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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Motion to Remand Denied Due to Evidence Presented by Defendants U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Date, March 11, 2019

CALIFORNIA — On November 7, 2018, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in state court alleging that decedent, Ronald Viale, was exposed to asbestos when he was employed by the U.S. Navy as a steamfitter/firefighter from 1968 to 1970, and that he developed mesothelioma as a result of said exposure. On January 3, 2019, Foster Wheeler removed the matter under the federal officer defense. The removing defendants produced declarations provided by witnesses demonstrating that the Navy issued specifications regarding the form and content of all…
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California Court Remands Grant of Relief from Default Judgment California Court of Appeals, February 19, 2019

CALIFORNIA — In 2010, Donna O’Balle filed a complaint against numerous defendants alleging personal injuries from exposure to asbestos dating back to the 1980’s. Associated Insulation of California, Inc. (Associated), one of the defendants, was served, but did not respond, having gone out of business long before. O’Balle filed a request for entry of default against Associated. Almost a year later, O’Balle sent notice of the suit to Fireman’s Fund, seeking coverage on behalf of Associated. Fireman’s Fund was unable to locate any policy it…
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Umbrella Policy’s Self-Insured Retention Does Not Apply to Excess Policies California Appellate Court, First District, February 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA — A coverage dispute arose from numerous claims filed, in various jurisdictions, against Deere & Company for personal injuries arising from alleged exposure to asbestos-containing brakes, clutch assemblies, and gaskets used in Deere machines. In this decision, the court addressed two issues: 1) whether Deere’s higher-layer excess policies were triggered once the first-layer excess policy limits, which were subject to a self-insured retention (SIR) paid by Deere, had been exhausted; and (2) whether the higher-layer excess insurers’ indemnity obligation extended to Deere’s defense costs…
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Defendant Pump and Compressor Manufacturer’s Removal Deemed Untimely U.S. District Court, N.D. California, February 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiffs Michael Roy Harris and Elsie Harris sued multiple parties, including Ingersoll-Rand Company (IR), alleging that Michael developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure resulting from his work at two U.S. Navy shipyards and while serving in the Navy. The plaintiffs initially filed suit in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, on May 25, 2018. Over six months later, on December 17, 2018, IR removed the case to the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs filed the instant motion to remand.…
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Motion for Nonsuit Granted in Los Angeles Talc Trial California Superior Court for Los Angeles County February 5, 2019

CALIFORNIA — Following a four-week trial, nonsuit was entered just prior to closing arguments in a talc mesothelioma trial venued in Los Angeles state court. At the conclusion of the plaintiffs’ case, Colgate-Palmolive moved for nonsuit, arguing that the plaintiffs had failed to present a prima facie case linking the use of Cashmere Bouquet talcum products to the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiffs responded by arguing that they only had to prove that fibers from the defendant’s product contributed to the aggregate dose of asbestos to…
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Trial Preference Granted on Appeal for Kidney Cancer Plaintiff Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2, California, January 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA — A three judge appellate panel in California issued a writ of mandate requiring the trial court to vacate its prior order, and to grant oetitioner/olaintiff David Ellis’ motion for trial preference. The plaintiff alleged that he suffered from asbestos-related kidney cancer and pleural disease, and filed suit against numerous defendants in 2016. After having his case set for trial and then continued on four occasions due to lack of courtrooms, the plaintiff moved for trial preference under California Code of Civil Procedure section…
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