Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Courts Despite Pending Bankruptcy of Talc Supplier United States District Court, C.D. California, May 21, 2019

CALIFORNIA — On Tuesday, a federal court in California ordered that a group of asbestos talc personal injury cases must be remanded to state court on equitable grounds. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court in April on the basis of the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., claiming that J&J’s supply agreements with Imerys contained contractual indemnifications and other liability-sharing provisions, and that they were “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in…
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Specific Jurisdiction Established Under “Stream of Commerce Plus” Theory U.S. Northern District of California, May 16, 2019

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff Thomas Toy alleged that his mesothelioma diagnosis was a result of asbestos exposure that incurred in multiple Navy shipyards to a variety of products throughout his machinist career. He claimed he was exposed to friction products in his role as a mechanic for the Army while stationed in Germany, Korea, and other U.S. locations and to construction products he used during home renovations. The defendant Viking Pump, Inc. moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that the plaintiff failed…
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Plaintiffs Not Entitled to Jury Instruction on General Negligence Due to Lack of Specific Evidence Court of Appeals, Second District, Division 4, California, May 14, 2019

CALIFORNIA – Philip and Febi Mettias, husband and wife, both died of complications caused by mesothelioma. The decedents’ children (plaintiffs) filed suit against various defendants. As part of their allegations, the plaintiffs alleged Philip Mettias performed as many as 24 brake repairs with Bendix brakes, made by Honeywell and purchased at Pep Boys. The jury returned a special verdict in favor of Honeywell and Pep Boys; the plaintiffs appealed on two contentions:
  1. The trial court erred in not giving general negligence instructions in addition to

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Forum Non Conveniens Stay Upheld Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California, April 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA — Wisconsin resident Charlene Rickert filed a wrongful death suit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, and alleged that American Honda, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, and Kawasaki Motors Corporation, USA (respondents), among others, contributed to the mesothelioma death of Wisconsin resident Gary Staszewski, through his use of the respondents’ brakes, clutches, and gaskets. All of the relevant work and medical treatment occurred in Wisconsin, and all witnesses necessary to prove exposure and damages remained in Wisconsin. While the respondents maintained corporate headquarters in…
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Auto Trade Association Successfully Challenges Plaintiff’s Claims of Specific Personal Jurisdiction United States District Court, N.D. California, April 29, 2019

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff Thomas Toy filed suit against several defendants including National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) alleging that he developed mesothelioma from the use of its asbestos containing products while maintaining vehicles. NAPA moved to dismiss the matter for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff opposed the motion arguing that the court had specific jurisdiction under the “stream of commerce theory” or NAPA’s “efforts to serve directly or indirectly the market for asbestos containing products in this State.” Both parties agreed that the court…
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Plaintiff’s Claim Under Market Share Liability Dismissed Against Brake Manufacturer U.S. District Court for the N.D. of California, April 29, 2019

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff, Gary Farris, alleged that his lung cancer was caused by performing brake and clutch changes at an automotive shop in San Jose, California from 1960 to 1964, and while performing personal automotive work from the 1960s to the 1980s. He named several manufactures of automotive brakes. His theory of liability against those defendants was premised on a claim of market share liability. Honeywell moved to dismiss that count in the initial complaint and the motion was granted. Upon amendment of the…
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Verdict on Non-Economic Damages Reversed and Remanded with Finding of Joint/Several Liability Against Pipe Manufacturer Court of Appeal, First District, Division 4, California. April 15, 2019

CALIFORNIA — In an update to Asbestos Case Tracker’s previous post, the court reversed and remanded this matter ordering a new entry of judgment holding the plaintiffs’ economic and noneconomic damages jointly and severally liable against CertainTeed Corporation (defendant). At the trial level, a jury previously returned a verdict on economic damages in the amount of $776,201 against defendant. The verdict also included $9.25 million in noneconomic damages which was apportioned to defendant at 62 percent with the remaining to other joint tortfeasors. The…
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California Jury Finds Defendant’s Talc Did Not Contain Asbestos Superior Court of the State of California, April 5, 2019

CALIFORNIA — In Blinkinsop v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., a California jury found that a defendant’s talcum powder did not contain asbestos, and therefore rejected the plaintiff’s claims that his use of the defendant’s products caused his mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s case was filed in September 2017, two months after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, alleging that his use of personal care products up through the 1980s caused his “likely terminal” illness. Following a five-week trial, a Long Beach jury deliberated for less than…
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Lung Cancer Plaintiff Allocated 60 Percent of Fault in $937,500 Verdict Los Angeles County Superior Court, March 12, 2019

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff worked in the entertainment industry as a lighting technician for approximately 40 years, and alleged that asbestos exposure from plastic cement, construction and lighting products was a substantial factor in causing his lung cancer. Evidence showed that the plaintiff had a 37-50 pack year smoking history. After a four week trial, the jury found that the plaintiff was exposed to the defendant CalPortland’s Colton gun plastic cement, but that CalPortland was not negligent and the exposure was not a substantial factor…
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California Plaintiff Alleging Meso Due to Talc Awarded $29.5M Verdict Alameda County Superior Court, March 13, 2019

CALIFORNIA — On March 13,the plaintiff Teresa Leavitt was awarded a $29.5 million dollar verdict by an Oakland jury, who found that Johnson & Johnson, J&J Consumer, Inc., and J&J’s supplier Cyprus Mines Corporation were liable for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleged that her mother had used J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talc products on her as an infant in the 1960s. Further, the plaintiff personally used the product cosmetically throughout the 1970s. The jury was unanimous in finding that J&J failed to warn the plaintiff of…
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