Jurisdictions Remain Split on Existence of Liability and Scope of Same in Secondary Exposure Cases

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently issued a decision holding that an employer or premises owner, in a negligence claim, may owe a duty of care to a plaintiff who alleges exposure to asbestos from coming into contact with that employer’s or premises owner’s employees at an offsite location. In Hernandez v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., the plaintiff, Jesse Hernandez, alleged he was exposed to asbestos from working at a family grocery store and deli that was frequented by employees …

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Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand on Timeliness of Defendant’s Removal on Federal Officer Jurisdiction Denied

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

Plaintiff H. Francis alleged he was diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of his work as a rod clerk for Avondale Shipyards from 1973 to 1974. Mr. Francis was deposed on January 21, 2020 regarding these allegations, and Avondale received his deposition transcript on February 4, 2020. On March 24, 2020, Avondale filed a Notice of Removal, seeking to remove the case from Louisiana State court to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District …

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North Carolina District Court Grants Summary Judgment to Six Defendants on Causation Grounds

The plaintiffs alleged that the decedent, James T. Whitehead, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of his alleged exposures to asbestos from working with and around a myriad of products and equipment over the course of his career as a sheet metal and maintenance mechanic. Mr. Whitehead was not deposed prior to his death, so the plaintiffs intended to rely primarily on testimony from individuals who worked alongside him in order to identify the products and equipment to which he was allegedly exposed. The …

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Louisiana District Court Denies Motion for a More Definite Statement in Negligence Case Against Premises Owner in Third-Party Exposure Case

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

The U.S. States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued another decision in the Hernandez v. Huntington Ingalls matter, involving claims of negligence against a premises owner on behalf of a third-party. As previously reported here, the plaintiff, Jesse Hernandez, alleged he was exposed to asbestos from, among other things, working at a family grocery store and deli from 1957 to 1966, where plant workers from a nearby Allied Chemical plant frequented for …

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Louisiana District Court Permits Negligence Claim Against Premises Owner in Third-Party Exposure Case

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, May 8, 2020

The plaintiff, Jesse Hernandez, alleged he was exposed to asbestos from, among other things, working at a family grocery store and deli from 1957 to 1966. Specifically, Mr. Hernandez alleged that plant workers from a nearby Allied Chemical plant came into the grocery store and deli for lunch with asbestos on their clothing, and he frequently had to clean surfaces where they ate lunch. Defendant Honeywell International, Inc. sued as the successor to …

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Virginia District Court Affirms Magistrate Decision on Admissibility of Naval Expert Testimony

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, April 27, 2020

Plaintiffs Herbert H. Mullinex and Patricia E. Mullinex alleged that Mr. Mullinex was exposed to asbestos from working with sheet gaskets and valve and pump packing manufactured by John Crane, Inc. during his service in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1978. John Crane, as part of its defense, intended to rely on the opinion of retired Rear Admiral David P. Sargent, Jr., in an attempt to refute some of Mr. Mullinex’s allegations …

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Louisiana District Court Denies Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs’ Intentional Tort, Fraud, and Concealment Claims

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, April 27, 2020

The plaintiffs alleged the decedent, Callen L. Dempster was exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing products while employed at the Avondale Shipyards from 1962 to 1994. Defendant Huntington Ingalls Incorporation (f/k/a Avondale Shipyards, Inc.) (Avondale) moved for partial summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ intentional tort, fraud, and concealment claims, arguing the plaintiffs could not show that Avondale either consciously desired the decedent contract lung cancer, or knew that his lung cancer was substantially certain …

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Ninth Circuit Reverses Denial of Longshore Act Benefits to California Widows

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Two widows of California shipyard workers, whose husbands were allegedly exposed to asbestos and died as a result, sought compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (“the Longshore Act” or “the Act”). The Longshore Act was enacted to protect longshore workers who suffered injuries related to their employment, but terminates benefits when “‘the person entitled to compensation (or the person’s representative) enters into a settlement with a third person’ for the employee’s disability or death for an …

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Louisiana District Court Upholds $3 Million Remitted Verdict in Deceased Mesothelioma Case

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

  Decedent, James Leoma Gaddy alleged that he was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working at International Paper from 1948 to 1950, and while working as a chemical engineer at Ethyl Corporation (“Ethyl”) from 1955 to 1960. Gaddy filed suit against numerous entities, but only Ethyl remained at the time of trial. Ethyl removed the case to federal court on diversity jurisdiction grounds, and a jury trial commenced in November …

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Montana District Court Interprets Local Controversy Exception to Class Action Fairness Act

United States District Court for the District of Montana.

Plaintiff Korey L. Aarstad, along with 191 other plaintiffs moved to remand their case back to state court in Montana on the basis that the case had been improperly removed under the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) (28 U.S.C. §1332(d)(4)(A)). Defendants BNSF Railway Company and John Swing opposed, arguing that the case had been properly removed as a mass action. Following the parties’ briefings before the Magistrate Judge, and the court’s …

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