Lynn A. Lehnert

All articles by Lynn A. Lehnert

 

St. Louis City – The Gateway Arch to Mammoth Talc Verdicts

MISSOURI – The city of St. Louis, Missouri, has traditionally been an unfavorable venue for defendants, particularly for those involved in allegations of personal injury or death due to cancer caused by asbestos or talc exposure. Until recently, these two causative agents – asbestos and talc – were separate materials for purposes of personal injury or wrongful death claims. In July 2018 these two theories merged in the first trial which heard that plaintiffs’ claims of ovarian cancer were caused in part by asbestos-contaminated talc.…  

Delaware Jury Issues $40.6 Million Verdict

DELAWARE – On Friday, June 8th, the jury returned a $40.6 million verdict in Larry W. Knecht, et Ux. v. Borg-Warner Corporation, et Al, a Delaware asbestos case. The case was tried under New Mexico law. The jury found Ford strictly liable due to a failure to warn, and apportioned 30 percent fault to the decedent, Larry Knecht, and 20 percent to Ford. The remainder of the liability was apportioned as follows: General Motors and Chrysler (20 percent each) and…  

Frustrated Court Denies Plaintiffs’ Motion to Reconsider Exclusion of Kenneth Garza Due to Lack of Authority

WISCONSIN — In this case set for trial on June 4, 2018, the plaintiffs filed eleven motions under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and various motions in limine. After hearing and argument, the court granted defendant Pabst Brewing Company’s motion to bar, under Daubert, Kenneth Garza’s reports, opinions, and testimony, and granted the Daubert motion of defendants Sprinkmann, Employers Insurance Company and WEPCO’s to exclude Garza’s testimony. The court found that although Garza’s training and background gave him the…  

Magistrate Judge Recommends No Personal Jurisdiction Over Exelon Corporation in Delaware

DELAWARE — Plaintiffs Michael and Sally Harding filed claims in Delaware state court due to Michael Harding’s exposure to asbestos while working as a pipefitter for the United States Navy from 1963-67. Defendant Crane Co. removed to federal court. Defendant Exelon Corporation moved for dismissal due to lack of personal jurisdiction. Exelon was not a Delaware business entity and did not have a principal place of business in Delaware.  The plaintiffs did not respond to Exelon’s motion to dismiss. The magistrate judge recommended granting this…  

Summary Judgment Granted to Premises Owner Because Asbestos Not Inherent on the Premise

Plaintiff Sandra Kivell alleged her husband developed and died from mesothelioma due to his asbestos exposure as a union pipefitter and welder.  Defendant Union Carbide moved for summary judgment, which was granted. Union Carbide was a premises owner of a petrochemical facility in Taft, Louisiana, where decedent worked from January 1967-October 1969.  Decedent did not work for and did not receive instruction from Union Carbide, which employed third-party contractors to build process units.  Decedent testified he ran pipe and worked side by side with insulators.  …  

In Talc Case, Gaps in Chain of Custody Lead to Partial Exclusion of Opinions of Plaintiff’s Geologist

Plaintiff Delgadina Alfaro alleged the development of mesothelioma due to asbestos contained in talcum powder she used as a child. The jury found for defendants Colgate-Palmolive Company, the manufacturer of Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder, and Imerys Talc America, Inc., the successor-in-interest to talc suppliers for Colgate, including Cyprus. The plaintiff appealed, and the court affirmed. The plaintiff claimed that her mother and grandmother used Cashmere Bouquet and that she used it as well. Her years of exposure were 1977-90. Colgate made Cashmere Bouquet from 1871-1985,…  

Conflicting X-Ray Reports Subject for Cross-Examination, Not Grounds to Compel a CT Scan

Defendants Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corporation and Hess Corporation filed a motion to compel plaintiff Andrew Wilson to undergo a CT scan of his chest to determine whether there was any objective evidence of lung disease. The court denied the motion to compel. Wilson alleged asbestos exposure and the development of asbestosis due to his work at the oil refinery on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The plaintiff’s case was consolidated with over a hundred cases. The court ordered the plaintiffs to provide…  

