$14 Million Verdict Upheld Against Chemical Plant Defendant South Carolina Court of Appeals, February 13, 2019

SOUTH CAROLINA — A $14 million verdict against Celanese Corporation was upheld on appeal in the mesothelioma case of 70 year old deceased the plaintiff Dennis Seay.  Seay did maintenance and repair work in a Celanese plant as a contractor for Daniel Construction for nine years in the 1970s. In 2015, a South Carolina jury found that Celanese was negligent in running the plant and awarded Seay $12 million dollars in compensatory damages and $2 million dollars in punitive damages. The appellate court disagreed with…
Continue reading...

Assertion of Innocent Seller Defense Leads to Dismissal of Auto Supplier in Mesothelioma Matter United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division, February 11, 2019

MISSISSIPPI — The plaintiff filed suit against A-1 Auto Parts and Repair (A-1) alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos from his work as a mechanic and exposure to talcum powder. A-1 moved for dismissal under Federal Rule 12 (b) 6 arguing that it was an “innocent seller” under Mississippi Products Liability Law (MPLA). The plaintiff did not respond or oppose the motion. The MPLA states that a seller shall not be liable for claims unless the “seller or designer exercised…
Continue reading...

Honeywell Settles Mesothelioma Case Before Jury Verdict U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, January 30, 2019

ARKANSAS — An Arkansas jury awarded plaintiff Ronald Thomas $18.5 million after a three week trial against Honeywell International, successor-in-interest to Bendix. However, prior to the verdict Honeywell and the plaintiff agreed to settle claims for an undisclosed amount. The plaintiff alleged that he developed mesothelioma in part due to his work at a brake shop in Little Rock from 1971-83, where he sometimes performed up to a dozen brake changes daily.  The jury assigned 18.75 percent of fault to Honeywell, 5 percent to Thomas,…
Continue reading...

Trial Preference Granted on Appeal for Kidney Cancer Plaintiff Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2, California, January 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA — A three judge appellate panel in California issued a writ of mandate requiring the trial court to vacate its prior order, and to grant oetitioner/olaintiff David Ellis’ motion for trial preference. The plaintiff alleged that he suffered from asbestos-related kidney cancer and pleural disease, and filed suit against numerous defendants in 2016. After having his case set for trial and then continued on four occasions due to lack of courtrooms, the plaintiff moved for trial preference under California Code of Civil Procedure section…
Continue reading...

Jury Awards $5.1 Million to Widow After Finding Valve Company Breached its Implied Warranty

A jury returned a multi-million dollar verdict against valve defendant Fisher Controls International LLC (Fisher) on January 24. The plaintiffs filed suit against Fisher and other defendants alleging that Thomas Glenn developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working as a pipe fitter for Duke Power. Mr. Glenn’s work involved the use of asbestos containing gaskets used in valves and pumps. Mr. Glenn also worked in the vicinity of others working on Fisher valves. He passed away in February of 2015 and…
Continue reading...

New Jersey Supreme Court Agrees to Review Duty to Warn Ruling New Jersey Supreme Court, January 18, 2019

NEW JERSEY — In Arthur G. Whelan v. Armstrong International Inc. et al, various defendants convinced the New Jersey Supreme Court to review a ruling that manufacturers may be held liable for failure to warn about the risks of asbestos-containing components or replacement parts in their products even if they did not build or distribute the parts. The question before the Supreme Court in the matter is, “In a products liability case arising out of exposure to asbestos, does a manufacturer have a duty to…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...