Dismissal of 1997 Lawsuit against Non-Party Defendants Insufficient for Summary Judgment Under Federal Employer’ Liability Act

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

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 — 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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Maryland Appellate Court Upholds Motion for Judgment on Basis that Manufacturer Had no Duty to Warn of Take-Home Exposure

MARYLAND – Concetta Schatz’s (Mrs. Schatz) children (Appellants) commenced a lawsuit against John Crane, Inc. (JCI), alleging that Mrs. Schatz’s husband handled asbestos-containing JCI products while at work and wore his asbestos-covered clothing home for Mrs. Schatz to launder, thereby exposing her to asbestos, resulting in her mesothelioma diagnosis and eventual death.

At the close of Appellants’ case-in-chief, JCI moved for judgment on the basis that Appellants failed to prove JCI owed a legal duty to warn Mrs. Schatz.  The lower Circuit Court granted JCI’s …

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Failure to Certify Involuntary Dismissals Under Rule 54(b) Leads to No Federal Appellate Jurisdiction

LOUISIANA –The decedent Frank Williams allegedly contracted mesothelioma through asbestos exposure while working at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF). Lockheed Martin removed to federal court under the federal officer removal statute. The case was transferred to the Asbestos MDL, after which decedent’s children were substituted as the plaintiffs. The Asbestos MDL court issued various orders, including granting motions for summary judgment, and ultimately remanded the entire case back to Louisiana state court; plaintiffs then voluntarily dismissed their claims against the four remaining defendants. One …

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Channeling Injunction Protects Insurer Against Industrial Hygiene Claims

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a channeling injunction entered in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of W.R. Grace & Co. (Grace) protected one of its insurers, Continental Casualty Company and Transportation Insurance Company (CNA), from claims that CNA was independently liable for asbestos-related injuries because it was negligent in providing industrial hygiene services in conjunction with worker’s compensation and employer’s liability policies it issued to Grace.

Mass-tort liability drove Grace into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The Bankruptcy Code …

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Denial of Worker’s Compensation Benefits Affirmed Upon Plaintiff Failure to Meet Statutory Requirements

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiff Edmund Preslar filed for Workers’ Compensation Benefits claiming that he was entitled to compensation under the statute for his development of asbestosis attributed to his work at the Johns Manville Marchville facility from 1967-1968. The commission denied his claim stating that he had not worked long enough to be eligible for benefits under the statute. The plaintiff appealed and his representative was substituted after he passed away from a non-asbestos cause.

On appeal, the court noted the standard for commission …

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Baltimore $5 Million-plus Verdict Overturned for New Trial

MARYLAND — On May 11, 2018, defendants Mack Trucks, Inc. and Ford Motor Co. (collectively as defendants) won a new trial with a decision that overturned a $5 million-plus verdict issued by a Baltimore City jury.

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland found that the trial court provided improper instructions to the jury on the issue of negligence, which was prejudicial to the defendants. Accordingly, the judgments were reversed and remanded for further proceedings on the negligence claims against them not inconsistent with the …

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Mesothelioma Verdict Reduced by $4.3 Million on Appeal

NEW YORK — Plaintiff Mary Nash filed suit on behalf of the plaintiff’s decedent, Lewis Nash, alleging bystander exposure to asbestos-containing dust from defendant Navistar’s brakes and gaskets while working as a janitor and bus driver in the Fayettteville-Manluis Central School District. The decedent’s exposure occurred in the bus garage at the school, where decedent routinely spent time during his bus runs. The jury awarded the plaintiff the following: three million dollars in conscious pain and suffering; three million dollars in emotional pain and suffering …

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Talc Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Reversed; Question of Fact as to Asbestos content of Product

CALIFORNIA — Plaintiff Mary Lyons appealed summary judgment entered against her on her product liability claim against defendant Colgate-Palmolive, which was based on the allegation that she developed mesothelioma from the use of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet cosmetic talcum powder. The plaintiff testified at her deposition that she regularly used Cashmere Bouquet after bathing from the early 1950s through the early 197’s. Colgate manufactured Cashmere Bouquet from 1871 until 1985, and continued marketing the product until 1995, which coincided with the United States EPA’s report that …

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