Insulation Used On Nuclear Prototype “Ordinary Consumer Product” and Not Subject to Military Contractor Defense

Plaintiffs Wayne and Tina Yocum filed a renewed motion to remand which defendant CBS Corporation (Westinghouse) opposed. Wayne Yocum was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died on February 5, 2017. Without oral argument, the court granted the plaintiffs’ renewed motion to remand. Wayne Yocum served in the Navy from 1965-75. Westinghouse supplied the asbestos-containing insulation that was used in his presence during his naval training on the A1W, a working prototype of a nuclear propulsion system. The plaintiffs originally filed this action in California, and only…  

Pump Manufacturer Obtains Summary Judgment Based on Lack of Maintenance History and Identification of Replacement Parts

Plaintiff Jill Dudley alleged that her husband Frank worked on pumps from 1966-67 while employed at Cam Chemical Company in Detroit, Michigan. Defendant FMC moved for summary judgment, which the court granted. Frank Dudley testified that at least ten pumps were made by Chicago Pump; he broke down these pumps and repaired the gaskets. The court applied Michigan law, which required proof that the injured plaintiff was exposed to an asbestos-containing product for which a defendant was responsible. Michigan law also applied the substantial factor…  

Consideration of Decedent’s Specific Exposure History Renders Testimony of Dr. Jacqueline Moline Reliable

Decedent Gerald Hoffeditz alleged asbestos exposure from automotive and heavy equipment repair on various vehicles, including large military trucks while working at the Letterkenny Army Depot. He subsequently passed away from mesothelioma. Various defendants moved to exclude the evidence and testimony put forth by the plaintiff’s expert Dr. Jacqueline Moline. The court denied this motion. For expert testimony to be admitted, the proffered witness must: (1) be qualified; (2) testify about matters requiring scientific, technical or specialized knowledge (reliability), and (3) assist the trier of…  

Remand Granted Where Defendant Failed to Show Government Exercised Control Over Warnings and Safety

Plaintiff Robert Templet, Sr. alleged asbestos exposure during his work for defendant Avondale Industries, Inc. The plaintiff was employed by Avondale from 1968-2002, and later developed malignant pleural mesothelioma. Defendants Avondale and Lamorak Insurance Company removed to federal court due to the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved to remand. The court granted the motion and remanded this case back to the State of Louisiana. Avondale based its removal on the plaintiff’s deposition testimony wherein he testified that they worked on Navy Destroyer Escorts…  

Wrongful Death Claims Barred by Res Judicata from Prior Loss of Consortium Case

In this wrongful death case, plaintiff Janet Stewart appealed the grant of summary judgment to Union Carbide that her loss of consortium claim was barred by res judicata. The plaintiff also argued a miscarriage of justice in the setoff of her deceased husband’s settlement with two asbestos bankruptcy trusts against her entire economic damage award. The court affirmed both rulings. Larry Stewart worked as a plumber from 1968-2007 when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He and his wife filed a personal injury lawsuit (Stewart I).…  

Various Rulings Issued on Motions in Limine in Trial; Plaintiffs’ Motion to Exclude Defense Experts Denied

The court issued various rulings on motions in limine filed by both the plaintiffs and defendant John Crane in this matter that is set for trial on July 17, 2017. The decedent died of mesothelioma. Many of the motions were unopposed. Below are summaries of the more pertinent rulings. Regarding the plaintiff’s motions, the plaintiff argued that the defendant should be barred from disclosing that some corporations were in bankruptcy. The defendants opposed the motion because under Wisconsin law, any claims plaintiffs have submitted to…  

Possibility of Successor Liability Enough to Defeat Diversity Jurisdiction

The plaintiffs alleged Maynard Herman contracted mesothelioma due to occupational asbestos exposure. Defendants removed on the basis of diversity, and the plaintiffs moved to remand. The court granted the remand. The defendants argued that defendant Ametek, Inc., although a citizen of Pennsylvania, was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity. The plaintiffs argued Ametek was not fraudulently joined because it was the successor for Mr. Herman’s exposure to asbestos products made by Haveg Industries. The plaintiffs acknowledged that when Ametek purchased Haveg, the agreement facially concerned only…  

