Gregory M. McNamee

All articles by Gregory M. McNamee

 

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…  

New California Law Limits Length of Asbestos Depositions

CALIFORNIA – California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill which imposes significant time limits on the deposition of the plaintiffs suffering from mesothelioma. Under the law, the deposition of a plaintiff suffering from mesothelioma is limited to seven hours if a licensed physician provides a declaration stating that the individual has mesothelioma and there is a substantial medical doubt of survival beyond six months. Upon findings of fairness and that the health of the plaintiff is not endangered by a granting of additional time,…  

Unclear Testimony Regarding Location of Exposure Leads to Dismissal Due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Terry BonDurant, alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while working as an electrician at various refineries in Louisiana, Texas and Florida from 1964 to 1979, and that he contracted mesothelioma from that exposure. He filed suit against numerous defendants, including Gould Electronics. However, at his deposition, the plaintiff did not provide any testimony with regard to exposure from a Gould product. Gould is incorporated in Arizona and maintains its principal place of business there. Gould filed a motion to dismiss…  

Honeywell Rebuffed in Effort to Preclude Plaintiff’s Experts

MARYLAND – Honeywell filed a Daubert motion to preclude the plaintiff’s experts from opining that chrysotile asbestos used in automobile brakes causes pleural mesothelioma or that every exposure is causative. The plaintiff retained Dr. Arthur Frank, Dr. John Maddox and Dr. John Finkelstein as experts. Honeywell argued that each expert offered the “each and every exposure” theory, which is barred under Daubert. The plaintiff agreed, and instead argued that his experts’ opinions were based on the plaintiff’s specific exposure level and not the general fact…  

North Carolina Statute of Limitations Bars Mesothelioma Claim

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiff, Jody Ratcliff, filed a complaint on March 1, 2017 alleging that her mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos. She sued several groups of defendants, including friction and talc defendants. She alleged that she was exposed to asbestos during the summers from 1987 to 1989 while visiting garages with her father, who was a tool salesman. She also alleged using talc products that allegedly contained asbestos, from 1977 to 2016. The four remaining defendants – Ford; Brenntag Specialties; Whittaker, Clark…  

Two Brake Manufacturers Prevail on Summary Judgment Based Upon Lack of Causation

WASHINGTON — In another decision in a case heavily reported by this Asbestos Case Tracker, the Western District of Washington granted summary judgment for Standard Motor Products (SMP) and Parker-Hannifin (collectively EIS). With regard to those defendants, the plaintiff alleged that decedent was exposed to asbestos while performing maintenance on his automobile brakes from 1996 to 1997. SMP and Parker moved for summary judgment based upon a lack of product identification. In response to those motions, the plaintiff argued that the decedent was exposed…  

Summary Judgment Affirmed Due to Insufficient Service and Statue of Limitations

MINNESOTA – The plaintiff’s decedent passed away from mesothelioma allegedly caused by his exposure to his father’s work clothes and Bendix (Honeywell) brakes. The decedent’s father was an insulator for Walker Jamar and A.W. Kuettel. The decedent also worked for four months in 1974 as a janitor at an Oldsmobile dealership. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2011. The decedent originally filed suit in North Dakota in 2013, naming Walker Jamar but not Honeywell. Walker Jamar was dismissed from the North Dakota action on…  

Dismissal of FELA Claims Upheld on Appeal in Maryland

MARYLAND – The plaintiff, Clyde Crowe, developed mesothelioma and sued CSX Transportation and numerous other defendants in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City seeking damages under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) due to his exposure to asbestos while employed by CSX. From 1960 to 1969, the plaintiff worked as a railway operator and foreman at the Port Covington railyard and port facility. CSX filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provided the exclusive remedy against CSX…  

California Case Removed During Jury Selection Sent Back to State Court

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff, Arthur Putt, filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on December 3, 2018, alleging he developed mesothelioma from his use of automobile brakes. Among the 16 defendants sued were Ford, Pneumo Abex and Pep Boys. On August 7, 2019, jury selection began with Ford and Pep Boys participating. Pneumo Abex did not participate in the process, but the superior court had not dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against it. On August 8, the plaintiff’s counsel informed the superior court that the claims…  

