NEW YORK – Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was hit with a $300 million punitive damages award on May 31, 2019, after a jury found the company responsible for a woman’s development of mesothelioma after decades of use of J&J talc bath products. In Donna A. Olson v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., the jury awarded the plaintiff, Donna Olson, and her husband, Robert Olson, with $25 million in compensatory damages, which brought the total verdict to $325 million. The lawsuit claimed …Continue Reading
TEXAS — In a case involving the mesothelioma death of a longtime jurist in Jefferson County, Texas attributed in part to asbestos remediation at the courthouse, a Texas Appellate Court affirmed the order of the trial court on all issues against defendant/appellant Jefferson County with the exception of the applicability of claims for exemplary damages, which were dismissed. Jefferson County filed an interlocutory appeal based on the trial court’s denial of its jurisdictional challenges. We have previously reported on the Appellate Court’s handling of the …Continue Reading
NORTH CAROLINA — In October, the plaintiff, Ann Finch, prevailed against Covil Corp. in a mesothelioma case involving her husband’s workplace exposure at Firestone. Covil made asbestos insulation that Mr. Finch worked around daily while changing molds on tire presses. The plaintiffs were awarded $32.7 million by the jury, which found that Covil failed to warn Mr. Finch that there was asbestos present in the insulation and that it posed a hazard to his health.
Covil has filed a motion to overturn the verdict or, …Continue Reading
IOWA — In 2014, the Estate of Larry Kinseth prevailed in a trial against boiler manufacturer, Weil-McLain, in Iowa District Court for Wright County. The plaintiff was awarded $4 million in compensatory damages, of which Weil-McLain was assessed 25 percent liability. The plaintiff then successfully argued for the application of punitive damages against Weil-McLain, and the jury awarded $2.5million in that phase of the trial. Weil-McLain appealed, based mostly on the conduct of the plaintiff’s counsel during closing arguments, and was successful on appeal in …Continue Reading
ARIZONA — Plaintiff Goerge Coulbourn was a machinist for the United States Navy from 1959 to 1966, during which time he worked with several products sold by defendant Crane Company that contained “significant amounts of asbestos.” The plaintiff sued Crane, alleging, amongst other things, that Crane’s products were defective in failing to warn of the dangers that asbestos posed. The plaintiff died in August 2013, and his wife, Sandra Coulbourn, filed an amended complaint on behalf of herself and her family, asserting a claim for …Continue Reading
MISSOURI — In the matter of Jeannette G. Poage vs. Crane Co., Docket No. 17-900, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Crane Co. affirmed, among other things, the lower’s court punitive damages award in favor of plaintiff. Crane Co. appealed to the Supreme Court, requesting the high court address two key issues: (1) Whether the due process clause requires appellate review that considers factors undermining the reasonableness of the punitive damages award; and (2) whether the due process clause prohibits a punitive damages …Continue Reading
Jeannette G. Poage, the plaintiff, filed a products liability suit against defendant Crane Co. in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, alleging that her husband, James E. Poage, suffered personal injuries and wrongful death from mesothelioma, which was caused from Mr. Poage’s work with the defendant’s products. Mr. Poage served in the U.S. Navy from 1954-58 as a machinist on the USS Haynesworth where he helped maintain the valves on the ship that required replacing gaskets and packing. The plaintiff alleged that …Continue Reading
Defendant Weil McLain appealed the jury’s award of damages and punitive damages to plaintiffs to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The appeal stems from the death of Larry Kinseth as a result of his alleged exposure to asbestos containing products. Mr. Kinseth worked in the heating and plumbing industry beginning in 1957. As part of his work, he tore out old boilers and installed new boilers, both in residential and commercial applications. At the time, Mr. Kinseth was working in the heating and plumbing industry, …Continue Reading
In November 2005, after William Saller was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the plaintiffs filed suit naming 22 defendants, including the manufacturers of various asbestos products. After Saller passed away in February 2006, his wife and daughters added a wrongful death claim and continued the lawsuit.
In 2007, the plaintiffs proceeded to trial against two remaining defendants: Crown Cork and Bondex International, Inc. The jury returned a defense verdict, rejecting the plaintiffs’ strict liability design defect claim and their negligent failure-to-warn claim. The plaintiffs appealed and the …Continue Reading
The Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in Pennsylvania recently ruled on partial motions for summary judgment with respect to punitive damages asserted by the paintiffs, Robert Horst, Jr. and Diane Horst. Defendants filing said motions included Burnham, LLC , Lennox Industries, Inc., and Weil-McLain.
The court stated that, in Pennsylvania, a punitive damages claim must be supported by evidence sufficient to establish that (1) a defendant had a subjective appreciation of the risk of harm to which the plaintiff was exposed and that …Continue Reading