James F. Coleman

All articles by James F. Coleman

 

Expansion of Employer Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Duty Reaches Nine States

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…  

Multiple Actions Dismissed Against Brake Manufacturer Due to Forum Non Conveniens

NEW JERSEY — Multiple deceased plaintiffs brought actions against Honeywell alleging they contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos from Bendix brakes while working as mechanics in the United Kingdom. The plaintiffs filed in New Jersey despite the alleged exposure oversees. Honeywell moved for dismissal based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens after discovery was conducted. Judge Cantor granted dismissal in the majority of the cases and Judge Viscomi also granted dismissal in the remaining case. The plaintiffs appealed arguing abuse of…  

Defendant Pump and Compressor Manufacturer’s Removal Deemed Untimely

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiffs Michael Roy Harris and Elsie Harris sued multiple parties, including Ingersoll-Rand Company (IR), alleging that Michael developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure resulting from his work at two U.S. Navy shipyards and while serving in the Navy. The plaintiffs initially filed suit in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, on May 25, 2018. Over six months later, on December 17, 2018, IR removed the case to the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs filed the instant motion to remand.…  

Dismissal of 1997 Lawsuit against Non-Party Defendants Insufficient for Summary Judgment Under Federal Employer’ Liability Act

NEW YORK — The plaintiff’s decedent Mason South and his wife Ann South sued Chevron Corp. and several other defendants, alleging that the defendants were responsible for causing Mason’s mesothelioma. Chevron moved for summary judgment based on a release that the plaintiff’s decedent signed when he settled a 1997 lawsuit against Texaco, Inc. and many other defendants based on his exposure to asbestos.The Supreme Court denied Chevron’s motion, reasoning that the record at that stage of the proceedings did not meet Chevron’s heightened burden under…  

Nonparty Discovery Allowed in Take Home Exposure Case

NEW YORK — The instant motion by the defendants Ford Motor Company and Hennessey Inc. stems from lawsuit filed on behalf of decedent Frances Lange; the plaintiffs assert that Mrs. Francis Lange (Frances) contracted mesothelioma as a result of the inhalation of asbestos during the course of laundering her deceased husband’s (Carl) and son’s (Jeffery) clothing. On November 12, the defendant Ford requested authorizations for Carl and Frances’ Social Security records, in response the plaintiff only provided Francis’ records. Ford also requested Carl and Jeffery’s…  

Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied Due to Fraudulent Joinder of Talc Defendant

MISSOURI — The plaintiff Shawnee D. Douglas originally filed suit against multiple entities, contending that her use of talc product caused her malignant mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) removed the case to federal court on the grounds that diversity of citizenship exists because, inter alia, the only Missouri-based defendant, PTI Union, was “fraudulently joined.” Numerous motions were filed by the parties, including: Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff’s Petition for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s Emergency Motion to Remand with…  

Trial Court Did Not Abuse Discretion in Granting Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss Without Prejudice Prior to Ruling on Defendant’s Summary Judgment

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff James Sizemore filed suit in Louisiana State Court against multiple defendants, alleging that his diagnosis of mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos while working as a welder, pipefitter, and boilermaker at numerous industrial facilities. The plaintiff’s alleged exposure to certain defendants products occurred exclusively in South Carolina, and those defendants moved for dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction or forum non conveniens. In response, The plaintiff dismissed those defendants and filed a companion suit in South Carolina.  Viking Pumps…  

In Talc case, Motion to Dismiss Denied Based on Business Registration; Case Not Remanded to State Court

PENNSYLVANIA -The plaintiffs filed suit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Imerys and Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the plaintiff Carrie Youse’s use of cosmetic talcum powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. Imerys filed a notice of removal, including within the notice J&J’s consent. Soon thereafter, Imerys filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction which was rendered moot by the plaintiffs filing an amended complaint. In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs added a claim against Walmart. The plaintiffs subsequently moved to…  