California Government Claims Act Bars Plaintiffs’ Asbestos Action for Untimely Commencement

Plaintiffs Sandra Reyes Jauregui and Mario Reyes Jauregui filed a first amended complaint against the City of Pasadena arising from Sandra Jauregui’s mesothelioma. The City demurred to the complaint, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to comply with the Government Claims Act, requiring presentation of the claim to the City within six months of the date of Sandra’s mesothelioma diagnosis. The court agreed and issued a writ sustaining the demurrer. The plaintiffs originally filed a complaint against various defendants due to her father’s asbestos exposure while…  

Wrong Standard Applied in Remanding Case against Boiler Manufacturer to State Court; Remand Reversed

Decedent Joseph Morris worked as a shipbuilder at the Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard from 1948-1970s, and died of mesothelioma in 2015. The plaintiffs commenced this action in Maryland state court, and Foster Wheeler removed pursuant to government contractor immunity. The district court remanded to state court because Foster Wheeler did not make a sufficient showing that it had a colorable federal defense; Foster Wheeler appealed. The Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court applied the wrong standard for determining removability and reversed and remanded…  

Pfizer Not an “Apparent Manufacturer” of Refractory Products Used at Shipyard; Summary Judgment Affirmed

Plaintiff Margaret Rublee appealed the summary judgment dismissal against defendant Pfizer, Inc. The decedent, Vernon Rublee, was a machinist at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1965-1980 and died of mesothelioma in 2015. The appellate court affirmed summary judgment for Pfizer. While at the shipyard, he worked on steam turbines with asbestos lagging. In replacing the lagging they used two refractory products — Insulag and Panelag. Both the decedent and other workers testified as to seeing “Pfizer” on the bags. Quigley Company made the products,…  

Madison County “Judicial Hellhole” Designation Sees Signs of Changing

Madison County, Illinois has traditionally been dubbed the “judicial hellhole” of asbestos litigation, but this designation shows signs of changing. In the first half of 2016, this venue had 29 percent of the nation’s asbestos filings. It has a history of unfair docketing practices, denial of forum non conveniens motions, and large plaintiff verdicts. Full-blown jury trials in asbestos litigation are rare for various reasons, not the least of which is the threat of multi-million dollar plaintiff verdicts, but in recent years Madison County jury…  

Possibility of Exposure Not Enough to Overcome Summary Judgment Motions of Brake Manufacturers and Supplier

Decedent Bobby Vickery died of mesothelioma and his estate was substituted as a party to this action.  The plaintiff estate appealed the granting of summary judgment to defendants Eaton Corporation, ArvinMeritor, Pneumo-Abex, and Brake Supply Company.  The appellate court affirmed, with one judge dissenting. The plaintiff alleged Mr. Vickery was exposed to asbestos from a variety of different sources.  He had fifty employers between 1966 and 2003, and alleged asbestos exposure during three of those jobs.  For purposes of this appeal, the court summarized his…  

Abandonment of Claims Alleging Asbestos Exposure at Government Facilities Eliminated Federal Jurisdiction

Defendant Crane Co. appealed the remand ordered by the district court to New York State Court. Crane had removed based upon the federal officer removal statute. The appellate court affirmed the remand without a summary of the underlying facts. First, Crane argued remand was erroneous because the federal courts had original subject matter jurisdiction. The district court had concluded that the plaintiffs had abandoned any claims arising from asbestos exposure occurring at a government facility; thus, the basis on which this action was originally removed…  

No Jurisdiction over Foreign Auto Manufacturer, But Case Remanded for Consideration of Jurisdictional Discovery

Plaintiffs Kenneth and Carol Jones filed suit against various defendants after Kenneth Jones developed mesothelioma. Defendant Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (VWAG) sought review of an interlocutory order denying its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court reversed the trial court’s order and remanded. In its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, VWAG submitted a supporting affidavit and the court held an evidentiary hearing to determine this issue. The hearing had no testimony and the trial court received nothing into evidence. The trial…  

