Granting of Summary Judgment to Defendant Shipping Companies Overturned in Maritime Action, Based on Negligence Standard in Jones Act

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 …

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Pennsylvania Appellate Court Applies “Frequency, Regularity, Proximity” Standard, Dismissing Bystander Exposure Claim

The plaintiff commenced this action, alleging bystander exposure to brake work done on a P&H crane brakes. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds there was insufficient evidence of asbestos exposure to any P&H crane brakes. In opposition to the motion, the plaintiffs relied on the following proof as recounted by the court: “Appellants contend that by P&H’s own admission, its cranes contained parts made with asbestos, including the brakes and wiring. Appellants assert Appellant Mr. Sterling’s job duties constantly put him in …

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Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules, Inter Alia, No Right to Offset for Bankruptcy Trust Claims

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently reviewed on appeal a variety of post-trial issues in two mesothelioma cases that went to trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Of particular interest is the court’s refusal to permit defendants to offset payments received from settling non-party tort feasors, which included bankruptcy claim payments. The basis for the court’s decision is that the jury did not find that the other parties were joint tort feasors. The court described a defendants’ burden on this issue as follows: …

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Statute of Limitation in Wrongful Death Action Held to Have Commenced at Time of Decedent’s Diagnosis

The administratrix of the decedent’s estate appealed the lower court’s time-barred dismissal of the wrongful death action she commenced on behalf of the decedent, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma on June 17, 2011 and died on July 9, 2012. The action was commenced on January 9, 2014, which was more than two years after the mesothelioma diagnosis, but less than two years after the decedent’s death.

The court, in its analysis of the subject Pennsylvania statute of limitations, found that the time to file an …

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