Trial Court’s Exception of Prescription Reversed; Decedent Found to Have no Prior notice of his potential Mesothelioma Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit November 6, 2019

LOUISIANA – David Lee’s heirs alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while working in various jobs from the 1950s to the 1970s. Lee had various abdominal issues throughout his life, and had a carcinoid tumor removed in 2008. The final pathology report for the tumor showed well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma. However, Lee was asymptomatic after the tumor removal and never learned of the specific diagnosis. In 2012, Lee suffered more abdominal discomfort, and peritoneal mesothelioma was discovered. Lee passed away that year, and his heirs…
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Sugar Refinery Defendant’s Appeal of Trial Verdict Denied Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California, October 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA – Mark Lopez’s widow, plaintiff Lannette Lopez, brought suit against the defendant, The Hillshire Brands Company, arguing that Mark was exposed to asbestos as a child from his father and grandfather’s work at a sugar refinery owned by Hillshire, causing his fatal epithelioid mesothelioma. A jury awarded the plaintiff $1.9 million dollars in economic damages and $11 million dollars in noneconomic damages. Hillshire appealed, and raised challenges to the jury’s failure to apportion fault; to the jury instructions given; and to the sufficiency of…
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Unclear Corporate Representative Topics Leads to Grant of Protective Order for Brake Manufacturer United States District Court, W.D. Washington, October 16, 2019

WASHINGTON – In a case extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the defendant Pneumo Abex  filed a motion for protective order in reply to the plaintiff’s Third Amended Notice of 30(b)(6) deposition of Abex. The first 30(b)(6) notice identified 71 topics, and after a meet and confer, was whittled down to 34. Abex agreed to tender the witness for 32 of the 34 topics, and filed the instant motion. The two disputed topics were:
  1. Abex’s corporate values and codes of conduct regarding the

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Aircraft Manufacturer’s Opposition to Plaintiff’s Attempt to Apply English Law Granted United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division, October 15, 2019

MARYLAND – The plaintiff, Richard Fullen, alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos during his work as an aircraft mechanic in the United States Air Force from 1994 to 2016. The court ruled on three motions:
  1. Defendant Velan Valves’ unopposed motion for summary judgment
  2. The plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant Lockheed Martin’s fact witness designation
  3. Defendant Lockheed Martin’s motion for a determination of governing law
Both defense motions were granted but the plaintiff’s motion was denied. Regarding the motion to strike, Lockheed had…
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Defense Verdict for Talc Defendant After Retrial Los Angeles County Superior Court, October 9, 2019

CALIFORNIA – In a case that was originally declared a mistrial in 2018 after a jury could not reach a verdict, yesterday a Los Angeles jury found that the defendant Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) talcum baby powder did not cause the mesothelioma of the plaintiff, Carolyn Weirick. While the plaintiff purported to present evidence of the presence of asbestos in J&J talc samples through several methods of testing, J&J contended that the fibers discovered in the talc were merely of similar dimensions to asbestos, but…
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New California Law Limits Length of Asbestos Depositions

CALIFORNIA – California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill which imposes significant time limits on the deposition of the plaintiffs suffering from mesothelioma. Under the law, the deposition of a plaintiff suffering from mesothelioma is limited to seven hours if a licensed physician provides a declaration stating that the individual has mesothelioma and there is a substantial medical doubt of survival beyond six months. Upon findings of fairness and that the health of the plaintiff is not endangered by a granting of additional time,…
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Interrogatory Answers and Deposition Testimony Admissible To Prove Fault of Settled Defendants In New Jersey Supreme Court of New Jersey, September 11, 2019

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Supreme Court held that disputed excerpts from a settled defendant’s interrogatory answers and corporate representative depositions were admissible as statements against interest under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(25). As such, when presented at trial with other evidence, those statements gave rise to a prima facie showing that the settled defendants bore fault, and a jury could properly consider whether to allocate some percentage of fault to them. The defendant, Universal Engineering Co., Inc., a manufacturer of asbestos-containing dry cement, was the sole…
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Mid-2019 Asbestos Litigation Trends

KCIC recently issued 2019 Midyear Asbestos Litigation Trends , which compiled statistics through June 30, 2019, and assessed them in comparison with the data from its previous Asbestos Litigation: 2018 Year In Review. The overall takeaways from the update, each assessed at greater length below, are:
  1. While non-malignant and “other” cancer filings continued trending downward this year, as in 2018, 2019 is on track to see an increase in total filings
  2. The percentage of filings by the top 10 plaintiffs’ firms has decreased slightly

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Alaska’s Statute of Repose Upheld to Bar Claims Against Pulp Mill Defendant Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2 August 20, 2019

ALASKA – A Washington state appellate court upheld the trial court’s motion of summary judgment for the defendant Ketchikan Pulp Company (Ketchikan) in a matter involving the plaintiff Larry Hoffman, and concluded that Alaska’s statute of repose barred claims against Ketchikan. Hoffman’s father, Doyle, worked as a welder and pipefitter at the Ketchikan mill in Alaska from 1954 until 1956, and Larry worked at Ketchikan himself as a plumber and pipefitter from 1968 to 1970. The plaintiff alleged that his own work and his father’s…
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J&J Wins Defense Verdict in Kentucky Talc Case Louisville State Court, August 2, 2019

KENTUCKY – A Louisville state court deliberated for approximately a half hour on August 2, 2019 before finding in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a talc case. The lawsuit alleged that Donna Ann Hayes died from mesothelioma caused by her use of talcum powder products. The plaintiff’s lawyers argued that the talc was contaminated with asbestos, but J&J disputed those allegations.  …
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