Summary Judgment Granted for Brake Manufacturer Based Upon Lack of Product Identification

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff filed suit in Washington state court alleging that decedent, Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, developed mesothelioma from exposure to brakes manufactured by Standard Motor Products (SMP), which he used while performing maintenance on his vehicles from 1966 to 1997. The case was removed to federal court. SMP moved for summary judgment based upon a lack of product identification evidence. The plaintiff did not oppose the motion. Although the plaintiff alleged in the complaint that the decedent used SMP products, no witnesses testified as such.…  

J&J Wins Defense Verdict in Kentucky Talc Case

KENTUCKY – A Louisville state court deliberated for approximately a half hour on August 2, 2019 before finding in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a talc case. The lawsuit alleged that Donna Ann Hayes died from mesothelioma caused by her use of talcum powder products. The plaintiff’s lawyers argued that the talc was contaminated with asbestos, but J&J disputed those allegations.  …  

Numerous Entries of Summary Judgment Reversed in Consolidated Appeal

TENNESSEE – The plaintiff Donald Coffman worked at the Tennessee Eastman chemical plant from 1968 until 1997, mostly as a mechanic. In that capacity, he was responsible for repairing and replacing pumps, valves, steam traps and piping. Repairs were quite frequent due to the corrosive nature of the acid being used at the plant. The plaintiff developed mesothelioma and sued an insulation contractor, Daniel International Corp., along with a number of equipment and product manufacturers, claiming exposure to asbestos from insulation, gaskets and packing. All…  

Despite Factual Evidence of Exposure, Ohio Causation Statute Still Requires Expert Medical Evidence

DELAWARE – In an appeal of a case reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker blog in August 2018, the Delaware Supreme Court rejected the plaintiffs’ appeal and affirmed the superior court. Briefly, the parties had agreed that Ohio law applied to the case. During the pendency of the action, the Ohio Supreme Court issued its opinion in Schwartz v. Honeywell International, holding that the plaintiffs’ experts could not opine on a cumulative exposure theory. Rather, the Ohio asbestos causation statute requires that causation be…  

New York Talc Case Continued on Eve of Trial to Allow for Further Testing

NEW YORK – The plaintiff Beverley Alleyne filed suit against Revlon alleging she developed mesothelioma from asbestos in Revlon’s Charlie talcum powder product. Less than ten days before a May trial date, the plaintiff disclosed a report of Dr. William Longo, summarizing his testing of a Charlie product purchased on Etsy. Due to the late disclosure, the trial court continued the case to June 4, 2019 so that Dr. Longo could be deposed. Revlon moved to strike Longo’s report and for an additional continuance in…  

Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Against Artificial Snow Manufacturer Leads to Dismissal on Appeal

UTAH – The plaintiff, Michele Felix, filed suit in 2015 on behalf of her brother, who died of mesothelioma in 2014. In 2017, she amended the complaint to join Novelis, whose predecessor in interest, Metal Goods, allegedly exposed Raymond Felix to asbestos through its manufacture of an artificial snow product. Novelis subsequently moved for dismissal based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court found there was no general jurisdiction over Novelis but that specific jurisdiction had been established upon evidence that the artificial…  

Johnson & Johnson’s Motion to Stay Denied

FLORIDA – The plaintiff, Patricia Matthey, filed suit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Imerys Talc and Publix Super Markets in Florida State Court, alleging that asbestos in J&J baby powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Imerys was dismissed due to a lack of personal jurisdiction and subsequently declared bankruptcy. As it did in thousands of other cases, J&J recently removed the matter to federal court based on federal court jurisdiction over pending bankruptcy actions. J&J filed a motion to stay while its motion to…  

