Courtroom, Gavel And Law Books

After Nemeth, NY Courts Require Stringent Analysis of Proof to Establish Causation in Asbestos Matters. Will Other Jurisdictions Follow?  

As previously reported in Goldberg Segalla’s Asbestos Case Tracker — (NYCAL Verdict Against Talc Product Manufacturer Reversed on Causation Grounds – Asbestos Case Tracker) — the New York Court of Appeals recently overturned a $16.5 million-dollar asbestos verdict, finding the plaintiff’s proof on causation insufficient as a matter of law.  Nemeth v. Whittaker, Clark, & Daniels, Inc. 2022 NY Slip Op 02769 (April 26, 2022).  

In Nemeth, the court reaffirmed the requirements for causation first detailed in Parker v. Mobil Oil Corp, 

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CDC Reports Increase in Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality in Women

In spring of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 20-year rise in the number of mesothelioma deaths in women. Analyzing annual Multiple Cause of Death records from the National Vital Statistics System for 1999 to 2020, researchers found that the annual number of mesothelioma deaths among women in the United States increased from 489 in 1999 to 614 in 2020, which is a 25.6% increase. However, the age-adjusted death rate per 1 million women declined from 4.83 in 1999 …

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New York’s Grieving Families Act May See First Update In Over 100 Years

The current wrongful death statute in New York, which has been in place since 1847, may get a revamp in the coming months. Senate Bill S74A, also known as the Grieving Families Act (“the Act”) is currently awaiting Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature. Full language of the statute is available here.

If signed, the Act will expand compensable damages in wrongful death actions to include emotional losses such as grief and anguish to the types of damages that family members would be entitled to recover. …

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Alameda County Awaits Key Decision Regarding The Use of Genetic Testing in Asbestos Cases

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jo-Lynne Q. Lee set a hearing on nationally recognized plaintiff’s firm Maune Raichle French Hartley & Mudd. LLC’s motion for protective order in a pending asbestos case in which the defendants’ experts wanted to perform genetic testing. The case is John Lohmann and Suzanne Lohmann v. Aaon, Inc., et al. Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG21098862. In this case, the plaintiffs filed their action in May 2021 in Alameda County against several defendants alleging that Mr. Lohmann contracted mesothelioma …

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EPA Proposes Ban on Chrysotile Asbestos

On April 5, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced proposed regulation that would prohibit the use, manufacture, and import of chrysotile asbestos, also known as ‘white asbestos.’[1] Chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly used variety of asbestos in the United States and can be found in certain products, including brake pads and linings, gaskets, and roofing materials.[2] EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan characterized the proposal as a “bold, long-overdue” action with the aim of protecting the American people.[3]

This is not …

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Enhanced Workers’ Compensation Benefits Not Owed from Defunct Employer

Supreme Court of Missouri, February 18, 2020

MISSOURI – The claimants filed a workers’ compensation claim for their late father, Vincent Hegger, who developed  mesothelioma. Hegger worked for Valley Farm from 1968 until 1984. His work included service with machinery where he encountered asbestos gaskets and asbestos insulation. Valley Farm had workers’ compensation coverage but ceased operations in 1998.

His children sought enhanced benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. The administrative law judge denied that claim and the children appealed. On appeal, the court …

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Covenant Judgment Found Reasonable Despite Challenge by Insurer

WASHINGTON – United States Fidelity & Guarantee (USF&G) intervened in a recent mesothelioma matter arguing that a covenant judgment entered at the trial level was unreasonable. By way of background, the plaintiffs, Robert and Karen Ulbricht, and their children sought damages from several defendants, including PM Northwest for Robert Ulbricht’s alleged development of mesothelioma. Ulbricht alleged exposure to asbestos while working at the Texaco Oil Refinery in Anacortes, Washington from 1973-1999. PM was alleged to have been the maintenance contractor at the site. However, PM …

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Johnson and Johnson Prevails at Motion to Transfer Venue

TENNESSEE –The plaintiff, Shawnee D. Douglas, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Hamilton County, Tennessee against Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., f/k/a McNeil-PPC, Inc. and Imerys Talc America, Inc., f/k/a Luzenac America, Inc., alleging she was exposed to the defendants’ asbestos-containing or asbestos-contaminated talc. On September 26, 2017, Johnson & Johnson removed the case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The plaintiff then filed suit in Missouri state court based on information connecting a Missouri entity, PTI …

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Board of Veterans’ Failure to Review Medical Evidence Leads to Remand For Former U.S. Marine

Martha Tallman appealed a decision from the Board of Veterans denying her husband’s claim for service related respiratory and heart disability. Her husband served with the United States Marine Corps from 1960-1965. He claimed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and ischemic heart disease for exposure to chemicals and asbestos while stationed in Okinawa and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

At the hearing level, Tallman testified regarding his exposure. The judge “underscored the importance of submitting other medical records” to support his claims. Subsequent to the …

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Plaintiff’s Claims Time Barred Against Defendant After Expiration of Tolling Agreement

NEW YORK – The defendant Union Carbide Company (UCC) entered into a tolling agreement with the plaintiff’s former counsel that terminated on December 31, 2009. The plaintiff filed the instant matter on July 30, 2013, well after the two year deadline for filing a wrongful death action and three year deadline for filing a personal injury action based on exposure to asbestos. UCC filed for summary judgment based on those facts, which the trial court granted.

The plaintiff’s appeal centered on the argument that the …

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