Denial of Texas County’s Jurisdictional Challenges Upheld on Appeal Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston, 1st District, December 28, 2018

TEXAS — In a case involving the mesothelioma death of a longtime jurist in Jefferson County, Texas attributed in part to asbestos remediation at the courthouse, a Texas Appellate Court affirmed the order of the trial court on all issues against defendant/appellant Jefferson County with the exception of the applicability of claims for exemplary damages, which were dismissed. Jefferson County filed an interlocutory appeal based on the trial court’s denial of its jurisdictional challenges. We have previously reported on the Appellate Court’s handling of the…
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Asbestos-Containing Cement Pipe Not a Substantial Contributing Factor to Development of Plaintiff’s Lung Cancer Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, December 26, 2018

LOUISIANA — The plaintiffs Thomas Handy, Jr. (Handy), his wife Sandra Handy, and son Thomas Handy, III filed suit against numerous entities, claiming that exposure to asbestos caused Thomas, Jr.’s lung cancer. By the time of trial, only one defendant remained – Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.. The plaintiffs alleged that Ferguson was the successor corporation of Louisiana Utility Supply Co. (Ferguson/LUSCO), and that Ferguson/LUSCO supplied or distributed asbestos-containing cement pipe to the plaintiff’s employer, C.J. Calamia Construction. The plaintiffs alleged that Handy was exposed to asbestos…
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Missouri Judge Refuses To Set Aside $4.69 Billion Ovarian Cancer Talc Verdict

MISSOURI — In July 2018, a $4.69 billion verdict was awarded against Johnson & Johnson when a Missouri jury determined that 22 women developed ovarian cancer due to asbestos allegedly contained in the company’s talcum powder products.  This week, Judge Rex Burlison denied Johnson & Johnson’s motion to set aside this verdict, which included $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.  Although Judge Burlison ruled that sufficient evidence was presented to support the award, Johnson & Johnson indicated that the unsuccessful…
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Set Aside of Default Judgment Against Insurer Affirmed on Grounds of Equity Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California, December 11, 2018

CALIFORNIA — Several plaintiffs consolidated suit against multiple defendants including Associated Insulation of California (Associated) alleging exposure to asbestos for which the defendants were liable. Associated did not file a response to the complaint. Accordingly, the plaintiffs moved for default judgments in 2013 and again in 2015. The default judgments varied in amounts from $350,000 to $1,960,458. A notice of default had been served upon Associated but not its insurer, Fireman’s Fund (Fireman). Fireman shortly thereafter located policies indicating potential coverage and moved to set…
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Failure to Establish Error on Examination Leads to Dismissal in Veteran’s Claim

The plaintiff filed this appeal after denial to entitlement of disability compensation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease “COPD” which she claimed was caused by exposure to asbestos. Ms. Mussman’s claimed that her decedent, Mr. Mussman, was exposed to asbestos was while serving onboard the U.S.S. McNair from 1950-1954. Specifically, it was alleged that Mr. McNair slept 18 inches below asbestos wrapped pipes. In 2012, a VA examination revealed that Mr. Mussman’s disease was more likely related to his smoking history than exposure to asbestos. The…
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Pennsylvania Superior Court Refuses to Extend Statute of Limitations for Employee’s Exposure Claims Pennsylvania Superior Court, November 16, 2018

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Superior Court, in an unpublished opinion, recently declined to extend the statute of limitations for workplace exposure claims brought by employees. Since the Tooey case was decided in 2013, Pennsylvania law has allowed employees to bring lawsuits against their employers if the diagnosis of an occupational disease occurred more than 300 weeks after the date of last exposure to the hazardous substance. However, the new case law did not alter the statute of limitations for brining such claims. In Moeller v.
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Second Mistrial Declared in South Carolina Talc Case Court of Common Pleas for the Fourth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina. November 15, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff’s decedent’s second trial related to claims that Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) talcum powder products caused her mesothelioma ended a mistrial on Thursday, November 15, 2018. The plaintiffs filed suit against fifteen companies in May of 2017, alleging that exposure to asbestos caused the thirty year old attorney to develop mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s decedent Antione Bostic passed away on October 2017; one month prior, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding talcum powder defendants, including J&J. The plaintiffs first trial ended in…
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South Carolina Workers Compensation Statute of Repose Bars Claims for Latent Asbestos Diseases United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division. November 13, 2018

SOUTH CAROLINA — A federal court in South Carolina granted the summary judgment motion of defendant E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) on the theory that DuPont was a statutory employer, and South Carolina Workers Compensation law provided the exclusive remedy for the plaintiff.  For at least two years in the 1960s, decedent Jerry Matthews worked as an insulator for Armstrong Contracting & Supply Company at DuPont facilities in South Carolina, where he alleged he was exposed to asbestos insulation that caused his…
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New Jersey Supreme Court to Review Apportioned Asbestos Verdict in Meso Case

NEW JERSEY — The New Jersey Supreme Court will review whether a recent judgment reduced by allocation amongst 9 companies should be retried. The judgment was rendered in favor of a widow, Donna Rowe, whose husband died of mesothelioma. Mr. Rowe allegedly came into contact with asbestos products while repairing and installing heating equipment. Several defendants settled and therefore did not attend trial. As a result, the trial court admitted certified discovery answers and deposition testimony as the settling defendants’ witnesses were determined to be…
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Court, Sua Sponte, Refuses to Dismiss Thirteen Year Old Non-Malignancy Suit Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, Complex Litigation Division, October 30, 2018

In 2005, The plaintiff Samuel Holloway sued 29 companies including Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corporation (HOVIC) and Amerada Hess Corporation (Hess) through the Motley Rice firm, alleging non-malignant injuries arising from exposure to asbestos.  Proofs of service on summons were never filed; only HOVIC and Hess appeared and answered the complaint, and at the same time filed crossclaims against all defendants.  In 2006, a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was entered as to HOVIC and Hess, but was silent as to their pending crossclaims.  Also…
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