Motion to Remand or Sever Claims Ruled Premature

LOUISIANA – In March 2017, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit alleging that decedent, Wayne Knight, who developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while employed by Avondale Shipyard from 1967 to 1982. Avondale removed the case in October 2018, pursuant to the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiffs then filed a motion to sever claims and remand. Pursuant to the federal officer removal statute, removal is proper if a defendant can establish four elements:
  1. That it is a person within the meaning of
 

Statute of Repose Applied and Summary Judgment Granted

MASSACHUSETTS – On March 30, 2018, the U.S.D.C. for the District of Massachusetts held that Massachusetts’ statute of repose did not apply to asbestos exposure claims and denied the motion for summary judgment of General Electric (GE). The question was without controlling precedent, and was therefore certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. On Mach 1, 2019, the court ruled that the statute of repose “completely eliminates all tort claims arising out of any deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, construction, or general administration…  

Plaintiff’s Claim Under Market Share Liability Dismissed Against Brake Manufacturer

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff, Gary Farris, alleged that his lung cancer was caused by performing brake and clutch changes at an automotive shop in San Jose, California from 1960 to 1964, and while performing personal automotive work from the 1960s to the 1980s. He named several manufactures of automotive brakes. His theory of liability against those defendants was premised on a claim of market share liability. Honeywell moved to dismiss that count in the initial complaint and the motion was granted. Upon amendment of the…  

Union Carbide Obtains Summary Judgment Due to Speculative Evidence

DELAWARE — The plaintiff, Jane Rowland, alleged she developed mesothelioma from washing her husband’s clothes. Her husband performed home remodeling projects in Ohio in the 1970s using Georgia-Pacific joint compound. the plaintiff alleged that Union Carbide was responsible for her injuries because it supplied asbestos to Georgia-Pacific for use in its joint compound. Specifically, Union Carbide supplied Calidria asbestos to Georgia-Pacific. The plaintiff argued in opposition to Union Carbide’s Motion for summary judgment that there was evidence that Georgia-Pacific’s Chicago plant distributed to the Midwest,…  

Summary Judgment Granted For Muffler Manufacturer Where Inference of Exposure Not Permitted

DELAWARE — The plaintiff, Jimmy Crawford, sued Tenneco Automotive Operating Company Inc. (Tenneco), among other defendants, alleging that his lung cancer was caused by asbestos present in Walker automotive mufflers. Prior to his death, the plaintiff testified that he worked at two automotive stations from 1963 to 1965, where he worked with Walker mufflers. He believed he was exposed to asbestos from the mufflers because he was potentially told by his father that the mufflers contained asbestos due to their high heat application. Tenneco moved…  

Several Claims in Consolidated Action Dismissed Based Upon Statute of Limitations

Following W.R. Grace’s filing for bankruptcy in April 2001, a series of cases were filed against Maryland Casualty, which was the company’s primary general liability insurer from 1962 to 1973. Specifically, the twenty-nine plaintiffs in this matter filed a lawsuit relating to their diagnosis of asbestosis, in the District Court of Montana in November 2001. The plaintiffs originally named the State of Montana only. Maryland Casualty was named in March 2002. Additionally, seven of the twenty-nine plaintiffs had previously filed suit against Maryland Casualty, in…  

Prior Depositions of Non-Party Asbestos Supplier Representative Ruled Inadmissible on Appeal

NEW YORK — In 2014, decedent, Kimberlee Billok, was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died three months later at the age of 42. She claimed to have been exposed to Georgia-Pacific joint compound as an infant, and sued Union Carbide based upon it having supplied asbestos to Georgia-Pacific. Prior to trial in 2017, Union Carbide filed a motion in limine to preclude depositions of Georgia-Pacific’s corporate representative taken in 2001 and 2003, or in the alternative, to permit introduction of a 2007 deposition of the same…  

Fifth Circuit Affirms Preemption of Claims Under Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

In a per curiam opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed the appeal of pro se appellant, Johnny Kirkland. He alleged suffering injuries as a result of asbestos exposure while working for Huntington Ingalls in the 1970s. The district court found that plaintiff’s claims related exclusively to his work for Huntington Ingalls in the field of ship construction and repair, and were therefore governed by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The plaintiff did not dispute that the Huntington…  

