Circumstantial Evidence Held Sufficient to Uphold Verdict Against Insulator Defendant Court of Appeals of Maryland, July 3, 2019

MARYLAND — A Baltimore City jury found that William Busch, Jr. contracted mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing materials installed during the construction of Loch Raven High School (LRHS) by defendant Wallace & Gale, Co. (W&G), and awarded the plaintiff a $14 million verdict, which was later reduced to $7.3 million. While working for Honeywell in the early 1970s, Busch worked in the boiler room at LRHS for three-to-four months in the presence of insulators, who were covering two large boilers with…
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More Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Court U.S. District Court, D. Maryland (Kerkhof), June 3, 2019; U.S. District Court, D. Massachusetts (O'Riorden), June 5, 2019

Consistent with the recent decisions of federal courts in Pennsylvania and California, district courts in Maryland and Massachusetts this week remanded the mesothelioma cases of Plaintiffs Carol Kerkhof and Lorraine O’Riorden to their respective state courts. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court, asserting that the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., made the cases “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in Delaware. J&J filed an accompanying motion to transfer the venue…
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Boiler Manufacturer’s Affirmative Defenses of Sophisticated User and Superseding Cause Dismissed on Summary Judgment United States District Court, D. Maryland, April 29, 2019

MARYLAND — The plaintiff brought suit against several defendants including Foster Wheeler alleging her decedent, Mr. Morris, developed and passed from mesothelioma as a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos while working at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard from 1948-1970’s. Foster Wheeler asserted various defenses in its amended answer including the defenses of sophisticated user and superseding cause. The plaintiff moved for summary judgment on those two defenses. The court started its analysis by noting the standard for summary judgment. Summary judgment is appropriate…
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Turbine Manufacturer’s Removal Deemed Timely Due to Plaintiffs’ Vague Initial Pleadings and Answers to Interrogatories United States District Court, D. Maryland, April 12, 2019

MARYLAND — The plaintiffs filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on April 4, 2018, against Westinghouse and thirty other the defendants. In the original complaint, the plaintiffs provided no time frame during which the plaintiff’s decedent, Vincent James Barrett, may have been exposed to asbestos, nor did it provide any specifics as to which he was exposed to or identify ships on which he may have worked. On December 18, 2018, Westinghouse removed the case to the District Court of Maryland “within…
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Maryland Appellate Court Upholds Motion for Judgment on Basis that Manufacturer Had no Duty to Warn of Take-Home Exposure Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, November 2, 2018

MARYLAND – Concetta Schatz’s (Mrs. Schatz) children (Appellants) commenced a lawsuit against John Crane, Inc. (JCI), alleging that Mrs. Schatz’s husband handled asbestos-containing JCI products while at work and wore his asbestos-covered clothing home for Mrs. Schatz to launder, thereby exposing her to asbestos, resulting in her mesothelioma diagnosis and eventual death. At the close of Appellants’ case-in-chief, JCI moved for judgment on the basis that Appellants failed to prove JCI owed a legal duty to warn Mrs. Schatz.  The lower Circuit Court granted JCI’s…
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Insulation Installer’s Hourly Timesheets Found Legally Sufficient to Support Rational Inference of Causation in Bystander Matter Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, Circuit Court For Baltimore City, September 26, 2018

MARYLAND — The plaintiff William Busch and his wife, Kathleen, filed suit against multiple defendants, alleging that exposure to asbestos caused his mesothelioma. After a 14 day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs, finding that William’s exposure to asbestos-containing insulation products installed by Wallace & Gale Co. (W&G) during the construction of Loch Raven High School (LRHS), a location where plaintiff worked, was a substantial causative factor in the development of his mesothelioma. The plaintiff worked in the boiler room where…
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Baltimore $5 Million-plus Verdict Overturned for New Trial Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, May 11, 2018

MARYLAND — On May 11, 2018, defendants Mack Trucks, Inc. and Ford Motor Co. (collectively as defendants) won a new trial with a decision that overturned a $5 million-plus verdict issued by a Baltimore City jury. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland found that the trial court provided improper instructions to the jury on the issue of negligence, which was prejudicial to the defendants. Accordingly, the judgments were reversed and remanded for further proceedings on the negligence claims against them not inconsistent with the…
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Maryland’s Court of Appeals Rules on Applicability of Statute of Repose

MARYLAND — The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Court of Special Appeals in the matter of Duffy v. CBS Corporation, making two holdings relating to Maryland’s Statute of Repose. First, the court held that an injury related to asbestos exposure that underlies a cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death arises at the time of exposure. The court held that the “exposure approach,” as adopted by the Court in John Crane Inc. v. Scribner, 369 Md. 369,…
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Denial of Remand When Removal Under Federal Officer Removal Statute Deemed Timely U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, January 10, 2018

MARYLAND — The plaintiff filed her lawsuit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County on June 5, 2015, alleging the decedent was exposed to asbestos at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard as a riveter heater and boiler maker from 1948 through the 1970s. A co-worker was deposed on December 11, 2015, and testified that decedent was exposed to asbestos from Foster Wheeler products while building ships for the Vietnam War. Foster Wheeler removed the case base on the Federal Officer Removal Statute to the U.S.…
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Summary Judgment Affirmed in Favor of Insulation Suppliers Based Upon Lack of Product Identification Circuit Court for Baltimore County, November 20, 2017

MARYLAND — The Circuit Court for Baltimore County affirmed the entry of summary judgment for two insulation suppliers-installers in a mesothelioma case arising from Bethlehem Steel’s Key Highway Shipyard (KHS), agreeing that the plaintiffs failed to present evidence linking the plaintiff to the products or employees of the insulation defendants. The evidence demonstrated that MCIC, Inc. (formerly the McCormick Asbestos Company) and Wallace & Gale Settlement Trust (formerly the Wallace & Gale Company) both supplied and installed insulation at KHS during the plaintiff’s years of…
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