Bankruptcy Stay Applies to Direct Actions against Insurers in “Limited Circumstances” where Numerous Asbestos Claims are Pending

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana, October 19, 2022

The plaintiffs brought a wrongful death and survival action for damages related to the death of their decedent in 2019. Decedent had a forty-five year career as a welder in the marine industry which was alleged to have resulted in his exposure to asbestos. The plaintiffs sought damages from numerous defendants, including Decedents former employers, owners of work sites, asbestos manufacturers and distributors who were alleged to have provided products to decedents worksites, and insurers. …

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Partial Summary Judgment Granted, Rejecting Government Immunity Defense of Shipyard defendants

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana   

Plaintiff Linda Crossland alleged take-home exposure to asbestos from her husband’s clothing while he was employed at the Avondale Shipyards, where he was responsible for constructing and repairing vessels.  Plaintiff sued numerous defendants, alleging they negligently failed to warn her husband about the dangers of asbestos and failed to provide him with safe premises.  Avondale removed the action to federal court, relying on “government contractor immunity” established by Boyle and the “derivative sovereign immunity” defense set …

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Government Contractor Defense Inapplicable to Plaintiff’s Failure to Warn and Prevent the Spread of Asbestos Claims

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, October 12, 2022

In this asbestos action, Plaintiff Ruby Lee Marie Falgout (“Plaintiff”) alleged take-home exposure from laundering her husband’s clothes while he worked around Hopeman employees cut and installed asbestos wall board at the Avondale Shipyards (“Avondale”). The plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment barring Avondale from availing itself of the government contractor defense. The plaintiff contended that Avondale’s failure to warn was discretionary. The plaintiff also argued that the court should …

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Summary Judgment Denied as Court Finds Issues of Material Fact in Shipbuilder’s Claim

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 23, 2022

In April 2020, Paul Hotard (“decedent”) received a mesothelioma diagnosis despite never handling or working with asbestos-containing materials while employed at the Avondale Shipyards.  While employed, decedent’s duties consisted of handing pipe to the pipefitters and tacking pipe together for a welder to weld.  Nevertheless, decedent brought this action alleging the inhalation of asbestos fibers during vessel construction at Avondale caused his malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.  Mr. Hotard died in September 2021 and his widow …

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Summary Judgment Affirmed for Trailer Manufacturer

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, September 28, 2022

In this asbestos action, John Brindell (“Brindell”) allegedly contracted mesothelioma as a result of working as a mechanic for Puerto Rico Marine Management, Inc. (“PRMMI”) at the Port of New Orleans. Brindell’s surviving spouse and children (“Plaintiffs”) asserted a wrongful death and survival action against several defendants. Defendant CRA Trailers, Inc. f/k/a Great Dane Trailers, Inc. (“CRA/Great Dane”) moved for summary judgment, arguing that CRA/Great Dane trailers were not present at the Port during Brindell’s …

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Naval Expert’s Testimony Limited on Duty to Warn Issue

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 29, 2022

The Callen Cortez (“Plaintiff”) matter has been previously reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker. At current issue is the plaintiff’s motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Dr. Samuel Forman, a former Navy officer and occupational medicine specialist, as his testimony would lack relevancy under Rules 403 and 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Plaintiff also argued that the testimony would not “fit” under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals

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Carpentry Subcontractor Not a ‘Manufacturer’; Obtains Partial Summary Judgment

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 8, 2022 

Plaintiff Ora Jean Adams alleges she developed lung cancer from secondhand asbestos exposure from laundering the clothing of her deceased husband. Decedent worked at Avondale in the 1970s as a pipefitter and welder on various vessel construction projects. The plaintiff contends that defendant Hopeman Brothers Inc. was an Avondale subcontractor that performed marine carpentry or “joiner” work while decedent worked at Avondale, and that Hopeman provided both marine carpentry services and the …

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Micarta Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment against third-party plaintiff Avondale denied

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 6, 2022

Plaintiff Ora Adams alleges that her husband, Lional Adams, was exposed to asbestos at defendant, Avondale’s, New Orleans area shipyards in the 1970s while Mr. Adams was employed as a pipefitter and welder. She contends that this work resulted in asbestos dust on his clothing, which Mr. Adams wore home and Ms. Adams would shake out before washing. Ms. Adams alleges that this exposure caused her lung cancer and filed suit against …

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Intentional Tort and Fraud/Concealment Counts Dismissed for Several Defendants Court

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana , August 24, 2022

The Asbestos Case Tracker continues to cover the Becnel matter, in which the plaintiffs allege James Becnel was exposed to asbestos at the Avondale Shipyards in 1965.   

For purposes of these motions, the plaintiff alleged intentional tort and fraud/concealment counts against the defendants. Recently, several defendants filed for partial summary judgment on these counts the court granted.  

With regard to the intentional tort claim, the plaintiff argued that a …

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Summary Judgment Granted for Insurer Where Plaintiff Failed to Establish Injury Occurred in Policy Period

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, August 3, 2022

Originally filed by Decedent prior to his passing related to mesothelioma, Plaintiffs were substituted as the parties in a wrongful death claim brought against Travelers Indemnity Co. (“Travelers”), among other defendants, under Louisiana’s direct actions statute, La. R.S. § 22:1269. Decedent was a vessel inspector for American Bureau of Shipping (“ABS”) who inspected vessels to determine if they met classification requirements at various shipyards from 1970 to 2006. Defendants removed the action pursuant to federal officer …

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