Fifth Circuit Affirms Remand of Shipyard Case

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,…  

Motion to Remand Denied Due to Evidence Presented by Defendants

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…  

Summary Judgment Motions Denied for Four Defendants in Two Maritime Cases Filed by Same Plaintiff

PENNSYLVANIA — Shortly before his death, Obediah Walker, Jr., filed an action in Pennsylvania state court alleging he was exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Plymouth Rock while enlisted in the Navy from 1969 to 1971. He served as an electrician onboard the Plymouth Rock and was later diagnosed with lung cancer. He was deposed six days after filing suit and was only cross-examined by one defendant before he passed. The defendants Ingersoll-Rand, Warren Pumps and Blackmer Pumps did not cross-examine Walker. Obediah…  

Summary Judgment Granted for Crane Co. in Maritime Action

OHIO — The plaintiff sued Crane Co. and other defendants based upon his alleged exposure to asbestos while serving in the Navy from 1960 to 1967. Crane filed for summary judgment on plaintiff’s maritime law strict liability negligence claims. The court applied the Lindstrom standard. Despite the plaintiff’s urging, the court did not adopt a fact-specific standard with regard to the bare metal defense, instead applying the Sixth Circuit’s bright line rule. The court found that the plaintiff failed to put forth any evidence of…  

Motion for Nonsuit Granted in Los Angeles Talc Trial

CALIFORNIA — Following a four-week trial, nonsuit was entered just prior to closing arguments in a talc mesothelioma trial venued in Los Angeles state court. At the conclusion of the plaintiffs’ case, Colgate-Palmolive moved for nonsuit, arguing that the plaintiffs had failed to present a prima facie case linking the use of Cashmere Bouquet talcum products to the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiffs responded by arguing that they only had to prove that fibers from the defendant’s product contributed to the aggregate dose of asbestos to…  

Partial Motion to Dismiss Granted in Favor of Detroit Diesel Corporation

MISSISSIPPI — Detroit Diesel Corporation moved to dismiss certain claims filed against them by the plaintiffs, who alleged that William Dickens developed mesothelioma following exposure to Detroit Diesel engines from 1980 to 2010. The motion to dismiss was unopposed. Detroit Diesel moved to dismiss four alternative theories of liability not recognized under Mississippi law: enterprise liability, market-share liability, concert of action and alternative liability. The court recognized that these claims were not viable under Mississippi law and granted that portion of the motion, with prejudice.…  

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…  

$2.38 Million Verdict Entered Against Union Carbide in New Jersey

A Middlesex County jury awarded $2.38 million in compensatory damages to the widow of a factory worker in an asbestos lawsuit against Union Carbide. The jury declined to award punitive damages. The decedent was not deposed before he passed and Plaintiff relied on the testimony of two co-workers. Counsel for Union Carbide contended there was no product identification as the only witnesses stated that the decedent used another manufacturer’s product.…  

Motion to Remand Turbine Manufacturer’s Removal Denied Due to Statements in Settlement Demand Letter

RHODE ISLAND — The plaintiff filed suit on behalf of her husband, Michael Mannix, alleging that his death was caused by exposure to asbestos. She sued CBS, among other defendants, related to his work on ships in the Navy. After years of discovery, the plaintiff’s counsel sent CBS a settlement demand letter in which it was stated that decedent was exposed to asbestos from CBS turbines on the USS Saratoga. CBS promptly removed the case on October 9, 2018, alleging that the statement provided a…  

Manufacturer’s Argument that Asbestos Not Present in Its Baby Powder Fails Due to Conflicting Expert Reports

NEW YORK — The plaintiff Anna Zoas sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) alleging that her mesothelioma was caused by asbestos  present in J&J Baby Powder. She allegedly used the product daily from 1945 to 1948 and regularly from 1948 to 1956. The plaintiff’s complaint was filed on May 12, 2017, and was amended on July 4, 2017. J&J then moved for summary judgment to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. To prevail on a summary judgment motion in New York, a defendant must make a prima facie 

