Timothy C. Connor

All articles by Timothy C. Connor

 

Interrogatory Answers and Deposition Testimony Admissible To Prove Fault of Settled Defendants In New Jersey

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Supreme Court held that disputed excerpts from a settled defendant’s interrogatory answers and corporate representative depositions were admissible as statements against interest under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(25). As such, when presented at trial with other evidence, those statements gave rise to a prima facie showing that the settled defendants bore fault, and a jury could properly consider whether to allocate some percentage of fault to them. The defendant, Universal Engineering Co., Inc., a manufacturer of asbestos-containing dry cement, was the sole…  

Allegation in Complaint of Exposure at Shipyard Renders Defendant’s Removal Untimely

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Charles Merlin Parfait, Sr., alleged that he contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos during his work at the Avondale Shipyards from 1968 to 1978, and sued various defendants in state court in Orleans Parish Louisiana. The plaintiff alleged strict liability claims in his state court petition, but specifically disclaimed strict liability claims against Avondale Shipyards’ successor, Huntington Ingalls Incorporated.  Less than 30 days after the plaintiff’s deposition, Huntington Ingalls removed the case to federal court and claimed that the plaintiff’s deposition…  

Expert Testimony Insufficient to Create Issue of Fact in Take Home Exposure Case

The Ninth Circuit affirmed an Idaho district court’s order granting summary judgment for the defendant, Union Pacific, in a secondary exposure case filed by the plaintiff William Stephens. The plaintiff alleged that his father was exposed to asbestos at his job at a Union Pacific roundhouse in Weiser, Idaho, and carried asbestos home on his clothes, exposing his family and contributing to the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff had also worked for 20 years in lumber mills in Oregon, and brought suit against his former employers…  

Alaska’s Statute of Repose Upheld to Bar Claims Against Pulp Mill Defendant

ALASKA – A Washington state appellate court upheld the trial court’s motion of summary judgment for the defendant Ketchikan Pulp Company (Ketchikan) in a matter involving the plaintiff Larry Hoffman, and concluded that Alaska’s statute of repose barred claims against Ketchikan. Hoffman’s father, Doyle, worked as a welder and pipefitter at the Ketchikan mill in Alaska from 1954 until 1956, and Larry worked at Ketchikan himself as a plumber and pipefitter from 1968 to 1970. The plaintiff alleged that his own work and his father’s…  

Delaware Court Uses Ohio Law to Grant Summary Judgment for Asbestos Supplier

DELAWARE – The plaintiff, Marianne Robinson, brought failure to warn and strict liability claims against Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). She alleged that UCC sold its Calidria asbestos to Georgia Pacific (GP) for use in their joint compound products for a period of time. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that her late husband, Jack Robinson, purchased and used GP’s Ready Mix products in Ohio between 1971 and 1982, which caused or contributed to his fatal lung cancer. UCC moved for summary judgment. Applying Ohio law,…  

Talc Defendant Successfully Excludes Expert Opinion Pursuant to Daubert

The plaintiff, Doris Gordon, alleged that she developed fatal mesothelioma in part from her use of asbestos-contaminated Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder that was manufactured, marketed, and sold by the defendant, Colgate-Palmolive. Colgate sought exclusion of the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Ronald Gordon. The court considered Colgate’s Daubert motion to exclude Dr. Gordon’s testimony and a separate motion in limine to preclude evidence regarding the plaintiff’s testing because of lack of authenticity and relevance of the talc tested. The Daubert motion was granted, and…  

Talc Case Remanded To State Court When Fraudulent Joinder Theory Fails

NEW YORK – The plaintiff, Marilyn LaFlair, sued Port Jervis, New York resident Kolmar Laboratories, Inc. (Kolmar) and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in state court in St. Lawrence County, New York. She alleged that asbestos-contaminated cosmetic talcum powder products manufactured and supplied by these defendants caused her mesothelioma. J&J removed the action to federal court and argued that non-diverse defendant Kolmar was fraudulently joined to the action. J&J contended that the “boilerplate allegations” of the plaintiff’s pleadings at most only suggested that Kolmar manufactured, sampled…  

