$25.5 Million Punitive Damages Award Reversed; New Trial Ordered on Apportionment of Fault in Automobile Brake Case

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Two, March 25, 2021

In this asbestos action, plaintiff Arthur Putt replaced brake pads manufactured and supplied by several different entities in connection with cars manufactured by three different companies in two California gas stations from 1966 until 1970. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018 and testified that 40 percent of his brake work involved Ford vehicles, and 40 percent of his total work with Ford vehicles involved removing the factory-installed brake pads. The …

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Summary Judgment Upheld for Motorcycle Manufacturer Based on Lack of Proof of Asbestos in Brake Linings

Court of Appeals of Oregon, March 24, 2021

In this asbestos action, decedent Ronald Laux alleged exposure to asbestos from replacing motorcycle brake linings from 1961 until 2014. Thereafter, he developed mesothelioma and brought negligence and strict products liability actions against numerous defendants. After Mr. Laux’s passing, Mrs. Laux was named as the personal representative of his estate.

Defendant Yamaha moved for summary judgment, arguing that the record was devoid of sufficient evidence to show the decedent was exposed to asbestos from a product manufactured, …

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Premises and Contractor Defendants’ Summary Judgment Affirmed

Court of Appeals of Iowa, March 17, 2021

The decedent, Charles Beverage, was employed as an independent contractor at an aluminum plant between the 1950s and the mid-1970s. After his passing in October 2015, the decedent’s estate filed a products liability suit against several the defendants alleging the decedent was exposed to asbestos during his employment, and as a result contracted mesothelioma. Two defendants, the aluminum plant’s owner, Alcoa, Inc. and an installer of insulation, Iowa-Illinois Taylor Insulation, Inc. (IITI) filed motions for summary judgment …

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Summary Judgment Affirmed; Premise Defendant Did Not Control Work of Contractor

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

In this action, the plaintiff alleges that her husband developed mesothelioma from his work as a pipefitter while assisting with the construction of a Schlage Lock plant in 1972. As previously reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker, defendant Schlage Lock obtained summary judgment after the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina found that there was no evidence of asbestos exposure at the Schlage Lock facility, as well as the absence of …

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Pipe Manufacturer Successfully Appeals $15 Million Punitive Damages Award

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One, January 27, 2021

This matter was filed after the plaintiff, Norris Morgan, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2017.  The complaint alleged that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos at construction jobsites where he worked in the 1970s and 1980s, including as a construction superintendent from 1979 to 1985 for Spriggs and Company and Bumbarger and Associates in 1985. Among other construction activities, the plaintiff supervised plumbers installing asbestos-cement water and sewer pipe on his worksites.

The matter …

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Denial of Summary Judgment Upheld in Labor Law Action Against Port Authority

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

In this matter, the plaintiff brought Labor Law § 200 and common law negligence claims against Defendant, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The decedent alleged that he developed malignant pleural sarcomatoid mesothelioma as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos at John F. Kennedy International Airport while he worked for Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) in the 1970s. The decedent passed away before he was able to be deposed. Judge Manuel Mendez, …

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Fifth Circuit Upholds $3 Million Remitted Verdict in Deceased Mesothelioma Case

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, December 14, 2020

As previously reported by Asbestos Case Tracker here, the decedent, Dr. James L. Gaddy, alleged he was exposed to asbestos while working as a chemical engineer for Ethyl Corp. during the 1950s. Dr. Gaddy was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018, and subsequently filed suit against Ethyl, among other defendants. Following a trial, a jury found Ethyl partially liable to Dr. Gaddy on theories of strict liability and negligence, and awarded the plaintiffs …

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Trial Court’s Refusal to Reduce Plaintiffs’ Recovery of Costs by Amounts Attributable to Settled Defendants Affirmed

Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Three, December 11, 2020

The heirs of decedent Richard Booker filed suit, alleging that Booker developed fatal mesothelioma from his exposure to defendants’ asbestos-containing products. The plaintiffs settled with most of the defendants, and a trial was held against the two remaining defendants, Vanderbilt Minerals LLC and Imerys. The jury found the two defendants liable for increasing the decedent’s risk of mesothelioma and apportioned 60-percent fault to Vanderbilt and 40-percent fault to Imerys.

The plaintiffs filed …

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Damages Award Against Defendant Pipe Supplier Affirmed On Appeal

Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Five, December 9, 2020

From September 1976 to March 1977, Frank Hart (the decedent) worked in California cutting asbestos-cement pipe for new sewer lines. He was later diagnosed with mesothelioma, allegedly as a result of his exposure to asbestos through that work. On November 8, 2016, the decedent and his wife, Cynthia (the plaintiff), filed a complaint for personal injury and loss of consortium against numerous entities, including defendant Keenan Properties, Inc. The decedent passed away on …

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Medical Expert Reports Deemed Sufficient to Overcome Dismissal in Maritime Action

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, Cuyahoga County

This matter arises from the decedent’s allegation that his work as a merchant marine on ships, including repair and cleaning of asbestos-insulated steam lines, exposed him to asbestos and contributed to his development of lung cancer. After conducting discovery, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss contending that the plaintiff failed to meet the requirements of Ohio Revised Code Ann. 2307.92 (“Minimum medical requirements for tort action alleging asbestos claim”), including that the plaintiff failed …

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