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Motion to Dismiss Damages under Maritime Law Granted in Part

Jurisdiction: United States District Court for the Central District of California

In this action, the plaintiffs filed suit on behalf of the decedent, William Banks, in Los Angeles County Superior Court and thereafter removed the case to federal court. The plaintiffs pursued survival and wrongful death causes of action based on Banks’ alleged exposure to asbestos while serving in the United States Navy, and subsequent death from epithelial mesothelioma. Banks served as a machinist mate aboard several ships in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to …

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Brake Supplier Permitted to Present Evidence of Fault Against Non-Parties for Apportionment Considerations

United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Owensboro Division, July 12, 2022

In this asbestos action, the plaintiff Jack Papineau sued various manufacturers alleging that these manufacturers produced asbestos-containing products, which caused plaintiff’s mesothelioma. One of the defendants, Brake Supply, sought indemnification or apportionment from an outside party, Frans-Le South America (“Fras-Le”), alleging that Frans-Le sold Brake Supply asbestos-containing brakes. The court dismissed Brake Supply’s indemnification claims against Frans-Le for a lack of personal jurisdiction. However, the court left the question of …

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Recovery of Damages Permitted as to Adult Children, Disallowed as to Spouse in Wrongful Death Action

Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, March 30, 2022

In this matter, the decedent alleged exposure to asbestos during military service, throughout his career working at various industrial plants, and at his own home from the 1950s to the 1990s. On May 22, 2015, the decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma. On July 4, 2015, he married the woman (the spouse) with whom he had lived for many years. On July 23, 2015, the decedent sued multiple defendants, asserting claims for negligence and strict liability. …

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$26.54 Million Verdict in Wrongful Death Case against Brewing Company

Milwaukee County Circuit Court

The decedent, Gerald “Jerry” Lorbiecki, was a steamfitter who worked at a number of job sites over the better part of four decades prior to his death from mesothelioma. Attorneys for the decedent argued that two of these locations—Pabst Brewing Co. and Wisconsin Electric—were “negligent in protecting employees from asbestos exposure and violated Wisconsin’s Safe Place Act.” Wisconsin Electric settled with Mr. Lorbiecki’s estate prior to trial.

In closing arguments, lawyers for Pabst argued that company safety officials were unaware of …

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$4.4 Million Verdict Affirmed in Asbestos Bowling Ball Trial

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 8

The decedent, Donald Vanni, and his brother co-owned and operated Arcata Bowl bowling alley in California from 1957 to 1986. During this time, one of the decedent’s duties was to drill custom-fit finger holes in asbestos-containing bowling balls sold by Arcata Bowl. A press release issued by the Vanni family’s legal team stated, in part: “Asbestos, used as a filler in plastic Ebonite bowling balls, was supplied by Honeywell [International Inc.] in the form of discarded brake …

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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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Longshoreman Plaintiff Exposed to Raw Asbestos Awarded $10.3 Million in Mesothelioma Case

An in-person jury trial was recently held in Louisiana on the plaintiff’s negligence claims. After graduating high school, the plaintiff worked as a longshoreman from 1964 to 1968 at the Port of New Orleans. As part of his job, he unloaded burlap bags of raw asbestos. The plaintiff testified that the bags would frequently tear, releasing asbestos dust into the ship’s hold. At trial, the plaintiff testified that each of the defendants knew of the dangers the asbestos posed but took no steps to warn …

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Plaintiffs Awarded $750 Million Punitive Damages in Talc Trial

NEW JERSEY – In a case previously covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the plaintiffs were awarded $750 million during the punitive damages portion of the trial. The jury had already awarded $37.2 million in compensatory damages, and per New Jersey law, the punitive damages were reduced to $186 million, five times the compensatory award.  As further details emerge, we will update this post.…

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Delaware District Court Rules on Pre-trial Motions in Maritime Law Case

DELAWARE – The plaintiff filed this asbestos-related wrongful death action in Delaware on June 11, 2015. While the court does not explain the underlying case facts, motion practice regarding admiralty law and expert exclusion indicates that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while a member of the United States Navy. As trial is approaching for this case, the plaintiff and the defendant, John Crane, Inc. (JCI), both filed motions in limine. The plaintiff’s motion sought to exclude discussion or reference to collateral sources, including …

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Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Eliminates $110 Million Dollar Verdict Against Talc Defendants

MISSOURI — $110 million verdict against talc defendants Johnson and Johnson and Imerys Talc North America was overturned by a Missouri appellate court this week. The plaintiff Lois Slemp filed suit against the defendants alleging that she developed ovarian cancer as a result of her use of Johnson and Johnson’s talcum powder products for over 40 years. The trial court found personal jurisdiction based on evidence that a Missouri-based company was used to “manufacture, mislabel and package” the products. Applying the Bristol Myers Squibb decision …

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