Corporate Representative for Power Company Defendant Can’t Escape Deposition Notice Based On Long Period of Inquiry

FLORIDA – The plaintiff, Larry Cook, sued his employer Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) under negligence and premises liability theories for injuries allegedly sustained while working with or around asbestos in FPL power plants. Cook issued several notices for the deposition of a corporate representative of FPL to discover information regarding their use of asbestos, and requested documents and other materials from the company dating back to 1925.  FPL moved for protective orders arguing that compliance would be burdensome and costly. The court denied…  

Component Part Supplier Successfully Excludes Expert Testimony Regarding Failure to Warn

DELAWARE – The plaintiff Icom Henry Evans worked as a fireman and boiler tender in the United States Navy from 1957 to 1967. He filed suit and alleged that his fatal mesothelioma was caused in part by exposure to asbestos-containing gaskets and packing that were manufactured, sold, distributed, licensed, or installed by John Crane, Inc. (JCI).  JCI moved the court to exclude testimony offered by the plaintiffs’ expert Captain Arnold Moore, a marine engineering authority. They contended that Captain Moore lacked expertise to interpret relevant…  

Motion to Remand Denied Despite Disclaimer Regarding Federal Officer Jurisdiction

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Terry Bondurant, alleged that his mesothelioma was caused in part by his service as a welder for the United States Navy aboard the USS Ticonderoga, and by his work as an electrician in civilian refineries and chemical plants. The plaintiff brought strict liability failure to warn and design defect claims against defendants GE and Westinghouse and others in Louisiana State Court, but specifically disclaimed “any cause of action for injury caused by exposure on a federal enclave and by any act…  

Denial of Rail Defendant’s Forum Non Conveniens Motion Upheld on Appeal

ILLINOIS — The defendant, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), made an interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s denial of their forum non conveniens motion, seeking transfer from Cook County, Illinois to Knox County, Illinois, in a matter involving brakeman and locomotive engineer, Randall Alley. Alley alleged that his lung cancer was caused in part by unsafe working conditions at BNSF, where he worked for 40 years. He worked on BNSF trains that departed from train yards in Fort Madison, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri for 28…  

Circumstantial Evidence Held Sufficient to Uphold Verdict Against Insulator Defendant

MARYLAND — A Baltimore City jury found that William Busch, Jr. contracted mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing materials installed during the construction of Loch Raven High School (LRHS) by defendant Wallace & Gale, Co. (W&G), and awarded the plaintiff a $14 million verdict, which was later reduced to $7.3 million. While working for Honeywell in the early 1970s, Busch worked in the boiler room at LRHS for three-to-four months in the presence of insulators, who were covering two large boilers with…  

Washington State Personal Jurisdiction Dispute Remanded to Trial Court for Further Findings of Fact

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff sued the defendant Special Electric and others on behalf of the decedent Donald Noll, and alleged that Noll’s fatal mesothelioma was caused in part by his work with asbestos-cement pipe in the 1970s that contained asbestos supplied by Special Electric. Special Electric moved to dismiss the matter for lack of personal jurisdiction, which the trial court granted. However, Washington’s Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court for consideration of the facts in light of its decision in State v.  

