Court of Appeals of Ohio Finds Reversible Error in Refusal of Daubert Hearing On Basis of Opinions of Drs. Strauchen and Frank

In this case it is alleged that the decedent, Glenn Watkins, was exposed to chrysotile asbestos dust from the sanding of Bendix brakes while working as a manager at various Auto Shack and AutoZone retail stores between 1985 and 2006 and that this exposure was a substantial cause of his pleural mesothelioma and death. Prior to trial, all defendants other than Honeywell International Inc. settled or were dismissed. The issue at trial was whether Watkins’ handling of Bendix brakes was a cause-in-fact of his mesothelioma, …

Continue Reading

Citing New York Case Law, Court Denies Crane Co.’s Motion in Limine to Preclude ‘Each and Every Exposure’ Opinion

This opinion addressed potential causation testimony offered by the plaintiffs in two cases. In one case, the plaintiff’s decedent died of mesothelioma prior to being deposed. The decedent’s nephew and co-worker testified during deposition that his uncle was exposed to asbestos while working as a sheet metal worker at shipyards, and while installing furnaces, from the 1960s-70s. His testimony included exposure to insulation, packing, gaskets, and pipe covering used in connection with Crane valves. In the second case, the decedent, a career Navy man, died …

Continue Reading

Regardless of Whether New York or Maritime Law Applied, Government Contractor and Bare Metal Defenses Insufficient to Grant Summary Judgment to Foster Wheeler

The plaintiff alleged the decedent was exposed to asbestos while serving in the Navy from 1947-52, and while on board the USS Charles H. Roan. Defendants Foster Wheeler and General Electric removed to federal court pursuant to the federal officer statute. Foster Wheeler moved for summary judgment based on: (1) the government contractor defense; (2) bare metal defense; and (3) its products were not a substantial factor in causing injury. Crane Co. also moved for summary judgment; Crane, CBS Corp., and Foster Wheeler also …

Continue Reading

NYCAL Court Grants Spoliation Motion Against Pipe Manufacturer for Lost and Destroyed Company Documents

In this NYCAL case, it was alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from work he and others in his vicinity performed with Johns Manville (JM) transite pipe. The plaintiff moved for a spoliation charge, alleging that in 1990 JM was grossly negligent in the disappearance of more than 10 banker boxes of business records when transferring headquarters and in 1997 intentionally destroyed another 27 boxes of business records. The documents destroyed in 1997 were done so by James Richert, a former JM employee …

Continue Reading

Defendants’ Motion in Limine To Exclude Expert Testimony on “Each and Every Exposure” Opinion Denied Based on Federal and Illinois Law

Various defendants filed a motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Matthew A. Vuskovich, M.D., M.S.P.H., arguing that he does not satisfy the requirements for expert testimony outlined in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Specifically, defendants sought to exclude his opinions based on the “every exposure” theory, because it is not accepted by the scientific community or the courts. The court denied the motion, as Federal Rule of Evidence 702 allowed for the theoretical basis for Dr. Vuskovich’s …

Continue Reading

Plaintiff’s Expert Industrial Hygienist Found to Be Qualified to Offer Testimony on Non-Specific Levels of Asbestos Exposure

In this federal court case, the decedent, Sally Gros Vedros, is alleged to have been exposed to asbestos from laundering her father’s work clothes during the time he worked as a welder at the Avondale shipyard from 1943 to 1976 and from her own work at Avondale in the purchasing department from 1960 to 1963. The defendant, Bayer CropScience, Inc., which was the successor to several companies that formerly were known as Amchem Company, moved to preclude plaintiff’s industrial hygienist, Frank Parker, III, from testifying, …

Continue Reading

Mixed Ruling on Brake Manufacturers’ Motions to Preclude Case Reports

In this federal court action, it is alleged that the plaintiff, Graham Yates, was exposed to asbestos brake products while working in various employment positions and from working on his own vehicles. The defendants, Ford Motor Company and Honeywell International, Inc. moved in limine on several different grounds to preclude case reports. The court ruled as follows:

The defendants challenged the case reports on the grounds of relevancy and reliability. In a lengthy analysis, the court denied the motion. Regarding relevance, the court looked at …

Continue Reading

Mixed Ruling on Brake Defendant’s Motion in Limine on Expert Testimony Regarding Corporate Conduct

In this federal court action, it is alleged that the plaintiff, Graham Yates, was exposed to asbestos brake products while working as a gas station attendant from 1956-1957, as a parts salesman and delivery driver for a Ford dealership in the 1960s, as a clerk in an automobile parts warehouse from 1961-1962, and from working on his own vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s. The defendant, Ford, brought a motion in limine to exclude expert testimony regarding corporate conduct. The court provided a lengthy analysis …

Continue Reading

In an Extensive Decision, Court Excludes Many Post-Exposure Pieces of Evidence Against Brake Defendants

The plaintiff commenced this action alleging exposure to asbestos as a brake mechanic at various locations, with his last claimed exposure to Ford brakes in 1960 and Bendix brakes in 1962. In a pretrial motion in limine, defendants Ford and Honeywell sought to exclude all different types of post-exposure evidence the plaintiff sought to introduce at trial. The court issued a lengthy decision addressing many different issues. Here are some of the highlights:

As to whether post-exposure evidence generally is relevant under FRE 401

Continue Reading

Appeals Court Rules on Several Evidentiary Issues in Talc-Asbestos Exposure Case, Ultimately Upholding $1.6 Million Verdict

In this case, the Plaintiff, Steven Kaenzig, and his wife sued multiple defendants, including talc supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., for his contracting mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to the talc on his father’s work clothes. The defendant was the primary supplier of talc where plaintiff’s father worked. The case was tried and a verdict of $1.6 million was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs. On appeal, the defendant challenged several pretrial and evidentiary rulings and the denial of its motion for …

Continue Reading