Summary Judgments Based on Wisconsin Safe Place Statute and Statute of Repose Denied

The court issued another decision in a case originally reported in Asbestos Case Tracker on May 15, 2017. Plaintiffs Daniel and Beverly Ahnert originally filed a case in 2010 alleging Daniel Ahnert developed asbestosis; that case was transferred to the MDL of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In 2013 Beverly Ahnert filed a new case in the Eastern District of Wisconsin after Daniel Ahnert died of asbestos-related diseases. In September 2014, the 2011 case was remanded back to Wisconsin. The plaintiff then moved to consolidate…  

Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdict Against Ford Vacated Based on Defective Jury Verdict Form

In this secondary exposure case alleging mesothelioma, defendant Ford Motor Company appealed after the jury rendered a verdict against it for $3.4 million. The appellate court vacated the trial court’s judgment on the jury verdict and remanded the case because the jury verdict form was defective, in that it omitted two necessary questions in product liability cases — that the product at issue was unreasonably dangerous or defective and that the plaintiff’s injuries were reasonably foreseeable. Plaintiff Ronnie Stockton was an automobile mechanic since 1971.…  

Deere Granted Summary Judgment Based on Speculation Tractor Contained Asbestos Parts it Manufactured

The Superior Court of Delaware issued another ruling in a case reported in Asbestos Case Tracker on May 15, 2017. In this ruling, the court granted defendant Deere & Company’s motion for summary judgment. The decedent died from lung cancer. Counsel stipulated that his asbestos exposure occurred from 1955-79. Prior to his death, the decedent gave a deposition stating that he worked on “older” John Deere tractors from 1953-79. This work included grinding head gaskets once per year or every other year. Replacement parts came…  

Prior Maryland Rulings Relied Upon in Denying Remand

The plaintiffs moved to remand after defendant Crane Co. removed to federal court. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion without oral argument. Decedent John Dugger served in the United States Navy during the 1960s and died of mesothelioma; the plaintiffs filed suit after his death. The plaintiffs alleged Crane manufactured and sold rope and valves to the Navy. Crane removed on the basis of the government contractor defense, and in support submitted affidavits from three individuals. Defendants may remove to federal court if it establishes…  

Coke Ovens are Real Property and Not Subject to Product Liability Theories

Defendant Honeywell International, Inc., successor in interest to Wilputte Coke Oven Division of Allied Chemical Corporation, appealed from an order denying its motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff sought damages for injuries sustained by decedent Donald Terwilliger from asbestos exposure and coke oven emissions while employed at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, New York. The court reversed and granted Honeywell’s motion. Honeywell was sued as the successor to Wilputte Coke Oven Division of Allied Chemical, the designer and builder of five coke oven batteries at Bethlehem…  

Plaintiff’s Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Denied with Respect to Two Defendants

The plaintiff filed for voluntary dismissal in order to re-file in the State of Pennsylvania. Various defendants had filed motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Two defendants, Evenheat Kiln and Sargent Art, objected to the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss without prejudice. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss with respect to Evenheat and Sargent. The case had progressed through the discovery phase, and the plaintiff was deposed over six days. Evenheat never contested jurisdiction in Rhode Island. After discovery, both Evenheat and…  

NYCAL Court Denies Motion in Limine to Preclude Plaintiff’s Causation Experts

The court issued further rulings in a case previously reported in Asbestos Case Tracker on April 12, 2017. This case involved plaintiff Frederick Evans’ alleged exposure to asbestos-containing dust from his work as an HVAC mechanic from 1955-59. Although the defendants submitted a joint omnibus motion in limine, the only defendant remaining at trial was Burnham LLC. Here, the motion in limine to exclude the causation opinions of the plaintiffs’ experts Dr. Carl Brodkin and Dr. John Maddox was denied. Burnham argued the plaintiffs’ causation…  

