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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Jury Verdict of $32.7 Million Against Insulation Manufacturer Upheld Based on Weight of Evidence

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff Ann Finch filed suit on behalf of herself and the plaintiff’s decedent, Franklin Finch, alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused his mesothelioma. The plaintiff resolved or dismissed her claims against all parties outside of Covil Corporation (Covil), and the case was tried in October of 2019. The court charged the jury on North Carolina state law negligence and failure to warm claims. The jury found Covil liable on both counts, and returned an award of $32.7 million in damages.…

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Lack of Evidence Against Premise Defendants Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Mesothelioma Case

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants including Farmers Chemical and Storage (Farmers) and Schlage alleging he developed mesothelioma from his occupational exposure to asbestos. Specifically, he claimed he was exposed to asbestos while working as a plumber and pipefitter from 1965-1982 for the local union. Farmers and Schlage moved for summary judgment.

The court began its analysis and stated that summary judgment is warranted “the movant shows there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is …

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Plant Walkthroughs Insufficient to Establish Causation against Construction and Insulation Defendants

NORTH CAROLINA — In granting summary judgment for Daniel International Corporation and Covil Corporation, a district court judge in North Carolina determined that the plaintiff’s causation evidence was insufficient to meet the frequency, regularity, and proximity standards of the jurisdiction. In 1965, Daniel constructed a polyester production facility for Fiber Industries, a/k/a Hoechst Celanese, in Salisbury North Carolina, and kept workers on site for maintenance following completion of the construction.  Covil supplied asbestos-containing insulation for the facility.

Decedent Charles Connor worked at the site from …

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Covil Corp. Seeks to Overturn $33 Million Verdict in North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA — In October, the plaintiff, Ann Finch, prevailed against Covil Corp. in a mesothelioma case involving her husband’s workplace exposure at Firestone. Covil made asbestos insulation that Mr. Finch worked around daily while changing molds on tire presses. The plaintiffs were awarded $32.7 million by the jury, which found that Covil failed to warn Mr. Finch that there was asbestos present in the insulation and that it posed a hazard to his health.

Covil has filed a motion to overturn the verdict or, …

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Court Partially Denies Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss as to Plausible Gross Negligence and Punitive Damages Claims, but Grants Motion as to Speculative Conspiracy Claim

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiffs Everett VanHoy and Lucille VanHoy (plaintiffs) filed this personal-injury action against multiple defendants, including American International Industries (AII), alleging the plaintiff Everett VanHoy’s (Mr. VanHoy) mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to a variety of asbestos-containing products throughout his life. AII moved to dismiss, under Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiffs’ complaint on the following bases: (i) failure to state a gross-negligence claim; (ii) the plaintiffs’ inability to recover punitive damages resulting from a failure prove AII acted with “fraud, malice, or …

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