Naval Contractor’s Summary Judgment Win Overturned on Appeal

CALIFORNIA – Yesterday, a three-judge panel reversed a California trial court’s grant of summary judgement for the defendant, Triple A Machine Shop (Triple A), Inc., and remanded the matter to the trial court for further determination of Triple A’s arguments in support of summary adjudication. The decedent, Michael Harris, sued Triple A, among others, and alleged that their subcontracted work overhauling the USS San Jose in San Francisco for over three months in 1973 disturbed asbestos and contributed to the development of his mesothelioma. The…  

Directed Verdict Reversed for Floor Tile Defendant Based on Admissibility of Expert Opinion

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff, Robert Friedman, alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos through remodeling work undertaken in his home. He proceeded to trial against the defendant, American Biltrite, Inc. (ABI), a manufacturer of asbestos vinyl tile that was allegedly cut and installed in Friedman’s presence over three days in 1966. The plaintiff specifically testified that he observed the tile installers cutting the tile with a circular saw, which created dust. ABI presented testimony from their corporate representative stating that vinyl tile was…  

Auto Parts Supplier’s Personal Jurisdiction Motion Denied

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff’s decedent, Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, was a merchant mariner, serving aboard several vessels while allegedly working with and around asbestos-containing products. The plaintiff additionally alleged that Klopman-Baerselman performed all maintenance and friction work on his vehicles for 30 years, and that he purchased asbestos-containing gaskets, brakes, and clutches from the Defendant, NAPA, contributing to his fatal mesothelioma. NAPA filed a motion to dismiss, and alleged that the court had no jurisdiction as NAPA lacked sufficient contacts with the State of Washington, since it…  

More Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Court

Consistent with the recent decisions of federal courts in Pennsylvania and California, district courts in Maryland and Massachusetts this week remanded the mesothelioma cases of Plaintiffs Carol Kerkhof and Lorraine O’Riorden to their respective state courts. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court, asserting that the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., made the cases “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in Delaware. J&J filed an accompanying motion to transfer the venue…  

Exclusive Remedy Defense Eliminated in Illinois for Latent Injury Claims

ILLINOIS – In 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court held in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 43 N.E. 3d 108 (2015), that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease Act was the exclusive remedy for state employees who contract mesothelioma, or another latent disease or injury. May 2019 in enacting Illinois SB 1596, the Illinois legislature revoked the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling and amended the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease Act to permit civil tort actions by employees against their employers…  

Jury Verdict Upheld Against Boiler Defendant

LOUISIANA — Lynda Berry alleged that she was exposed to asbestos through the electrical work of her husband, William, at a Louisiana paper mill, causing her peritoneal mesothelioma. William Berry testified that he was present when defendant Foster Wheeler removed and replaced asbestos insulation materials on their boilers, which were installed in the paper mill. The matter was tried before a jury who determined that Foster Wheeler was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and assessed a final award of $2.25 million against them. Foster Wheeler…  

Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Courts Despite Pending Bankruptcy of Talc Supplier

CALIFORNIA — On Tuesday, a federal court in California ordered that a group of asbestos talc personal injury cases must be remanded to state court on equitable grounds. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court in April on the basis of the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., claiming that J&J’s supply agreements with Imerys contained contractual indemnifications and other liability-sharing provisions, and that they were “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in…  

Washington’s Statute of Repose Determined to Not Apply to Premises Owners

WASHINGTON – For approximately seven months in 1971, Gary Cameron worked as a boilermaker at the Centralia Steam Plant in Washington State during its construction, which was completed in 1972. Asbestos-containing thermal insulation was used in building the plant, and Cameron’s estate alleged that his fatal mesothelioma was caused in part by exposures during his time at Centralia. They sued appellee PacifiCorp, who was among those responsible for constructing the plant, and who maintained an ownership interest until 2000, bringing claims against them as both…  

Forum Non Conveniens Stay Upheld

CALIFORNIA — Wisconsin resident Charlene Rickert filed a wrongful death suit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, and alleged that American Honda, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, and Kawasaki Motors Corporation, USA (respondents), among others, contributed to the mesothelioma death of Wisconsin resident Gary Staszewski, through his use of the respondents’ brakes, clutches, and gaskets. All of the relevant work and medical treatment occurred in Wisconsin, and all witnesses necessary to prove exposure and damages remained in Wisconsin. While the respondents maintained corporate headquarters in…  

