Court Grants Protective Order Prohibiting Plaintiff’s Deposition

MISSISSIPPI – In the matter of William Bedford, Individually, and as Co-Executor of the Estate of Beverly Bedford, deceased and Kim Waddle as Co-Executor of the Estate of Beverly Bedford deceased v. American Honda Motor Co., the plaintiffs requested a protective order to prohibit the defendant, American Honda Motor Co., from taking the deposition of the plaintiff, William Bedford, in the lawsuit filed on behalf of himself and the estate of his wife, deceased mesothelioma claimant Beverly Bedford.

The plaintiffs’ counsel advised defense counsel …

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Illinois First District Appellate Court Affirms $4.89 Million Verdict

ILLINOIS – On December 19, 2019, the Illinois First District Appellate Court affirmed $4.89 million verdict rendered in favor of deceased pleural mesothelioma claimant, Patrick O’Reilly, against the defendant, John Crane, Inc.

The decedent O’Reilly was a union pipefitter from 1957 to 1998, and alleged that he was exposed to asbestos from replacing and installing valves using packing and gaskets manufactured by John Crane. Following trial, a Cook County jury awarded damages in the amount of $6,022,814.06. The court reduced the verdict by $1,137,500 in …

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Reversal of Summary Judgment for U.S. Steel on Maritime Claims

OHIO – Edward Shaffer was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working in the boiler room of multiple vessels while serving as a merchant marine employed by the Pittsburgh Steamship Division of U.S. Steel, from 1960 to 1961. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 and subsequently filed suit against 23 defendants, including U.S. Steel. That defendant moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s third amended complaint addressing the Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims. The motion was granted, and the plaintiff appealed.

The plaintiff asserted three …

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Motions to Dismiss Denied in Consolidated Cases Brought by Two Groups of Beneficiaries

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Federico Lopez, filed a lawsuit in June 2017 in Louisiana state court alleging his malignant mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to asbestos at unidentified facilities. He passed during the pendency of the lawsuit, and his surviving spouse and child maintained the case (the Lopez action), and asserted a wrongful death claim.

On November 8, 2018, the plaintiffs, Jessica and Alfred Soliz, filed suit in Louisiana state court (the Soliz action), asserting strict liability and negligence claims on behalf of Lopez …

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Incorrect Rule Applied to Determine Whether Compensatory Damages Were Excessive; $40.6 Million Verdict Remanded

DELAWARE – On June 8, 2018, a Delaware jury awarded $40.6 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiff, Paula Knecht, in a case previously reported by this blog. The defendant, Ford Motor Company (Ford), was assessed 20 percent liability, meaning the plaintiff was awarded $8.1 million against Ford.

Subsequently, Ford filed two post-trial motions:

  1. for judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative, a new trial
  2. for a new trial, or in the alternative, remittitur.

The trial judge denied both motions and Ford …

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Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File Amend Complaint Against Auto Manufacturer Denied

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, after the court granted Ford and AT&T’s motions to dismiss. Ford argued that the motion should be denied because there was no new exposure information. The court denied the motion without prejudice because the plaintiff failed to adhere to longstanding Third Circuit rule that a motion to amend must contain a draft of the amended complaint so that the court can determine if the amendment is futile. Since the plaintiff failed …

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Summary Judgment Granted for Cleaver-Brooks in Shipyard Case

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff’s decedent, Thomas Deem, worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1974 to 1981. Two of Deem’s co-workers testified that he was exposed to asbestos while working around pumps, valves, turbines, compressors, steam traps, and other equipment on various ships as a marine machinist. Cleaver-Brooks filed a motion for summary judgment under maritime law because the plaintiff’s claim for wrongful death under Washington law was previously dismissed as time-barred.

Under maritime law, the plaintiff must show that the decedent was actually …

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Eight Defendants Dismissed Due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

PENNSYLVANIA – In an order entered on November 19, 2019, Judge Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed eight defendants in the Fend matter based upon the court’s lack of personal jurisdiction over each. The plaintiff was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working on ships and aircraft while serving in the Navy. In a footnote opinion, Robreno stated that, “the court finds no reason to amend its ruling in Sullivan that Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme requiring foreign corporations to register to do business and, therefore, …

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Improper Exclusion of Plaintiff’s Affidavit and Testimony Leads to Reversal of Summary Judgment

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff, Nicholas Kardos, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2016, and he filed suit against numerous defendants in March of that year. On September 12, 2016, he submitted an affidavit regarding his work at Gulf Research and exposure to asbestos while employed there. He was deposed and cross-examined by numerous defendants over three days in October 2016, and passed away eight days after the last day of testimony. Numerous defendants filed motions for summary judgment. All of the defendants were present at …

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Two Discovery Disputes Resolved in Favor of Plaintiff; One Resolved in Favor of Toyota

WASHINGTON – The court recently ruled on a motion for protective order filed by the defendants, Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (collectively, Toyota), regarding second amended notices of deposition directed to their corporate representatives, pursuant to F.R.C.P. 30(b)(6). Toyota objected to a series of inquiries, which were distilled down to three primary areas:

  1. Overbreadth and disproportionality as to time frame
  2. Overbreadth and disproportionality as to products at issue
  3. Invasion of attorney-client privilege and/or work product protections.

Toyota provided red-lined versions of …

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