Refinery Defendants Owed No Duty of Care to Plaintiff Under 1954 Agreement with Iranian National Oil Company Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California, November 14, 2019

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff’s decedent, Farid Malek, died from mesothelioma after working almost 30 years at the Abadan oil refinery in Iran. Mary Malek, Farid’s surviving spouse, filed suit on his behalf. The matter is one of a number of coordinated asbestos-related actions in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. The Maleks immigrated to the United States in 1981 and settled in California. Defendants Chevron USA, Inc. and Texaco, Inc. (Chevron/Texaco) and ConocoPhillips Company (CPC) filed for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. …
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Sugar Refinery Defendant’s Appeal of Trial Verdict Denied Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California, October 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA – Mark Lopez’s widow, plaintiff Lannette Lopez, brought suit against the defendant, The Hillshire Brands Company, arguing that Mark was exposed to asbestos as a child from his father and grandfather’s work at a sugar refinery owned by Hillshire, causing his fatal epithelioid mesothelioma. A jury awarded the plaintiff $1.9 million dollars in economic damages and $11 million dollars in noneconomic damages. Hillshire appealed, and raised challenges to the jury’s failure to apportion fault; to the jury instructions given; and to the sufficiency of…
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Defense Verdict for Talc Defendant After Retrial Los Angeles County Superior Court, October 9, 2019

CALIFORNIA – In a case that was originally declared a mistrial in 2018 after a jury could not reach a verdict, yesterday a Los Angeles jury found that the defendant Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) talcum baby powder did not cause the mesothelioma of the plaintiff, Carolyn Weirick. While the plaintiff purported to present evidence of the presence of asbestos in J&J talc samples through several methods of testing, J&J contended that the fibers discovered in the talc were merely of similar dimensions to asbestos, but…
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New California Law Limits Length of Asbestos Depositions

CALIFORNIA – California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill which imposes significant time limits on the deposition of the plaintiffs suffering from mesothelioma. Under the law, the deposition of a plaintiff suffering from mesothelioma is limited to seven hours if a licensed physician provides a declaration stating that the individual has mesothelioma and there is a substantial medical doubt of survival beyond six months. Upon findings of fairness and that the health of the plaintiff is not endangered by a granting of additional time,…
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Appellate Court Affirms Order for New Trial and Denial of Post-Judgment JNOV Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California, October 4, 2019

CALIFORNIA — Following the conclusion of an extensive trial and creation of a special verdict form, the jury deliberated and rendered a special verdict in favor of one plaintiff, awarding substantial economic and noneconomic damages. However, the trial signed a judgment in favor of the defendant. Post judgment, the trial court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), but granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial. The Court of Appeal for the Second District, Division 4 of California affirmed the post-judgment…
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California Case Removed During Jury Selection Sent Back to State Court U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, August 9, 2019

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff, Arthur Putt, filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on December 3, 2018, alleging he developed mesothelioma from his use of automobile brakes. Among the 16 defendants sued were Ford, Pneumo Abex and Pep Boys. On August 7, 2019, jury selection began with Ford and Pep Boys participating. Pneumo Abex did not participate in the process, but the superior court had not dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against it. On August 8, the plaintiff’s counsel informed the superior court that the claims…
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Naval Contractor’s Summary Judgment Win Overturned on Appeal Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California, June 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA – Yesterday, a three-judge panel reversed a California trial court’s grant of summary judgement for the defendant, Triple A Machine Shop (Triple A), Inc., and remanded the matter to the trial court for further determination of Triple A’s arguments in support of summary adjudication. The decedent, Michael Harris, sued Triple A, among others, and alleged that their subcontracted work overhauling the USS San Jose in San Francisco for over three months in 1973 disturbed asbestos and contributed to the development of his mesothelioma. The…
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Directed Verdict Reversed for Floor Tile Defendant Based on Admissibility of Expert Opinion Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California June 19, 2019

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff, Robert Friedman, alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos through remodeling work undertaken in his home. He proceeded to trial against the defendant, American Biltrite, Inc. (ABI), a manufacturer of asbestos vinyl tile that was allegedly cut and installed in Friedman’s presence over three days in 1966. The plaintiff specifically testified that he observed the tile installers cutting the tile with a circular saw, which created dust. ABI presented testimony from their corporate representative stating that vinyl tile was…
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California Court Allows Insurer to Repair Default California Superior Court, June 13, 2019

CALIFORNIA – A San Francisco Superior Court allowed Century Indemnity Company (Century) to vacate a default and default judgment against its potential former insured, James A. Nelson, Co., Inc. (Nelson). The plaintiff, the wife of a decedent whose death was attributed to alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products, brought several lawsuits for wrongful death in or around 2012. About a year after bringing suit against Nelson Co., the plaintiff requested and received an entry of default. The following year, in January 2014, she received a default…
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California Jury Awards Twelve Million Dollars to Plaintiff in Talc Case Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California. June 11, 2019

CALIFORNIA – A California jury found that asbestos in talcum powder products sold by two companies was the likely cause of the plaintiff Patricia Schmitz’s mesothelioma, awarding her two million dollars in economic damages and ten million dollars in noneconomic damages. The jury did not reach a conclusion as to whether to award punitive damages or on an intentional misrepresentation claim against one of the companies. Read the case decision here.…
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