Court Calls For Supplemental Briefing For Summary Judgment Motion Following DeVries Decision

WASHINGTON — A federal court in Washington state called for supplemental briefing prior to ruling on summary judgment motions in two similarly situated cases involving maritime exposures. Donald Yaw worked as a shipfitter, structural planner, and estimator at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton, Washington from 1964 to 2001. Thomas Deem worked as an outside machinist at PSNS from 1974 to 1981. The plaintiffs alleged that Mr. Yaw and Mr. Deem’s fatal mesotheliomas were caused by both the use of asbestos-containing products and…  

Defense Verdict for Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey Talc Meso Case

NEW JERSEY — March 27, 2019, a New Brunswick New Jersey jury found that Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (J&J) was not liable in causing the mesothelioma of 58-year-old plaintiff Ricardo Rimondi.  Rimondi alleged decades of use of J&J’s baby powder, which the plaintiff alleged contained talc that was contaminated with asbestos. J&J attorneys highlighted the fact that the plaintiff’s experts failed to acknowledge that the plaintiff grew up and lived in close proximity to an asbestos cement factory.…  

Lung Cancer Plaintiff Allocated 60 Percent of Fault in $937,500 Verdict

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff worked in the entertainment industry as a lighting technician for approximately 40 years, and alleged that asbestos exposure from plastic cement, construction and lighting products was a substantial factor in causing his lung cancer. Evidence showed that the plaintiff had a 37-50 pack year smoking history. After a four week trial, the jury found that the plaintiff was exposed to the defendant CalPortland’s Colton gun plastic cement, but that CalPortland was not negligent and the exposure was not a substantial factor…  

California Plaintiff Alleging Meso Due to Talc Awarded $29.5M Verdict

CALIFORNIA — On March 13,the plaintiff Teresa Leavitt was awarded a $29.5 million dollar verdict by an Oakland jury, who found that Johnson & Johnson, J&J Consumer, Inc., and J&J’s supplier Cyprus Mines Corporation were liable for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleged that her mother had used J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talc products on her as an infant in the 1960s. Further, the plaintiff personally used the product cosmetically throughout the 1970s. The jury was unanimous in finding that J&J failed to warn the plaintiff of…  

Talc Meso Case Remanded After Fraudulent Joinder Theory Fails

NEW YORK — The plaintiff Laura Shanahan sued Kolmar Laboratories, Inc. (Kolmar), Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and seven other defendants in state court in New York, alleging that her use of their asbestos-containing talc products led to the development of mesothelioma. While the plaintiff and Kolmar were both residents of New York, J&J nonetheless removed the matter to federal court and invoked the doctrine of fraudulent joinder to establish diversity jurisdiction. J&J argued that the plaintiff failed to plead specific facts showing what role Kolmar…  

Trial Postponed In Mesothelioma Case To Allow Discovery on Premises and Employer Liability Claims

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel alleged that he developed peritoneal mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos in his work as a mechanic performing work on engines and brakes. Ford Motor Company is the only remaining defendant in this matter. The court ruled on motions by the plaintiff and Ford, and ultimately continued the trial. After learning that Ford may have owned the dealership at which the plaintiff worked, the plaintiff moved the court to amend their complaint to add premises claims, employer liability claims, and…  

Personal Jurisdiction Motion By Telecom Employer and Auto Company Denied; Case Dismissed Due to Pleading Deficiencies

PENNSYLVANIA — Yesterday, a federal judge disagreed with the defendants, Ford Motor Company and AT&T, that the court lacked jurisdiction over the companies, but determined that the plaintiff Rhonda J. Gorton’s pleadings were deficient nonetheless. Ms. Gorton sued Ford, AT&T, and several other parties alleging that they exposed her late husband Thomas Gorton to asbestos, causing his mesothelioma. The court found that Gorton’s amended complaint set forth only conclusory allegations against Ford, and lacked any facts that demonstrated potential liability. They further determined that the…  

Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. Seek Bankruptcy Protection

DELWARE — Yesterday, Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. filed a petition to seek bankruptcy protection under U.S. Chapter 11. In support of their petition, the Imerys entities referenced “significant potential liabilities as a result of thousands of claims by plaintiffs alleging personal injuries caused by exposure to talc mined, processed, and/or distributed by one or more of the Debtors” as a factor leading to the filing. According to the petition, the entities face 13,800 pending ovarian cancer…  

$14 Million Verdict Upheld Against Chemical Plant Defendant

SOUTH CAROLINA — A $14 million verdict against Celanese Corporation was upheld on appeal in the mesothelioma case of 70 year old deceased the plaintiff Dennis Seay.  Seay did maintenance and repair work in a Celanese plant as a contractor for Daniel Construction for nine years in the 1970s. In 2015, a South Carolina jury found that Celanese was negligent in running the plant and awarded Seay $12 million dollars in compensatory damages and $2 million dollars in punitive damages. The appellate court disagreed with…  

Honeywell Settles Mesothelioma Case Before Jury Verdict

ARKANSAS — An Arkansas jury awarded plaintiff Ronald Thomas $18.5 million after a three week trial against Honeywell International, successor-in-interest to Bendix. However, prior to the verdict Honeywell and the plaintiff agreed to settle claims for an undisclosed amount. The plaintiff alleged that he developed mesothelioma in part due to his work at a brake shop in Little Rock from 1971-83, where he sometimes performed up to a dozen brake changes daily.  The jury assigned 18.75 percent of fault to Honeywell, 5 percent to Thomas,…  

Trial Preference Granted on Appeal for Kidney Cancer Plaintiff

CALIFORNIA — A three judge appellate panel in California issued a writ of mandate requiring the trial court to vacate its prior order, and to grant oetitioner/olaintiff David Ellis’ motion for trial preference. The plaintiff alleged that he suffered from asbestos-related kidney cancer and pleural disease, and filed suit against numerous defendants in 2016. After having his case set for trial and then continued on four occasions due to lack of courtrooms, the plaintiff moved for trial preference under California Code of Civil Procedure section…  

Lack of Detail in Product Identification Leads to Grant of Fourteen Summary Judgment Motions

DELAWARE — The plaintiff William Johansen alleged that he developed mesothelioma from his work with various pumps, valves, and other equipment aboard Naval vessels, at shipyards, and at a pulp mill. Fourteen defendants filed summary judgement motions arguing insufficient causation. The parties agreed that maritime law applied to all of the plaintiff’s Naval/sea-based claims and that Washington law applied to his land based claims. Under maritime law, a plaintiff must demonstrate exposure to the defendant’s product and proof that the product was a substantial factor…  

Default Judgments Set Aside After Insurer Discovers Policies

CALIFORNIA — Beginning in 2009, several asbestos plaintiffs filed claims against the Associated Insulation of California (the Associated). The Associated ceased operating in 1974 and did not respond to the plaintiffs’ complaints. Two of the plaintiffs notified the Associated’s alleged insurer, Fireman’s Fund, of the lawsuits. However, Fireman’s Fund could not locate any policies issued to the Associated and therefore declined to defend or indemnify Associated. The plaintiffs then sought and obtained default judgments in various amounts.The plaintiffs served notice of entry of default judgments…  

Asbestos Litigation Remains Strong Impetus for Inclusion on Judicial Hellhole Jurisdiction List

Last month, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) issued its always anticipated annual report on Judicial Hellholes. Not surprisingly, asbestos litigation remained a common engine driving the same familiar jurisdictions to repeated billing on the list. ATRA’s report attempts to shine a light on the conduct of all tort litigation in the United States, with attention to the uneven application of equal justice under the law, pretrial rulings, decisions during trial, unreasonable expansions of liability, and reflections on judicial integrity. Below, we’ll offer a…  

