Summary Judgment Affirmed for Premises Defendant on Causation Grounds

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston, July 13, 2021

The plaintiff, Thelma Mullins, alleged that the decedent, Donald Mullins, was exposed to asbestos while working at ARCO’s petrochemical plant. The plaintiff claimed that the asbestos exposure caused the decedent to develop mesothelioma, which led to his death. The trial court granted a no-evidence summary judgment in favor of ARCO, which the plaintiff appealed.

By way of background, the plaintiff alleged that the decedent had worked at ARCO’s plant from approximately 1967 to 1983 …

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$81.5 Million Verdict Reinstated Against Automotive Parts Distributor and Supplier

Supreme Court of Washington, July 8, 2021

The Asbestos Case Tracker previously reported on a significant verdict against Genuine Parts Company (GPC) and National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) (Defendants). The defendants appealed the verdict and argued that the trial court erred on several grounds. The Court of Appeals reversed the verdict in part and set aside the verdict. While the Court of Appeals disagreed with the defendants’ argument as to the plaintiff’s counsel’s alleged misconduct, the Court of Appeals agreed that the trial court erred …

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Denial of Premise Owner’s Motion for Summary Judgment Affirmed in Part and Remanded in Part on Interlocutory Appeal

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division, June 30, 2021

The plaintiff, Colen Campbell, alleged asbestos exposure from his work removing and installing insulation at a nuclear power plant owned by Georgia Power in the 1970s. The plaintiff was employed as an independent contractor by North Brothers. The defendant, Georgia Power, filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that (1) there was no duty owed to the plaintiff because it had ceded possession and control of the plant to North Brothers, (2) the testimony of …

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Plaintiff’s Verdict Reversed as Trial Court Gave Erroneous Causation Instruction

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One

Defendant The Marley-Wylain Company successfully argued that Michigan law should apply in this California action as all of the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos manufactured or supplied in connection with Weil-McLain boilers occurred in Michigan. Marley-Wylain was the only remaining defendant at trial, where the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and entered a judgment against Marley-Wylain for $5,489,688.68. The trial court subsequently denied Marley-Wylain’s motions for a new trial and for judgment notwithstanding the …

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Plaintiff’s Verdict Reversed Based on Jury Charge Errors on Failure to Warn and Medical Causation

Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, May 26, 2021

In this case, the plaintiff filed suit as personal administer of her husband’s estate against defendant Union Carbide. The jury returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor on the claims of strict liability and negligent failure to warn. Union Carbide appealed, arguing that a new trial should be granted due to two errors in the jury instructions: (1) the instruction on failure to warn and (2) the instruction on medical causation. The court agreed and …

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Denial of Summary Judgment Affirmed as to Fireproofing Contractor

As previously reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker, Judge Manuel Mendez, former NYCAL coordinating judge, denied defendant Mario & DiBono Plastering Co., Inc.’s (M&D) motion for summary judgment. M&D appealed this decision. The Appellate Division noted that the court properly denied M&D’s smmary judgment motion since it failed to unequivocally establish that the materials it used could not have contributed to plaintiff’s injury. Moreover, the court noted that in light of the decedent’s testimony, which M&D submitted in support of it motion, identifying the …

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Denial of Summary Judgment Reversed as to Joint Compound Manufacturer

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, April 20, 2021

In this matter, Judge Manuel Mendez, former NYCAL coordinating judge, denied defendant Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc’s motion for summary judgment on January 13, 2020. Kaiser Gypsum appealed arguing that plaintiffs failed to identify defendant’s products as a source of the decedent’s alleged exposure to asbestos. Further, the only evidence presented was the inadmissible hearsay statement of a coworker of the decedent and his son when they were working together at some point from …

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Summary Judgment Upheld as to Manufacturer and Supper of Asbestos Insulation

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, April 27, 2021

On June 11, 2017, Charles F. Connor (the decedent) died at the age of 90 of mesothelioma. Following his death, his son Darrell Connor (the appellant), individually and as executor of Mr. Connor’s estate, brought a wrongful death action. The appellant named 22 defendants and stated a plethora of causes of action arising under both federal and North Carolina law. All of the appellant’s claims boil down to one straightforward accusation: that the …

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$25.5 Million Punitive Damages Award Reversed; New Trial Ordered on Apportionment of Fault in Automobile Brake Case

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Two, March 25, 2021

In this asbestos action, plaintiff Arthur Putt replaced brake pads manufactured and supplied by several different entities in connection with cars manufactured by three different companies in two California gas stations from 1966 until 1970. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018 and testified that 40 percent of his brake work involved Ford vehicles, and 40 percent of his total work with Ford vehicles involved removing the factory-installed brake pads. The …

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Summary Judgment Upheld for Motorcycle Manufacturer Based on Lack of Proof of Asbestos in Brake Linings

Court of Appeals of Oregon, March 24, 2021

In this asbestos action, decedent Ronald Laux alleged exposure to asbestos from replacing motorcycle brake linings from 1961 until 2014. Thereafter, he developed mesothelioma and brought negligence and strict products liability actions against numerous defendants. After Mr. Laux’s passing, Mrs. Laux was named as the personal representative of his estate.

Defendant Yamaha moved for summary judgment, arguing that the record was devoid of sufficient evidence to show the decedent was exposed to asbestos from a product manufactured, …

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