$117 Million Verdict Upheld in Talc Case

NEW JERSEY — Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi denied motions from Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc. to set aside a $37 million verdict in compensatory damages and a combined $80 million verdict in punitive damages awarded earlier this year.  On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the court heard arguments on Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s motions to overturn the verdict. The court instead upheld the verdict. In rendering her decision, Judge Viscomi stated that the verdicts “do not shock the judicial conscience.”…

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Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment on Conspiracy Claims

ILLINOIS — The plaintiff, James Johnson, was diagnosed with asbestosis after working with insulation products in the construction industry, beginning in 1965. He filed suit against numerous defendants, and included a claim that Pneumo Abex LLC, Owens-Illinois, Inc., Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Honeywell International, Inc. were involved in a civil conspiracy to conceal the dangers of asbestos.

The trial court thoroughly reviewed the evidence obtained during discovery and presented at hearings, including the Saranac Study, and determined there was not clear and convincing evidence …

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Remand Denied Upon Plaintiff’s Failure to Properly Disclaim Federal Officer Removal

ILLINOIS – The plaintiff Janice Reinbold filed suit against several defendants alleging her decedent, Gerald Reinbold, developed lung cancer from occupational exposure to asbestos while working as a shipfitter at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, amongst other sources. Defendant Crane Company (Crane) removed the case to federal court asserting Federal Officer Removal. The plaintiff moved to remand.

The court reminded the parties of the standard for Federal Officer Removal, and stated that the statute allows removal when “action is brought against the United States or …

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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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Federal Officer Removal Statute Found Inapplicable in Negligence Claim Against Shipyard Defendant; Remand Granted

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Gregory Brown brought this action against several defendants including Avondale Shipyard (Avondale) claiming that he developed lung cancer from exposure to asbestos while working for Avondale at its shipyard on and off from 1967-1971. Specifically, Mr. Brown worked as a cleanup man, tacker, and insulator helper. He also claimed exposure to asbestos from his employment for other employers from 1965- 1978. The plaintiff was deposed and gave testimony regarding his work on ships while at Avondale but did not state that …

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Summary Judgment Affirmed in Railroad Case Upon Plaintiff’s Failure to Preserve Issue for Appeal

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff, Michael Eorio filed suit against multiple defendants including CBS and General Electric (GE) alleging he contracted lung cancer while working as a railroad employee from 1972-2010. The plaintiff and one co-worker alleged Mr. Eorio had been exposed to asbestos containing products for which CBS and GE were liable. The plaintiff passed away prior to trial and a substitution of the plaintiff was entered. CBS and GE moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment as to both defendants and …

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Delaware Jury Issues $40.6 Million Verdict

DELAWARE – On Friday, June 8th, the jury returned a $40.6 million verdict in Larry W. Knecht, et Ux. v. Borg-Warner Corporation, et Al, a Delaware asbestos case. The case was tried under New Mexico law. The jury found Ford strictly liable due to a failure to warn, and apportioned 30 percent fault to the decedent, Larry Knecht, and 20 percent to Ford. The remainder of the liability was apportioned as follows: General Motors and Chrysler (20 percent each) and …

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Talc Defendant Strikes Plaintiff’s Expert and Avoids Spoliation Sanctions

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff Ann Finch’s decedent Franklin Finch worked at a Firestone tire factory in Wilson, North Carolina from 1975-1995 and alleged that he was exposed to asbestos during his time there, causing his mesothelioma. Among other allegations of exposure, the plaintiff alleged that the decedent was exposed to talc-contaminated asbestos at Firestone, allegedly supplied by defendant Pfizer and others. In support of this allegation, the plaintiff offered an expert report from Sean Fitzgerald, who tested an identification badge worn by Decedent, and …

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Talcum Powder Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Granted on Civil Conspiracy; Denied as to Punitive Damages

NORTH CAROLINA — American International Industries (AII) was sued by plaintiff Lloyd Bell. The plaintiff claimed his decedent had developed mesothelioma from her use of talcum powder during her work as a hairdresser and her education during beauty school. AII moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims for willful and wanton conduct, malice, conspiracy, and punitive damages. The court began its review with the standard for a motion to dismiss. According to the court, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state …

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Valve Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment as Court Finds No Evidence of Conspiracy

DELAWARE — Plaintiff Marguerite MacQueen filed claims in the Superior Court of Delaware against defendant Crane Co., among others, for manufacturing products that exposed her late husband David MacQueen to asbestos during his time aboard the USS Randolph and USS Independence in the United States Navy from 1956 to 1960, and during his time as a salesman for the Union Carbide Corporation from 1963 to 1980.  Crane subsequently removed the matter to federal court on federal officer jurisdiction.

Crane moved for summary judgment on the …

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