Three Experts’ Opinions Deemed Reliable and Relevant Under Daubert Standard

LOUISIANA — The defendants Ford and Cummins filed motions in limine to exclude or limit the expert testimony of the plaintiffs’ experts Dr. Brent Staggs, Dr. Murray Finkelstein, and Christopher Depasquale. The plaintiff Victor Michel filed suit in state court against multiple defendants, alleging that his exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanic and generator service technician caused him to contract peritoneal mesothelioma. Under Daubert, the district court “is to act as a gatekeeper to ensure that ‘any and all scientific testimony or…  

Louisiana Case Remanded Due to Lack of Causal Nexus Between Defendants’ Actions Under Color of Federal Office and Plaintiff’s Negligence Claims

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Callen Dempster filed suit against multiple defendants, alleging that he was exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing products while employed by Avondale Industries, Inc. (Avondale) from 1962-1994.  The plaintiff originally filed suit in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, on March 14, 2018.  On June 21, 2018, the defendants Huntington Ingalls Incorporated, Albert Bossier, Jr., J. Melton Garret, and Lamorak Insurance Company (the Avondale Interests) removed the case to the eastern district under the Federal Officer…  

Defendants’ Joint Motion for Summary Judgment Failed Due to Unresolved Issues of Material Fact

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel filed suit in state court against multiple defendants, alleging that his exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanic and generator service technician caused him to contract peritoneal mesothelioma. The defendants removed the action to the Eastern District of Louisiana, and Ford and Cummins Inc. filed a joint motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not show that their products substantially contributed to Michel’s mesothelioma.  Plaintiff opposed the motion. The defendants argued jointly that they were entitled…  

Asbestos-Containing Cement Pipe Not a Substantial Contributing Factor to Development of Plaintiff’s Lung Cancer

LOUISIANA — The plaintiffs Thomas Handy, Jr. (Handy), his wife Sandra Handy, and son Thomas Handy, III filed suit against numerous entities, claiming that exposure to asbestos caused Thomas, Jr.’s lung cancer. By the time of trial, only one defendant remained – Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.. The plaintiffs alleged that Ferguson was the successor corporation of Louisiana Utility Supply Co. (Ferguson/LUSCO), and that Ferguson/LUSCO supplied or distributed asbestos-containing cement pipe to the plaintiff’s employer, C.J. Calamia Construction. The plaintiffs alleged that Handy was exposed to asbestos…  

Plaintiff’s Experts Satisfy Daubert, Allowed to Testify in Brake Dust Exposure Case

ARKANSAS — Ronald Thomas worked as a brake mechanic and manager at auto repair shops for approximately twelve years. In March of 2017, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and subsequently passed away later that year. His estate brought product liability claims against multiple defendants for negligence and strict liability, alleging that exposure to asbestos in brake pads caused Thomas’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff brought forth two experts, Dr. Arnold Brody and Dr. Edwin Holstein, to support his theory.  Dr. Brody is a professor emeritus of pathology…  

Second Mistrial Declared in South Carolina Talc Case

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff’s decedent’s second trial related to claims that Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) talcum powder products caused her mesothelioma ended a mistrial on Thursday, November 15, 2018. The plaintiffs filed suit against fifteen companies in May of 2017, alleging that exposure to asbestos caused the thirty year old attorney to develop mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s decedent Antione Bostic passed away on October 2017; one month prior, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding talcum powder defendants, including J&J. The plaintiffs first trial ended in…  

Supreme Court Rules Frye Standard Applies to Florida Cases, Overturns District Court’s Decision Excluding Plaintiff’s Experts’ Causation Testimony

FLORIDA — The plaintiff Richard DeLisle filed a personal injury action against sixteen defendants, claiming that each caused him to be exposed to asbestos. Of the sixteen, DeLisle proceeded to trial against three: Crane, Lorillard Tobacco Co., and Hollingsworth and Vose (H&V). At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence that he was exposed to “Cranite” sheet gaskets containing chrysotile asbestos fibers and Kent cigarettes; the cigarettes were produced by Lorillard’s predecessor, and the filters were supplied by a former subsidiary of H&V. The filters contained crocidolite…  

