Insurer of Long Defunct Employer May Be Held Liable Under “Enhanced Benefits” in Worker’s Compensation Statute Missouri Court of Appeals, E.D., May 21, 2019

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 Court of Appeals, Second District, Division 4, California, May 14, 2019

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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Jury Verdict of $32.7 Million Against Insulation Manufacturer Upheld Based on Weight of Evidence United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina, May 1, 2019

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff Ann Finch filed suit on behalf of herself and the plaintiff’s decedent, Franklin Finch, alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused his mesothelioma. The plaintiff resolved or dismissed her claims against all parties outside of Covil Corporation (Covil), and the case was tried in October of 2019. The court charged the jury on North Carolina state law negligence and failure to warm claims. The jury found Covil liable on both counts, and returned an award of $32.7 million in damages.…
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Jury Instructions Confused Non-Party’s Role as Employer and Manufacturer, Leading to Incorrect Attribution of Liability Supreme Court of New York, New York County, March 28, 2019

NEW YORK — The sole issue on appeal “is the attribution of liability as between Con Ed and non-party Robert A. Keasbey, Co., (Keasbey).” For three months in 1958, the plaintiff’s decedent worked in close proximity to Keasbey employees, who used asbestos-containing concrete products, including Rex and Rakco concrete manufactured by Keasbey.  From the winter of 1964 to the spring of 1965, the plaintiff’s decedent worked for Keasbey as an asbestos installer at a Con Ed plant in Ravenswood, Queens and used Rex and Rakco.…
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NYCAL Verdict Tossed on Basis that “a lot” of Asbestos Exposure is Insufficient to Establish Causation Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York, March 28, 2019

NEW YORK – The defendant Caterpillar, Inc. (Caterpillar) appealed a verdict in the aggregate amount of $1.8 million issued by a jury in the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) following a trial over which the Honorable Martin Shulman presided. This verdict was unanimously reversed by the First Department, one of which justices is the Honorable Peter Moulton, who previously presided over NYCAL as administrative judge. The First Department based its reversal on the plaintiff Joanne Corazza’s (plaintiff) failure to establish causation as it related…
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Fifth Circuit Affirms Preemption of Claims Under Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, March 18, 2019

In a per curiam opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed the appeal of pro se appellant, Johnny Kirkland. He alleged suffering injuries as a result of asbestos exposure while working for Huntington Ingalls in the 1970s. The district court found that plaintiff’s claims related exclusively to his work for Huntington Ingalls in the field of ship construction and repair, and were therefore governed by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The plaintiff did not dispute that the Huntington…
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California Court Remands Grant of Relief from Default Judgment California Court of Appeals, February 19, 2019

CALIFORNIA — In 2010, Donna O’Balle filed a complaint against numerous defendants alleging personal injuries from exposure to asbestos dating back to the 1980’s. Associated Insulation of California, Inc. (Associated), one of the defendants, was served, but did not respond, having gone out of business long before. O’Balle filed a request for entry of default against Associated. Almost a year later, O’Balle sent notice of the suit to Fireman’s Fund, seeking coverage on behalf of Associated. Fireman’s Fund was unable to locate any policy it…
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Dismissal of 1997 Lawsuit against Non-Party Defendants Insufficient for Summary Judgment Under Federal Employer’ Liability Act Court of Appeals of New York, February 21, 2019

NEW YORK — The plaintiff’s decedent Mason South and his wife Ann South sued Chevron Corp. and several other defendants, alleging that the defendants were responsible for causing Mason’s mesothelioma. Chevron moved for summary judgment based on a release that the plaintiff’s decedent signed when he settled a 1997 lawsuit against Texaco, Inc. and many other defendants based on his exposure to asbestos.The Supreme Court denied Chevron’s motion, reasoning that the record at that stage of the proceedings did not meet Chevron’s heightened burden under…
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Covil Corp. Seeks to Overturn $33 Million Verdict in North Carolina U.S. District Court. for the Middle District of North Carolina, November 19, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — In October, the plaintiff, Ann Finch, prevailed against Covil Corp. in a mesothelioma case involving her husband’s workplace exposure at Firestone. Covil made asbestos insulation that Mr. Finch worked around daily while changing molds on tire presses. The plaintiffs were awarded $32.7 million by the jury, which found that Covil failed to warn Mr. Finch that there was asbestos present in the insulation and that it posed a hazard to his health. Covil has filed a motion to overturn the verdict or,…
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Defense Verdict for California Water Companies Affirmed California Court of Appeal, First District, November 19, 2018

CALIFORNIA — On November 19, 2018, the California Court of Appeal affirmed judgment in favor of the defendants, California Water Service Company and San Jose Water Company (Water Companies), following a trial in which it was alleged that the plaintiff died from mesothelioma developed from cutting asbestos pipe while employed by Fairly Constructors. The Water Companies hired Fairly to install water pipes from 1959 to 1989. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to warn Fairly of the danger of using a power saw to…
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