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Pump Manufacturer Obtains Summary Judgment on Causation

Jurisdiction: United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

Marshall E. Pike worked in the farm-equipment manufacturing and maintenance field for the duration of his 55-year career. This included performing maintenance on fertilizer spreader and sprayer pumps at multiple companies. In September 2021, Pike was diagnosed with mesothelioma and commenced this action. His estate continued the action and added a wrongful death claim following his June 2023 death. Plaintiffs alleged the decedent’s handling of asbestos gasket material on Defco pumps contributed to his illness. Defco moved for …

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Court Denies Asbestos Committee’s Motion for Leave to Appeal Bankruptcy Court’s Denial Order Regarding George-Pacific

Court: United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division

As previously reported here in the Asbestos Case Tracker, in 2017 Bestwall LLC became solely responsible for all asbestos-related liabilities of Georgia-Pacific LLC following a divisional merger. After the restructuring, Bestwall filed a voluntary petition for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Western District of North Carolina to resolve asbestos-related claims against it by way of a trust under 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code. The Bankruptcy Court subsequently approved the appointment of …

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Plaintiffs Allowed Additional Discovery to Establish Personal Jurisdiction over Hydraulic-Pump Defendant

Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division

Plaintiffs William Weaver and Judy Weaver filed suit, claiming that William Weaver was exposed to the defendants’ asbestos-containing products while employed as a railway yard worker from approximately 1966 to 1977. One of the defendants, Eaton Hydraulics LLC f/k/a Eaton Hydraulics Inc. — sued as successor to Vickers Inc. (“Eaton”) — filed an original and renewed motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure …

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Parties Trade Blows as Court Rules to Preclude Expert Opinions

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, August 11, 2022

The late Robie Walls brought this asbestos action in early 2020 after a mesothelioma diagnosis. He alleged asbestos exposure from his service in the United States Navy and his civilian career as a tractor-trailer fleet mechanic. Walls died from the disease in October 2020 and his widow continued the action against the remaining defendants. After a February 2022 summary judgment ruling, defendant Ford moved the court to reconsider, resulting in in this …

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Asbestos Complaint Survives Motion to Dismiss

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Eastern Division, May 13, 2022

The plaintiffs Augustus Adams and his wife brought suit against numerous defendants, alleging that Mr. Adams developed mesothelioma and other lung damage from exposure to asbestos fibers during the course of his employment. The plaintiffs assert claims for defective design, failure to warn, implied warranty, gross negligence, and loss of consortium. Defendant Vistra Intermediate Company LLC, individually and as successor-in-interest to CRSS, filed a motion to dismiss for failure to …

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Plaintiffs’ Experts Fail to Calculate Dose of Exposure; Specific Causation Opinions Precluded

U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville Division, December 6, 2021

Plaintiffs David L. Settlemyer and Jan Settlemyer filed the complaint for their asbestos-related action on December 12, 2019, alleging that Mr. Settlemyer contracted mesothelioma from his work as an automobile and truck mechanic for various employers from 1979 through the present.

The defendants filed motions topreclude the plaintiffs’ expert, Dr. Edwin Holstein, from testifying as to the specific causation of Mr. Settlemyer’s mesothelioma and also moved to exclude the testimony of …

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Talc Bankruptcy Case Transferred from North Carolina to New Jersey

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division, November 16, 2021

Debtor LTL Management LLC (LTL) was created through a corporate restructuring before the filing of the instant Chapter 11 case. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (Old JJCI), a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), was replaced with two new corporate entities: (1) LTL, a Texas limited liability company that converted into a North Carolina limited liability company, and (2) a Texas limited liability company that was merged into J&J and …

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Summary Judgment Granted to Three Defendants in Friction Exposure Case

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, November 9, 2021

In this matter, the plaintiff alleged that the decedent, Robie Walls, was exposed to asbestos during his career as a tractor-trailer fleet mechanic from 1960 to 2002. Mr. Walls was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2019 and passed away on October 15, 2020.

Three defendants filed motions for summary judgment, and the court consolidated its decision on all three. Defendants DCo LLC and Eaton Corp. filed motions for summary judgment on all …

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Court Compels Discovery from Non-Testifying Expert Finding Exceptional Circumstances Under Rule 26

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, September 27, 2021

Plaintiff Laura M. Walls filed a products liability action on behalf of the estate of her husband, Robie W. Walls (decedent). The plaintiff alleged that defendant Pneumo Abex LLC, among others, manufactured, sold, and/or distributed asbestos-containing products or raw asbestos materials for use in North Carolina and other states at times relevant to this action, and the decedent’s exposure to such products caused him to develop mesothelioma, resulting in his death on …

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Summary Judgment Upheld as to Manufacturer and Supplier of Asbestos Insulation

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, April 27, 2021

On June 11, 2017, Charles F. Connor (the decedent) died at the age of 90 of mesothelioma. Following his death, his son Darrell Connor (the appellant), individually and as executor of Mr. Connor’s estate, brought a wrongful death action. The appellant named 22 defendants and stated a plethora of causes of action arising under both federal and North Carolina law. All of the appellant’s claims boil down to one straightforward accusation: that the …

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