Interlocutory Appeal Citing Federal Safety Appliance Act Denied

KANSAS — The plaintiff Nancy Little filed suit individually and as the personal representative of the estate of her father, Robert Rabe, against the defendant The Budd Company (Budd). The plaintiff alleges that her father was exposed to asbestos-containing pipe insulation that Budd placed in passenger railcars it manufactured; this exposure allegedly caused Mr. Rabe’s mesothelioma. Defendant Budd asserted several defenses, including that the Federal Safety Appliance Act (SAA) preempts plaintiff’s state law claims.  Budd twice moved the court to dismiss plaintiff’s claims based on…  

Jury Finds Tile Manufacturer Failed to Provide Adequate Warnings, But The Failure Was Not A Substantial Contributing Factor To Plaintiff’s Mesothelioma Diagnosis

NEW YORK — A Monroe County jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant American Biltrite in a mesothelioma case Thursday, September 28, 2018. The Jury found that American Biltrite failed to exercise reasonable care by not providing an adequate warning about the hazards of exposure to asbestos with respect to the use of Amtico vinyl asbestos tile.  However, the jury subsequently found that American Biltrite’s failure to warn Jo Ann Shields was not a substantial contributing factor in causing her peritoneal mesothelioma. This is…  

Plaintiffs’ Causation Experts Stricken Under Daubert; Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment Granted

FLORIDA — The plaintiff’s Decedent Richard Doolin was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June of 2013 and passed away as a result on June 22, 2014. The plaintiff Stacey Doolin filed suit against multiple companies, alleging that Richard was exposed to asbestos when visiting his father’s automotive workshop as a child. The plaintiff further alleged that Richard did shadetree automotive work throughout his life that also exposed him to asbestos.  The last remaining defendants were Ford Motor Company (Ford) and Pneumo Abex LLC (Abex). Ford and…  

Insulation Installer’s Hourly Timesheets Found Legally Sufficient to Support Rational Inference of Causation in Bystander Matter

MARYLAND — The plaintiff William Busch and his wife, Kathleen, filed suit against multiple defendants, alleging that exposure to asbestos caused his mesothelioma. After a 14 day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs, finding that William’s exposure to asbestos-containing insulation products installed by Wallace & Gale Co. (W&G) during the construction of Loch Raven High School (LRHS), a location where plaintiff worked, was a substantial causative factor in the development of his mesothelioma. The plaintiff worked in the boiler room where…  

Negligence Per Se Claims Against Defendant Passenger Railcar Manufacturer Denied; Strict Liability and Negligence Claims Can Proceed Under Federal Statutes

KANSAS — The plaintiff Nancy Little brought an action individually and as the personal representative of the estate of her father, Robert Rabe, against defendant The Budd Company (Budd). The plaintiff alleged that her father was exposed to asbestos-containing pipe insulation while working as a pipefitter for the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad (ATSF) between 1951 and the mid-to-late 1970’s; she contends this exposure caused him to develop mesothelioma.  The plaintiff’s decedent passed away on December 28, 2012. Budd allegedly manufactured passenger railcars and…  

Weight-of-the-Evidence Standard Used by Plaintiff’s Experts Found to Satisfy Daubert Requirements

OHIO — Defendant Honeywell International filed Motions in limine to Preclude the plaintiff’s Experts Dr. Murray Finkelstein and Dr. Carlos Bedrossian and dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, or, in the alternative, its request for evidentiary hearing. The plaintiffs filed oppositions. The court determined that both doctors utilized the weight-of-the-evidence standard in formulating their opinions of the case in line with the prescriptions under Daubert.  Additionally, Dr. Finkelstein’s methodology had previously been scrutinized at a Daubert hearing in another jurisdiction and was upheld as valid and…  

Appeals Court Confirms Dismissal Based on Asbestos Supplier’s Lack of Contacts With Florida

