court of appeals

First Department Reverses Denial of Valve Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss on Personal Jurisdiction Grounds

Court: Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

Plaintiff Ralph Vavala alleged his lung cancer diagnosis arose from alleged exposure to asbestos from a variety of products, including valves manufactured by the defendant, Jenkins Bros., during his employment as a steamfitter and welder from the 1960s through the 1980s. Upon commencement of the plaintiff’s lawsuit, Jenkins Bros. moved to dismiss the complaint against it for lack of personal jurisdiction. In response, the plaintiff cross-moved for jurisdictional discovery. On December 6, 2021, the trial …

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Mesothelioma

Grant of Summary Judgment to Employer Defendants Reversed on Appeal

Jurisdiction: Superior Court of Pennsylvania

Richard and Pamela Shellenberger filed a lawsuit to recover damages from several defendants, including Mr. Shellenberger’s employers — Kreider Dairy Farms Inc. and Noah W. Kreider & Sons LLP (Appellees) — as a result of his exposure to asbestos and subsequent mesothelioma diagnosis, from which he ultimately died. Specifically, they alleged that Mr. Shellenberger was exposed to asbestos through maintenance work he performed on the boiler at Kreider Farms’ dairy processing plant from 1972 through September 1980.    

The appellees …

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court of appeals

Boiler Manufacturer Directed to Appear for Punitive Damages Deposition

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

In this asbestos action, Defendant Burnham (“Burnham”) moved to vacate the NYCAL Special Master’s ruling directing Burnham to appear for a deposition with regard to punitive damages. The trial court denied Burnham’s motion. Burnham subsequently appealed the trial court’s decision.

The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision. After noting the relevant portions of the NYCAL Case Management Order, the Appellate Division set forth that “[t]he  Special Master providently exercised her discretion in directing Burnham to …

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judge's gavel and books

Appellate Division Reverses Trial Court’s Denial of Dismissal of Punitive Damages Claim

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

Plaintiffs Victor Arana and Romeo Maffei, both allege asbestos exposure from working with asbestos cement pipe previously distributed by the defendant, J-M Manufacturing Company.

In these actions, the plaintiffs sought punitive damages against JMM as the company did not place a warning on all of the pieces of pipes it distributed. JMM moved for summary judgment on the punitive damages claim, which the trial court denied. JMM appealed the trial court’s decisions.

Ultimately, the Appellate Division …

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Court of Appeals Court

PPE Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss on Personal Jurisdiction Grounds Denied

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, November 2, 2022

In this asbestos action, Steel Grip Inc., a personal protective equipment manufacturer, was sued along with other defendants for decedent Giacinto Pira’s alleged asbestos exposure, which allegedly contributed to his mesothelioma diagnosis.  

At his discovery deposition, Pira testified that his employer purchased asbestos-containing safety gloves from SGI in New York, and that he used these gloves for welding on his jobsite.

SGI moved to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction, …

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court of appeals

Judgment Against Joint Compound Defendant Upheld on Appeal

Court of Appeals of Oregon, October 5, 2022

Plaintiffs Donald Miller and Linda Miller filed a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries Donald allegedly sustained as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products during his lifetime.  At the time of trial, Kaiser Gypsum Company was the only remaining defendant.  As to Kaiser Gypsum, Plaintiffs alleged that Donald was exposed to asbestos-containing joint compound while employed as a mechanical insulator between October 1966 and April 1969.   

At the conclusion of trial, the jury returned a verdict …

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Business and lawyers discussing contract papers with brass scale on desk

Summary Judgment Affirmed for Trailer Manufacturer

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, September 28, 2022

In this asbestos action, John Brindell (“Brindell”) allegedly contracted mesothelioma as a result of working as a mechanic for Puerto Rico Marine Management, Inc. (“PRMMI”) at the Port of New Orleans. Brindell’s surviving spouse and children (“Plaintiffs”) asserted a wrongful death and survival action against several defendants. Defendant CRA Trailers, Inc. f/k/a Great Dane Trailers, Inc. (“CRA/Great Dane”) moved for summary judgment, arguing that CRA/Great Dane trailers were not present at the Port during Brindell’s …

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Court of Appeals Court

Summary Judgment against Reinsurer Affirmed where Exhaustion and Attachment Point Provisions were Ambiguous

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, September 15, 2022

Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. v. Onebeacon Ins. Co., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 25863

            Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (“Fireman’s Fund”) issued three excess insurance policies to ASARCO, Inc., in 1983 and 1984, which functioned as layers of a coverage tower assembled for ASARCO. Two of the Fireman’s Fund policies provided $20 million in coverage for losses in excess of $30 million, one in 1983 (“policy 1”) and the other in 1984 (“policy 2”). …

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Judgment Against Dryer-Felt Supplier Affirmed on Appeal

Court of Appeals of South Carolina, August 3, 2022

In this asbestos action, decedent Stephen Stewart alleged exposure from working with asbestos-containing dryer felt associated with a paper machine from 1963 until 1981.

Stewart was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in September 2012. After settling with all other defendants, Stewart proceeded to trial against Scapa Waycross, supplier of the dryer felt to Stewart’s employer. The jury found in Stewart’s favor and awarded damages in the amount of $600,000 for the survival action, and $100,000 for …

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NYCAL Verdict Against Talc Product Manufacturer Reversed on Causation Grounds

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, July 19, 2022

In 2017, Plaintiff Donna Olson (“Plaintiff”) filed suit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), claiming that her lifelong use of J&J talcum powder exposed her to asbestos and caused her to develop mesothelioma. After a 12-week jury trial in 2019, a New York City jury found J&J liable and awarded damages to Plaintiff in the amount of $325 Million. In November 2020, the trial court reduced the award to $120 Million, but affirmed the …

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