Delaware Superior Court: Decedent’s Exposure Affidavit Admissible

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle, July 1, 2020

A Delaware lower court has determined that an affidavit signed by a deceased plaintiff is admissible under that state’s “residual exception” to hearsay rules. Specifically, in Ogg, the plaintiff signed an affidavit regarding his work history prior to being hospitalized for end stage pulmonary fibrosis. After being discharged from the hospital, and about two weeks prior to his deposition, the plaintiff signed a second affidavit. The plaintiff passed away two days prior to a scheduled deposition. …

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Appeal Dismissed as Interlocutory Since Entry of Judgment Still Pending

Supreme Court of Delaware, May 22, 2020

After a jury trial found in favor of the plaintiff in this asbestos matter, defendant Ford Motor Co. filed a motion for a new trial or in the alternative for remittitur. The trial court denied Ford’s motion. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for entry of judgment, seeking the award of pre- and post-judgment interest under New Mexico law. While the plaintiff’s motion was pending, Ford filed a notice of appeal from the court’s March 3, 2020 Order …

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Court Recommends Granting Summary Judgment to Pump and Valve Manufacturer

On March 25, 2020, the U.S. District Court for Delaware “recommended” granting summary judgment to defendants Flowserve US, Inc. and Air & Liquid Systems Corporations. By way of background, plaintiffs Pietro Vocciante and Rosalba V. Assante filed a personal injury action against multiple defendants including Flowserve US, Inc. and Air & Liquid Systems Corporation alleging that Mr. Vocciante developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing materials during his career as a cadet engineer aboard various oil tanker ships. Mr. Voccinate (“decedent”) subsequently died …

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Incorrect Rule Applied to Determine Whether Compensatory Damages Were Excessive; $40.6 Million Verdict Remanded

DELAWARE – On June 8, 2018, a Delaware jury awarded $40.6 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiff, Paula Knecht, in a case previously reported by this blog. The defendant, Ford Motor Company (Ford), was assessed 20 percent liability, meaning the plaintiff was awarded $8.1 million against Ford.

Subsequently, Ford filed two post-trial motions:

  1. for judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative, a new trial
  2. for a new trial, or in the alternative, remittitur.

The trial judge denied both motions and Ford …

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Ten Motions for Summary Judgment Granted due to Lack of Identification

DELAWARE – The plaintiffs, Kent and Cathy Mosher, filed an asbestos-related action in Delaware Superior Court on January 25, 2018. The complaint alleged Kent Mosher contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure during his employment as a boiler technician in the United States Navy from 1973 to 1977 and through his employment at the Henderson Mine in Denver, CO from 1977 to 1983. The defendant, Crane Co., removed this matter to Delaware District Court in March 2018 pursuant to the Federal Officer Removal Statute, …

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Court Denies Motion for Reargument; Finds No Misapprehension of Facts or Newly Discovered Evidence

The plaintiff, Janet Stimson, filed a Motion for Reargument on behalf of her husband, Gary Stimson, following the court’s decision granting summary judgment on behalf of the defendant, J-MM, on the issue of product identification.

The plaintiff alleged that

  1. The court misapprehended the facts relevant to the decedent’s identification of J-MM’s A/C pipe
  2. The deposition testimony of a J-MM employee from an unrelated 2014 case constitutes newly discovered evidence that creates a genuine issue of material fact regarding product identification

The court was also provided …

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Delaware District Court Rules on Pre-trial Motions in Maritime Law Case

DELAWARE – The plaintiff filed this asbestos-related wrongful death action in Delaware on June 11, 2015. While the court does not explain the underlying case facts, motion practice regarding admiralty law and expert exclusion indicates that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while a member of the United States Navy. As trial is approaching for this case, the plaintiff and the defendant, John Crane, Inc. (JCI), both filed motions in limine. The plaintiff’s motion sought to exclude discussion or reference to collateral sources, including …

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Delaware Court Uses Ohio Law to Grant Summary Judgment for Asbestos Supplier

DELAWARE – The plaintiff, Marianne Robinson, brought failure to warn and strict liability claims against Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). She alleged that UCC sold its Calidria asbestos to Georgia Pacific (GP) for use in their joint compound products for a period of time. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that her late husband, Jack Robinson, purchased and used GP’s Ready Mix products in Ohio between 1971 and 1982, which caused or contributed to his fatal lung cancer.

UCC moved for summary judgment. Applying Ohio law, …

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Cosmetic Talc Seller’s Motion to Fix Venue in Delaware for 2,400 Cases Denied

DELAWARE – In a substantial set of cases extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.’s (J&J) motion to fix venue was ruled on in the District Court of Delaware. The motion requested transfer of approximately 2,400 state court tort cases pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sections 157(b)(5) and 1334 (b). Numerous parties filed briefs in opposition to the instant motion.

The state court actions allege the following against J&J:

  1. They are directly liable for placing asbestos-containing talc
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Component Part Supplier Successfully Excludes Expert Testimony Regarding Failure to Warn

DELAWARE – The plaintiff Icom Henry Evans worked as a fireman and boiler tender in the United States Navy from 1957 to 1967. He filed suit and alleged that his fatal mesothelioma was caused in part by exposure to asbestos-containing gaskets and packing that were manufactured, sold, distributed, licensed, or installed by John Crane, Inc. (JCI).  JCI moved the court to exclude testimony offered by the plaintiffs’ expert Captain Arnold Moore, a marine engineering authority. They contended that Captain Moore lacked expertise to interpret relevant …

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