Court Recommends Granting Five Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment Based on Lack of Substantial Factor Causation United States District Court, D. Delaware, May 15, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff Richard Rogers filed suit against multiple defendants in the Superior Court of Delaware, alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop mesothelioma; he asserted claims for negligence, punitive damages, and conspiracy. The defendant Foster Wheeler removed the case to the district court pursuant to the federal officer removal statute. Rogers was deposed in April 2018 and the plaintiff offered no other fact or product identification witnesses. Warren Pumps, General Electric, Air & Liquid, Wagner, and Asbestos Corp. subsequently filed…
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Summary Judgment Granted for Multiple Defendants in Naval Case Based on Failure of Specific Product Identification U.S. District Court, D. Delaware, May 14, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff brought suit against several defendants alleging he developed lung cancer from exposure to asbestos while serving onboard the USS Shangri La and USS Edmonds. The plaintiff passed away prior to giving any deposition testimony. The case was removed to federal court by Crane Co. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff’s sole fact witness, John Poggenburg, testified that he worked with the plaintiff onboard the USS Edmonds from October 1961 until July 1962. Poggenburg recalled the plaintiff starting as a…
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J&J’s Emergency Motion for Provisional Transfer Deemed Unwarranted, Denied United States District Court, D. Delaware, April 9, 2019

DELAWARE — Non-debtors Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (J&J) filed an emergency motion for provisional transfer, seeking entry of an order directing provisional transfer of approximately 2,400 federal and state personal injury and wrongful death actions, pending the court’s decision on J&J’s motion to fix venue for claims. The motions relate to the chapter 11 cases of Imerys Talc America, Inc. and certain affiliates (debtors), which were filed on February 13, 2019. The plaintiffs in the approximately 2,400 federal and state…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Worksite Control Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Premises Liability Case” Superior Court of Delaware, April 18, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff Werner Rath brought suit against several premise defendants including Delmarva Power and Light, Four Star Oil and Gas Company, Texaco, Inc. and Sunoco (defendants) alleging exposure to asbestos while working for Catalytic at worksites owned by the defendants. Specifically, Mr. Rath alleged exposure to asbestos from other trades working around him while he built and dismantled scaffolding at the different sites. The other trades were also employed by Catalytic. Relying on several precedent cases, the defendants moved for summary judgment arguing…
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Summary Judgment Granted For Muffler Manufacturer Where Inference of Exposure Not Permitted Superior Court of Delaware, April 10, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff, Jimmy Crawford, sued Tenneco Automotive Operating Company Inc. (Tenneco), among other defendants, alleging that his lung cancer was caused by asbestos present in Walker automotive mufflers. Prior to his death, the plaintiff testified that he worked at two automotive stations from 1963 to 1965, where he worked with Walker mufflers. He believed he was exposed to asbestos from the mufflers because he was potentially told by his father that the mufflers contained asbestos due to their high heat application. Tenneco moved…
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Meteorologist’s Opinion Insufficient to Support Environmental Claim to Asbestos; Summary Judgment Granted Superior Court of Delaware Superior Court of Delaware, April 5, 2019

DELAWARE — In Werner Rath v. 3M Company, et al., the court ruled on a defendant Oyj Partek Ab’s (Partek) motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff alleged occupational exposure to asbestos while working as a union carpenter at a number of industrial sites in Delaware and New Jersey. One week before the plaintiff’s deposition was scheduled to take place, the plaintiff’s counsel filed a motion for leave to amend to file an amended complaint joining additional defendants, including Partek. Partek was one, non-exclusive supplier…
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Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. Seek Bankruptcy Protection United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, February 13, 2019

DELWARE — Yesterday, Imerys Talc America, Inc., Imerys Talc Vermont, Inc., and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. filed a petition to seek bankruptcy protection under U.S. Chapter 11. In support of their petition, the Imerys entities referenced “significant potential liabilities as a result of thousands of claims by plaintiffs alleging personal injuries caused by exposure to talc mined, processed, and/or distributed by one or more of the Debtors” as a factor leading to the filing. According to the petition, the entities face 13,800 pending ovarian cancer…
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Delaware Court Upholds Jury Verdict in Favor of Auto Mechanic Superior Court of Delaware, January 31, 2019

DELAWARE — Following up on a prior ACT post, where a Delaware jury returned a verdict of over $40 Million in favor of the widow of a deceased auto mechanic, defendant, who was attributed a liability share of 20 percent, filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(b) and a motion for a new trial, or in the alternative, remittitur. The defendant argued among other things, that the jury’s verdict was irreconcilably inconsistent and the amount of damages…
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Brake Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Basis of De Minimis Exposure U.S. District Court, D. Delaware. January 25, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff Elizabeth Alice Dove (Plaintiff) alleges that her father Gus Dove (Mr. Dove) developed lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases because of his exposure to a variety of asbestos-containing products manufactured, sold, or supplied by the defendants – among them, Honeywell – during the course of Mr. Dove’s career and through shade-tree mechanic work. Honeywell successfully moved for summary judgment under Rule 56(a) on multiple grounds, the primary one involving insufficient product identification under Delaware’s “Product Nexus Standard.” Mr. Dove gave discovery…
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Lack of Detail in Product Identification Leads to Grant of Fourteen Summary Judgment Motions United States District Court, D. Delaware, January 23, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff William Johansen alleged that he developed mesothelioma from his work with various pumps, valves, and other equipment aboard Naval vessels, at shipyards, and at a pulp mill. Fourteen defendants filed summary judgement motions arguing insufficient causation. The parties agreed that maritime law applied to all of the plaintiff’s Naval/sea-based claims and that Washington law applied to his land based claims. Under maritime law, a plaintiff must demonstrate exposure to the defendant’s product and proof that the product was a substantial factor…
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