Summary Judgment in Favor of Oil Defendants Upheld Due to Lack of Control of Iranian Facilities

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Seven, July 7, 2021

In this case, the plaintiffs brought wrongful death and survivor claims, alleging that their deceased father contracted mesothelioma through exposure to asbestos while he was an Iranian citizen working for the National Iranian Oil Company from the late 1950s to the late 1970s in facilities controlled by the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed a judgment entered by the trial court granting motions for summary judgment filed by the defendants Chevron Corporation, Chevron U.S.A. …

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Pump Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss Based on Personal Jurisdiction Denied

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

In this asbestos action, Christopher Sibley (the plaintiff) alleged asbestos exposure from his work as a Navy electrician in California. Defendant Viking Pump moved to dismiss due to a lack of personal jurisdiction. As per Rule 12(b)(2), a defendant can move to dismiss the matter based on personal jurisdiction grounds. Since personal jurisdiction is not authorized by federal statute, the court applied California law. As such, “[a] defendant is subject to general jurisdiction …

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Plaintiff’s Verdict Reversed as Trial Court Gave Erroneous Causation Instruction

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One

Defendant The Marley-Wylain Company successfully argued that Michigan law should apply in this California action as all of the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos manufactured or supplied in connection with Weil-McLain boilers occurred in Michigan. Marley-Wylain was the only remaining defendant at trial, where the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and entered a judgment against Marley-Wylain for $5,489,688.68. The trial court subsequently denied Marley-Wylain’s motions for a new trial and for judgment notwithstanding the …

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Court Grants New Trial to Boiler Defendant Based on Improper Jury Instruction Regarding Causation

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One, June 4, 2021

The decedent worked as a plumber in Michigan from 1969 to 1976. The plaintiff contends the decedent was exposed to asbestos during this time when working with boilers manufactured by Weil-McLain Company, Inc. (now a division of The Marley-Wylain Company (MW)). The decedent’s exposure to asbestos by MW products occurred entirely in Michigan. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014 and subsequently filed suit, under California law, against a number of …

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Steam Trap Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment; No Liability for Third-Party Component Parts

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, May 20, 2021

In this asbestos action, the plaintiffs allege that Mr. Toy (the decedent) worked with asbestos-containing steam traps and strainers manufactured by Armstrong from 1974 until 1980. Defendant Armstrong moved for summary judgment on the causation issue, and the plaintiffs opposed the motion. Of relevance to this motion, the decedent testified that he did not open the steam traps to perform maintenance on the internal components. Instead, he removed flange gasket material from between …

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Naval Defendant Denied Summary Judgment as Causation Issues of Fact Remain

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, May 13, 2021

In this asbestos action, the decedent alleged asbestos exposure from pumps manufactured by defendant Warren at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard from 1962 until 1973, as well as at the Treasure Island Naval Base from 1974 until 1980. Warren moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff cannot show that the decedent was exposed to an asbestos-containing products attributable to Warren.

As a threshold matter, the parties did not agree as to whether maritime …

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Plaintiff’s Punitive Damages Claim Withstands Summary Judgment Against Brake Manufacturer

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, May 10, 2021

In this asbestos action, Mr. Toy (the plaintiff) alleged that he worked with asbestos-containing brakes manufactured by Bendix in the 1950s and 1970s. Defendant Honeywell as successor-in-interest to Bendix moved for summary judgment on several grounds. The plaintiff only opposed the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the punitive damages claim.

Under California Civil Code § 3294(a), “a plaintiff may recover punitive damages “where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that …

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Court Denies Motion for Summary Judgment in Part Finding Defendant Manufactures had Duty to Warn

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, May 7, 2021

The plaintiff alleges exposure to asbestos-containing equipment during his service in the United States Navy. The plaintiff and his wife sued several equipment manufacturers alleging their products caused the plaintiff to develop mesothelioma.

The defendants filed an omnibus motion for summary judgment arguing (1) they had no duty to warn of product hazards, (2) there is no proof of causation, (3) the government contractor defense immunizes them from liability, and (4) punitive damages …

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Summary Judgment to American Oil Company Defendants Upheld on Appeal Pursuant to Sabetian

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate Division, April 20, 2021

The plaintiff appealed from an entry of summary judgment to defendants Chevron Corporation, Chevron U.S.A., Inc., and Texaco, Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corporation and ExxonMobil Corporation. The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while an Iranian citizen working for the National Iranian Oil Company from the late 1950s to 1980, in facilities controlled by the defendants. On the defendants motions for summary judgment, the trial court found that they did not owe …

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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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