Upon Reconsideration, Finding of Jurisdiction Reversed Due to Missouri Supreme Court Ruling in State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Dolan

The plaintiffs were the special representative of the decedent, Berj Hovsepian, a civilian employee of the Navy from 1958-64 who died of mesothelioma. Originally filed in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, it was removed to federal court where defendant CBS Corporation filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. After the motion was denied, CBS moved to reconsider due to a change in controlling law. The court reconsidered and reversed its ruling, holding no personal jurisdiction existed over CBS. Motions to reconsider…  

Automotive Manufacturer Had No Duty to Warn Regarding Third Party Replacement Parts

The plaintiffs alleged Ford Motor Company was negligent in failing to warn decedent of the dangers posed by servicing asbestos brake parts in Ford vehicles. The decedent was a mechanic who died of mesothelioma. Ford moved for summary judgment, arguing that Ford had no duty to warn about asbestos replacement brake parts made by third parties, and the plaintiffs failed to produce evidence that decedent was exposed to Ford asbestos brake parts. The trial court ruled that Ford had no duty to warn about third…  

Seattle Jury Renders Enormous Verdict Against NAPA

A Seattle, Washington jury reached a unanimous verdict against NAPA/Genuine parts after 5.5 hours of deliberation. The plaintiffs alleged the decedent, Doy Coogan, developed peritoneal mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure from brake shoes, bulk brake bands, gaskets, packing, and clutches, distributed and sold by NAPA. Although punitive damages were not requested, the jury’s verdict exceeded $80 million. The jury applied pre-1981 law in awarding a total of $81.5 million for the plaintiffs. The decedent Doy Coogan was awarded $30 million; his wife of four years,…  

North Dakota Joins States Enacting Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Transparency Legislation

On April 14, 2017, North Dakota became the third state this year to enact legislation mandating disclosure of asbestos bankruptcy trust claims. The new legislation requires plaintiffs to provide, within thirty days after an asbestos action is filed, a sworn statement from both plaintiff and counsel stating that all asbestos trust claims have been made. Plaintiffs must also provide parties with all trust claim materials, which are admissible in evidence. Supplementation is required, and failure to comply may result in dismissal of the case by…  

Required Use of Asbestos Products for Proper Functioning of Steam Turbines Created Genuine Issue of Material Fact Regarding Duty to Warn

The decedent served in the Navy from 1943-46 and served as a machinist on the USS George K. MacKenzie during World War II. After the war, he joined the Military Sea Transportation Service and worked as an engineer until 1952. His representatives filed a wrongful death lawsuit after he died from mesothelioma, suing, among others, General Electric. The trial court granted GE’s motion for summary judgment, and the appellate court reversed. GE designed, manufactured, and supplied the steam turbines that were on board the decedent’s…  

John Crane Fails to Establish Personal Jurisdiction against Plaintiff’s Firm in Fraud Complaint Filed in Federal Court

John Crane, Inc. (JCI) filed suit against Benjamin Shein and the Shein Law Center (the defendant) for fraud, alleging that the defendant fraudulently obtained settlements with and verdicts against JCI by misrepresenting the exposure of asbestos plaintiffs to JCI’s products and concealing the plaintiffs’ exposure to products of other manufacturers. The complaint focused on four specific asbestos cases filed against JCI in Pennsylvania in which verdicts were rendered against JCI. It alleged specific behavior done by the defendants, such as delaying filing claims with bankruptcy…  

Rhode Island Court Applies Maine Law to Deny Summary Judgment to Insulation Contractor

The plaintiffs alleged negligence and breach of warranty based upon asbestos exposure sustained by decedent during his work at various job sites through the Laborer’s Union from 1969-1990. Defendant New England Insulation Company (NEI) filed a motion for summary judgment based upon various theories, which the court denied. During his deposition, the decedent testified that he worked as a laborer for general contractors at job sites in Maine.  From 1973-1976 he worked at International Paper Mill around other trades, such as pipefitters and insulators. His…  

Plaintiffs Presented Sufficient Evidence to Withstand Motion for Directed Verdict

