Case Remanded to State Court to Hear Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss on Personal Jurisdiction as State Court Issues Predominate Case U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, March 3, 2016

In this case, the decedent Oscar Villanueva, is alleged to have been exposed to asbestos from various products while working at Glendale Auto Radio Stereo from 1969 to 1990. Defendant FCA US LLC removed the case to federal court since any judgment would have an impact on its bankruptcy estate. Defendant Dr. Ing. H.C.F. Porsche moved to dismiss arguing improper service of process and lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff subsequently dismissed the claim against FCA and moved to remand for lack of subject matter…
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California Appellate Court Allows Expert Opinion Testimony on “Every Exposure” Theory Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, March 3, 2016

The plaintiff presented expert testimonial evidence at trial that her father’s exposure to asbestos from Bendix brake linings was a substantial factor in contributing to his risk of developing mesothelioma. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff; defendant Honeywell International appealed on two grounds: (1) the “every exposure” theory should have been excluded under California law, and (2) the trial court erred in refusing to give a supplemental jury instruction regarding factors relevant to the substantial factor determination. The court found no error. For…
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Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Granted and Attorneys’ Fees Awarded to Plaintiff; Defendant’s Notice of Removal Both Substantively and Procedurally Improper U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 2, 2016

The plaintiff filed an action in California state court against various defendants after being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Defendant O’Reilly Auto Enterprises removed to federal court after it was the only remaining defendant on the basis of diversity. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand and for attorneys’ fees. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion. O’Reilly’s notice of removal was both substantively and procedurally improper. A complaint that is not initially removable due to non-diversity may become removable where diversity arises due to a plaintiff’s…
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Case Remanded to State Court Despite Defendant’s Claim Plaintiffs Acted in Bad Faith with Claims Against Non-Diverse Defendant U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, February 24, 2016

In this case, Asbestos Corporation, Ltd. (ACL) removed the action to federal court on the ground of diversity. The plaintiffs moved to remand, arguing that ACL removed the action past the one year deadline to do so. ACL responded that the missing of the deadline to remove is excused since the plaintiffs acted in bad faith by maintaining a claim against a non-diverse defendant, J.T. Thrope & Sons, Inc. (JTTS), to prevent removal. The plaintiffs responded that they were active in prosecuting those claims in…
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Expert Opinion on Asbestos Content of Insulation — Based in Part on Non-Party Witness Declaration — Sufficient to Create Question of Fact to Overcome Summary Judgment Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division One, February 18, 2016

In this case, it was claimed that the decedent, Michael O’Leary, was exposed to asbestos while working as a rigger at the Tosco Refinery in the 1970s to late 1980s near employees from the defendant, Dillingham Construction N.A., Inc., who were sweeping up insulation off the floor in his vicinity. The trial court precluded the opinion that the insulation contained asbestos as being speculative from the plaintiff’s expert, Charles Ay, and granted summary judgment to Dillingham. On appeal, the court found the expert’s opinion to…
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Daubert Challenge of Plaintiff’s Experts Denied in Career Boilermaker Case U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, February 16, 2016

The plaintiff in this case alleged that the decedent, Michael Walashek, was exposed to asbestos from various products while working as a boilermaker between 1967 and 1986 on various naval, commercial, and industrial vessels. The defendant, Foster Wheeler LLC, filed a motion to preclude the testimony of the plaintiff’s experts Dr. Edwin Holstein ad Dr. Michael Claude Fishbein on the grounds that their opinions do not satisfy the requirements of Fed. R. Evid. 702 and Daubert. The court denied the motion. Regarding Dr. Fishbein,…
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Federal Court Remands Case to State Court Based on Plaintiff’s Waiver of Federal Claims Against Removing Defendant U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, February 12, 2016

On June 15, 2015, plaintiffs Charles Ford and Carol Ford filed an action in the Alameda County Superior Court alleging state law claims for Mr. Ford’s exposure to asbestos from numerous defendants. Defendant Foster Wheeler Energy removed the matter to federal court in November 2015 following Mr. Ford’s testimony that he worked aboard the USS Oklahoma City while working for the Bethlehem Shipyards in the late 1960s. In December 2015, the laintiffs filed a notice of waiver, which stated that they waive any claims against…
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In Fact-Intensive Unpublished Opinion, California Appeals Court Reverses Grant of Summary Judgment to Three of Four Automotive Defendants Court of Appeal of California, February 8, 2016

In this unpublished opinion, the plaintiffs appealed after the trial court granted summary judgment to defendants Ford, Navistar, Gibbs International, and Kelsey-Hayes. The plaintiffs also filed motions for a new trial as to all four defendants, which the trial court denied. The decedent was a civilian employee at the Naval Construction Battalion Center; while he was not a mechanic, his visited the Construction Equipment Division (CED) where all vehicle repair work was performed. He died of mesothelioma. The appellate court reversed the summary judgments as…
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On Remand, Federal Court Again Grants Summary Judgment on Plaintiff’s Maritime and State Law Claims U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, February 8, 2016

In this federal court case, the court’s jurisdiction was based solely on the plaintiff’s assertion of maritime jurisdiction as set forth in in his fourth amended complaint. The plaintiff brought claims against 54 defendants that manufactured asbestos-containing products that the decedent, Christopher Curtis, was allegedly exposed to in three different situations: From 1955-58 while he served in the Navy, while employed as an electrician for 40 years, and while performing maintenance on his automobiles. The plaintiff settled against many of the 54 defendants, and other…
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California Appellate Court Affirms All of Trial Court’s Rulings in Extensive Damages Case Against Kaiser Gypsum Court of Appeal of California, January 21, 2016

The plaintiffs in the case were a married couple who filed a claim for personal injury due to bystander asbestos exposure after the husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma. After a lengthy trial against defendant Kaiser Gypsum, the plaintiffs were awarded $21 million in compensatory damages but the jury could not reach a verdict regarding punitive damages. A retrial was ordered on this issue, and the second jury awarded $20 million in punitive damages, which the court reduced to just under $4 million. Defendant Kaiser Gypsum…
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