis of the federal officer defense. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, which was granted. On appeal, the fifth circuit affirmed. The evidence previously gathered in other cases demonstrated that Avondale built and refurbished naval vessels based on the Navy’s specifications and under the their supervision. However,…
Continue reading...

Motion to Remand Denied Due to Evidence Presented by Defendants U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Date, March 11, 2019

CALIFORNIA — On November 7, 2018, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in state court alleging that decedent, Ronald Viale, was exposed to asbestos when he was employed by the U.S. Navy as a steamfitter/firefighter from 1968 to 1970, and that he developed mesothelioma as a result of said exposure. On January 3, 2019, Foster Wheeler removed the matter under the federal officer defense. The removing defendants produced declarations provided by witnesses demonstrating that the Navy issued specifications regarding the form and content of all…
Continue reading...

Jury Returns Verdict for Decedent, Finding Asbestosis Resulted from Railroad Brake Work Norfolk Circuit Court, March 7, 2019

VIRGINIA – A jury in Norfolk Circuit Court issued a $5 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff Danielle Caraco (plaintiff) on behalf of the decedent Stephen Fowlkes (decedent), finding that the decedent had been diagnosed with asbestosis as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing railroad brakes during his employment at Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk). The decedent had worked as a repair man who changed out asbestos-containing railroad car brake shoes for a decade during the 1980s. Once the decedent fell ill and…
Continue reading...