Talc Meso Case Remanded After Fraudulent Joinder Theory Fails U.S. District Court, S.D. New York, February 26, 2019

NEW YORK — The plaintiff Laura Shanahan sued Kolmar Laboratories, Inc. (Kolmar), Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and seven other defendants in state court in New York, alleging that her use of their asbestos-containing talc products led to the development of mesothelioma. While the plaintiff and Kolmar were both residents of New York, J&J nonetheless removed the matter to federal court and invoked the doctrine of fraudulent joinder to establish diversity jurisdiction. J&J argued that the plaintiff failed to plead specific facts showing what role Kolmar…
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Nonparty Discovery Allowed in Take Home Exposure Case Supreme Court, State of New York County of Nassau, February 21, 2019

NEW YORK — The instant motion by the defendants Ford Motor Company and Hennessey Inc. stems from lawsuit filed on behalf of decedent Frances Lange; the plaintiffs assert that Mrs. Francis Lange (Frances) contracted mesothelioma as a result of the inhalation of asbestos during the course of laundering her deceased husband’s (Carl) and son’s (Jeffery) clothing. On November 12, the defendant Ford requested authorizations for Carl and Frances’ Social Security records, in response the plaintiff only provided Francis’ records. Ford also requested Carl and Jeffery’s…
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Trial Postponed In Mesothelioma Case To Allow Discovery on Premises and Employer Liability Claims U.S. District Court, E.D. Louisiana February 20, 2019

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel alleged that he developed peritoneal mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos in his work as a mechanic performing work on engines and brakes. Ford Motor Company is the only remaining defendant in this matter. The court ruled on motions by the plaintiff and Ford, and ultimately continued the trial. After learning that Ford may have owned the dealership at which the plaintiff worked, the plaintiff moved the court to amend their complaint to add premises claims, employer liability claims, and…
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Personal Jurisdiction Motion By Telecom Employer and Auto Company Denied; Case Dismissed Due to Pleading Deficiencies U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania February 20, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA — Yesterday, a federal judge disagreed with the defendants, Ford Motor Company and AT&T, that the court lacked jurisdiction over the companies, but determined that the plaintiff Rhonda J. Gorton’s pleadings were deficient nonetheless. Ms. Gorton sued Ford, AT&T, and several other parties alleging that they exposed her late husband Thomas Gorton to asbestos, causing his mesothelioma. The court found that Gorton’s amended complaint set forth only conclusory allegations against Ford, and lacked any facts that demonstrated potential liability. They further determined that the…
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Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied Due to Fraudulent Joinder of Talc Defendant U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division, February 14, 2019

MISSOURI — The plaintiff Shawnee D. Douglas originally filed suit against multiple entities, contending that her use of talc product caused her malignant mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) removed the case to federal court on the grounds that diversity of citizenship exists because, inter alia, the only Missouri-based defendant, PTI Union, was “fraudulently joined.” Numerous motions were filed by the parties, including: Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff’s Petition for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s Emergency Motion to Remand with…
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Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. Seek Bankruptcy Protection United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, February 13, 2019

DELWARE — Yesterday, Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. filed a petition to seek bankruptcy protection under U.S. Chapter 11. In support of their petition, the Imerys entities referenced “significant potential liabilities as a result of thousands of claims by plaintiffs alleging personal injuries caused by exposure to talc mined, processed, and/or distributed by one or more of the Debtors” as a factor leading to the filing. According to the petition, the entities face 13,800 pending ovarian cancer…
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$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…
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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…
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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,…
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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…
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