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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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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New Jersey Supreme Court Affirms Manufacturer Liability for Third-Party Asbestos-Containing Component Parts

This case was initially filed in Middlesex County, NJ by the plaintiff in 2014. The plaintiff, Arthur Whelan, alleged he contracted mesothelioma from working on products manufactured by defendants, including original asbestos-containing components and asbestos-containing replacement components manufactured by other entities. At the summary judgment stage, the defendants argued the plaintiff could not establish that his exposure to asbestos was the result of any product they manufactured or distributed. Further, they denied any liability for the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos-containing replacement parts that they did …

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Appeal Dismissed as Interlocutory Since Entry of Judgment Still Pending

Supreme Court of Delaware, May 22, 2020

After a jury trial found in favor of the plaintiff in this asbestos matter, defendant Ford Motor Co. filed a motion for a new trial or in the alternative for remittitur. The trial court denied Ford’s motion. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for entry of judgment, seeking the award of pre- and post-judgment interest under New Mexico law. While the plaintiff’s motion was pending, Ford filed a notice of appeal from the court’s March 3, 2020 Order …

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Ninth Circuit Reverses Denial of Longshore Act Benefits to California Widows

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Two widows of California shipyard workers, whose husbands were allegedly exposed to asbestos and died as a result, sought compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (“the Longshore Act” or “the Act”). The Longshore Act was enacted to protect longshore workers who suffered injuries related to their employment, but terminates benefits when “‘the person entitled to compensation (or the person’s representative) enters into a settlement with a third person’ for the employee’s disability or death for an …

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Court of Appeals Affirms District Court’s Judgment in favor of Plaintiff Against Railroad Defendant

Plaintiff Nancy Little (“Little”) filed suit against the Budd Company (“Budd”) alleging that decedent died from exposure to asbestos-containing insulation surrounding the pipes on Budd manufactured rail cars.  The parties went to trial and a verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal, Budd asserted that plaintiff’s tort claims were preempted  by the Locomotive Inspection Act (“LIA”) and  Safety Appliance Act (“SAA”). Budd’s theory on appeal was that the claims were preempted because all passenger rail cars are “appurtenances” to a complete locomotive.…

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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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