The decedent’s estate filed a claim alleging asbestos exposure caused decedent to develop mesothelioma. The trial court directed a verdict in favor of Welco Manufacturing Company because no witnesses could specify how often the decedent used Welco’s products. The plaintiffs appealed, and the appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial. The decedent’s cousin, Walter, testified that he and the decedent applied joint compound on close to 50 commercial and residential sites for four months in Illinois in 1965. Walter testified they used, among…  

South Dakota Enacts Legislation Allowing Transparency in Bankruptcy Trust Claims

An ongoing issue in asbestos litigation is whether plaintiffs have received monies from bankruptcy trusts. The plaintiff’s bar has traditionally fought discovery of this information, but recently South Dakota became the first state to enact legislation regarding this issue.  Senate Bill No. 138 recommends amending the code to order plaintiffs to identify any asbestos trust claims filed by them not more than one hundred and twenty days before trial. Such identification shall include: information about the trust claim itself; the amount claimed, or to be…  

Case Remanded to Florida State Court Because Defendant Not Fraudulently Joined to Defeat Diversity

In this case alleging asbestos exposure from talc, mesothelioma plaintiff filed a motion to remand back to Florida state court after defendant Johnson & Johnson removed to federal court based upon diversity jurisdiction. The defendant argued that the plaintiff fraudulently joined defendant Publix Super Markets, Inc. (Publix) to destroy diversity. The court determined Publix was not fraudulently joined and remanded. In determining remand, the court must evaluate the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. If there is even a possibility that…  

Collateral Estoppel Applied to Bar Second Asbestos Case Against Crane by Same Plaintiff

The decedent, a civilian employee for the United States Navy from 1958-1964, died from mesothelioma. Prior to passing he brought suit in St. Louis City, Missouri, in December 2015, which the defendants removed to federal court. His representatives continued the suit after he passed. Defendant Crane Co. filed a motion to dismiss based upon collateral estoppel. The court granted this motion. In December 2009, the decedent brought an action against Crane and others in Massachusetts based upon asbestosis. Crane filed a motion for summary judgment…  

Laws of Two States Applied to Two Different Issues

The plaintiff alleged the decedent, who died of mesothelioma, was exposed to asbestos while serving as an engineman, machinery repairman, and machinist mate in the U.S. Navy during the 1960s. Although the majority of the decedent’s exposure occurred on four ships, to which maritime law applied, the plaintiff also alleged exposure during the six months decedent trained at a land-based naval academy in Idaho. Here the court decided whether Idaho or Louisiana applied to this six-month time frame. The plaintiff argued Louisiana law applied, and…  

Personal Jurisdiction Decision by Missouri Supreme Court to Significantly Impact Asbestos Litigation in Missouri

St. Louis City, Missouri is often termed a “judicial hellhole” for corporate defendants in product liability actions, most notably in asbestos litigation. Until recently, Missouri courts offered little guidance on what constituted general jurisdiction for corporate defendants in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746 (2014). In Daimler, the Supreme Court held that absent exceptional circumstances, a company is only subject to general jurisdiction in its state of formation or where it has its principal…  

California Jury Awards $10 Million to Mesothelioma Plaintiff Who Worked with Asbestos Pipe

Plaintiffs Michael and Cindy Burch filed suit against various defendants, including a pipe manufacturer, alleging that Michael Burch developed pleural mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. After a seven week jury trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $10 million. In doing so, the jury found that the pipe manufacturer misrepresented and concealed the health risks of handling and working with its product. The plaintiff cut, drilled, and installed asbestos cement pipe while working for J.C. Plumbing Company and Valley Engineers in…  

Lack of Factual Basis for Plaintiffs’ Assertion of Causation Yields Grant of Summary Judgment

After the decedent died of mesothelioma, her husband and adult son filed a wrongful death and survivorship complaint against numerous defendants. W.W. Henry Company, predecessor to the Henry Company (who was also named and not a party to this motion) filed a motion for summary judgment based upon lack of exposure. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s granting of this motion. The plaintiffs alleged exposure to asbestos from the early 1970s-early 1980s during the decedent’s work as an art teacher and sculptor, and from…  

