Federal Workers’ Compensation Statute Preempts Plaintiff’s Negligence Claims; Shipyard Defendants Win Summary Judgment

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, October 14, 2020

This case arises out of plaintiff William Hulin, Sr.’s exposure to asbestos when he worked as a ship fitter, laborer, and tacker for Avondale from January 1954 to May 1973. In July 2019, the plaintiff was diagnosed with lung cancer. He sued a number of defendants, including the Avondale Interests, in state court on November 12, 2019. The case was removed to district court on March 17, 2020. The plaintiff alleged only negligence …

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Plaintiff’s Motion for New Trial Granted as Jury Verdict Not Supported by Fair Interpretation of the Evidence

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, September 23, 2020

By way of background, the plaintiffs argued that the court erred in entering a judgment following the trial in November 2018. Notably, the plaintiffs set forth that the jury’s verdict was based on inconsistent answers to interrogatories. In February 2019, the court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a judgment notwithstanding verdict, or in the alternative, motion for new trial. In December 2019, the court found that the jury’s decisions were reasonable based on the evidence …

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Children’s Wrongful Death Claim Not Barred by Parents’ Settlement Release Agreement

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 28, 2020

Plaintiffs Dorothy and CJ Mayfield filed an asbestos personal-injury lawsuit in Louisiana state court in April 2015, alleging Mr. Mayfield developed lung cancer as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing products, including those manufactured by CertainTeed. Mr. and Mrs. Mayfield settled their claims with Certainteed in February 2016, and executed a release that contained the following indemnity clause:

In further consideration of the above-described payment, Releasors [CJ Mayfield and Dorothy Mayfield] agree,

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Various Rulings on Defendants’ Motions in Limine in Naval Shipyard Case

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 21-23, 2020

In Asbestos Case Tracker’s third installment of the analysis of pre-trial motions in the Dempster v. Lamorak Insurance Co. matter, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has issued nine decisions on additional motions in limine filed by the defendants. 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 …

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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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Remand Denied as Defendants’ Notice of Removal Deemed Timely and Proper Under Federal Officer Statute

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 18, 2020

In this asbestos matter, plaintiff James Becnel contends that he developed lung cancer as a result of his work aboard a Navy vessel while employed at Avondale. The initial complaint was filed in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans on July 22, 2019. In August 2019, the plaintiff testified that he worked aboard a Navy vessel known as the Lykes vessel during his deposition. Notably, he filed a second supplemental …

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Defendants Cannot Introduce Collateral Source Income at Trial

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, September 17, 2020

The instant matter has been extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker blog. In addition to the myriad of other motions in limine filed, the plaintiffs filed a motion in limine to exclude questions or comments concerning collateral sources of income or payments. Multiple defendants opposed the motion.

The defendants “concede that evidence of benefits received from collateral sources is inadmissible for the purpose of reducing a plaintiff’s recovery by means of offset,” but argued …

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Remand Motion Denied In Action Removed on Diversity Grounds

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, August 28, 2020

The state court matter of Paul Hotard was removed by a defendant to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on diversity grounds. The plaintiff filed a motion seeking to remand the matter to state court because, the plaintiff argued, the “removing party … was not identified as a defendant in the petition.” (Id., at p. 51). The defendant, in turn, argued that removal was proper as per “Louisiana’s system …

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Shipyard’s Removal to Federal Court Granted Based on New Case Law

In a case previously covered by Asbestos Case Tracker, the court granted plaintiff’s motion to remand after Avondale removed this case to federal court. In this instant matter, defendant Avondale  again removed this case relying on the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., a case in which it overturned the court’s prior “causal nexus” jurisprudence and adopted a broader “relating to” test. The plaintiff again moves for remand arguing (1) that the defendant’s removal was untimely and (2) that the …

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Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied Due to Genuine Question of Material Fact

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 13, 2020

In the instant complaint, Marcela Lopez, the decedent’s wife and Federico Lopez III, the decedent’s surviving child, allege that Federico Lopez was exposed to asbestos-containing products while employed as a welder/pipefitter at Kellog Brown and Root between 1973 and 1986 and that he contracted malignant mesothelioma as a result of such exposure. Approximately one year later, plaintiffs Jessica and Alfred Soliz filed suit in the 19th Judicial Court for the Parish of East …

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