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Gasket/Packing Manufacturer Fails Government Contractor Defense

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, October 21, 2022

In this case, the plaintiffs Arnold and Ruth Pritt allege that Arnold Pritt (“Plaintiff”) was exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1960s. Among other products, the plaintiff alleges that he was exposed to asbestos from John Crane packing and gaskets. Defendant John Crane filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiffs’ claims for failure to warn and design defect are barred by the government contractor defense …

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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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Statute of Repose Applied and Summary Judgment Granted

MASSACHUSETTS – On March 30, 2018, the U.S.D.C. for the District of Massachusetts held that Massachusetts’ statute of repose did not apply to asbestos exposure claims and denied the motion for summary judgment of General Electric (GE). The question was without controlling precedent, and was therefore certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. On Mach 1, 2019, the court ruled that the statute of repose “completely eliminates all tort claims arising out of any deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, construction, or general administration …

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Massachusetts Statute of Repose Bars Construction-Related Asbestos Claims

In Stearns v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the Massachusetts Supreme Court addressed whether the six-year statute of repose for claims against those involved the design, planning, construction, or general administration of improvements to real property, applies to asbestos personal injury claims, which would typically arise after the statue would bar their assertion. The statute at issue, Mass. Gen. Laws. c. 260 Section 2B, provides in relevant part that:

“Action[s] of tort for damages arising out of any deficiency or neglect in the design, planning,

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Vexing Statute of Repose Question Sent to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

MASSACHUSETTS  — The plaintiffs sued multiple defendants in the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, alleging that the plaintiffs’ decedent, Wayne Oliver, was exposed to asbestos during the construction of two nuclear power plants.  Defendant General Electric (GE) filed a motion for summary judgment on counts I,II,IX, and X in the plaintiffs’ Third Amended complaint; both parties agreed that the affected counts were governed by the substantive law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

GE invoked the Massachusetts statute of repose for improvements to real …

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Turbine Manufacturer’s Choice of Law Motion Granted Based on Location of Asbestos Exposure and Diagnosis

MASSACHUSETTS — Plaintiff Ruth Burleigh, the widow of the plaintiff’s decedent Ernest Burleigh, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against numerous defendants alleging that decedent developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanic at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (the shipyard) from 1960-1981. The shipyard is located in Kittery, Maine, approximately 20 miles from the Massachusetts border. The plaintiff’s decedent alleged exposure to asbestos in Maine only, was a resident of Maine for the …

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Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment Under Massachusetts Statute of Repose, But Grants Defendants’ Motions on Other Grounds

MASSACHUSETTS — The plaintiffs allege that the decedent, Wayne Oliver, developed mesothelioma from bystander exposure to asbestos during his work as a pipe inspector on the construction of two power plants in the 1970s. Defendant General Electric Company (GE) specified and produced steam turbine-generators for the power plants, and supervised their installation. Defendant NSTAR, formerly known as Boston Edison Company (NSTAR/BECO), owned one of the power plants during the time of the decedent’s work. The decedent worked for non-party Bechtel Corporation, who acted as the …

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