Court of Appeals Affirms District Court’s Judgment in favor of Plaintiff Against Railroad Defendant

Plaintiff Nancy Little (“Little”) filed suit against the Budd Company (“Budd”) alleging that decedent died from exposure to asbestos-containing insulation surrounding the pipes on Budd manufactured rail cars.  The parties went to trial and a verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal, Budd asserted that plaintiff’s tort claims were preempted  by the Locomotive Inspection Act (“LIA”) and  Safety Appliance Act (“SAA”). Budd’s theory on appeal was that the claims were preempted because all passenger rail cars are “appurtenances” to a complete locomotive.…

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Court Grants Third-Party Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

In Jack Papineau and Holly Papineau v. Brake Supply Company, Inc., et al., the Court recently granted a third-party defendant’s motion to dismiss a third-party complaint. Plaintiff Jack Papineau (“Papineau”) alleged that he developed malignant mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from his employment at Smith Coal, and sued four defendants. After the action was filed, one defendant filed a third-party action against Rudd Equipment for common law indemnity and apportionment under K.R.S. Section 411.182. In its motion to dismiss the third-party complaint, Rudd Equipment …

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Court Recommends Granting Summary Judgment to Pump and Valve Manufacturer

On March 25, 2020, the U.S. District Court for Delaware “recommended” granting summary judgment to defendants Flowserve US, Inc. and Air & Liquid Systems Corporations. By way of background, plaintiffs Pietro Vocciante and Rosalba V. Assante filed a personal injury action against multiple defendants including Flowserve US, Inc. and Air & Liquid Systems Corporation alleging that Mr. Vocciante developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing materials during his career as a cadet engineer aboard various oil tanker ships. Mr. Voccinate (“decedent”) subsequently died …

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Railroad Case Remanded to Lower Court to Determine “Other Activities”

Supreme Court of Montana, March 11, 2020

MONTANA – The defendant BNSF Railway Company’s (BNSF) appealed the lower court’s decision arguing that the court erred in granting partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on the issues of preemption, strict liability, and non-party affirmative defenses.

As an overview, W. R. Grace acquired the assets of Zonolite Company, formerly known as Mineral Carbon and Insulating Company. W.R. Grace mined vermiculite seven miles outside of Libby, Montana. W.R. Grace’s operations produced approximately 80 percent of the …

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Court Grants Plaintiff’s Motion for Jurisdictional Discovery for Turbine Manufacturer

United States District Court, S.D. New York, March 3, 2020

NEW YORK – Eugene Paroni, the plaintiff’s spouse, was diagnosed with and died of mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleges that the decedent’s mesothelioma was a result of his asbestos exposure from his work with a turbine manufactured by Ruston Gas Turbines, Ltd. The plaintiff brought suit against Alstom SA, successor-in-interest to Ruston. The plaintiff originally filed suit in California where he resided. Shortly thereafter, service of the summons on Alstom was quashed for lack of personal …

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Opposite Outcomes in Recent Removals Based on Diversity Hone in on Status of Remaining Defendants

A string of recent decisions on remand motions illustrates that diversity challenges are alive and well in asbestos litigation. As the landscape of defendants changes as trial approaches, so do the defenses. Whether by settlement or dismissal, the remaining defendant or defendants have taken advantage of diversity issues to remove cases to more favorable federal jurisdictions with stark contrast in results. That contrast should give defendants cause for pause prior to removal.

Recently, in Wieland v. Arvinmeritor, Inc., a brake defendant removed the case …

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Case Remanded to Trial Court on Issues of Admission of Alternative Causation Evidence and Jury Instruction

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, February 26, 2020

FLORIDA – An appeal was brought on behalf of the defendant, Union Carbide, after a second jury trial was completed and a jury verdict entered in favor of the plaintiff.  The plaintiff, Paula Font, filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging her father, Luis Torres, contracted and died of mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products.

The defendant raised three issues on appeal. First, the defendant claimed the trial court erred in denying the …

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Remand in Meso Case Denied Upon Finding that Common Defense Exception Inapplicable

U.S. District Court C.D. of Illinois, February 25, 2020

ILLINOIS – The plaintiff sued several defendants alleging that Roy Hicks developed mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos for which the defendants were allegedly responsible. Specifically, Mr. Hicks alleged exposure to asbestos while working for the City of Bloomington, where he encountered asbestos from vehicles made by Ford, and others. He also alleged exposure to products from John Crane as a result of his wife’s work at General Electric. As trial approached, the …

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Court Grants Summary Judgment to Turbine Manufacturer Due to Lack of Causation

CONNECTICUT – The plaintiff, Patricia Murray, alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from products manufactured or marketed by multiple defendants, including CBS Corporation. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that there was insufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from CBS’s products. The motion was unopposed.

The plaintiff’s claims of strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, and failure to warn all fall under the Connecticut Products Liability Act (CPLA). Causation is …

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Court Grants Remand Based on Lack of Complete Diversity

United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois, February 20, 2020

ILLINOIS – The plaintiffs, Arland and Dina Wieland, originally filed the instant matter in the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, alleging that Arland sustained injuries due to asbestos exposure. Trial in the matter started on Feb. 20, 2020 and on Feb. 19, the defendant ArvinMeritor removed the matter, asserting diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for remand. 

The plaintiffs are citizens of New Mexico. In their notice of removal, ArvinMeritor …

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