Chunk of Rulings From MDL Allow Previously Dismissed Asbestos Claims to Proceed Even Though Not Listed As Assets In Bankruptcy United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Six cases were decided in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; all started in the Northern District of Ohio, and were transferred to the MDL 875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In all six cases, the plaintiffs brought claims against various shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP, and all alleged asbestos exposure while working on ships. All cases were administratively dismissed; after dismissal, the plaintiffs filed for bankruptcy, and did not list their asbestos claims as assets. After bankruptcy…
Continue reading...

Federal Court Applies Laws of New Jersey and the Third Circuit in Allowing Experts to Testify Regarding General, Not Specific, Causation in Case Alleging Renal Cancer U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, October 23, 2015

The plaintiff alleged that he developed renal cancer from asbestos exposure while working at the Philadelphia Navy yard, the New York Shipbuilding yard, and various automotive and electric shops in New Jersey. In July 2013, this case was removed to the federal court in Pennsylvania as part of MDL-875. Defendant Ford moved to exclude the expert testimony of Arthur Frank, M.D., Ph. D., and Scott A. Bralow, D.O., because: (1) the “any exposure” theory underlying their opinions has been deemed inadmissible under Pennsylvania law; (2)…
Continue reading...

Years After Bankruptcy Case Closed, Reopening of Asbestos Claims by MDL Not Judicially Estopped Due to Failure to List Claims in Bankruptcy Petition U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, October 23, 2015

In 1997, the decedent’s claims for asbestos exposure against shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP were administratively dismissed, with the option of pursuing at a later date. In 1999, the decedent brought claims against various defendants, including the shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP. In 2001, the decedent received a separate cancer diagnosis that he claimed was asbestos related; he died in 2002. In 2003, his widow, the plaintiff, filed for bankruptcy, which was closed four months later. In 2011, the MDL reinstated the action…
Continue reading...

Court Applied Pennsylvania Law in Asbestos Coverage Case Based on Insured’s Residence U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, October 13, 2015

York Int’l Corp. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., No. 1:10-CV-0692 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 13, 2015) This decision involves a dispute over whether Pennsylvania or New York law would apply to an insurer’s duty to defend and indemnify an insured for asbestos-related claims. Due to the passage of more than 50 years between the period covered by the relevant policies and the initiation of the lawsuit, no party with firsthand knowledge of the negotiation and consummation of the policies could be identified, and complete copies of…
Continue reading...

Philadelphia Federal Judge Puts Hold on a Dozen Asbestos Claims by Formerly Bankrupt Plaintiffs U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, October 6, 2015

On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno ordered a stay on a dozen nearly-identical asbestos claims brought by plaintiffs who had previously sought bankruptcy protection. Judge Robreno stated in all of them that the plaintiffs’ trustees must be given the choice of either pursuing or abandoning the claims. In one such case, the plaintiff was a ship worker who had filed an asbestos claim in 2001, followed by a bankruptcy action in 2003. His claim, however, was not included as part of…
Continue reading...

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Denies Constitutionality Appeal of Asbestos-Related Liability Regulatory Statute Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, September 29, 2015

On September 29, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied the appeal of the executor of the estate of James Markovsky.  Markovsky, who had argued that a statute regulating asbestos-related liability should be found unconstitutional, had petitioned for appeal after the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of Crown Cork & Seal Co. Originally, on October 6, 2011, Markovsky filed a complaint against Crown alleging that he contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to the asbestos products of…
Continue reading...

Pittsburgh Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Secondary Exposure Friction Case

Plaintiff Larry English commenced this wrongful death mesothelioma case by claiming that his wife, Sherry English, was exposed to asbestos on Mr. English’s clothing. Mr. English, who worked for a variety of Ford dealerships between 1968 and 2011, worked with gaskets, brakes, and clutches. His claim is that the asbestos from these products remained on his clothing when he went home, allegedly exposing Mrs. English to asbestos. The plaintiff also claimed exposure to joint compound in connection with work in the home. Mrs. English was…
Continue reading...

Release Agreement in Prior Claim Does Not Bar Future FELA Claim U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015

Plaintiff Roger Lee Hindle was a railroad employee who developed lung cancer and brought a suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop the condition. The plaintiff had previously brought a claim against the same railroad defendants for hearing loss; in settling the previous claim, he signed a Release Agreement discharging them from any and all losses, known or unknown, including cancer. The railroad defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that this release barred the…
Continue reading...

Court Grants Non-Party Expert’s Motion to Quash Subpoena Even Though Items Sought Deemed Relevant U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, August 12, 2015

In this federal court motion, Dr. Arthur Frank moved to quash the subpoena served on him by Honeywell International Inc. as a defendant in a pending Eastern District of North Carolina asbestos case, Yates v. Ford Motor Co., et al.  Honeywell subpoenaed Dr. Frank, a prolific plaintiff’s expert in asbestos cases and a non-party to the North Carolina action, concerning his successful lobby of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to change language on its website and in its “Fact Sheets” regarding cancer risks to…
Continue reading...

Granting of Summary Judgment to Defendant Shipping Companies Overturned in Maritime Action, Based on Negligence Standard in Jones Act Superior Court of Pennsylvania, May 18, 2015

In this case brought under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.A. 30104, the decedent, Earl Criswell, was allegedly exposed to asbestos during his time as a Merchant Marine aboard various defendants’ vessels. The appellees, Atlantic Richfield Company and Sunoco, Inc. were both granted summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the lower court failed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and applied the wrong standard for negligence under the Jones Act. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff’s arguments…
Continue reading...