Railroad Case Remanded to Lower Court to Determine “Other Activities”

Supreme Court of Montana, March 11, 2020

MONTANA – The defendant BNSF Railway Company’s (BNSF) appealed the lower court’s decision arguing that the court erred in granting partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on the issues of preemption, strict liability, and non-party affirmative defenses.

As an overview, W. R. Grace acquired the assets of Zonolite Company, formerly known as Mineral Carbon and Insulating Company. W.R. Grace mined vermiculite seven miles outside of Libby, Montana. W.R. Grace’s operations produced approximately 80 percent of the …

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Case Remanded to Trial Court on Issues of Admission of Alternative Causation Evidence and Jury Instruction

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, February 26, 2020

FLORIDA – An appeal was brought on behalf of the defendant, Union Carbide, after a second jury trial was completed and a jury verdict entered in favor of the plaintiff.  The plaintiff, Paula Font, filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging her father, Luis Torres, contracted and died of mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products.

The defendant raised three issues on appeal. First, the defendant claimed the trial court erred in denying the …

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Under the Fair Share Act: Pennsylvania Asbestos Liability Share will be Allocated Per Capita

Supreme Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, February 19, 2020

The Trial Court

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiffs, William Roverano and Jacqueline Roverano, filed an asbestos-related lawsuit on March 10, 2014 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. The plaintiffs alleged that William Roverano contracted lung cancer as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing products during his employment as a helper and a carpenter at PECO Energy Company from 1971 to 1981. On Jan. 7, 2016, the defendant, John Crane, Inc. filed a third-party complaint joining …

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Defendant’s Summary Judgment Upheld by Wisconsin Appellate Court Finding That the 10-Year Statute of Repose Barred Appellant’s Claims

WISCONSIN – In this appellate action, Jacqueline Nooyen, the plaintiff, sought to appeal the circuit court’s decision to grant summary judgment to the defendants, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Madison Gas and Electric Company, Wisconsin Power & Light Company, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation.

The plantiff’s husband, the decedent, was a career pipefitter who, between 1970 and 1973, was involved in the original construction of two nuclear power plants owned by the defendants. On December 2, 2016, the decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result …

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California Appellate Court Upholds Defendants’ Summary Judgment Based Upon Appellants’ Failure to Create a Triable Issue of Material Fact

CALIFORNIA – In July 2016, Ann Patrice Gibbons, the plaintiff/appellant, was diagnosed with mesothelioma. A lawsuit was filed by the appellant and her husband in December 2016, alleging the appellant’s exposure to asbestos through her own use, from 1980 to 2000, of Shower to Shower talcum powder manufactured by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), as well as take-home exposure from the appellant’s current and former spouses, who worked in the construction industry from 1981 to 2000.

JJCI, along with their supplier of talc, Imerys …

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Appellate Court Affirms Order for New Trial and Denial of Post-Judgment JNOV

CALIFORNIA — Following the conclusion of an extensive trial and creation of a special verdict form, the jury deliberated and rendered a special verdict in favor of one plaintiff, awarding substantial economic and noneconomic damages. However, the trial signed a judgment in favor of the defendant. Post judgment, the trial court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), but granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial. The Court of Appeal for the Second District, Division 4 of California affirmed the post-judgment …

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Plaintiffs’ Failure to Establish Causal Connection Upheld in Consolidated Workers’ Compensation Claims

NORTH CAROLINA – The Court of Appeals of North Carolina recently upheld the Worker’s Compensation Commission decisions and findings in 144 consolidated cases. Numerous plaintiffs, including Walter Hinson, Charles Wilson, Douglas Epps, and Bobby James Newell, sought compensation under the worker’s compensation statute for alleged asbestos related illnesses for their work at Continental Tire in Charlotte, North Carolina from 1967-1999. The court focused on the Hinson case and analyzed the commission’s findings, which it later applied to the remaining cases. Hearings began in 2011. At …

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Application of Product Line Doctrine Imposes Liability Upon Successor in Interest of Asbestos Supplier

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff, Edward Leren, filed suit alleging that decedent Marvin Leren developed mesothelioma as a result of his employment with Z Brick Company from 1961-1981. It was alleged that Benson Chemical (Benson) supplied Z Brick with raw asbestos used in their decorative bricks. Leren poured the raw asbestos into hoppers to mix the ingredients used to make the bricks. The defendant at trial was Elementis, the successor to Harrisons and Crosfield Pacific, Inc. (HCP). HCP had previously acquired Benson. The jury returned a …

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Insurer of Long Defunct Employer May Be Held Liable Under “Enhanced Benefits” in Worker’s Compensation Statute

MISSOURI – The plaintiff passed from mesothelioma in 2015 as a result of alleged exposure to asbestos while working at Valley Farm Dairy Company. Specifically, it was alleged that Vincent Hegger encountered lots of industrial equipment, including fireboxes, boilers, and ammonia compressors while working at Valley Farm. Prior to his passing, Hegger and his children submitted a claim for worker’s compensation under the recently amended statute. The administrative law judge found that the plaintiff could not “elect” coverage under the amended statute because Valley Farm …

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Plaintiffs Not Entitled to Jury Instruction on General Negligence Due to Lack of Specific Evidence

CALIFORNIA – Philip and Febi Mettias, husband and wife, both died of complications caused by mesothelioma. The decedents’ children (plaintiffs) filed suit against various defendants. As part of their allegations, the plaintiffs alleged Philip Mettias performed as many as 24 brake repairs with Bendix brakes, made by Honeywell and purchased at Pep Boys.

The jury returned a special verdict in favor of Honeywell and Pep Boys; the plaintiffs appealed on two contentions:

  1. The trial court erred in not giving general negligence instructions in addition to
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