3M’s Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding Allegedly Defective Respirators Denied USDC for the Western District of Wisconsin, June 1, 2018

WISCONSIN – In a consolidated case, two plaintiffs asserted strict liability and negligence claims against 3M regarding respirators they wore at a factory which manufactured fireproof doors containing asbestos cores. Both plaintiffs developed mesothelioma from alleged asbestos exposure. The plaintiffs were employed by Weyerhauser for approximately 40 years each. In 1972, a company memo required all employees to wear respirators whenever mineral core was machined or sanded. Testimony provided that plaintiffs wore 3M masks. In that same year, 3M received the necessary certificate of approval…
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Seventh Circuit Upholds Dismiss of John Crane’s Fraud Suit Against Plaintiff’s Counsel Based Upon Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, June 4, 2018

ILLINOIS – John Crane filed separate lawsuits against two plaintiffs’ law firms, Shein Law Center and Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, alleging fraud, conspiracy and violations of the RICO Act related to asbestos lawsuits filed by the firms against John Crane. Shein Law Center is based in Pennsylvania, while Simon Greenstone is based in Texas. John Crane is an Illinois resident. John Crane filed suit against the firms in the Northern District of Illinois. The district court dismissed both matters due to a lack of personal…
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Iowa Supreme Court Clarifies Issues in Appeal of $6.5 Million Verdict Supreme Court of Iowa, June 1, 2018

IOWA — In 2014, the Estate of Larry Kinseth prevailed in a trial against boiler manufacturer, Weil-McLain, in Iowa District Court for Wright County. The plaintiff was awarded $4 million in compensatory damages, of which Weil-McLain was assessed 25 percent liability. The plaintiff then successfully argued for the application of punitive damages against Weil-McLain, and the jury awarded $2.5million in that phase of the trial. Weil-McLain appealed, based mostly on the conduct of the plaintiff’s counsel during closing arguments, and was successful on appeal in…
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Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Over Defendant Leads to Remand and Dismissal Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division, May 18, 2018

ILLINOIS — The plaintiff brought this action against General Electric (GE) arguing that he developed mesothelioma from exposure during his work at various locations for Republic Steel from 1961-1999. According to the plaintiff, the work took place in Illinois, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. The plaintiff, a resident of Alabama, filed suit in Illinois. GE moved to dismiss the matter for lack of personal jurisdiction. Specifically, GE argued that the plaintiff’s complaint lacked facts establishing personal jurisdiction through Illinois’ long-arm statute. Moreover, GE took the position…
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Minnesota Court of Appeals Affirms Verdict Against Honeywell Court of Appeals of Minnesota, May 21, 2018

MINNESOTA —  In an unpublished opinion, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed four trial rulings made by the district court. The plaintiff, Ronald Conda, filed a lawsuit in July 2015 against numerous defendants, including Honeywell, alleging asbestos exposure caused his mesothelioma. The plaintiff passed and the complaint was amended into a wrongful death action. The case was first tried before a jury in the spring of 2016. The court granted Honeywell’s motion for a new trial on the basis that plaintiff’s counsel improperly displayed documents…
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Talc Case Remanded as Defendant Fails to Establish Improper Joinder United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana, May 17, 2018

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff, Marilyn Rousseau, sued defendants Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and K&B Louisiana Corporation (d/b/a Rite Aid Corporation), among others, claiming that her mesothelioma was caused in part by her use of their allegedly asbestos-contaminated talc products.  Plaintiff, who was a Louisiana citizen, originally brought the suit in state court in Orleans Parish.  J&J removed the case to federal court, claiming diversity jurisdiction and contending that K&B Louisiana, the only non-diverse defendant entity, was improperly joined. Noting that the improper joinder doctrine constituted…
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Defects in Chain of Custody Lead to Affirmation of Talcum Powder Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California, May 16, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiffs Barbara and John Wittman asserted claims for negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, and loss of consortium against Defendant Coty, Inc. (Coty) alleging that Barbara’s exposure to asbestos in Coty’s talcum powder resulted in her developing mesothelioma. Coty filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that Wittmans’ discovery responses and deposition testimony “demonstrated their inability to prove the claims.” Coty stated that the Wittmans could not show that Barbara was exposed to asbestos through the particular Coty product she had used,…
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Wisconsin’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act Found Not Applicable in Successor Liability Case Against Refractory Manufacturer Supreme Court of Wisconsin, May 15, 2018

WISCONSIN — In a follow up to Asbestos Case Tracker’s previous post, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision in a recent mesothelioma case involving allegations of fraudulent conveyance by a successor in interest entity. The plaintiff originally filed suit against several defendants including Fire Brick Engineering and Powers Holding claiming they were responsible for her late husband’s development of mesothelioma. Mr. Springer was allegedly exposed to asbestos from 1963-69. The plaintiff filed her suit against Powers naming it as…
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Baltimore $5 Million-plus Verdict Overturned for New Trial Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, May 11, 2018

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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Turbine Manufacturer’s Choice of Law Motion Granted Based on Location of Asbestos Exposure and Diagnosis U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, May 9, 2018

MASSACHUSETTS — Plaintiff Ruth Burleigh, the widow of the plaintiff’s decedent Ernest Burleigh, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against numerous defendants alleging that decedent developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanic at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (the shipyard) from 1960-1981. The shipyard is located in Kittery, Maine, approximately 20 miles from the Massachusetts border. The plaintiff’s decedent alleged exposure to asbestos in Maine only, was a resident of Maine for the…
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