Court Holds Law Firm May Be Alter-Ego of Defunct Company

In October 2018, a jury in a federal district court in North Carolina granted a judgment in excess of $30 million against Covil Corporation, a company that formerly manufactured products containing asbestos but has been defunct since 1993. By the time the North Carolina litigation commenced, Covil had no officers, directors, agents, or employees. As a result, the litigation was directed by Covil’s insurers. After the jury verdict was handed down, a receiver for Covil was appointed in South Carolina.

In an effort to collect …

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No Actionable Asbestos Exposure Attributed to Electrical and Contractor Defendants

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, May 21, 2020

Plaintiffs Larry and Anne Woolard filed the instant lawsuit against 14 separate defendants, alleging that exposure to their asbestos-containing products and equipment while Mr. Woolard worked as an HVAC apprentice, mechanic, and supervisor at Weyerhaeuser Paper Mill caused him to develop mesothelioma. After the close of discovery, four defendants filed for Summary Judgment: Fisher Controls International, LLC; Schneider Electric Systems, USA, Inc.; Chicago Bridge and Iron Company; and Chicago Bridge and Iron …

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North Carolina District Court Grants Summary Judgment to Six Defendants on Causation Grounds

The plaintiffs alleged that the decedent, James T. Whitehead, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of his alleged exposures to asbestos from working with and around a myriad of products and equipment over the course of his career as a sheet metal and maintenance mechanic. Mr. Whitehead was not deposed prior to his death, so the plaintiffs intended to rely primarily on testimony from individuals who worked alongside him in order to identify the products and equipment to which he was allegedly exposed. The …

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Defendant’s Collateral Estoppel Argument Fails in Motion For JMOL

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division, March 5, 2020

NORTH CAROLINA – On June 9, 2015, Wade Miller Gore (decedent) and Faye Gore (plaintiff) filed an asbestos-related lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The complaint alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos products while working at the DuPont plant in Leland, NC. 

Trial began on Sept. 16, 2019 with the plaintiff’s case-in-chief concluding on Sept. 20, 2019.  At that time, the defendant, John Crane, …

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Dryer Felt Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Personal Jurisdiction Denied

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina, February 28, 2020

United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina recently denied a dryer felt defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit after William Brock was employed as an electrician and maintenance worker at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem for over 30 years, and developed mesothelioma after exposure to various asbestos-containing materials. The dryer felt defendant moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). …

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Plaintiff’s Experts Stricken for Failure to Comply with Scheduling Order

U.S. District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Northern Division, February 26, 2020

NORTH CAROLINA – On December 21, 2017, the plaintiff, Karen Cahoon  filed a complaint alleging state law claims of negligence, breach of an implied warranty, failure to warn and punitive damages against, among others, the defendant, Edward Orton, Jr. Ceramic Foundation. A scheduling order was issued by the court on May 11, 2018.  After multiple joint requests on behalf of  Cahoon and the defendant, on Jan. 8, 2019, the court issued new deadlines for …

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North Carolina Statute of Limitations Bars Mesothelioma Claim

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiff, Jody Ratcliff, filed a complaint on March 1, 2017 alleging that her mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos. She sued several groups of defendants, including friction and talc defendants. She alleged that she was exposed to asbestos during the summers from 1987 to 1989 while visiting garages with her father, who was a tool salesman. She also alleged using talc products that allegedly contained asbestos, from 1977 to 2016. The four remaining defendants – Ford; Brenntag Specialties; Whittaker, Clark …

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Plaintiffs’ Failure to Establish Causal Connection Upheld in Consolidated Workers’ Compensation Claims

NORTH CAROLINA – The Court of Appeals of North Carolina recently upheld the Worker’s Compensation Commission decisions and findings in 144 consolidated cases. Numerous plaintiffs, including Walter Hinson, Charles Wilson, Douglas Epps, and Bobby James Newell, sought compensation under the worker’s compensation statute for alleged asbestos related illnesses for their work at Continental Tire in Charlotte, North Carolina from 1967-1999. The court focused on the Hinson case and analyzed the commission’s findings, which it later applied to the remaining cases. Hearings began in 2011. At …

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Claimants Committee Motion to Dismiss Denied by Bankruptcy Court; Finding that Bestwall’s Bankruptcy Reorganization was not Filed in Bad Faith

NORTH CAROLINA – Asbestos claimants (claimants committee) in this Chapter 11 case filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case filed by Georgia Pacific (GP) for its acquisition of Bestwall arguing that the petition was filed in bad faith and established a reorganization that was “objectively futile.”

By way of background, GP filed for corporate restructuring in 2017 as a result of “decades long” asbestos litigation liabilities. As many as 64,000 asbestos claims were pending against Bestwall as of the date of the petition alone. …

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NC Federal Court Says Not All Asbestos Claimants Must Be Joined in Coverage Action

NORTH CAROLINA – In October 2018, a jury in the Middle District of North Carolina awarded more than $32 million in a claim against Covil Corporation based on a decedent’s exposure to asbestos-containing insulation sold by Covil. Since then, Covil, its insurers, and other parties who have brought asbestos claims against Covil have been engaged in litigation regarding how Covil’s only remaining assets — its insurance policies — will apply to the asbestos claims.

In the  decision, the federal district court denied Covil’s motion to …

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