Plaintiff Expert Opinion on “Every Exposure” Testimony Precluded under Daubert

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Plaintiffs Thomas Toy, Jr. and Agnes Toy allege that Mr. Toy developed malignant mesothelioma and later died from exposure to asbestos-containing products or equipment that Defendants manufactured or supplied. Pending before the court are motions to strike or exclude the anticipated testimony of the plaintiffs’ causation expert Dr. Arnold Brody and motions to exclude evidence or testimony that “every exposure” to asbestos causes mesothelioma, as well as the plaintiffs’ motion to strike two defense experts.

The …

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Plaintiff’s Naval Expert Excluded Based on Lack of Qualifications

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 31, 2021

In this asbestos action, Mr. Toy (the plaintiff) alleges that his work with or around Warren pumps and Armstrong steam traps while serving in the United States Navy exposed him to asbestos. In support of his allegations, the plaintiff served an expert report of Captain Francis Burger, who opined as to asbestos-containing products and materials on Navy ships and in Naval shipyards. Captain Burger based his opinions on his extensive experience gained throughout …

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Partial Summary Judgment Denied to Shipbuilding Company and Auto Parts Retailer

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 30, 2021

Before the court are motions for summary judgment filed by defendant National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) and Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack of California.

Defendant NASSCO moves for summary judgment on the theory that, as a government contractor, it enjoys derivative immunity from asbestos- related liability. In the alternative, should material facts regarding its overhaul of the USS Bristol County remain in dispute, NASSCO moves for partial summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ premises …

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Court Finds Testimony of Plaintiffs’ Causation Expert Admissible

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 26, 2021

The plaintiffs filed this action alleging decedent developed malignant mesothelioma and later died from exposure to asbestos-containing products or equipment. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege the decedent worked with Bendix brand brakes during his service in the Army and as a machinist. The plaintiffs offered Dr. Carl Brodkin as a causation expert. Dr. Brodkin opined decedent’s work with and around Bendix brakes was a substantial contributing factor in decedent’s development of mesothelioma.

Defendant Honeywell …

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$25.5 Million Punitive Damages Award Reversed; New Trial Ordered on Apportionment of Fault in Automobile Brake Case

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Two, March 25, 2021

In this asbestos action, plaintiff Arthur Putt replaced brake pads manufactured and supplied by several different entities in connection with cars manufactured by three different companies in two California gas stations from 1966 until 1970. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018 and testified that 40 percent of his brake work involved Ford vehicles, and 40 percent of his total work with Ford vehicles involved removing the factory-installed brake pads. The …

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Plaintiffs’ Expert Report Stricken as Improper Rebuttal

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 19, 2021

Plaintiffs Thomas Toy, Jr. and Agnes Toy allege that Mr. Toy developed malignant mesothelioma and later died from exposure to asbestos-containing products or equipment that the defendants manufactured or supplied. The defendants removed this action to federal court, which set forth a case schedule, including deadlines for the close of discovery and expert reports and depositions. The parties failed to comply with the court’s scheduling order, and several defendants filed a motion to …

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Navy Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment Denied as Factual Disputes Remained to Claimed Defenses

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California, February 10, 2021

The defendants’ motion for summary judgment was before the court. The court denied the motion finding several genuine issues of material fact remained unresolved.

First, the court found it was disputed as to whether exposure to defendants’ products was a “substantial factor in contributing to the aggregate dose of asbestos the . . . decedent inhaled or ingested.” The court concluded a reasonable fact-finder could conclude the plaintiff worked with Cutler-Hammer motor controllers …

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Pipe Manufacturer Successfully Appeals $15 Million Punitive Damages Award

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One, January 27, 2021

This matter was filed after the plaintiff, Norris Morgan, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2017.  The complaint alleged that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos at construction jobsites where he worked in the 1970s and 1980s, including as a construction superintendent from 1979 to 1985 for Spriggs and Company and Bumbarger and Associates in 1985. Among other construction activities, the plaintiff supervised plumbers installing asbestos-cement water and sewer pipe on his worksites.

The matter …

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Trial Court’s Refusal to Reduce Plaintiffs’ Recovery of Costs by Amounts Attributable to Settled Defendants Affirmed

Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Three, December 11, 2020

The heirs of decedent Richard Booker filed suit, alleging that Booker developed fatal mesothelioma from his exposure to defendants’ asbestos-containing products. The plaintiffs settled with most of the defendants, and a trial was held against the two remaining defendants, Vanderbilt Minerals LLC and Imerys. The jury found the two defendants liable for increasing the decedent’s risk of mesothelioma and apportioned 60-percent fault to Vanderbilt and 40-percent fault to Imerys.

The plaintiffs filed …

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Punitive Damages Award Eliminated on Appeal in Take-Home Exposure Case

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Three, November 19, 2020

The plaintiff, Alfred Mata, alleged he developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure. Alfred’s father, Francisco, worked as a serviceman for Park Water from 1970 until 1989. Francisco’s responsibility of cutting water pipes with a power saw caused visible dust to settle on his clothing, which he took home to his son. Park Water used both asbestos-containing cement pipes and non-asbestos pipes. The asbestos pipes contained both chrysotile and crocidolite asbestos. …

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