Loss of Valid Statute of Limitations Defense after Re-Filing Not a Bar to Dismissal Without Prejudice

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, June 12, 2020

Family members (plaintiffs) of the decedent Cynthia Cartwright alleged exposure to asbestos-containing talcum powder attributed to defendants Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Avon Products Inc., and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), which the plaintiffs claim resulted in the decedent’s fatal mesothelioma. The plaintiffs initially filed an action in Maryland, and JJCI moved to federal court.  Cyprus and Avon subsequently moved to dismiss based on personal jurisdiction, whereas JJCI moved for partial judgment on the …

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Brake Manufacturer denied Summary Judgment Despite Evidence as to Warnings prior to decedent’s exposure date

MARYLAND – The plaintiffs filed suit alleging John Dugger developed and passed away from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to Honeywell’s Bendix brakes. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged exposure to asbestos while working at his own automobile repair shop, Personal Auto, from 1980-1984 and while working as a mechanic at H and S Bakery from 1980-1982.

Honeywell moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Honeywell’s motion for summary judgment. The parties disagreed as to whether or not Bendix placed warnings …

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Honeywell Rebuffed in Effort to Preclude Plaintiff’s Experts

MARYLAND – Honeywell filed a Daubert motion to preclude the plaintiff’s experts from opining that chrysotile asbestos used in automobile brakes causes pleural mesothelioma or that every exposure is causative. The plaintiff retained Dr. Arthur Frank, Dr. John Maddox and Dr. John Finkelstein as experts. Honeywell argued that each expert offered the “each and every exposure” theory, which is barred under Daubert. The plaintiff agreed, and instead argued that his experts’ opinions were based on the plaintiff’s specific exposure level and not the general fact …

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Dismissal of FELA Claims Upheld on Appeal in Maryland

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 …

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Court Refuses to Dismiss Coverage Suit Even Where Insurers’ Time on Risk Does Not Overlap

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 …

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Circumstantial Evidence Held Sufficient to Uphold Verdict Against Insulator Defendant

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

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

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

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

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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