Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint to Delete Federal Question Neither Prejudicial Nor Futile Where Remaining Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motion Did Not Argue Federal Claims U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, October 19, 2015

The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed suit against a sea of defendants in New York state court. After responding to interrogatories indicating that he was exposed to asbestos while in the Navy, Foster Wheeler timely removed this case to federal court based upon the federal government-contractor defense.  When the only defendant remaining was Crane,  the plaintiffs moved for leave to file a first amended complaint which would eliminate any federal claims or defenses.  At the time the paintiff moved for leave to amend,…
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After Supplier Defaulted Through Nonappearance, Court Awarded Damages In Unopposed Proceeding Supreme Court of New York, Erie County, Eighth Judicial District, October 9, 2015

An Erie County, New York court has issued a decision on damages in a default action where damages and liability were uncontested following a two-day bench trial in an asbestos case involving Joseph Muir, a 58-year-old man living with mesothelioma.  Defendant Hedman Resources, Ltd. was the only remaining defendant. Hedman had been served with  the summons and complaint pursuant to alternative service granted by the court two years earlier. Hedman never appeared in the action and was in default at the time of the trial.…
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Valve Manufacturer Denied Summary Judgment on Bare Metal Defense Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 5, 2015

In this NYCAL case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Mark Ricci, was exposed secondhand to asbestos from his father’s air conditioning and ventilation work. Aldo Ricci (Aldo), Mark Ricci’s father, testified that he was exposed to asbestos from working near others working on Crane Co. valves. Crane moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove he was exposed to asbestos from any asbestos-containing product manufactured or supplied by Crane. It was Crane’s position that it should be entitled to summary judgment…
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Motion to Consolidate Trials Granted Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 2, 2015

The plaintiffs brought a motion to consolidate separate actions into three separate groups for joint trial.  The court noted that as to the three groups, all of the plaintiffs are represented by the same law firm, are in the same phase of discovery, and the plaintiffs allege the same type of cancer. The court granted the motion, finding “…that the trials in each of the groups involve common questions of law and fact and that consolidation of these cases into the three groups will not…
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Clutch Manufacturer Makes Prima Facie Showing of Entitlement to Summary Judgment Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County, October 8, 2015

In this New York case out of Nassau County, the plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure to various products while working as a truck mechanic from the late 1950s to the mid 1990s.  The plaintiff testified at his deposition that he removed and installed Eaton clutches on trucks from 1961 to 1970. Eaton moved for summary judgment and attached the affidavit of Roger Hobbie, who was employed in various capacities at Eaton from 1959 to 1997. In his affidavit, Mr. Hobbie stated that between 1959 until the…
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Defendants Fail to Make Prima Facie Entitlement to Summary Judgment Since They Failed to Show Their Products Could Not Have Contributed to Decedent’s illness or Death Supreme Court of New York, Erie County, Eighth Judicial District, September 21, 2015

In this case, the decedent alleged exposure to asbestos while working at Republic Steel from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. It is claimed he was exposed to insulation materials that were removed and installed in his vicinity while he was a laborer and to materials used to make “hot tops” while a crane operator. Defendants Insulation Distributors, Inc. (IDI), Beazer East, and Ferro Corporation all moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove that the decedent, who died prior to…
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NYCAL Court Rules a Plumber Dismantling a Sectional Boiler Was a Foreseeable User of That Product Supreme Court of New York, New York County, September 25, 2015

In this NYCAL mesothelioma case, the plaintiff worked as a plumber from 1984-1996, disassembling plumbing equipment including Cleaver Brooks cast iron sectional boilers.  Cleaver Brooks initially moved for summary judgment on the grounds that a plumber such as the plaintiff was not a foreseeable user of the product, which the lower court denied. The Appellate Division then issued a decision in Hockler v William Powell Co., 129 AD3d 463 (1st Dept. 2015), holding that a salvaging and dismantling valve was not a foreseeable use of…
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NYCAL Jury Returns $25 Million Verdict in Mesothelioma Case Supreme Court, New York County, September 28, 2015

A NYCAL jury returned a $25 million verdict in a living mesothelioma case in favor of a 64-year-old mechanic, who worked at a variety of dealerships and gas stations in Colorado and Virginia, among other places, over the years. Defendant Ammco was a manufacturer of brake grinders and was found liable on a failure to warn theory. While the jury also apportioned responsibility to nine of the 10 other companies on the verdict sheet, it found Ammco 86 percent responsible, which in New York makes…
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Brake Defendant’s Motion to Preclude Causation Expert Under Daubert Denied U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, September 22, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death action alleging that the decedent developed mesothelioma caused by prolonged exposure to brake dust from brake pads manufactured by Bendix while working as a part-time bookkeeper at an auto repair shop from 1984-1990.  Defendant moved in limine to preclude testimony from the plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Jill Ohar, with respect to any testimony that brake dust causes mesothelioma and any testimony based on the every exposure theory. The defendant also sought to preclude any testimony that asbestos or chrysotile causes…
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Valve Manufacturer’s Bare Metal Motion for Summary Judgment Denied Supreme Court of New York, New York County, August 4, 2015

It is alleged in this NYCAL case that the decedent, Russell Gonzales, was exposed to asbestos products, including insulation on valves manufactured by Crane Co., in the 1970s at various sites throughout New York City. The decedent died prior to testifying, but his co-worker, Joseph Zgombic testified that he and the decedent were responsible for insulating Crane valves and that they worked near others repacking Crane valves. Crane moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove the decedent had exposure to asbestos…
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