Attempt to Revive MARDOC Cases on Jurisdiction Fails as to all but Four Appellants United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, November 8, 2019

OHIO – The plaintiffs in this matter are merchant mariners who originally filed their cases in the Northern District of Ohio. Subsequent to filing, their cases were transferred to multidistrict litigation (MDL). Prior to trial in Pennsylvania, the court dismissed the cases after a finding that the Ohio court lacked personal jurisdiction, and appeal ensued. By way of background, the merchant mariner cases were in the thousands. Filings began in the 1980s against several ship owners, manufacturers, and suppliers of asbestos products. Their claims were…
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Delaware District Court Rules on Pre-trial Motions in Maritime Law Case United States District Court, D. Delaware, October 25, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff filed this asbestos-related wrongful death action in Delaware on June 11, 2015. While the court does not explain the underlying case facts, motion practice regarding admiralty law and expert exclusion indicates that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while a member of the United States Navy. As trial is approaching for this case, the plaintiff and the defendant, John Crane, Inc. (JCI), both filed motions in limine. The plaintiff’s motion sought to exclude discussion or reference to collateral sources, including…
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Three Defendants Granted Summary Judgment in Maritime Case Pending in Washington U.S.D.C. for the W.D. of Washington, August 19, 2019

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff, Donald Yaw, filed a lawsuit against numerous equipment manufacturers alleging that he suffered injuries as a result of asbestos exposure. The plaintiff experienced his exposure while working as a shipfitter at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1964 to 2001. The plaintiff was deposed before he passed away, but did not remember working on any particular product on any ship. The plaintiff’s expert, Captain Arnold Moore, opined that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos while others were removing insulation, packing, and gaskets…
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Lack of Specific Identification of Exposure Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment for Pump Manufacturer in Naval Case U.S. District Court of Delaware, July 15, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff Hickman filed suit against several defendants including Air & Liquid Systems Corp. for its line of Buffalo pumps arguing that he developed asbestosis and asbestos related pleural disease as a result of his work with the defendants’ products while working onboard several ships in the United States Navy. Specifically, the plaintiff worked as a fireman onboard multiple naval ships from 1963- 1986. His work led him to encounter a variety of equipment and products including pumps, valves, generators, and insulation. A…
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Duty to Warn Recognized in Maritime Tort Context U.S. Supreme Court, March 19, 2019

In a case extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker blog the US. Supreme Court examined a multi-district asbestos product liability action. In the claim, widows of deceased veterans brought negligence and strict liability action against several defendants, including manufacturers of engines and other equipment installed on Navy ships, alleging veterans developed cancer due to exposure to asbestos on board Navy ships. Following remand from the court of appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted manufacturers’ motions for summary judgment.…
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Bare Metal Defense Does Not Apply To Negligence Claims Under Maritime Law U.S. Supreme Court, March 19, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court held that manufacturers are liable for injuries caused by parts with asbestos that were subsequently added to their products by third parties, affirming the special protections extended to sailors under maritime law. The court reviewed the following question: “Can products-liability defendants be held liable under maritime law for injuries caused by products they did not make, sell, or distribute?” In a case previously reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the court, in a 6-3 ruling, upheld a third circuit decision that…
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Summary Judgment Motions Denied for Four Defendants in Two Maritime Cases Filed by Same Plaintiff U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, February 14, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA — Shortly before his death, Obediah Walker, Jr., filed an action in Pennsylvania state court alleging he was exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Plymouth Rock while enlisted in the Navy from 1969 to 1971. He served as an electrician onboard the Plymouth Rock and was later diagnosed with lung cancer. He was deposed six days after filing suit and was only cross-examined by one defendant before he passed. The defendants Ingersoll-Rand, Warren Pumps and Blackmer Pumps did not cross-examine Walker. Obediah…
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Exclusion of the Plaintiff’s Causation Experts Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Merchant Marine Mesothelioma Matter U.S.District Court, E.D. Louisiana, February 05, 2019

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants alleging he developed mesothelioma while working for Radcliff Materials, a predecessor of Dravo Basic Materials Company (DBMC). Prior to filing suit in Louisiana, The plaintiff had filed a products liability suit against several defendants in California including DBMC. The plaintiff dismissed DBMC from the California suit based on jurisdictional issues. The plaintiff worked as an oiler onboard a dredge known as the Avocet in 1973 for approximately 6 weeks. His primary job duties included reading gauges,…
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Lack of Detail in Product Identification Leads to Grant of Fourteen Summary Judgment Motions United States District Court, D. Delaware, January 23, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff William Johansen alleged that he developed mesothelioma from his work with various pumps, valves, and other equipment aboard Naval vessels, at shipyards, and at a pulp mill. Fourteen defendants filed summary judgement motions arguing insufficient causation. The parties agreed that maritime law applied to all of the plaintiff’s Naval/sea-based claims and that Washington law applied to his land based claims. Under maritime law, a plaintiff must demonstrate exposure to the defendant’s product and proof that the product was a substantial factor…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Basic Product Identification Leads to Recommendation of Summary Judgment for Multiple Defendants U.S. District Court, D. Delaware. January 22, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff filed suit against several defendants alleging that, Mr. Harding, developed lung cancer as a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos while working in the U.S. Navy and during work in the civilian sector. The case was quickly removed to federal court. Specifically, the plaintiff worked as a plumber in New Canaan, CT from 1962-1963. He recalled working with several brands of residential and commercial boilers. The plaintiff believed that he had been exposed to asbestos from the powder associated with…
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