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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Summary Judgment Denied With Respect to Valve and Pump Exposure

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff, Wade Gore, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2015 and filed suit a month later. He alleged asbestos exposure while working at a DuPont plant in Leland, North Carolina. Gore worked as an insulator, with pipes, pumps and valves from approximately 1975 to the 1980s. He was allegedly exposed to asbestos from gaskets, pumps, valves and packing. Numerous defendants filed motions for summary judgment based upon a purported lack of evidence of exposure.

With respect to defendant Powell, the court …

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Insulation Supplier Denied Summary Judgement Based On Residual Market Place Arguments

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff brought suit against a dozen entities alleging her decedent’s exposure in the tire curing room of the Firestone factory in Wilson, North Carolina from 1975 to 1995. The plaintiff alleged that Covil Corporation was the supplier of asbestos containing pipe covering that was used to insulate steam lines located throughout the curing room. Covil moved for summary dismissal arguing that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that it was the supplier of the asbestos containing pipe covering located in the …

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Denial of Worker’s Compensation Benefits Affirmed Upon Plaintiff Failure to Meet Statutory Requirements

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiff Edmund Preslar filed for Workers’ Compensation Benefits claiming that he was entitled to compensation under the statute for his development of asbestosis attributed to his work at the Johns Manville Marchville facility from 1967-1968. The commission denied his claim stating that he had not worked long enough to be eligible for benefits under the statute. The plaintiff appealed and his representative was substituted after he passed away from a non-asbestos cause.

On appeal, the court noted the standard for commission …

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Talc Defendant Strikes Plaintiff’s Expert and Avoids Spoliation Sanctions

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff Ann Finch’s decedent Franklin Finch worked at a Firestone tire factory in Wilson, North Carolina from 1975-1995 and alleged that he was exposed to asbestos during his time there, causing his mesothelioma. Among other allegations of exposure, the plaintiff alleged that the decedent was exposed to talc-contaminated asbestos at Firestone, allegedly supplied by defendant Pfizer and others. In support of this allegation, the plaintiff offered an expert report from Sean Fitzgerald, who tested an identification badge worn by Decedent, and …

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