Manufacturer and Distributer of Raw Asbestos Wins Summary Judgment under Sophisticated User Defense

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle, September 28, 2020

Plaintiffs Deforest Gibbs and Sherryl L. Gibb asserted claims against multiple defendants, including Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), alleging Mr. Gibbs suffers from mesothelioma as a result of occupational asbestos exposure. Mr. Gibbs worked as a laborer, plumber, and shade tree mechanic for 50 years in South Carolina. He allegedly suffered exposure to asbestos by working with HVAC equipment, hot water heaters, electrical products, valves, drywall, sheetrock, joint compound, caulk, roofing materials, and flooring products.

From 1963 to 1985, UCC manufactured …

Continue Reading

Pump Manufacturers’ Motions for Summary Judgment Denied in Navy Exposure Case

U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, September 23, 2020

On July 26, 2018, John Pruitt (the plaintiff) sued multiple defendants asserting claims arising from his alleged exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff alleged he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing materials during his service as a machinist mate in the United States Navy and as a parts purchaser at Schroer Implement Co. He was deposed in August 2018. In addition to the plaintiff’s testimony, a fact witness, Edmond Dumas, provided testimony …

Continue Reading

Farm Equipment Dealer Wins Motion for Summary Judgment

U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, July 29, 2020

Plaintiff John Pruitt filed this asbestos lawsuit alleging he contracted mesothelioma from occupational exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff served in the Navy from September 1959 to April 1962. Upon his discharge from the Navy, he worked at Schroer, a John Deere farm equipment dealership in Valdosta, Georgia, from 1963 to 1974. He initially worked as a runner, delivering and picking up parts such as brakes, clutches, and paint decals. In 1966, he started working …

Continue Reading

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. …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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, …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading