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 for Entry of Final Judgment Denied in Wake of Appeal United States District Court, W.D. Washington. January 08, 2019

WASHINGTON — In the ongoing Leslie Jack litigation previously reported by Asbestos Case Tracker, the plaintiff’s Motion for Entry of Final Judgment in favor of Union Pacific Railroad (Union) was recently denied. The plaintiff moved for entry after Union’s motion for summary judgment was granted by the court and after a mistrial against remaining defendants DCo and Ford was declared. The plaintiff argued that entry of final judgment would lead to judicial economy predicated on the theory that if the plaintiff prevailed on its appeal…
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Third Party Distribution of Talc Products in Florida Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Over Talc Supplier Fourth District Court of Appeal of Florida, December 19, 2018

FLORIDA — A divided Florida Appellate Court granted a motion to dismiss based on a lack of personal jurisdiction over a cosmetic talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, (Imerys). See Imerys Talc Am., Inc. v. Ricketts, No. 4D17-3815, 2018 WL 6719406 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 19, 2018). In opposition to the motion, Plaintiff argued that under the stream-of-commerce doctrine Imerys was subject to specific personal jurisdiction based on its out-of-state sales to a downstream manufacturer, who later distributed their talc containing cosmetic products in…
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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…
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Market-Share Cause of Action Against Automotive Parts Manufacturer Dismissed Without Prejudice to Amend Complaint United States District Court, For the Northern District of California. December 6, 2018

The laintiff Gary Farris, brought suit against multiple product manufacturers and distributors alleging that his diagnoses of lung cancer and asbestosis were causally related to asbestos exposure he sustained while 1) working on brakes and clutches in an automotive shop during the summers from 1960 to 1964 and shadetree automotive repairs from the 1960s to 1980s; 2) serving in the United States Navy from 1964 to 1967; and 3) servicing photocopiers from 1967 to 1989. In support of his claims, Farris raised a fifth cause…
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In-State Product Distribution Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-Of-State Asbestos Product Manufacturer Florida Third District Court of Appeal, November 21, 2018

The plaintiffs, Silverio and Faye Onorato, brought suit against numerous asbestos manufacturers and distributors alleging that Mr. Onorato developed mesothelioma from his exposure to asbestos, which occurred entirely in the State of Florida. The defendant, Highland Stucco and Lime Products, Inc.,(Highland) moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims by arguing that there was no personal jurisdiction over it, as its manufacturing business operations were confined to Southern California.  In support of its motion, Highland annexed an affidavit of its president who alleged a complete lack of…
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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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