FLORIDA — The plaintiff James Waite was allegedly exposed to asbestos while living in Massachusetts. He filed suit against multiple defendants, including Union Carbide, alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop mesothelioma. Mr. Waite was diagnosed in Florida, and he and his wife filed suit in Florida state court. Union Carbide removed the case to federal district court where the court determined that it lacked personal jurisdiction over UC. The Waites appealed, arguing that the district court erred in dismissing UC for…  

Plaintiff’s Deposition Testimony Presents Sufficient Evidence to Overcome Automobile Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment

DELAWARE — Plaintiffs John and Vicki DeCastro originally filed a personal injury action against multiple defendants in the Superior Court of Delaware, asserting claims arising from Mr. DeCastro’s alleged harmful exposure to asbestos. The case was properly removed to Federal Court under the federal officer removal statute. Mr. Castro alleged that he developed lung cancer as a result of his exposure to asbestos during his service in the United States Air Force, civilian employment with Pacific Bell Telephone and United Airlines, and personal automotive and…  

Gasket Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied Based on Residual Market

NEW YORK — The plaintiff’s Decedent Joseph Tolan allegedly worked with asbestos-containing gaskets, including sheet gaskets, manufactured by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (Goodyear) starting in 1977 at the United States Army’s Seneca, NY Depot. Goodyear filed a motion for summary judgment, stating that it ceased making asbestos-containing gaskets in 1969. Goodyear further argued that it had no sales of asbestos-containing gaskets to the Depot.  Goodyear continued to make non-asbestos gaskets after 1969, and they had similar markings and logos to the asbestos-containing versions. Goodyear…  

New Jersey Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss New York Case With Exposure In Virginia Granted

NEW YORK — The plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), alleging that Mrs. Hammock’s exposure to asbestos-containing J&J baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. Mrs. Hammock was a Virginia resident her entire life, and all of her alleged exposure took place in Virginia.   JJCI is the sole entity responsible for manufacturing and distributing J&J baby powder during the subject time period. JJCI is a New Jersey Corporation  with its principal place of business in New Jersey. JJCI…  

Bankruptcy Status of Louisiana Defendant Does Not Provide Grounds For Removal

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants alleging that he contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos products at various worksites from 1960-1979. The plaintiff initially filed suit against 20 defendants in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. On July 23, 2018 Defendants Union Carbide Corporation and Bayer CropScience, Inc. filed a notice of removal, stating that the plaintiff had settled with all remaining parties and alleging that complete diversity existed. Concurrently, the plaintiffs filed a motion to…  

$650,000 Verdict Vacated Based on Lack of Evidence That Cement Manufacturer Was “Exclusive Supplier” to Boiler Company

NEW JERSEY — The plaintiff’s Decedent William Condon and Plaintiff Debbie Condon originally filed suit in 2014 against 97 defendants, alleging that Decedent’s exposure to asbestos from their products caused his mesothelioma. On June 19, 2014, a Law Division judge denied Defendant Pecora Corporation’s motion for summary judgment. Of the defendants who settled with the plaintiff, nine did so before trial. At trial, the jury apportioned liability and damages between eleven defendants, including Pecora. Six of the eleven defendants went to trial; the others were  

Admission into Evidence of Testimony and Answers to Discovery of Settled Defendants Leads to New Trial Ordered on Issue of Apportionment

NEW JERSEY — Donna Rowe (plaintiff), individually and as executrix and executrix ad prosequendum of the estate of Ronald Rowe (Rowe), appealed an April 27, 2015 judgment of $304,152.70 plus prejudgment interest. The plaintiffs originally sued 27 defendants, alleging that exposure to asbestos from their products caused Rowe’s mesothelioma. Twelve defendants were granted summary judgment, four were dismissed, and two never appeared and the claims against them were abandoned. Additionally, eight parties settled their claims before trial, leaving only Hilco, Inc., the successor-in-interest to Universal…  

$117 Million Verdict Upheld in Talc Case

NEW JERSEY — Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi denied motions from Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc. to set aside a $37 million verdict in compensatory damages and a combined $80 million verdict in punitive damages awarded earlier this year.  On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the court heard arguments on Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s motions to overturn the verdict. The court instead upheld the verdict. In rendering her decision, Judge Viscomi stated that the verdicts “do not shock the judicial conscience.”…  

