Exclusive Remedy Defense Eliminated in Illinois for Latent Injury Claims

ILLINOIS – In 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court held in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 43 N.E. 3d 108 (2015), that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease Act was the exclusive remedy for state employees who contract mesothelioma, or another latent disease or injury. May 2019 in enacting Illinois SB 1596, the Illinois legislature revoked the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling and amended the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease Act to permit civil tort actions by employees against their employers…
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Substantial Justice is Driving Factor in Decision to Transfer Mesothelioma Case to Colorado Supreme Court of New York, May 24, 2019

NEW YORK – The plaintiff, Carl Lanz, filed suit in New York against the defendants alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos. Specifically, Carl Lanz alleged he had been exposed to asbestos while working as an electrician apprentice and electrician for the Public Service Company of Colorado from 1969 -2008. Carl Lanz had never been to New York despite having filed his complaint in New York. General Electric and Union Carbide moved to dismiss the complaint on the basis…
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Plaintiffs’ Claims Against Employer Barred Under Workers’ Compensation Grounds; May Plead Alternative Premises Liability Claims United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana, May 23, 2019

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Victor Michel, filed a lawsuit in state court in July 2017, alleging that his work as a mechanic exposed him to asbestos which caused him to develop peritoneal mesothelioma. The case was removed to federal court on May 8, 2018 and the plaintiff passed away five days later. The court substituted his survivors as the plaintiffs on July 10, 2018, and as of January 25, 2019, Ford Motor Co. was the only remaining defendant. On February 20, 2019, the…
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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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