Denial of Texas County’s Jurisdictional Challenges Upheld on Appeal

TEXAS — In a case involving the mesothelioma death of a longtime jurist in Jefferson County, Texas attributed in part to asbestos remediation at the courthouse, a Texas Appellate Court affirmed the order of the trial court on all issues against defendant/appellant Jefferson County with the exception of the applicability of claims for exemplary damages, which were dismissed. Jefferson County filed an interlocutory appeal based on the trial court’s denial of its jurisdictional challenges. We have previously reported on the Appellate Court’s handling of the…  

Missouri Judge Refuses To Set Aside $4.69 Billion Ovarian Cancer Talc Verdict

MISSOURI — In July 2018, a $4.69 billion verdict was awarded against Johnson & Johnson when a Missouri jury determined that 22 women developed ovarian cancer due to asbestos allegedly contained in the company’s talcum powder products.  This week, Judge Rex Burlison denied Johnson & Johnson’s motion to set aside this verdict, which included $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.  Although Judge Burlison ruled that sufficient evidence was presented to support the award, Johnson & Johnson indicated that the unsuccessful…  

Plant Walkthroughs Insufficient to Establish Causation against Construction and Insulation Defendants

NORTH CAROLINA — In granting summary judgment for Daniel International Corporation and Covil Corporation, a district court judge in North Carolina determined that the plaintiff’s causation evidence was insufficient to meet the frequency, regularity, and proximity standards of the jurisdiction. In 1965, Daniel constructed a polyester production facility for Fiber Industries, a/k/a Hoechst Celanese, in Salisbury North Carolina, and kept workers on site for maintenance following completion of the construction.  Covil supplied asbestos-containing insulation for the facility. Decedent Charles Connor worked at the site from…  

South Carolina Workers Compensation Statute of Repose Bars Claims for Latent Asbestos Diseases

SOUTH CAROLINA — A federal court in South Carolina granted the summary judgment motion of defendant E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) on the theory that DuPont was a statutory employer, and South Carolina Workers Compensation law provided the exclusive remedy for the plaintiff.  For at least two years in the 1960s, decedent Jerry Matthews worked as an insulator for Armstrong Contracting & Supply Company at DuPont facilities in South Carolina, where he alleged he was exposed to asbestos insulation that caused his…  

Court, Sua Sponte, Refuses to Dismiss Thirteen Year Old Non-Malignancy Suit

In 2005, The plaintiff Samuel Holloway sued 29 companies including Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corporation (HOVIC) and Amerada Hess Corporation (Hess) through the Motley Rice firm, alleging non-malignant injuries arising from exposure to asbestos.  Proofs of service on summons were never filed; only HOVIC and Hess appeared and answered the complaint, and at the same time filed crossclaims against all defendants.  In 2006, a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was entered as to HOVIC and Hess, but was silent as to their pending crossclaims.  Also…  

Welding Contractor Must Indemnify Premises Owner for Exposures to its Own Employee

LOUISIANA — Wayne Bourgeois worked as a welder from 1989 to 1994 at Chevron Chemical (Chevron) in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. His employer was J.E. Merit, a predecessor to Defendant Jacobs Field Services North America, Inc. (Jacobs). As part of their contract to provide maintenance for the Chevron plant, including welders, Jacobs agreed to indemnify Chevron against loss, damage, injury or death connected with their work under the contract. Bourgeois developed mesothelioma and sued Chevron, who tendered the defense to Jacobs who declined to defend. Chevron…  

Applying Washington Law to Summary Judgment Based on Government Contractor Defense for Pump Manufacturer Results in Denial of Motion

WASHINGTON –The court ruled on competing motions for summary judgment from the plaintiff Alice Mikelsen and the defendant Warren Pumps in this case involving allegations that Arthur Mikelsen developed mesothelioma from working around Warren Pumps in the machine shop at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1942 to 1980.  The plaintiff challenged six of Warren Pumps’ affirmative defenses; the court granted five of the six, eliminating the defenses of failure to mitigate, contributory negligence, assumption of risk, sophisticated purchaser, and intervening/superseding cause.  The court denied summary…  