Ninth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Decision to Remand

CALIFORNIA — Westinghouse appealed the decision of the District Court for the Central District of California, which remanded the matter due to the lack of a colorable federal defense.The district court concluded that the asbestos insulation in a nuclear propulsion system was not military equipment and therefore Westinghouse failed to present a colorable military contractor defense. The district court found that Westinghouse had met the other elements required for federal officer removal. The Ninth Circuit noted that several of its cases framed the issue more…  

Summary Judgment in Favor of Bankrupt Wisconsin Company Affirmed on Statute of Limitations Grounds

CALIFORNIA — Plaintiff David Hart appealed the entry of summary judgment in favor of Special Electric Company on the basis that the claims against the company were time-barred under Wisconsin law. The plaintiff sued Special Electric alleging that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos from products supplied by the company. Special Electric, a Wisconsin corporation, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in 2004, and by 2006, a plan of reorganization had been entered. By then, all of the company’s assets had been sold…  

Covil Corp. Seeks to Overturn $33 Million Verdict in North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA — In October, the plaintiff, Ann Finch, prevailed against Covil Corp. in a mesothelioma case involving her husband’s workplace exposure at Firestone. Covil made asbestos insulation that Mr. Finch worked around daily while changing molds on tire presses. The plaintiffs were awarded $32.7 million by the jury, which found that Covil failed to warn Mr. Finch that there was asbestos present in the insulation and that it posed a hazard to his health. Covil has filed a motion to overturn the verdict or,…  

Defense Verdict for California Water Companies Affirmed

CALIFORNIA — On November 19, 2018, the California Court of Appeal affirmed judgment in favor of the defendants, California Water Service Company and San Jose Water Company (Water Companies), following a trial in which it was alleged that the plaintiff died from mesothelioma developed from cutting asbestos pipe while employed by Fairly Constructors. The Water Companies hired Fairly to install water pipes from 1959 to 1989. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to warn Fairly of the danger of using a power saw to…  

Pennsylvania Superior Court Refuses to Extend Statute of Limitations for Employee’s Exposure Claims

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Superior Court, in an unpublished opinion, recently declined to extend the statute of limitations for workplace exposure claims brought by employees. Since the Tooey case was decided in 2013, Pennsylvania law has allowed employees to bring lawsuits against their employers if the diagnosis of an occupational disease occurred more than 300 weeks after the date of last exposure to the hazardous substance. However, the new case law did not alter the statute of limitations for brining such claims. In Moeller v.  

Mass Action Remanded to Montana State Court Based Upon Local Controversy Exception

MONTANA — Nearly two hundred plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Montana state court against BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) and its managing agent, John Swing. BNSF removed the cases as a mass action, as they all arose out of exposure from W.R. Grace’s operations in Libby, Montana. The plaintiffs were all Montana residents and argued the case was improperly removed because Mr. Swing was also a resident of the state. Magistrate Judge John Johnston entered Findings and Recommendations in the matter on January 23, 2018. Both…  

Summary of Supreme Court Oral Argument on the Bare Metal Defense

On October 10, 2018, oral argument was conducted in Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries, a case involving application of the bare metal defense in asbestos cases under maritime law, as previously reported. Petitioners were represented by Shay Dvoretzky of Jones Day and argued first. His first comment was that under long-standing tort law, manufacturers should not be liable for harm caused by third-party goods. Justice Ginsburg then immediately questioned whether the products at issue were of any use without the addition…  

Business Registration in Pennsylvania Confers General Personal Jurisdiction Over Talc Supplier

PENNSYLVANIA The plaintiff Ellen Kleiner filed suit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, alleging that she developed ovarian cancer through her use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower products. She named Johnson & Johnson and the talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, among other defendants. The case was originally removed based upon the fraudulent joinder of a non-diverse party, but the Eastern District of Pennsylvania remanded the case in October 2017. Imerys then filed preliminary objections to the complaint, arguing that…  

