Summary Judgment Awarded to Defense Contractor in Aircraft Case under Texas Law

U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, February 8, 2021

The plaintiffs alleged that the decedent, Arthur L. Carnes, was exposed to asbestos while serving in the United States Air Force from December 1955 to February 1964. Mr. Carnes was stationed as a mechanic at Plattsburg Air Force Base in New York from 1955 to 1961, and was then stationed at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas from 1961 to 1964. Throughout his service, he inspected aircraft and worked as a crew …

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Reargument of Summary Judgment Denied; Decedent’s Exposure Affidavit Admissible for Motion

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

In this matter, the plaintiff alleges that the decedent’s asbestosis was caused by exposure to the defendants’ asbestos-containing products throughout his career as a mechanic. Pertinent to this motion, the decedent executed an affidavit containing details of his work history and the products with which he worked on July 16, 2014. The decedent was subsequently hospitalized on two separate occasions, and was deemed a candidate for hospice care. He executed a second affidavit on October 8 and passed on …

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Railway Company Denied Summary Judgment; Service and Expert Issues Remain

The plaintiff, the Estate of Gregorio Sanchez Valdez, alleged occupational exposure to asbestos and diesel fumes while working as a machinist for defendant BNSF Railway Company from 1996 until 2016. Valdez was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in 2014. BNSF moved for summary judgment on three grounds, of which the court denied all three.

First, BNSF argued that Valdez failed to serve BNSF with process within the three-year statute of limitations under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. The court observed that the crux of this argument …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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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