Dismissal of FELA Claims Upheld on Appeal in Maryland Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, August 28, 2019

MARYLAND – The plaintiff, Clyde Crowe, developed mesothelioma and sued CSX Transportation and numerous other defendants in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City seeking damages under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) due to his exposure to asbestos while employed by CSX. From 1960 to 1969, the plaintiff worked as a railway operator and foreman at the Port Covington railyard and port facility. CSX filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provided the exclusive remedy against CSX…
Continue reading...

Court Refuses to Dismiss Coverage Suit Even Where Insurers’ Time on Risk Does Not Overlap United States District Court, D. Maryland, Augusts 19, 2019

MARYLAND – Three alleged insurers of Tate Andale, Inc., a company that manufactured products containing asbestos and has been made defendant in related personal injury cases, disputed their coverage obligations to Tate Andale.  While Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company and Zurich American Insurance Company were defending Tate Andale in the underlying suits, Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company had not participated in Tate Andale’s defense.  Prior to the filing of this lawsuit, Penn National filed its own declaratory judgment action against Tate Andale, requesting the…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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,…
Continue reading...