Defendant’s Joinder Denied; Parallel Suits Allowed in Federal and State Court

NEW YORK — On October 3, 2017, the plaintiffs filed two lawsuits in New York state court against two different groups of defendants. One lawsuit was filed against 83 defendants, not including Crane Co. (Crane), alleging that John Grimes developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to defendants’ asbestos-containing products. At present, that matter remains pending in state court. The second action—the instant action—was filed against four other defendants, including Crane. The plaintiffs similarly alleged that Mr. Grimes developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure…  

Prior Recovery From Party Bars Wrongful Death Claim; Estate’s Claims Against New Parties Can Proceed

WASHINGTON — The plaintiff Barbara Brandes brought a personal injury action against Brand Insulations Inc. (Brand) and other entities after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma. During the pendency of the litigation, Mrs. Brandes passed away, and her action against Brand and others was converted into a survivorship action. During trial, the estate confirmed that it was not seeking to add any new claims or evidence, stating it was not pursuing any potential wrongful death claims at that time. The jury returned a verdict against some…  

Defects in Chain of Custody Lead to Affirmation of Talcum Powder Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiffs Barbara and John Wittman asserted claims for negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, and loss of consortium against Defendant Coty, Inc. (Coty) alleging that Barbara’s exposure to asbestos in Coty’s talcum powder resulted in her developing mesothelioma. Coty filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that Wittmans’ discovery responses and deposition testimony “demonstrated their inability to prove the claims.” Coty stated that the Wittmans could not show that Barbara was exposed to asbestos through the particular Coty product she had used,…  

Vexing Statute of Repose Question Sent to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

MASSACHUSETTS  — The plaintiffs sued multiple defendants in the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, alleging that the plaintiffs’ decedent, Wayne Oliver, was exposed to asbestos during the construction of two nuclear power plants.  Defendant General Electric (GE) filed a motion for summary judgment on counts I,II,IX, and X in the plaintiffs’ Third Amended complaint; both parties agreed that the affected counts were governed by the substantive law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. GE invoked the Massachusetts statute of repose for improvements to real…  

Turbine Manufacturer’s Choice of Law Motion Granted Based on Location of Asbestos Exposure and Diagnosis

MASSACHUSETTS — Plaintiff Ruth Burleigh, the widow of the plaintiff’s decedent Ernest Burleigh, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against numerous defendants alleging that decedent developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanic at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (the shipyard) from 1960-1981. The shipyard is located in Kittery, Maine, approximately 20 miles from the Massachusetts border. The plaintiff’s decedent alleged exposure to asbestos in Maine only, was a resident of Maine for the…  

Failure to Adopt Safety Measures is Private Conduct That Implicates No Federal Interest

LOUISIANA — Several former employees of Huntington Ingalls, including Robert Templet, brought suit in Louisiana state court, alleging that the company failed to warn them of the risks of asbestos exposure and failed to implement proper safety procedures for handling asbestos.  Templet worked for Huntington Ingalls from 1968 to 2002 and alleged his handling of asbestos-containing materials at various worksites from 1968-79 caused him to contract mesothelioma. Huntington Ingalls removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana under the…  

Claims Against Insulation Supplier Barred By Government Contractor Defense

CALIFORNIA — Plaintiffs Paula Tarjani, Phyllis Newman, and Patsy Rojo, daughters of the plaintiff’s decedent John Ball, brought claims against numerous defendants, alleging that the plaintiff’s decedent was exposed to asbestos while working as a joiner and shipwright from 1965 to 1972.  The plaintiff’s decedent worked at Mare Island aboard the USS Guitarro, USS Hawkbill, USS Pintado, and USS Drum. Defendant Metalclad brokered Unibestos to the United States Navy, and filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, stating that the plaintiffs’ claims were precluded under the…  

New Jersey Jury Awards $37 Million Compensatory Damage Verdict in Asbestos-Talc Case

