Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. Seek Bankruptcy Protection United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, February 13, 2019

DELWARE — Yesterday, Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. filed a petition to seek bankruptcy protection under U.S. Chapter 11. In support of their petition, the Imerys entities referenced “significant potential liabilities as a result of thousands of claims by plaintiffs alleging personal injuries caused by exposure to talc mined, processed, and/or distributed by one or more of the Debtors” as a factor leading to the filing. According to the petition, the entities face 13,800 pending ovarian cancer…
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Delaware Court Upholds Jury Verdict in Favor of Auto Mechanic Superior Court of Delaware, January 31, 2019

DELAWARE — Following up on a prior ACT post, where a Delaware jury returned a verdict of over $40 Million in favor of the widow of a deceased auto mechanic, defendant, who was attributed a liability share of 20 percent, filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(b) and a motion for a new trial, or in the alternative, remittitur. The defendant argued among other things, that the jury’s verdict was irreconcilably inconsistent and the amount of damages…
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Brake Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Basis of De Minimis Exposure U.S. District Court, D. Delaware. January 25, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff Elizabeth Alice Dove (Plaintiff) alleges that her father Gus Dove (Mr. Dove) developed lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases because of his exposure to a variety of asbestos-containing products manufactured, sold, or supplied by the defendants – among them, Honeywell – during the course of Mr. Dove’s career and through shade-tree mechanic work. Honeywell successfully moved for summary judgment under Rule 56(a) on multiple grounds, the primary one involving insufficient product identification under Delaware’s “Product Nexus Standard.” Mr. Dove gave discovery…
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Lack of Detail in Product Identification Leads to Grant of Fourteen Summary Judgment Motions United States District Court, D. Delaware, January 23, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff William Johansen alleged that he developed mesothelioma from his work with various pumps, valves, and other equipment aboard Naval vessels, at shipyards, and at a pulp mill. Fourteen defendants filed summary judgement motions arguing insufficient causation. The parties agreed that maritime law applied to all of the plaintiff’s Naval/sea-based claims and that Washington law applied to his land based claims. Under maritime law, a plaintiff must demonstrate exposure to the defendant’s product and proof that the product was a substantial factor…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Basic Product Identification Leads to Recommendation of Summary Judgment for Multiple Defendants U.S. District Court, D. Delaware. January 22, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff filed suit against several defendants alleging that, Mr. Harding, developed lung cancer as a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos while working in the U.S. Navy and during work in the civilian sector. The case was quickly removed to federal court. Specifically, the plaintiff worked as a plumber in New Canaan, CT from 1962-1963. He recalled working with several brands of residential and commercial boilers. The plaintiff believed that he had been exposed to asbestos from the powder associated with…
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Pump Defendants Granted Summary Judgment in Maritime Asbestos Claim U.S. District Court, D. Delaware, January 18, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiffs initially filed suit in the Superior Court of Delaware on November 2, 2016 against various defendants asserting claims arising out of an alleged exposure to asbestos suffered by the plaintiff Earl Janis, Jr. (Janis).  The case was removed to federal court on February 16, 2017 pursuant to the federal officer removal statute under U.S.C. §§ 1442(a)(1).  On June 4, 2018, three similarly situated defendants (manufacturers of pumps located on naval ships) filed summary judgment motions that are at issue in this…
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Plaintiff’s Deposition Testimony Presents Sufficient Evidence to Overcome Automobile Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, August 15, 2018

DELAWARE — Plaintiffs John and Vicki DeCastro originally filed a personal injury action against multiple defendants in the Superior Court of Delaware, asserting claims arising from Mr. DeCastro’s alleged harmful exposure to asbestos. The case was properly removed to Federal Court under the federal officer removal statute. Mr. Castro alleged that he developed lung cancer as a result of his exposure to asbestos during his service in the United States Air Force, civilian employment with Pacific Bell Telephone and United Airlines, and personal automotive and…
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Delaware Supreme Court Affirms No Excess Coverage in GM Asbestos Cases Motors Liquidation Company DIP Lenders Trust v. Allstate Ins. Co. et al., No. 381, 2017, 2018 WL 3360976 (Table) (Del. July 10, 2018)

DELAWARE — The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that several excess policies issues to General Motors do not provide coverage for asbestos-related and environmental claims against the company.  GM purchased primary coverage from Royal Insurance Company for more than 50 years ending in 1993.  Royal handled asbestos claims made under the policies during that period.  The claims at issue were filed after 1993.  Following declaratory judgment actions filed in both Delaware and Michigan, GM and Royal reached a settlement that released all of Royal’s policies from…
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West Virginia Law Applied in Granting Summary Judgment Due to Speculative Testimony” Delaware Superior Court, June 28, 2018

DELAWARE — The plaintiff’s decedent, Marchie Dolley, a lifetime non-smoker, passed from lung cancer. The sole product identification witness was his son, Ringo, who testified about his father’s work as a truck mechanic at Ryder Truck Rental and General Truck Delivery. Ringo visited his father at the former job and later worked with him at the latter. He could not offer any specific testimony about how many times he worked on certain manufacturer’s trucks at either job, or whether original or replacement parts were used.…
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Delaware Take-Home Summary Judgment Reversed for Paper Manufacturers Supreme Court of Delaware, June 27, 2018

DELAWARE — Decedent Dorothy Ramsey’s husband Robert Ramsey worked as a maintenance worker at Haveg Industries, Inc. from 1967 to 1992, and allegedly handled asbestos products manufactured by defendants Herty and Hollingsworth and Vose (together, the manufacturers) on a regular basis. The plaintiff alleged that Mrs. Ramsey developed her fatal lung cancer from regularly laundering Mr. Ramsey’s clothes which were contaminated with asbestos dust emanating from his use of the manufacturers’ products, among others. The trial court had granted the manufacturers’ summary judgment motions, finding…
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