Brake Manufacturer Obtains Dismissal on Alternative Theories of Liability in Lieu of Product Identification & Proximate Cause Mississippi Southern District Court, November 1, 2018

MISSISSIPPI – The plaintiffs William Dickens and Karla Dickens (plaintiffs) allege that the plaintiff William Dickens’s (Mr. Dickens) mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos within products he used while employed as a mechanic, and within talcum powder products he used.  Ford Motor Company (Ford) was named as one of the defendants since it, “designed its braking systems for asbestos-containing brake linings such that no other material could be utilized as brake linings in those systems.”  Ford moved to dismiss, under Rule 12(b)(6): (i) the…
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Court Partially Denies Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss as to Plausible Gross Negligence and Punitive Damages Claims, but Grants Motion as to Speculative Conspiracy Claim U.S. District Court North Carolina, M.D., October 18, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiffs Everett VanHoy and Lucille VanHoy (plaintiffs) filed this personal-injury action against multiple defendants, including American International Industries (AII), alleging the plaintiff Everett VanHoy’s (Mr. VanHoy) mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to a variety of asbestos-containing products throughout his life. AII moved to dismiss, under Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiffs’ complaint on the following bases: (i) failure to state a gross-negligence claim; (ii) the plaintiffs’ inability to recover punitive damages resulting from a failure prove AII acted with “fraud, malice, or…
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Defendant Survives Dismissal of its Claims for Contribution and Indemnification Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, Division of St. Croix. September 28, 2018

VIRGIN ISLANDS — Litwin Corporation (Litwin) filed suit against General Engineering Corporation (GEC) seeking contribution and indemnification related to over a hundred asbestos suits filed against Litwin in the United States Virgin Islands. Prior to suit, Litwin settled with the claimants. Litwin then sought contribution and indemnification to mitigate its settlement costs. GEC moved to dismiss the complaint and Litwin responded in opposition. The case was reassigned because of its similarity with the claims pending with a case known as In re : Kelvin Manboth
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Transfer Granted Where Severance of John Doe Defendants Aids Judicial Economy United States District Court, D. New Jersey. August 07, 2018

DELAWARE — The United States District Court issued a Show Cause Order requiring the parties to show why this matter should not be transferred to the District of Delaware. The plaintiff opposed the transfer arguing that two of the defendants also known as “John Doe” defendants may not be subject to personal jurisdiction in Delaware.  The defendants countered and argued that the plaintiff’s claims against those two defendants, RBC Sonic and Aetna Steel Products Corporation, could easily be severed. The court agreed that claims against…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Minimum Contacts Leads to Dismissal for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District. August 08, 2018

FLORIDA — The plaintiff alleged he was exposed to products manufactured by the defendant or its predecessor from 1975-1977 in Florida. The defendant submitted an affidavit confirming it had no contacts in Florida before 1994. However, its predecessor ran an operations plant in Florida in the early 1980’s, after the alleged exposure. The plaintiff put forth no evidence of minimum contacts other than the allegation of use of defendant’s products in the 1970’s according to the Court. Relying on Southern Wall Products, the Court…
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Defendants’ Knowledge of Asbestos Not Required to Survive Motion to Dismiss U.S. District Court, District of Montana, July 27, 2018

The United States District Court, District of Montana, issued identical decisions in three with the following similarly situated plaintiffs (collectively as “plaintiffs” ) and defendant BNSF Railway Company (BNSF):
  • Lloyd E. Underwood (CV-17-83-GF-BMM-JTJ);
  • Carrie Sue Murphy-Fauth (CV-17-79-GF-BMM-JTJ);
  • Consuela Deason, as Personal Representative for the Estate of James E. Deason (CV-17-76-GF-BMM-JTJ).
In each case, BNSF filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (among other arguments).  Here, BNSF argued that the plaintiffs failed to allege that BNSF owed the plaintiffs a duty of…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Assert Elements for Fraudulent Misrepresentation Leads to Dismissal for Friction Defendants U.S. District Court, M.D. North Carolina, July 23, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff filed suit against 62 defendants including Ford Motor (Ford) and Hennessey Industries (Hennessey) alleging he was injured as a result of exposure to the defendant’s asbestos containing products or equipment. Ford and Hennessey moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims for fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim with respect to those allegations. The plaintiff sought leave to amend his complaint and amended the complaint after the court permitted a more definite statement. Ford and…
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Talcum Powder Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Granted on Civil Conspiracy; Denied as to Punitive Damages U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, June 7, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — American International Industries (AII) was sued by plaintiff Lloyd Bell. The plaintiff claimed his decedent had developed mesothelioma from her use of talcum powder during her work as a hairdresser and her education during beauty school. AII moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims for willful and wanton conduct, malice, conspiracy, and punitive damages. The court began its review with the standard for a motion to dismiss. According to the court, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state…
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Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Over Defendant Leads to Remand and Dismissal Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division, May 18, 2018

ILLINOIS — The plaintiff brought this action against General Electric (GE) arguing that he developed mesothelioma from exposure during his work at various locations for Republic Steel from 1961-1999. According to the plaintiff, the work took place in Illinois, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. The plaintiff, a resident of Alabama, filed suit in Illinois. GE moved to dismiss the matter for lack of personal jurisdiction. Specifically, GE argued that the plaintiff’s complaint lacked facts establishing personal jurisdiction through Illinois’ long-arm statute. Moreover, GE took the position…
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Community Exposure Claims by Former Employees Not Barred by Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Act U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, April 17, 2018

WISCONSIN — Two deceased Weyerhauser employees brought claims against their former employer for common law negligence, negligent nuisance, and intentional nuisance. In an effort to avoid the exclusivity provisions of Wisconsin’s Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA), both plaintiffs alleged that the defendant Weyerhauser’s activities exposed them to asbestos in the community, not during the course of their employment with the defendant, causing their mesothelioma. Weyerhauser challenged the pleadings on several bases, and the court granted and denied their motion in part. The court denied Weyerhauser’s motion…
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