A Matter of Trust: Promoting Truth in New York Asbestos Trust Claims with Legislative Solutions

Previously on Asbestos Case Tracker, we took a look at the successful efforts of certain states to combat manipulation and abuse of the asbestos bankruptcy trust system. These states passed legislation that prevents claimants from being doubly compensated for alleged exposures to asbestos-containing products manufactured, used, or supplied by bankrupt and viable companies. The legislation enabled defendants in the tort system to obtain evidence of alternative exposures submitted only to bankruptcy trusts but not during the course of personal injury litigation.

New York’s Solution

New …

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Mid-2019 Asbestos Litigation Trends

KCIC recently issued 2019 Midyear Asbestos Litigation Trends , which compiled statistics through June 30, 2019, and assessed them in comparison with the data from its previous Asbestos Litigation: 2018 Year In Review. The overall takeaways from the update, each assessed at greater length below, are:

  1. While non-malignant and “other” cancer filings continued trending downward this year, as in 2018, 2019 is on track to see an increase in total filings
  2. The percentage of filings by the top 10 plaintiffs’ firms has decreased slightly
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Show General and Specific Jurisdiction Results in Premises Defendant’s Dismissal

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Terry Bondurant, alleged exposure to asbestos while working as an electrician at various chemical plants in Texas and Louisiana, including a plant located in Texas that belonged to the defendant, Eastman Kodak. . Kodak, however, was incorporated in New Jersey and has its principal place of business in New York. Kodak moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2), on personal jurisdiction grounds, asserting that the court lacked general jurisdiction, as well as specific jurisdiction.

Kodak claimed that because neither its state of …

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Gaps in Plaintiff’s Proof Not Enough to Warrant Summary Judgment

NEW YORK – The first department unanimously affirmed the lower court’s denial of the defendant Harris Corporation’s (Harris) motion for summary judgment in NYCAL. The first department concluded that, when viewing evidence in light most favorable to the plaintiff Leonard Carriero, Harris failed to establish prima facie entitlement to summary judgment. Specifically, instead of submitting evidence as to why the plaintiff’s claims were insufficient, Harris “merely point[ed] to perceived gaps in plaintiff’s proof …”…

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After Multiple Re-Filings Summary Judgment Reversed on Multiple Grounds

OHIO – The decedent Garry Blakely was employed at Aerospace, a division of the defendant Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which contained sub-divisions that manufactured aircraft brake assemblies. The decedent worked in the wheel and brake division, where he drilled, shaped, and incorporated linings into brake assemblies. Upon his diagnosis of mesothelioma in 2014, the decedent sued multiple defendants, including Goodyear. Goodyear moved for summary judgment on product liability, supplier liability, and premises liability, which the trial court granted in full, but prior to the …

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Specific Jurisdiction Established Under “Stream of Commerce Plus” Theory

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff Thomas Toy alleged that his mesothelioma diagnosis was a result of asbestos exposure that incurred in multiple Navy shipyards to a variety of products throughout his machinist career. He claimed he was exposed to friction products in his role as a mechanic for the Army while stationed in Germany, Korea, and other U.S. locations and to construction products he used during home renovations. The defendant Viking Pump, Inc. moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that the plaintiff failed …

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Summary Judgment Granted in Secondary Exposure Case

LOUISIANA – The plaintiffs, the children of Theresa Rodrigue (Ms. Rodrigue), allege their mother was secondarily exposure to asbestos contained in products manufactured by multiple product manufacturers (defendants) who moved for summary judgment, respectively, when Ms. Rodrigue washed the clothing of her brother, a rigger in a shipyard. The court granted the defendants summary judgment on the basis that the evidence in the record was insufficient with respect to an essential element of the plaintiffs’ claims. Consequently, since no genuine factual dispute existed, summary judgment …

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NYCAL Verdict Tossed on Basis that “a lot” of Asbestos Exposure is Insufficient to Establish Causation

NEW YORK – The defendant Caterpillar, Inc. (Caterpillar) appealed a verdict in the aggregate amount of $1.8 million issued by a jury in the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) following a trial over which the Honorable Martin Shulman presided. This verdict was unanimously reversed by the First Department, one of which justices is the Honorable Peter Moulton, who previously presided over NYCAL as administrative judge.

The First Department based its reversal on the plaintiff Joanne Corazza’s (plaintiff) failure to establish causation as it related …

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Jury Returns Verdict for Decedent, Finding Asbestosis Resulted from Railroad Brake Work

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 …

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Preclusion of Plaintiff Experts Leads to Defense Win in First Philly Talc Trial

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff Charles Brandt (plaintiff), on behalf of the decedent Sally Brandt (decedent), commenced an asbestos-related action against, among other defendants, Colgate-Palmolive Company (Colgate), alleging that the decedent’s use of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder exposed the decedent to asbestos, resulting in her mesothelioma diagnosis.

Following a Frye hearing, the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas precluded the expert opinions of the plaintiff’s geologist and pathologist, finding numerous methodological flaws in their research claiming asbestos was found in Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder. Colgate …

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