Testimony of Plaintiff’s Key Witness is Inadmissible Hearsay; Court Reverses Judgment in Mesothelioma Claim Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California, October 26, 2018

CALIFORNIA — In the matter of Frank C. Hart, he Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California reversed a lower court’s judgment against defendant after finding the testimony of plaintiff’s key witness was inadmissible hearsay. The plaintiff Frank C. Hart filed suit alleging that his mesothelioma diagnosed was caused by exposure to asbestos from his work in construction as a pipe layer. The paintiff alleged that defendant supplied asbestos-containing piping that exposed him to asbestos. The lower court’s judgment was primarily based on a…
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California Jury Deadlocked Over Talc Claims Superior Court for Los Angeles, September 24, 2018

CALIFORNIA — A mistrial was declared in a talc lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson in the Superior Court for Los Angeles, after a jury remained deadlocked following more than five days of deliberations. The plaintiff, Carolyn Weirick, alleges that she developed mesothelioma through the use of asbestos-contaminated talc, and sought at least $25 million in damages. The plaintiff allegedly used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for more than forty years, and was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 58. The parties agreed that she had…
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Defendant Fails to Meet Removal Requirements under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a) United States District Court, C.D. California, September 19, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff Randolph Morton (Plaintiff or Morton) filed this personal injury claim in California state court alleging that Morton’s asbestos-related disease was allegedly caused by the defendants’ acts and omissions involving the use of asbestos at or in the vicinity of Morton’s workplace. The defendant removed the case to federal court (United States District Court, Central District of California) based on federal office removal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a).  Here, defendant seeks to put forth the government contractor defense, which outlines that…
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Plaintiff Waived Choice of Law Causation Issue; Kansas Law Applied to California Case California Court of Appeal, First District, September 10, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff Gerald Hake was born in Kansas and allegedly exposed to asbestos from friction products from age 10 until age 19 while working at the family-owned Hake Standard Service Station. In 1962, he joined the Navy; he then moved to Washington state in 1966. He lived in that state until the present time. The case went to trial against Honeywell and BorgWarner  in the state of California. The parties filed a series of motions to apply either Washington or Kansas law to…
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Novel Motion to Remand Denied in California Talc Case U.S.District Court for the Central District of California, August 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA — A group of women filed suit against Johnson & Johnson in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles raising claims that the company violated various California codes by failing to warn consumers of exposure to asbestos and talc containing asbestiform fibers in Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. On May 31, 2018, Johnson & Johnson removed to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiffs moved to remand by arguing that the court lacked subject matter…
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California Appellate Court Defines Scope of Damages Recoverable in Survival Action California Court of Appeal, First District, August 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The First District of the California Court of Appeal addressed numerous issues in a case involving exposure to friction products used during personal automotive repair. The family of decedent, J.D. Williams, filed suit in January 2011 after his July 2010 death from mesothelioma. The plaintiffs asserted claims for wrongful death, strict liability and negligence. The defendant, Pep Boys, was not named in the lawsuit until an amended complaint was filed on December 6, 2012. The trial court granted Pep Boys’ motion for judgment…
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California Jury Returns Defense Verdict for Brake Arc Grinder Manufacturer Alameda County Superior Court, August 8, 2018

CALIFORNIA — on August 8, 2018, an Alameda County jury issued a defense verdict for Hennessey Industries, Inc. (AMMCO) in the plaintiff Donald Knutson’s mesothelioma case, which included allegations of exposures to asbestos from time in the United States Navy and from time working with various friction products.  While the jury found that Plaintiff’s mesothelioma was related to asbestos, and that he worked around an AMMCO brake arc grinder, they declined to find that AMMCO was negligent, or that they knew or should have known…
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Talc Defendant Entitled to Costs after Favorable Verdict Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California August 8, 2018

CALIFORNIA — In 2016, a Los Angeles jury ruled in favor of defendant Colgate-Palmolive Company (Colgate), and against Plaintiff Elizabeth Alfaro, who alleged that her mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos from talcum powder products. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Colgate on the exposure claims; this verdict was affirmed on appeal. Colgate then appealed the trial court’s denial of its request for $300,000 in costs and expert witness fees. This request was made pursuant to the California statutory law scheme which…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Assert Elements for Fraudulent Misrepresentation Leads to Dismissal for Friction Defendants U.S. District Court, M.D. North Carolina, July 23, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff filed suit against 62 defendants including Ford Motor (Ford) and Hennessey Industries (Hennessey) alleging he was injured as a result of exposure to the defendant’s asbestos containing products or equipment. Ford and Hennessey moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims for fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim with respect to those allegations. The plaintiff sought leave to amend his complaint and amended the complaint after the court permitted a more definite statement. Ford and…
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Take Home Exposure Insufficient to Overcome Demurrer Based Upon Exclusivity Provision of Workers’ Compensation Act California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, July 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA — Plaintiffs, Allen and Pamela Rudolph, filed suit against Rudolph & Setten, Inc. (R&S), a general contracting company started by Allen Rudolph’s father, alleging that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos as a child from take home exposure via his father, and also while employed by the company himself.  R&S filed a demurrer to the suit, alleging that the claims were barred by the exclusivity provision of California’s workers’ compensation act.  The demurrer was sustained by the trial court.  The plaintiffs filed an amended…
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