Jury Verdict Upheld Against Boiler Defendant Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit, May 22, 2019

LOUISIANA — Lynda Berry alleged that she was exposed to asbestos through the electrical work of her husband, William, at a Louisiana paper mill, causing her peritoneal mesothelioma. William Berry testified that he was present when defendant Foster Wheeler removed and replaced asbestos insulation materials on their boilers, which were installed in the paper mill. The matter was tried before a jury who determined that Foster Wheeler was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and assessed a final award of $2.25 million against them. Foster Wheeler…
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Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Courts Despite Pending Bankruptcy of Talc Supplier United States District Court, C.D. California, May 21, 2019

CALIFORNIA — On Tuesday, a federal court in California ordered that a group of asbestos talc personal injury cases must be remanded to state court on equitable grounds. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court in April on the basis of the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., claiming that J&J’s supply agreements with Imerys contained contractual indemnifications and other liability-sharing provisions, and that they were “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in…
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Insurer of Long Defunct Employer May Be Held Liable Under “Enhanced Benefits” in Worker’s Compensation Statute Missouri Court of Appeals, E.D., May 21, 2019

MISSOURI – The plaintiff passed from mesothelioma in 2015 as a result of alleged exposure to asbestos while working at Valley Farm Dairy Company. Specifically, it was alleged that Vincent Hegger encountered lots of industrial equipment, including fireboxes, boilers, and ammonia compressors while working at Valley Farm. Prior to his passing, Hegger and his children submitted a claim for worker’s compensation under the recently amended statute. The administrative law judge found that the plaintiff could not “elect” coverage under the amended statute because Valley Farm…
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J&J’s Emergency Motion for Provisional Transfer Deemed Unwarranted, Denied United States District Court, D. Delaware, April 9, 2019

DELAWARE — Non-debtors Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (J&J) filed an emergency motion for provisional transfer, seeking entry of an order directing provisional transfer of approximately 2,400 federal and state personal injury and wrongful death actions, pending the court’s decision on J&J’s motion to fix venue for claims. The motions relate to the chapter 11 cases of Imerys Talc America, Inc. and certain affiliates (debtors), which were filed on February 13, 2019. The plaintiffs in the approximately 2,400 federal and state…
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Missouri on Brink of Passing Updated Venue and Joinder Statute

MISSOURI — On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, the Missouri House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill, already approved in the State Senate, that would change the rules for joinder and venue in the state.  The bill, which is expected to be signed by Governor Mike Parson, has potentially far-reaching implications in one of the busiest mass tort case jurisdictions in the country. At its core, the measure would require individuals to bring a claim where they live, where they were injured, or the…
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Forum Non Conveniens Stay Upheld Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California, April 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA — Wisconsin resident Charlene Rickert filed a wrongful death suit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, and alleged that American Honda, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, and Kawasaki Motors Corporation, USA (respondents), among others, contributed to the mesothelioma death of Wisconsin resident Gary Staszewski, through his use of the respondents’ brakes, clutches, and gaskets. All of the relevant work and medical treatment occurred in Wisconsin, and all witnesses necessary to prove exposure and damages remained in Wisconsin. While the respondents maintained corporate headquarters in…
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Defense Verdict for Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey Talc Meso Case Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, March 27, 2019

NEW JERSEY — March 27, 2019, a New Brunswick New Jersey jury found that Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (J&J) was not liable in causing the mesothelioma of 58-year-old plaintiff Ricardo Rimondi.  Rimondi alleged decades of use of J&J’s baby powder, which the plaintiff alleged contained talc that was contaminated with asbestos. J&J attorneys highlighted the fact that the plaintiff’s experts failed to acknowledge that the plaintiff grew up and lived in close proximity to an asbestos cement factory.…
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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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