Post-Trial Motions from Plaintiffs and Valve Defendant Denied Following 2019 Verdict

New York

On April 25, 2019, as previously reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the Supreme Court of Erie County rendered a plaintiffs’ verdict, finding that decedent James Stock was exposed to asbestos by products made by the valve manufacturer, the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care by not providing warnings about the hazards of exposure to asbestos from its products, and that its failure to warn was a substantial contributing factor in causing the decedent’s injuries. The verdict was appealed by the defendant and …

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Key 2020 Rulings on the “Every Exposure” Causation Theory and Anticipated Rulings for 2021

Due to court closures and stays placed in cases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant downturn in the advancement of motions throughout the second and third quarters of 2020. However, the Asbestos Case Tracker has reported on recent motions in limine and causation-based motions for summary judgment involving these issues, which provides some guidance into the anticipated rulings going forward.

In mid-September 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued several decisions on motions in limine …

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North Dakota Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Transparency Act Deemed Constitutional, Plaintiffs Demanded to Disclose Bankruptcy Trust Filings

U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota

In Kotalik v. A.W. Chesterton Co., several defendants filed motions to enforce the plaintiffs’ compliance with disclosure requirements of North Dakota’s Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Transparency Act. Counsel for the defendants as well as plaintiffs moved the court for a hearing on the issue. Lastly, plaintiffs’ counsel moved for a certification of a question to the North Dakota Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Trust Transparency Act.

In its analysis, the court held that plaintiffs …

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Case Remanded to State Court Due to Lack of Diversity or Federal Enclave Jurisdiction Over Equipment Manufacturer

In Hatten v. Grobet United States, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona recently ruled on a defendant’s motion to remove the case to federal court. In this case, plaintiff Renee Hatton alleged that as a result of the defendants’ actions, her mother contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos-containing products between 1977 and 1979 while working as an art teacher and jewelry-making instructor at Fort Huachuca. Defendant Grobet filed a notice of removal, asserting that the court had federal enclave jurisdiction, as …

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Court of Appeals Reverses Dismissal of Asbestos Manufacturer Based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division One, July 13, 2020

In Noll v. Special Electric Co., the Court of Appeals of Washington, Division One, recently opined on an order of remand regarding the trial court’s dismissal of an action because the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The trial court concluded that the plaintiff did not allege sufficient facts for Washington to exercise specific jurisdiction over the defendant. In granting the defendant’s original motion, the court held that the plaintiff failed to allege …

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Premises Owner Obtains Summary Judgment Based on Lack of Vicarious, Strict, and Direct Liability

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 6, 2020

In Lopez v. McDermott, Inc., pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Exxon Mobil moved for summary judgment. In the operative complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Mr. Lopez (the plaintiff) was exposed to asbestos-containing products while employed as a welder/pipefitter at Kellogg Brown & Root between 1973 and 1986, which caused him to develop malignant mesothelioma. With regard to Exxon, the plaintiffs’ claims against them sounded in …

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Court Reverses Grant of New Trial, Affirms Defense Verdict for Electrical Product Manufacturer

Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, June 29, 2020

In Estes v. Eaton Corp., 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 594, the Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District reversed an order granting a new trial, and affirmed a defense verdict for Eaton Corporation. In this case, the jury heard the trial court case, and returned a defense verdict. However, the trial court granted the plaintiff a new trial on the ground of insufficient evidence. Eaton appealed the new trial order on multiple …

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Court Grants Third-Party Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

In Jack Papineau and Holly Papineau v. Brake Supply Company, Inc., et al., the Court recently granted a third-party defendant’s motion to dismiss a third-party complaint. Plaintiff Jack Papineau (“Papineau”) alleged that he developed malignant mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from his employment at Smith Coal, and sued four defendants. After the action was filed, one defendant filed a third-party action against Rudd Equipment for common law indemnity and apportionment under K.R.S. Section 411.182. In its motion to dismiss the third-party complaint, Rudd Equipment …

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Dryer Felt Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Personal Jurisdiction Denied

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina, February 28, 2020

United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina recently denied a dryer felt defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit after William Brock was employed as an electrician and maintenance worker at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem for over 30 years, and developed mesothelioma after exposure to various asbestos-containing materials. The dryer felt defendant moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). …

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Failure to Warn: To Whom and How Does it Apply?

As we have seen nationwide, plaintiffs assert claims against various types of defendants in asbestos litigation, including product manufacturers, suppliers, and premises owners. Even further, some of the product manufacturers may or may not have actually manufactured asbestos-containing products, whereas others’ products merely required the use of asbestos-containing component parts. Even more proliferating as to the possible types of claims, there are different standards related to the plaintiffs with direct asbestos exposure versus take-home cases, where the individual injured never worked directly with or around …

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