Railway Company Denied Summary Judgment; Service and Expert Issues Remain

The plaintiff, the Estate of Gregorio Sanchez Valdez, alleged occupational exposure to asbestos and diesel fumes while working as a machinist for defendant BNSF Railway Company from 1996 until 2016. Valdez was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in 2014. BNSF moved for summary judgment on three grounds, of which the court denied all three.

First, BNSF argued that Valdez failed to serve BNSF with process within the three-year statute of limitations under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. The court observed that the crux of this argument …

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Four Daubert Challenges Denied in Shipyard Case

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, November 30, 2020

Defendant Puget Sound Commerce Center, Inc. filed Daubert motions seeking to exclude the testimony of four of the plaintiffs’ experts: Captain Arnold Moore, Steven Paskal, Dr. David Zhang, and Charles Ay. On each motion, the court was charged with determining whether the expert’s testimony was reliable and helpful, and based on principles, techniques, or theories that were generally accepted in the expert’s profession; and whether the testimony would be helpful, in that it …

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Denial of Daubert Motions in Navy Yard Case Leads to Denial of Summary Judgment for Valve Manufacturer

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, November 30, 2020

The plaintiffs filed two lawsuits in New York state court alleging that the decedent, John Grimes, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos while working as a coppersmith apprentice at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1961 to 1963. During his discovery deposition, Mr. Grimes testified that he believed he was exposed to asbestos while working in the shop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and aboard warships. He …

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Control Manufacturer’s Motion to Exclude Plaintiffs’ Psychiatrist Denied After Daubert Hearing

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division

In the present action, defendant Johnson Controls, filed a motion to exclude a psychiatrist’s opinions about three plaintiffs’ mental health. By way of background, the plaintiffs retained Dr. Zachary Torry to evaluate whether those three plaintiffs suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of being exposed to asbestos and chlorinated chemicals and, if so, whether a reasonable person under similar circumstances would experience a psychiatric injury. To form his opinions, Dr. Torry met …

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Expert Challenges and Motions in Limine Decided in Federal Shipyard Case

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 16, 2020

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has issued seven decisions on motions in limine filed by both plaintiffs and defendants in the Dempster v. Lamorak Insurance Co. matter, which has been closely followed by Asbestos Case Tracker. By way of background, the plaintiffs alleged the decedent, Callen L. Dempster was exposed to asbestos while employed at the Avondale Shipyards from 1962 to 1994. The case was removed to federal …

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Brake and Premises Defendants’ Motions to Exclude Expert Testimony Denied

U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, September 16, 2020

The plaintiff, Victor Coffin, alleges he contracted mesothelioma from his work as an aviation electrician in the U.S. Navy from January 1968 to September 1971, as a machinist for Maine Central Railroad (MCRR) from 1971 to 1987 and as an employee of the State of Maine from 1987 to 1988. Defendants MCRR and Honeywell International Inc. have moved to exclude the expert testimony of the plaintiff’s experts Jerrold L. Abraham, M.D. and David Ozonoff, …

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Electrical Manufacturing Defendant’s Motion to Exclude Plaintiff’s Experts Denied After Daubert Hearing

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, July 21, 2020

Decedent Thomas Gorton, the husband of plaintiff Rhonda J. Gorton, developed mesothelioma, allegedly due to his occupational exposure to defendants’ asbestos-containing products. Prior to trial, defendant Eaton Corporation, as successor-in-interest to Cutler-Hammer filed a Motion to Exclude the Expert Testimony of the plaintiff’s experts Richard Kradin, M.D. and Howard M. Kipen, M.D., MPH. In July 2020, the court held a two-day Daubert hearing. Under Daubert, “the district court acts as a gatekeeper, …

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Virginia District Court Affirms Magistrate Decision on Admissibility of Naval Expert Testimony

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, April 27, 2020

Plaintiffs Herbert H. Mullinex and Patricia E. Mullinex alleged that Mr. Mullinex was exposed to asbestos from working with sheet gaskets and valve and pump packing manufactured by John Crane, Inc. during his service in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1978. John Crane, as part of its defense, intended to rely on the opinion of retired Rear Admiral David P. Sargent, Jr., in an attempt to refute some of Mr. Mullinex’s allegations …

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Plaintiff’s Experts Stricken for Failure to Comply with Scheduling Order

U.S. District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Northern Division, February 26, 2020

NORTH CAROLINA – On December 21, 2017, the plaintiff, Karen Cahoon  filed a complaint alleging state law claims of negligence, breach of an implied warranty, failure to warn and punitive damages against, among others, the defendant, Edward Orton, Jr. Ceramic Foundation. A scheduling order was issued by the court on May 11, 2018.  After multiple joint requests on behalf of  Cahoon and the defendant, on Jan. 8, 2019, the court issued new deadlines for …

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Federal Court Declines to Exclude Testimony of Certified Industrial Hygienist

WASHINGTON – In the matter of Jill Diane Clayton v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington denied the plaintiff’s motion to exclude the expert testimony of Certified Industrial Hygienist, Kyle Dotson, finding that Dotson’s testimony was both relevant and reliable under Federal Rule of Evidence 702. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent, William Richard Clayton, was exposed to asbestos while serving aboard the United States Navy ship, the U.S.S. Badger, in …

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