Court Grant Plaintiffs’ Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss in Federal Court Under the Zagano Factors

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, May 5, 2020

On February 25, 2020, plaintiffs Laura McDaniel and Edward McDaniel filed a complaint in the New York Supreme Court, New York County, against the defendants, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc. (WCD) and Revlon, Inc., for asbestos-related personal injury claims relating to Laura McDaniels’ mesothelioma. The next day, on February 26, 2020, WCD removed the case to federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) on the basis of complete diversity between the plaintiffs and defendants. …

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Remand Granted After Finding that Removal Period was Triggered by Plaintiffs’ Discovery Responses

NEW YORK – The plaintiffs sued dozens of defendants, including Cleaver-Brooks, alleging that Frederick Brown developed an asbestos-related injury as a result of exposure to the defendant’s products. The complaint was filed in July 2017. The plaintiff served answers to interrogatories in October 2017. The responses stated in pertinent part “…While performing my sheet metal worker duties, I was exposed to asbestos from the work I did as well as from the work of tradesmen around and in close proximity to me who were cleaning, …

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New York County Jury Renders Defense Verdict in World Trade Center Case

NEW YORK – On Friday, March 6, 2020, a New York County jury rendered a defense verdict in the matter of Sharon Epstein, Individually and as Independent Administrator of the Estate of Ira Epstein v. Atlas Turner, Inc., et al., an asbestos personal injury and wrongful death action involving the decedent, Ira Epstein, and his alleged bystander exposures to asbestos-containing products while working at the World Trade Center. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that for approximately two months in 1970, Ira Epstein worked for an …

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Court Grants Plaintiff’s Motion for Jurisdictional Discovery for Turbine Manufacturer

United States District Court, S.D. New York, March 3, 2020

NEW YORK – Eugene Paroni, the plaintiff’s spouse, was diagnosed with and died of mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleges that the decedent’s mesothelioma was a result of his asbestos exposure from his work with a turbine manufactured by Ruston Gas Turbines, Ltd. The plaintiff brought suit against Alstom SA, successor-in-interest to Ruston. The plaintiff originally filed suit in California where he resided. Shortly thereafter, service of the summons on Alstom was quashed for lack of personal …

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Opposite Outcomes in Recent Removals Based on Diversity Hone in on Status of Remaining Defendants

A string of recent decisions on remand motions illustrates that diversity challenges are alive and well in asbestos litigation. As the landscape of defendants changes as trial approaches, so do the defenses. Whether by settlement or dismissal, the remaining defendant or defendants have taken advantage of diversity issues to remove cases to more favorable federal jurisdictions with stark contrast in results. That contrast should give defendants cause for pause prior to removal.

Recently, in Wieland v. Arvinmeritor, Inc., a brake defendant removed the case …

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Lack of Causation Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment for Friction Defendant in Lung Cancer Case

NEW YORK – The plaintiff, Glen Schrank, sued multiple defendants, including Ford Motor alleging that he developed lung cancer from his work as an automobile mechanic from approximately 1972-1991. Schrank smoked Parliament filtered cigarettes beginning in 1966 and smoked between one and one and a half packs per day. Ford moved for an order precluding the plaintiff’s expert witnesses or in the alternative a Frye Reed hearing. In support of its position, Ford offered an affidavit from Dr. Anil Vachani. Dr. Vachani’s testimony illustrated various …

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Court Grants Summary Judgment for Furnace Manufacturer Based on Lack of Evidence of Exposure

NEW YORK – On January 24, 2020, the Honorable Deborah Chimes granted Foster Wheeler, LLC’s motion for summary judgment in the Schuman case. The plaintiff, Patricia Schuman, executrix for the decedent , Matthew Schuman, filed suit alleging that the decedent died of mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos. The decedent passed away prior to being deposed in this action, but was deposed in March 2003 in a separate action for his damages related to pleural plaques. The plaintiff argued that the decedent …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand Granted Due to Untimely Notice of Removal by Bankrupt Defendant

NEW YORK – On Nov. 29, 2016, the plaintiffs, Anna and Guido Nocelli, both citizens of New York, filed an action in the Supreme Court of New York alleging 11 causes of action related to Anna Nocelli’s, alleged asbestos-related disease. The initial complaint named multiple defendants, including the Union Carbide Corp., that were citizens of New York. The plaintiffs allege they were legally barred from naming Kaiser Gypsum Company  as a defendant in the initial complaint because Kaiser filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in …

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Insurer’s Settlement Allocation Entitled to Defense in Dispute with Reinsurer

NEW YORK — Reinsurer Century Indemnity Company filed a series of motions following an adverse jury verdict in its dispute with Insurer Utica Mutual Insurance Company regarding Utica’s handling of a settlement with Goulds Pumps related to a slew of asbestos claims against Goulds.

Century first contended that the judgment should be amended to properly calculate prejudgment interest. According to Century, the jury calculated all prejudgment interest from the date of Utica’s initial billings to Century, when in fact only a fraction of the total …

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A Matter of Trust: Promoting Truth in New York Asbestos Trust Claims with Legislative Solutions

Previously on Asbestos Case Tracker, we took a look at the successful efforts of certain states to combat manipulation and abuse of the asbestos bankruptcy trust system. These states passed legislation that prevents claimants from being doubly compensated for alleged exposures to asbestos-containing products manufactured, used, or supplied by bankrupt and viable companies. The legislation enabled defendants in the tort system to obtain evidence of alternative exposures submitted only to bankruptcy trusts but not during the course of personal injury litigation.

New York’s Solution

New …

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