Appellate Court Allows Industrial Hygienist’s Reliance on Hearsay Evidence in Overturning Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant Lumber Company Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division One, July 27, 2016

The plaintiff, Jerry Charlifue, sued Goodman Lumber Company after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He worked as a taper and painter for U.S. Taping Company between 1972 and 1978. His duties involved applying joint compound and smoothing out walls and ceilings where drywall had been hung. The plaintiff worked with dry joint compound for the first three to four years of the job, which produced respirable dust. Goodman moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff could not prove that he was exposed…
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Supreme Court Finds Plaintiff’s Expert “Cumulative Exposure Theory” Does Not Fit Georgia Causation Standard and Reverses Judgment in Favor of Defendant Georgia Supreme Court, July 5, 2016

In a follow up to a case previously reported on in ACT, the Georgia Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals of Georgia with respect to the admission of testimony from the plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Jerrod Abraham, and his “Cumulative Exposure Theory.” This case first commenced when the plaintiff and his wife, Roy and Milva Knight, sued Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc., alleging that Roy’s mesothelioma was caused from exposure to asbestos while he was working…
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Preclusion of Plaintiff’s Causation Expert Upheld on Appeal Due to Failure to Consider Decedent’s Smoking History Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, June 22, 2016

The plaintiffs, Dwayne Bourdeaux, Gerilyn Cook, and Bryan Bourdeaux, Individually and as Proper Parties in Interest for Gerald Bourdeaux, filed suit in Louisiana alleging that Gerald Bourdeaux lung cancer diagnosis and eventual death was asbestos exposure.  In support of this claim, the plaintiffs offered Dr. Gerald E. Liuzza, a pathologist, as an expert witness to establish the causative link between the asbestos exposure and lung cancer. Defendant Trinity Industries, Inc. filed a motion in limine to preclude Dr. Liuzza from testifying at trial on the…
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Federal Court Limits Plaintiff’s Expert, Dr. William Longo’s, Testimony U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, June 21, 2016

The plaintiff, Marsha K. Dugas, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Darryl S. Dugas, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, alleging that Darryl Dugas developed mesothelioma from his exposure to asbestos during the late 1960s and early 1970s, while serving in the U.S. Navy and attributing that exposure to several products allegedly manufactured by various defendants. In support of this claim, the plaintiff retained Dr. William Longo to provide an expert opinion as to the…
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Plaintiff’s Expert Testimony Precluded and Summary Judgment Granted Where Expert Opinion Did Not Rely Upon Sufficient Facts or Data U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, June 6, 2016

Plaintiffs Charles Lemuel Arbogast, Jr., et al. filed suit against a number of companies, including defendant CBS Corporation of Delaware (Westinghouse), that allegedly manufactured and/or distributed products containing asbestos to which the plaintiff was exposed, thereby causing his mesothelioma. The plaintiff offered Dr. Robert Leonard Vance as an expert in matters involving industrial hygiene and asbestos exposures.  Dr. Vance’s written opinion as to Westinghouse focused on two products:  asbestos “socks” and Micarta.  The plaintiff later conceded that that no liability existed as to the asbestos…
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Court Denies Honeywell’s Appeal on Expert and Causation Challenges and Reverses Directed Verdict on Punitive Damages in Plaintiff’s Favor Court of Appeals of Ohio, May 26, 2016

The defendant, Honeywell International appealed the judgment entered upon a jury verdict that found Honeywell was five percent responsible for the injuries of the decedent Kathleen Schwartz, who died from peritoneal mesothelioma. The amount of the judgment against Honeywell was $1,011,639.92. The plaintiffs filed a cross-appeal challenging the trial court’s decision to grant a directed verdict against them on their claim for punitive damages. Honeywell’s appeal challenged the trial court’s denial of motions in limine and the court’s denial of a motion for directed verdict.…
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Plaintiff’s Expert’s Testimony Precluded and Summary Judgment Granted Where Expert Disclosure Was Untimely, the Expert Opinion Lacked Sufficient Factual Basis, and Plaintiff’s Claims Were Legally Insufficient on Causation U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, May 18, 2016

In this case, the plaintiff sued numerous manufacturers and distributors of products allegedly containing asbestos, including Defendant General Electric Company (GE), following his diagnosis of mesothelioma. The plaintiff designated Dr. Robert Vance, an industrial hygienist, to testify regarding the sources of the plaintiff’s asbestos exposure. As to GE, Dr. Vance noted in his report that the plaintiff claimed to have worked with GE generators and asbestos-braided wiring at various job sites. Dr. Vance did not offer an opinion in his report regarding the plaintiff’s alleged…
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Court of Appeals of Ohio Finds Reversible Error in Refusal of Daubert Hearing On Basis of Opinions of Drs. Strauchen and Frank Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, Cuyahoga County, May 5, 2016

In this case it is alleged that the decedent, Glenn Watkins, was exposed to chrysotile asbestos dust from the sanding of Bendix brakes while working as a manager at various Auto Shack and AutoZone retail stores between 1985 and 2006 and that this exposure was a substantial cause of his pleural mesothelioma and death. Prior to trial, all defendants other than Honeywell International Inc. settled or were dismissed. The issue at trial was whether Watkins’ handling of Bendix brakes was a cause-in-fact of his mesothelioma,…
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Citing New York Case Law, Court Denies Crane Co.’s Motion in Limine to Preclude ‘Each and Every Exposure’ Opinion Supreme Court of New York, New York County, April 21, 2016

This opinion addressed potential causation testimony offered by the plaintiffs in two cases. In one case, the plaintiff’s decedent died of mesothelioma prior to being deposed. The decedent’s nephew and co-worker testified during deposition that his uncle was exposed to asbestos while working as a sheet metal worker at shipyards, and while installing furnaces, from the 1960s-70s. His testimony included exposure to insulation, packing, gaskets, and pipe covering used in connection with Crane valves. In the second case, the decedent, a career Navy man, died…
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Regardless of Whether New York or Maritime Law Applied, Government Contractor and Bare Metal Defenses Insufficient to Grant Summary Judgment to Foster Wheeler U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, March 21, 2016

The plaintiff alleged the decedent was exposed to asbestos while serving in the Navy from 1947-52, and while on board the USS Charles H. Roan. Defendants Foster Wheeler and General Electric removed to federal court pursuant to the federal officer statute. Foster Wheeler moved for summary judgment based on: (1) the government contractor defense; (2) bare metal defense; and (3) its products were not a substantial factor in causing injury. Crane Co. also moved for summary judgment; Crane, CBS Corp., and Foster Wheeler also…
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