Johnson & Johnson Secures Defense Verdict in Asbestos Talc Case

NEW JERSEY — Today, a central New Jersey jury determined that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was not liable for the mesothelioma of the plaintiff Rosalind Henry, who alleged that she developed the disease in part from use of J&J’s baby powder. In closing arguments, counsel for J&J told jurors that Ms. Henry had told her doctors that she was exposed to asbestos while working for a company that serviced Naval vessels, and that Ms. Henry only used J&J’s talc product for a small number of…  

Ohio Defendants Can Force Plaintiffs to Prove That Asbestos Was a Substantial Factor in Lung Cancer With Sufficient Proof of Smoking

OHIO — The Plaintiff Bobby Turner, an occasional cigar smoker, alleged that he developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos from his work as a drywall finisher between 1962 and 1978. At the outset of his case, Turner did not submit a report per RC 2307.92(c)(1).that showed “diagnosis by a competent medical authority that [he] has primary lung cancer and that exposure to asbestos is a substantial contributing factor to that cancer.” Essentially, Turner took the position that he was not a…  

Denial of Judgment Notwithstanding The Verdict Reversed For Welding Rod Defendant

Illinois — Following a trial in which a jury found that Hobart Brothers Company (Hobart) had failed to warn the plaintiff, Charles McKinney of the dangers of asbestos from its welding rods, Hobart appealed the trial court’s denial of its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s denial, finding no evidence in the record demonstrating that the welding industry knew in the 1960s that welding rods could release asbestos fibers, or that welding rods were a substantial cause of…  

Trial Subpoenas to Settling Parties Allowed to Issue For Liability Apportionment

NEW YORK — In a currently pending asbestos matter, defendant Jenkins Bros. issued trial subpoenas to three settling defendants – Crane Co., Flowserve, Inc., and Warren Pumps. These three defendants filed motions to quash the subpoenas, which the court denied. The court ruled that the trial subpoenas were served properly on counsel in a timely manner, as no orders or stipulations of discontinuance had been filed by the three parties, and that the information sought in the subpoenas was relevant to establish apportionment of liability…  

Proper Removal Based Upon Diversity Jurisdiction When Clearly No Case Against Non-Diverse Defendant

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel filed a personal injury suit in Louisiana state court alleging that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos during his work as a parts delivery driver, truck mechanic, and generator service technician. The defendant Cummins, Inc. removed the matter to federal court after receiving a deposition transcript of plaintiff that arguably demonstrated that defendant and Louisiana resident, Taylor-Seidenbach, Inc. (TSI), was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff moved to remand asserting a lack of diversity jurisdiction,…  

California Jury Returns Defense Verdict for Brake Arc Grinder Manufacturer

CALIFORNIA — on August 8, 2018, an Alameda County jury issued a defense verdict for Hennessey Industries, Inc. (AMMCO) in the plaintiff Donald Knutson’s mesothelioma case, which included allegations of exposures to asbestos from time in the United States Navy and from time working with various friction products.  While the jury found that Plaintiff’s mesothelioma was related to asbestos, and that he worked around an AMMCO brake arc grinder, they declined to find that AMMCO was negligent, or that they knew or should have known…  

Talc Defendant Entitled to Costs after Favorable Verdict

CALIFORNIA — In 2016, a Los Angeles jury ruled in favor of defendant Colgate-Palmolive Company (Colgate), and against Plaintiff Elizabeth Alfaro, who alleged that her mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos from talcum powder products. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Colgate on the exposure claims; this verdict was affirmed on appeal. Colgate then appealed the trial court’s denial of its request for $300,000 in costs and expert witness fees. This request was made pursuant to the California statutory law scheme which…