NEW JERSEY — On April 5, 2018, a Middlesex County, New Jersey jury awarded $37 million in compensatory damages to Plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III and his wife, Kendra, in a mesothelioma case. The plaintiffs alleged that Lanzo developed mesothelioma from his decades-long exposure to asbestos-containing talcum powder sold by Johnson & Johnson and supplied by Imerys Talc America, Inc.  The jury awarded $30 million to Lanzo and $7 million to his wife. The jury will return on April 10, 2018, to consider the plaintiffs’ claims…  

Growing Number of Cases Involving Cosmetic Talc and Mesothelioma Nationwide

In the past five years, the number of lawsuits filed against manufacturers of cosmetic talcum powder has skyrocketed. The lawsuits generally allege that the application of the alleged defective product causes ovarian cancer in women, many times decades after exposure. As the cases involving ovarian cancer balloon with varying degrees of success, plaintiffs have recently begun filing a growing number of lawsuits alleging that exposure to asbestos-containing cosmetic talcum powder causes mesothelioma. The science behind these cases is evolving; courts and juries are not convinced…  

Summary Judgment Denied Based on Potential Successor-In-Interest Liability of Pump Manufacturer

GEORGIA — The plaintiff Mary Farmer, individually and as the surviving spouse of Bobby Lee Farmer, initiated this action in the Superior Court of Dougherty County, Georgia on February 26, 2016. On March 28, 2016, the defendants filed a Notice of Removal, invoking Federal Court diversity jurisdiction. With leave, the plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on December 22, 2016. The plaintiff sued 25 defendants, alleging negligence, product liability negligence, loss of consortium, punitive damages, and wrongful death. Three defendants, Fisher Controls, Inc., Honeywell International Inc.…  

Five Million Dollar Mesothelioma Punitive Damages Award Upheld

ARIZONA — Plaintiff Goerge Coulbourn was a machinist for the United States Navy from 1959 to 1966, during which time he worked with several products sold by defendant Crane Company that contained “significant amounts of asbestos.” The plaintiff sued Crane, alleging, amongst other things, that Crane’s products were defective in failing to warn of the dangers that asbestos posed. The plaintiff died in August 2013, and his wife, Sandra Coulbourn, filed an amended complaint on behalf of herself and her family, asserting a claim for…  

Case Remanded After Appeals Court Finds Plaintiff’s Expert Unreliable

TEXAS — Plaintiff Leonard Baca alleged that while working for defendant BNSF’s predecessor in interest, he was exposed to asbestos, causing him to develop asbestosis. The plaintiff retained an expert, Dr. Alvin Schonfeld, a pulmonogist, who provided a report in which he concluded that Baca’s asbestosis was causally related to his exposure to asbestos during his employment. BNSF moved to exclude Dr. Schonfeld’s causation opinion as inadmissible because it was unreliable under well-established case law. The trial court denied the motion, but also granted permission…  

Remand Affirmed Due to Lack of Causal Nexus in Take-Home Exposure Case

LOUISIANA — The Legendre brothers filed suit in Louisiana State Court on behalf of their sister, Mary Jane Wilde, who died from complications related to mesothelioma. Their father, Percy Legendre, worked at a shipyard owned and operated by Huntington Ingalls, Inc. (Avondale) and was allegedly exposed to asbestos. The plaintiffs further alleged that Mary Jane was exposed to asbestos via fibers that were on her father’s work clothes and this exposure caused her to develop mesothelioma. Defendant Avondale invoked the federal officer removal statute and…  

Summary Judgment Affirmed Based on Lack of Admissible Evidence of Secondary Asbestos Exposure

CALIFORNIA —Sandra Foglia and her children filed suit against Moore Dry Dock (MDD), alleging that the decedent, Ronald Foglia, was exposed to asbestos via his late father, Felix Foglia, and developed mesothelioma. The plaintiffs alleged that Felix was exposed to asbestos while working as an electrician at a shipyard operated by MDD. MDD moved for summary judgment, claiming it owed no duty of care to the decedent for secondary exposure and that the plaintiffs could not reasonably obtain evidence to show that the decedent was…  

