Plaintiffs Not Entitled to Jury Instruction on General Negligence Due to Lack of Specific Evidence

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

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

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

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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Verdict on Non-Economic Damages Reversed and Remanded with Finding of Joint/Several Liability Against Pipe Manufacturer

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

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

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

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

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 — 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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