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Jury Award of $36 Million Affirmed against Contractor

Court: Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

In this asbestos action, plaintiff William Walker alleged asbestos exposure from working as a pipefitter and welder for Level 3 Holdings Inc. f/k/a Peter Kiewit & Sons, Co. (“Level 3”) from 1967 until 1970. During this time, he worked at the Union Carbide Plant, Waterford I, and Waterford II. This case proceeded to trial in May 2022 where the jury found for the plaintiff and awarded damages in the amount of over $36 million dollars. In July …

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Joint Compound Manufacturer Files Appeal of $15M Verdict: Key Issues on Appeal

As previously reported in the Asbestos Case Tracker here, in June 2022 a jury awarded plaintiff Munir Seen $15 million, allocating 70 percent of the fault to joint compound manufacturer Kaiser Gypsum. Following the trial, Kaiser moved for three forms of post-trial relief. The court denied Kaiser’s motions in their entirety in March.  

Kaiser first moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, contending that “plaintiff’s expert proof at trial . . . was defective and insufficient as a matter of law” as per the Court …

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Dryer Felt Manufacturer’s Judgment Upheld on Appeal

Court: Court of Appeals of Washington, Division One

In this asbestos action, decedent Kevin Holdsworth worked at a paper mill in Camas, Washington from 1964 to 2001. He alleged exposure to asbestos from several sources during his employment, including from his role on the paper machine cleanup crew which required him to “blow down” every paper machine at the Camas mill.

Holdsworth also alleged exposure to asbestos from his role in the maintenance department at the Camas mill, where he frequently used a hammer to …

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$5.5 Million Wrongful Death Damages and Pre-Judgment Interest Awards Affirmed on Appeal

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

In this asbestos action, David Stauder Jr. (decedent) developed mesothelioma after working as a pipefitter for two decades. His daughters, Jill and Shelley Stauder (appellees) brought a survival action and wrongful death action against several defendants. Following a trial in December 2021 where Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) was the sole remaining defendant, the jury found UCC negligent and strictly liable for the decedent’s injuries. The jury apportioned 20% to UCC. As pertinent to this appeal, the jury awarded …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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