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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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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