Cumulative-Exposure Theory Inconsistent with Test for Causation; Not a Sufficient Basis for Finding Substantial Factor

OHIO — The decedent  Kathleen Schwartz’s husband, Mark Schwartz, filed suit against numerous manufacturers of asbestos-containing products, alleging that asbestos exposure caused her to develop mesothelioma, leading to her death. By the time of trial, Honeywell International, Inc., the successor-in-interest to Bendix Corporation, was the only defendant who remained. The issue at trial — and on appeal — was whether the decedent’s exposure to asbestos from Bendix brake products was a substantial factor in causing the decedent’s mesothelioma. The decedent’s father changed the brakes in…  

Case Remanded to Determine Setoff Amounts from Settlements with Asbestos Trusts

MISSISSIPPI — On February 13, 2009, Clara Hagan filed a complaint, as the representative of Bennie Oakes, against Illinois Central Railroad in the Warren County Circuit Court. The complaint, brought under the provisions of the Federal Employers Liability Act, sought to recover damages for personal injuries and/or death sustained by decedent Bennie Oakes while decedent was employed by Illinois Central and while engaging in interstate commerce. The decedent was employed by Illinois Central from 1952 through 1994 and alleged he was exposed to asbestos “on…  

Exclusion of Decedent’s Deposition Testimony Upheld due to Lack of Meaningful Opportunity for Cross Examination

DELAWARE — Plaintiff William Sykes filed suit in March of 2014 against numerous defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma in October, 2013. The plaintiff’s counsel requested expedited trial and discovery depositions due to Plaintiff’s rapidly deteriorating health; a video trial deposition was taken on April 16, 2014. During a break in the trial deposition, the plaintiff informed counsel that he was unable to complete the remainder of the deposition. At that time, the parties were left with only the video trial deposition and no cross…  

Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand to State Court Denied After Court Finds Federal Jurisdiction under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

LOUISIANA — On June 16, 2017, plaintiff Federico Lopez filed suit against 15 defendants, claiming that his exposure to asbestos as a welder and pipefitter at numerous locations caused his mesothelioma.  Defendants Shell Oil Company and Tennessee Gas Pipeline, LLC, removed the action, invoking federal subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. Section 1349(b), and alternatively, pursuant to federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. Section 1331.  Further, the defendants contended that the court had supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s…  

Plaintiffs’ Asbestos-Related Claims Time-Barred Due to Prior Settlement Agreement

LOUISIANA — Plaintiffs-Appellants are the widow and surviving children of Raymond J. Lemieux, Sr.. Mr. Lemieux, Sr. worked for Johns-Manville in Marrero, Louisiana from 1956 to 1970 during which time he wore a respirator designed by American Optical, Defendant-Appellee. Raymond, Sr. developed asbestos-related lung cancer, which eventually caused his death in 2015; prior to his death, he filed suit in 2011 against American Optical stemming from his use of their respirator. Represented by his attorney, Raymond, Sr. entered into settlement negotiations with American Optical. The…  

Superior Court Affirms Five Post-Trial Rulings, Remands to Trial Court for Apportionment Under Pennsylvania Fair Share Act

PENNSYLVANIA — Appellee William Roverano initially filed suit in 2014 against multiple defendants, alleging that his lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos while employed by PECO between 1971-81. Appellee Jacqueline Roverano also made a claim for loss of consortium. More than a dozen of the named defendants had filed for bankruptcy, and only John Crane, Inc. and Brand Insulations, Inc. had not settled before the jury’s verdict. Prior to the trial, the court held that the Fair Share Act, 42 Pa.C.S. Section 7102,…  

Personal Jurisdiction Defense Waived in Maritime Multidistrict Litigation

Appellants George Perdreauville and Joseph Blue, along with thousands of other seamen, initially filed lawsuits in the late 1980s in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. Section 304 et seq., and general maritime law, alleging injury from exposure to asbestos while onboard the Appellees’ various ships. A lengthy and complex procedural course ensued, and, in 1991, the suits were consolidated in the Asbestos Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern…