Defendants’ Knowledge of Asbestos Not Required to Survive Motion to Dismiss

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

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

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

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

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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Plaintiff Survives Motion to Dismiss Upon Adding Additional Allegations in Amended Complaint

WISCONSIN — The plaintiff filed suit against Weyerhauser and its insurer for alleged emissions of asbestos into the Marshfield, Wisconsin community. Plaintiff Michael Kappel moved to add additional allegations to his complaint. Weyerhauser moved to dismiss. The plaintiffs were substituted upon Mr. Kappel’s passing.

Weyerhauser sought dismissal on two separate grounds. First, the defendant argued the plaintiffs did not allege Mr. Kappel’s exposure from work at Weyerhauser in an effort to circumvent the exclusivity rules in the local worker’s compensation statute. The court disagreed as …

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Personal Jurisdiction Motion Denied as Court Focuses on State-Related Contact

WASHINGTON — Decedent Donald Varney alleged that he developed mesothelioma from ambient exposure to defendants’ products while working in various positions at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, and at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, CA. Defendants Taco, Inc. and Aurora Pump Company filed identical Motions to Strike and Motions to Dismiss, which the court denied.

The defendants’ Motion to Strike pre-judgment interest argued that Washington law made prejudgment interest unavailable for claims of unliquidated damages, and that the plaintiffs’ damages were …

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California Government Claims Act Bars Plaintiffs’ Asbestos Action for Untimely Commencement

Plaintiffs Sandra Reyes Jauregui and Mario Reyes Jauregui filed a first amended complaint against the City of Pasadena arising from Sandra Jauregui’s mesothelioma. The City demurred to the complaint, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to comply with the Government Claims Act, requiring presentation of the claim to the City within six months of the date of Sandra’s mesothelioma diagnosis. The court agreed and issued a writ sustaining the demurrer.

The plaintiffs originally filed a complaint against various defendants due to her father’s asbestos exposure while …

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Lung Cancer Case Transferred After Defendants Successfully Argue Forum Non Conveniens on Appeal

Plaintiffs Irvin and Marlene Rohl brought this action against several defendants including Caterpillar and Navistar. The plaintiffs argued that Mr. Rohl’s lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos from brakes, gaskets, clutches, engines, and heavy duty equipment made by Caterpillar and Navistar.

At the trial level,  the defendants moved to transfer the case from Cook County to Winnebago County on the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The court denied the motion after a finding that the plaintiff had attended trade school in Cook County …

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Automotive Parts Manufacturer Granted Dismissal due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

In another decision out of the Hodjera suit in the Western District of Washington, the motions to dismiss of Dana Companies, LLC and Dana Canada Corporation (the defendants), were granted based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

Dana Companies is a Virginia corporation with its principal place of business in Ohio. Dana Canada is a Canadian corporation with its principal place of business in Ontario. The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos in Toronto, Ontario, between 1986 and 1994. Neither company is registered to …

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