Daubert Challenges Result in Experts Being Allowed to Testify Regarding General Causation; Not Specific Causation

In this federal court case, it was alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent was exposed to asbestos while serving in various job duties while in the U.S. Navy during the 1960s.  The plaintiff brought two Daubert motions seeking to preclude the defendants’ experts, Drs Michael Graham and Mark Taragin, from testifying. Dr. Graham is a forensic pathologist and Dr. Taragin is an epidemiologist.  The court granted in part and denied in part the plaintiff’s motions.

The court would allow each expert to provide general causation testimony …

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Pain and Suffering Damages Found as Pecuniary Under Maritime Law; Summary Judgment Granted in Part and Denied in Part

The defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that the plaintiff, John Bell, lacked standing to pursue a wrongful death or survival action under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). Specifically, the defendants relied on the language in DOHSA, which stated that “when death of an individual is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas beyond 3 nautical miles from the shore of the United States, the personal representative of the decedent may bring a civil action” and the …

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Favorable Defense Discovery Rulings, Including Preclusion of Treating Physicians from Testifying as Experts

The district court issued two opinions in the same case, issuing various rulings on motions brought by both parties. The plaintiff alleged he developed lung cancer from asbestos exposure while employed by Freeport Sulphur Company, predecessor to Mosaic Global Holdings, Inc. This case started in Louisiana state court, and was removed by Mosaic. The primary rulings on these motions are summarized below.

The plaintiff moved to exclude evidence of settled claims and collateral sources of compensation. The defendants argued that both settlement agreements and collateral …

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Certain Bankruptcy Trust Information Ruled Discoverable in Louisiana

The plaintiff alleged he developed lung cancer due to his asbestos exposure while working on the premises of Freeport’s Port Sulphur facility, other facilities, and various drilling rigs. The defendants removed to federal court on the bases of original jurisdiction under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The plaintiff filed a motion to quash subpoena and notice of records deposition, and a motion for protective order. The court analyzed both at the same time, as both contained substantially the same arguments.

Defendant McCarty Corporation issued …

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Plaintiff Fails to Satisfy Burden to Vacate Defense Verdict

Plaintiff Dan Freeman filed a Seaman’s Petition for Damages against a number of defendants under state law, general maritime law, and the Jones Act on July 26, 2011. Freeman alleged that while he was working on drilling rigs, he was exposed to asbestos drilling mud products, and ultimately developed “asbestos maladies” as a result of the defendants’ asbestos products.

By the time of trial in 2015, only two defendants remained, to which the jury returned a defense verdict dismissing all claims with prejudice. Freeman timely …

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Take Home Mesothelioma Case Remanded After Plaintiff Adds Dismissed Defendant to Amended Complaint

Charleen Guedry brought this action against multiple defendants for her alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of exposure through her husband’s work clothes. Mr. Guedry worked at International Maintenance/Turner from 1983-2005.

The plaintiffs moved to dismiss claims without prejudice against defendant Arnco on May 12, 2016. Co-defendant Brock indicated to the plaintiffs its intent to remove the case on diversity since Arnco was being dismissed. On May 19, 2016, the plaintiffs withdrew the dismissal of Arnco and desired to conduct discovery based on receiving …

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Affidavits Used in Other Cases Enough to Establish Removal Under Federal Officer Jurisdiction

The plaintiff brought a wrongful death lawsuit after her husband died of mesothelioma, alleging asbestos exposure during her husband’s service in the Navy. Originally filed in Madison County, Illinois, defendant Crane Co. removed on the basis of the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, arguing that Crane waived its right to remove by first filing a motion to dismiss in state court, and that Crane failed to establish federal subject matter jurisdiction. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Regarding waiver …

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Defendant Dismissed for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

Plaintiffs Breck Williams and Tarsi Williams, the children of decedent Frank Williams, filed this suit in Louisiana state court on June 2, 2016, after Frank Williams contracted mesothelioma and died as a result of alleged asbestos exposure. The plaintiffs allege their father’s exposure was caused by, among other defendants, Fiat S.p.A. for the installation, use, and maintenance of the injury-causing asbestos and sought damages under Louisiana law.

Fiat filed a motion to dismiss, challenging both the court’s personal jurisdiction over it and the sufficiency of …

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Plaintiffs’ Dismissal with Prejudice of Claims Against Defendant Rendered Third-Party Demand for Contribution Void

Third-party defendant Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, Limited (IDC) filed a motion to dismiss defendant Cooper/T. Smith Stevedoring Company, Inc.’s (Cooper) third party complaint. The court granted IDC’s motion and remanded the case to state court.

The plaintiffs filed suit on behalf of decedent Earl Lindsay, who died of lung cancer. The plaintiffs alleged the decedent worked as a longshoreman for several Cooper companies in the Port of New Orleans from 1954-1979, and during this time was exposed to asbestos. As against IDC, the …

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Federal Court Denies Remand on Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Jurisdiction and Dismisses Fraud Counts of Complaint

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued two opinions in the matter of Sheppard v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., et al. which denied the plaintiffs’ motion to remand and dismissed the plaintiffs’ fraud cause of action against the defendants.

Plaintiff Jesse Frank Sheppard originally filed in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. Sheppard alleged that he developed lung cancer and/or mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working for Freeport Sulphur Company. The plaintiff sued …

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