No Error in Recommendation of Summary Judgment Where Plaintiffs Failed to Establish Causation U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, January 9, 2017

Summary Judgment was recommended by the magistrate for the plaintiffs’ failure to establish causation in this case. The plaintiff appealed and contended that his asbestos related disease was a result of exposure to asbestos from Foster Wheeler boilers while working onboard the USS Gridley. The court noted that the standard of review of a magistrate’s report and recommendation is de novo. In this case, no party objected to the application of maritime law. Accordingly, the plaintiff had the burden to show: 1) The plaintiff…
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Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment Granted for Lack of Exposure Evidence and Opposition U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, December 29, 2016

The plaintiffs brought this action against multiple defendants alleging Mr. Evans developed an asbestos related disease as a result of his exposure to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Navy. Mr. Evans alleged that he worked as a fireman and boiler tender on-board the USS Kearsarge from 1957-61 and USS Bole in 1961. Mr. Evans believed that he had been exposed to asbestos from gaskets and refractory products while in the U.S. Navy. Mr. Evans also alleged that he had been exposed to brake dust…
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Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment Granted for Plaintiffs’ Failure to Establish Exposure Evidence U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, December 29, 2016

The plaintiff alleged he developed mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos while working with the U.S. Navy from 1961-64 and from 1961-78 with various employers. Defendant Crane Co. removed the case to the U.S. District Court on August 31, 2015. Defendants CBS Corporation, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, FMC Corporation, and Ingersoll Rand moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed no opposition to those motions. The court began its analysis with the standard for summary judgment. Summary judgment is appropriate when there is…
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Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Apply Federal Maritime Law U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, December 29, 2016

Plaintiffs Ralph Elliott Shaw and Joan Sanderson Shaw initiated this action by filing a complaint in the Superior Court of Delaware on February 26, 2015 asserting various causes of action arising out of Mr. Shaw’s alleged exposure to asbestos throughout his employment. Specifically, the plaintiff’s allegations include Mr. Shaw’s occupational exposure as a sheet metal worker in Groton, Connecticut from approximately 1952 to 1954 and 1957 to 1967. Mr. Shaw alleged exposure to asbestos throughout his employment, at various submarine factories and shipyards with respect…
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Plaintiffs’ Dismissal with Prejudice of Claims Against Defendant Rendered Third-Party Demand for Contribution Void U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, November 18, 2016

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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Court Grants Summary Judgment for Defendant Boiler Manufacturer Based on Lack of Causation Under Maritime Law U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, September 16, 2016

Plaintiffs Jimmy R. Mitchell and Connie Mitchell filed suit alleging that Mr. Mitchell developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products, in part during the course of his employment as a boiler fireman with the U.S. Navy from 1976-79. Defendant Foster Wheeler filed for summary judgment and argued, among other things, lack of causation. To establish causation under maritime law (which both parties agree applied), plaintiffs must show that (1) Mr. Mitchell was exposed to a Foster Wheeler boiler; (2) the exposure…
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Court Grants Summary Judgment After Plaintiff Fails to Establish Elements to Pierce the Corporate Veil U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York , August 23, 2016

The plaintiff, Kelan Unterberg, brought this action against multiple defendants for his alleged development of mesothelioma. His complaint lodged three separate causes of action including negligence under the Jones Act, breach of warranty of sea worthiness and reasonable fitness under U.S. Maritime law, and remedy of maintenance and cure. All of the counts were related to Unterberg’s alleged exposure to asbestos aboard several civilian vessels while working as a chief engineer and merchant seaman from 1973-78. The plaintiff, a citizen of Germany, first brought this…
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Maritime Law Applied in Granting of Summary Judgment to Manufacturer of Blowers Used on Naval Ship U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, August 29, 2016

The plaintiff sued several defendants alleging that he developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos products of the defendants while he served as a boiler tender in the U.S. Navy from 1976-79. Defendants Atwood and Morill (Atwood) and Carrier Corp. moved for summary judgment. The court’s analysis started with the standard for summary judgment. “The Court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as…
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Magistrate Judge Recommends Various Rulings on Five Summary Judgment Motions Filed by Defendants U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, August 19, 2016

The United States Magistrate Judge recommended disposition on five summary judgment motions filed by various defendants in this mesothelioma case wherein plaintiffs alleged asbestos exposure during plaintiff Mark Hillyer’s employment with the U.S. Navy from 1967-1997.  The only product identification witness was plaintiff Mark Hillyer, who testified that he was exposed to asbestos through his maintenance work on reactor plant systems, steam plant systems, engines, and turbine generators.  In deciding these motions, the court applied maritime law such that plaintiff must show that (1) he…
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Summary Judgment to Shipbuilders Upheld on Appeal Since Ships Are Not Products and Rejection of Plaintiffs’ Every Exposure Claim U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, March 31, 2016

In this case, the decedent, James McIndoe, was alleged to have been exposed to asbestos pipe insulation while serving aboard the USS Coral Sea, built by Huntington Ingalls Inc., from 1961–63 and the USS Wordern, built by Bath Iron Works Corporation from 1966-67. The case was removed to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, and Huntington and Bath moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motions “on the grounds that the ships were not products for purposes of strict liability…
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