U.S. Supreme Court Set to Hear Bare Metal Defense Argument

PENNSYLVANIA — On October 10, 2018, the United States Supreme Court will hear argument in Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries, a case involving the bare metal defense under maritime law. The case was originally filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in December 2012. It was then removed to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania based upon the federal officer removal statute, due to the decedent’s work on Navy ships. Several defendants’ motions for summary judgment were granted on plaintiff’s negligence claims, based…  

Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Talc Case Granted Based Upon Lack of Causation Evidence

GEORGIA — The plaintiff, Sharon Hanson, used Colgate Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder product for 12 years, from 1961 to 1973. She was later diagnosed with both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, and passed in April 2018. On September 15, 2017, Colgate moved for summary judgment and also later filed Daubert motions to preclude plaintiff’s four causation experts. On September 24, 2018, the court entered an order excluding the opinions of each of those experts. Colgate’s motion for summary judgment argued that 1) the plaintiff had…  

Summary Judgment Denied With Respect to Valve and Pump Exposure

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff, Wade Gore, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2015 and filed suit a month later. He alleged asbestos exposure while working at a DuPont plant in Leland, North Carolina. Gore worked as an insulator, with pipes, pumps and valves from approximately 1975 to the 1980s. He was allegedly exposed to asbestos from gaskets, pumps, valves and packing. Numerous defendants filed motions for summary judgment based upon a purported lack of evidence of exposure. With respect to defendant Powell, the court…  

California Jury Deadlocked Over Talc Claims

CALIFORNIA — A mistrial was declared in a talc lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson in the Superior Court for Los Angeles, after a jury remained deadlocked following more than five days of deliberations. The plaintiff, Carolyn Weirick, alleges that she developed mesothelioma through the use of asbestos-contaminated talc, and sought at least $25 million in damages. The plaintiff allegedly used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for more than forty years, and was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 58. The parties agreed that she had…  

Plaintiff Waived Choice of Law Causation Issue; Kansas Law Applied to California Case

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff Gerald Hake was born in Kansas and allegedly exposed to asbestos from friction products from age 10 until age 19 while working at the family-owned Hake Standard Service Station. In 1962, he joined the Navy; he then moved to Washington state in 1966. He lived in that state until the present time. The case went to trial against Honeywell and BorgWarner  in the state of California. The parties filed a series of motions to apply either Washington or Kansas law to…  

Novel Motion to Remand Denied in California Talc Case

CALIFORNIA — A group of women filed suit against Johnson & Johnson in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles raising claims that the company violated various California codes by failing to warn consumers of exposure to asbestos and talc containing asbestiform fibers in Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. On May 31, 2018, Johnson & Johnson removed to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiffs moved to remand by arguing that the court lacked subject matter…  

California Appellate Court Defines Scope of Damages Recoverable in Survival Action

CALIFORNIA — The First District of the California Court of Appeal addressed numerous issues in a case involving exposure to friction products used during personal automotive repair. The family of decedent, J.D. Williams, filed suit in January 2011 after his July 2010 death from mesothelioma. The plaintiffs asserted claims for wrongful death, strict liability and negligence. The defendant, Pep Boys, was not named in the lawsuit until an amended complaint was filed on December 6, 2012. The trial court granted Pep Boys’ motion for judgment…  

Failure to Certify Involuntary Dismissals Under Rule 54(b) Leads to No Federal Appellate Jurisdiction

LOUISIANA –The decedent Frank Williams allegedly contracted mesothelioma through asbestos exposure while working at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF). Lockheed Martin removed to federal court under the federal officer removal statute. The case was transferred to the Asbestos MDL, after which decedent’s children were substituted as the plaintiffs. The Asbestos MDL court issued various orders, including granting motions for summary judgment, and ultimately remanded the entire case back to Louisiana state court; plaintiffs then voluntarily dismissed their claims against the four remaining defendants. One…