Court Hears Motions to Overturn Verdict in $117 Million New Jersey Talc Case

NEW JERSEY — In April of this year, a New Jersey jury awarded $37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages to plaintiff Stephen Lanzo, who alleged that he developed mesothelioma from years of use of defendants’ talcum powder, which the plaintiff claimed was contaminated with asbestos. On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the court heard arguments on Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s motions to overturn the verdict. In asking the court to overturn the verdict, Imerys argued the plaintiff had presented no competent …

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New Evidence Leads to Vacated Final Judgment in Favor of Fertilizer Company

NEW JERSEY — In an unpublished opinion issued by the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, the plaintiff successfully overturned the entry of summary judgment on the basis of discovery of new evidence. The plaintiff filed suit in 2012, alleging that his application of two bags of Scotts Turf Builder fertilizer twice a year, from 1967 to 1980, caused him to develop mesothelioma. He passed shortly after filing the lawsuit and his wife was substituted as executrix of the estate. The plaintiff alleged that Scotts …

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Consideration of Decedent’s Specific Exposure History Renders Testimony of Dr. Jacqueline Moline Reliable

Decedent Gerald Hoffeditz alleged asbestos exposure from automotive and heavy equipment repair on various vehicles, including large military trucks while working at the Letterkenny Army Depot. He subsequently passed away from mesothelioma. Various defendants moved to exclude the evidence and testimony put forth by the plaintiff’s expert Dr. Jacqueline Moline. The court denied this motion.

For expert testimony to be admitted, the proffered witness must: (1) be qualified; (2) testify about matters requiring scientific, technical or specialized knowledge (reliability), and (3) assist the trier of …

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Sufficient Exposure Found to Reverse Prior Summary Judgment Decision in Favor of Asbestos Supplier

In October 2010, the plaintiff, Thomasina Fowler, individually and as administrator of the estate of Willis Edenfield (the decedent), brought a wrongful death and product liability action in the Superior Court of New Jersey against various defendants. The plaintiff alleged the decedent passed away from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure associated with defendants’ products. The complaint was filed after the decedent’s death and he was never deposed. Therefore, during discovery, the plaintiff produced two witnesses to testify as to the decedent’s occupational history. The decedent …

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New Jersey Court Finds Plaintiff’s Certification Speculative and Grants Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motion

Plaintiff John Burton filed suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, against various defendants, including Ingersoll Rand, alleging he developed mesothelioma from occupational exposure to asbestos during his work at a New Jersey facility that manufactured aluminum cans. During his discovery deposition, Burton testified that the production of aluminum cans required a washing system to which the facility had two “washing machines” that incorporated washing and decorating the cans. Burton recalled these washing machines had 12 pumps and testified generally that Ingersoll …

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Motion to Dismiss on Lack of Jurisdiction Denied as Limited Discovery is Required

On October 28, 2015, the plaintiff, Estelle Grimes, widow of plaintiff-decedent Thomas Grimes, brought suit against the defendants and numerous other corporations who also allegedly mined, sold, or distributed asbestos in New Jersey state court. On December 1, 2015, the case was removed from state to federal court. The plaintiff amended the complaint on August 1, 2016. The defendants ACL and Bell filed mirror-image motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on August 4, 2016 before the U.S. District Court for the District of …

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“Frequency, Regularity and Proximity” Standard in New Jersey Law Acknowledged in Denying Two of Four Summary Judgments

The plaintiff was a machinist, pipe fitter and electrician from the 1950s-1970s and alleged asbestos exposure during his work at a variety of locations, including during home repair and automotive maintenance. In 2013, he was diagnosed with asbestosis. The plaintiff testified as to working with pumps as a machinist helper on the USS Kitty Hawk while working for the New York Shipyard. He also testified as to asbestos exposure while working as a sheet metal worker for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Defendants Buffalo Pumps, DAP, Sid …

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Jury Returns Defense Verdict on Failure to Warn and Design Defect Claims Involving Contaminated Talc and Kent Cigarettes

In a case involving a variety of alleged asbestos exposures, trial proceeded against three defendants – Lorillard Tobacco, H&V, and Whittaker Clark – for asbestos exposures through allegedly contaminated talc and Kent cigarettes with micronite filters. The jury found that plaintiff did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence its failure to warn claims against all three defendants. Design defect claims were alleged against Lorillard and H&V; again, the jury found that plaintiff did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that both …

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No Liability Coverage Allocation for Manufacturers Who Continued Making Products with Asbestos After 1987

 

A New Jersey appellate court held that policyholders who continued to manufacture products containing asbestos after 1987 — when coverage for injuries arising from such products was no longer available — need not shoulder any portion of liability for injuries related to asbestos exposure from their products, so long as any portion of such exposure occurred prior to 1987.

The Bendix Corporation, predecessor of Honeywell International, Inc., manufactured and sold brake and clutch pads that contained asbestos. Honeywell has been sued in tens of …

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Federal Court Analyzes New Jersey State Law in Granting Unopposed Summary Judgment Motions of Six Defendants

In this federal court case, the plaintiff, James McCourt, alleged exposure to asbestos from serving in the Navy (1962-66), working as a pipefitter (1961-62 and 1966-68), home renovations (1952-60), automotive repair work (1959-98), and from the clothing of his father from products manufactured by various defendants. Six defendnats, Guard-Line, Inc., CertainTeed Corporation, Union Carbide Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, PSEG Power, and DAP, Inc., moved for summary judgment.

While the plaintiff did not oppose the defendants’ motions, the court still analyzed each motion under New Jersey …

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