“Discovery Rule” Applied for Plaintiffs’ Claim to Survive Two-Year Statue of Limitations

The plaintiffs asserted that the decedent, Joseph Conneen, was exposed to asbestos while working as a pipefitter and plumber from 1962-80 at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Rohm and Haas. The decedent died of lung cancer. The complaint was filed on January 20, 2015. In March 2015, the case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as part of MDL-875. Defendant Goulds moved for summary judgment on the basis of Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations. The court denied this…  

Madison County Jury Renders Defense Verdict for Brake Grinder Manufacturer

Plaintiffs Stan and Janet Urban, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, filed a lawsuit in Madison County, Illinois in March 2013. The plaintiffs alleged Mr. Urban developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure from using Ammco brake grinders while employed as a high school auto technology teacher. Defendant Hennessy Industries was the last remaining defendant at trial. Ammco is Hennessy’s predecessor. The jury disagreed with the plaintiffs’ request for $10 million, and rendered a verdict in favor of Hennessy. The plaintiffs argued that Hennessy had the power to…  

Magistrate Judge Recommends Granting Summary Judgment to Four Defendants Due to Lack of Evidence

A report and recommendation was made regarding four summary judgment motions filed by defendants Gardner Denver, Flowserve, Atwood & Morrill Company, and Nash Engineering. The plaintiffs did not respond to any of the motions for summary judgment. The magistrate judge recommended granting all four motions. The plaintiffs originally filed in Delaware state court, alleging that Icom Henry Evans developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure while a fireman and boiler tender with the U.S. Navy from 1957-1967. Foster Wheeler removed to federal court. The only fact…  

Favorable Defense Discovery Rulings, Including Preclusion of Treating Physicians from Testifying as Experts

The district court issued two opinions in the same case, issuing various rulings on motions brought by both parties. The plaintiff alleged he developed lung cancer from asbestos exposure while employed by Freeport Sulphur Company, predecessor to Mosaic Global Holdings, Inc. This case started in Louisiana state court, and was removed by Mosaic. The primary rulings on these motions are summarized below. The plaintiff moved to exclude evidence of settled claims and collateral sources of compensation. The defendants argued that both settlement agreements and collateral…  

Automotive Parts Manufacturers Granted Summary Judgment in Secondary Exposure Case

The plaintiff sued various automotive parts manufacturers, alleging secondary asbestos exposure from the work of his father, a mechanic. The plaintiff had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s father worked at Bekins warehouse from June 1974-May 1982, where he did brake, clutch, and engine gasket repair. The plaintiff visited his father at work, helped him at work, and father’s clothes were washed at home. Products identified in discovery included: two Ford trucks; four International semi-truck tractors; Rockwell axles; Carlisle brake linings; Grizzley brake linings (Maremont,…  

Summary Judgment Granted to Asbestos Paper Products Manufacturer in Take-Home Exposure Case Based on No Duty to Warn

Plaintiff Dorothy Ramsey, through her estate, alleged that the defendant Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center (Herty) negligently failed to warn her of the risks of take-home exposure to Herty’s asbestos paper products used at her husband’s work from 1976-80. She alleged this exposure caused her to develop lung cancer. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing it did not owe Plaintiff a duty of care. The central issue in this case was whether Price v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. and Riedel  

Fire Door Manufacturer Obtains Summary Judgment in NYCAL; No Duty to Warn Against Latent Dangers from Unforeseeable Use of Product

Defendants International Paper Company and Owens-Illinois, Inc. moved for summary judgment, which was granted. All Craft Fabricators, Inc. was hired to do millwork in refurbishing the United Nations headquarters. The general contractor issued a change order to use salvaged wood panels and doors from the Under-Secretary General’s office. These materials were resized and cut for use as interior cabinets at the United Nations building. External testing performed by All Craft showed that the dust from these materials contained asbestos. An affidavit from a professional engineer…