Summary judgment by Railroad Defendant Denied; Attorney’s Fees Also Denied Based on Reasonable Grounds to Deny Discovery Admissions U.S. District Court, D. Kansas. March 19, 2019

KANSAS — The plaintiff filed suit against the Budd Company (Budd) alleging her decedent passed from mesothelioma for which the Defendant was liable. Specifically, the plaintiff contended that Budd had placed pipe insulation in rail cars which caused her father’s mesothelioma. The parties went to trial and a verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff. However, the jury apportioned fault and found Budd to be at fault for only 7 percent. The plaintiff then moved for attorney’s fees arguing that Budd should pay $3,726.07…
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Illinois Passes Bill Lifting 25 Year Statute of Repose for Occupational Disease Lawsuits

ILLINOIS — Senate Bill 1596 passed in the House on Thursday, March 14, and is expected to be signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in short order. When Governor Pritzker signs the bill, it will take effect immediately. The measure will change provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease that had imposed a 25-year statute of repose for occupational injury and a three-year statute for occupational disease. The measure will effectively overturn Folta v. Ferro Engineering, an Illinois Supreme Court decision…
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Lung Cancer Plaintiff Allocated 60 Percent of Fault in $937,500 Verdict Los Angeles County Superior Court, March 12, 2019

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff worked in the entertainment industry as a lighting technician for approximately 40 years, and alleged that asbestos exposure from plastic cement, construction and lighting products was a substantial factor in causing his lung cancer. Evidence showed that the plaintiff had a 37-50 pack year smoking history. After a four week trial, the jury found that the plaintiff was exposed to the defendant CalPortland’s Colton gun plastic cement, but that CalPortland was not negligent and the exposure was not a substantial factor…
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California Plaintiff Alleging Meso Due to Talc Awarded $29.5M Verdict Alameda County Superior Court, March 13, 2019

CALIFORNIA — On March 13,the plaintiff Teresa Leavitt was awarded a $29.5 million dollar verdict by an Oakland jury, who found that Johnson & Johnson, J&J Consumer, Inc., and J&J’s supplier Cyprus Mines Corporation were liable for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleged that her mother had used J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talc products on her as an infant in the 1960s. Further, the plaintiff personally used the product cosmetically throughout the 1970s. The jury was unanimous in finding that J&J failed to warn the plaintiff of…
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Multiple Actions Dismissed Against Brake Manufacturer Due to Forum Non Conveniens Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, March 05, 2019

NEW JERSEY — Multiple deceased plaintiffs brought actions against Honeywell alleging they contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos from Bendix brakes while working as mechanics in the United Kingdom. The plaintiffs filed in New Jersey despite the alleged exposure oversees. Honeywell moved for dismissal based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens after discovery was conducted. Judge Cantor granted dismissal in the majority of the cases and Judge Viscomi also granted dismissal in the remaining case. The plaintiffs appealed arguing abuse of…
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NY District Court Provides Guidance on Insurance Notice Provisions Northern District of New York, February 19, 2019

NEW YORK — In the latest decision in a long-running series of cases involving coverage for thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits filed against Fulton Boiler Works, Inc., the Federal District Court for the Northern District of New York established principles for the application of a notice provision in an insurance policy. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company was one of several insurers in Fulton’s coverage block between 1976 and 1993. As often occurs when a company becomes the target of asbestos litigation, the insured did not discover…
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Talc Meso Case Remanded After Fraudulent Joinder Theory Fails U.S. District Court, S.D. New York, February 26, 2019

NEW YORK — The plaintiff Laura Shanahan sued Kolmar Laboratories, Inc. (Kolmar), Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and seven other defendants in state court in New York, alleging that her use of their asbestos-containing talc products led to the development of mesothelioma. While the plaintiff and Kolmar were both residents of New York, J&J nonetheless removed the matter to federal court and invoked the doctrine of fraudulent joinder to establish diversity jurisdiction. J&J argued that the plaintiff failed to plead specific facts showing what role Kolmar…
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Nonparty Discovery Allowed in Take Home Exposure Case Supreme Court, State of New York County of Nassau, February 21, 2019

NEW YORK — The instant motion by the defendants Ford Motor Company and Hennessey Inc. stems from lawsuit filed on behalf of decedent Frances Lange; the plaintiffs assert that Mrs. Francis Lange (Frances) contracted mesothelioma as a result of the inhalation of asbestos during the course of laundering her deceased husband’s (Carl) and son’s (Jeffery) clothing. On November 12, the defendant Ford requested authorizations for Carl and Frances’ Social Security records, in response the plaintiff only provided Francis’ records. Ford also requested Carl and Jeffery’s…
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Trial Postponed In Mesothelioma Case To Allow Discovery on Premises and Employer Liability Claims U.S. District Court, E.D. Louisiana February 20, 2019

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel alleged that he developed peritoneal mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos in his work as a mechanic performing work on engines and brakes. Ford Motor Company is the only remaining defendant in this matter. The court ruled on motions by the plaintiff and Ford, and ultimately continued the trial. After learning that Ford may have owned the dealership at which the plaintiff worked, the plaintiff moved the court to amend their complaint to add premises claims, employer liability claims, and…
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Personal Jurisdiction Motion By Telecom Employer and Auto Company Denied; Case Dismissed Due to Pleading Deficiencies U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania February 20, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA — Yesterday, a federal judge disagreed with the defendants, Ford Motor Company and AT&T, that the court lacked jurisdiction over the companies, but determined that the plaintiff Rhonda J. Gorton’s pleadings were deficient nonetheless. Ms. Gorton sued Ford, AT&T, and several other parties alleging that they exposed her late husband Thomas Gorton to asbestos, causing his mesothelioma. The court found that Gorton’s amended complaint set forth only conclusory allegations against Ford, and lacked any facts that demonstrated potential liability. They further determined that the…
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