Case Remanded to Trial Court on Issues of Admission of Alternative Causation Evidence and Jury Instruction

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, February 26, 2020

FLORIDA – An appeal was brought on behalf of the defendant, Union Carbide, after a second jury trial was completed and a jury verdict entered in favor of the plaintiff.  The plaintiff, Paula Font, filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging her father, Luis Torres, contracted and died of mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products.

The defendant raised three issues on appeal. First, the defendant claimed the trial court erred in denying the …

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Corporate Representative for Power Company Defendant Can’t Escape Deposition Notice Based On Long Period of Inquiry

FLORIDA – The plaintiff, Larry Cook, sued his employer Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) under negligence and premises liability theories for injuries allegedly sustained while working with or around asbestos in FPL power plants. Cook issued several notices for the deposition of a corporate representative of FPL to discover information regarding their use of asbestos, and requested documents and other materials from the company dating back to 1925.  FPL moved for protective orders arguing that compliance would be burdensome and costly. The court denied …

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Johnson & Johnson’s Motion to Stay Denied

FLORIDA – The plaintiff, Patricia Matthey, filed suit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Imerys Talc and Publix Super Markets in Florida State Court, alleging that asbestos in J&J baby powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Imerys was dismissed due to a lack of personal jurisdiction and subsequently declared bankruptcy. As it did in thousands of other cases, J&J recently removed the matter to federal court based on federal court jurisdiction over pending bankruptcy actions. J&J filed a motion to stay while its motion to …

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Third Party Distribution of Talc Products in Florida Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Over Talc Supplier

FLORIDA — A divided Florida Appellate Court granted a motion to dismiss based on a lack of personal jurisdiction over a cosmetic talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, (Imerys). See Imerys Talc Am., Inc. v. Ricketts, No. 4D17-3815, 2018 WL 6719406 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 19, 2018). In opposition to the motion, Plaintiff argued that under the stream-of-commerce doctrine Imerys was subject to specific personal jurisdiction based on its out-of-state sales to a downstream manufacturer, who later distributed their talc containing cosmetic products in …

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In-State Product Distribution Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-Of-State Asbestos Product Manufacturer

The plaintiffs, Silverio and Faye Onorato, brought suit against numerous asbestos manufacturers and distributors alleging that Mr. Onorato developed mesothelioma from his exposure to asbestos, which occurred entirely in the State of Florida. The defendant, Highland Stucco and Lime Products, Inc.,(Highland) moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims by arguing that there was no personal jurisdiction over it, as its manufacturing business operations were confined to Southern California.  In support of its motion, Highland annexed an affidavit of its president who alleged a complete lack of …

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Supreme Court Rules Frye Standard Applies to Florida Cases, Overturns District Court’s Decision Excluding Plaintiff’s Experts’ Causation Testimony

FLORIDA — The plaintiff Richard DeLisle filed a personal injury action against sixteen defendants, claiming that each caused him to be exposed to asbestos. Of the sixteen, DeLisle proceeded to trial against three: Crane, Lorillard Tobacco Co., and Hollingsworth and Vose (H&V). At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence that he was exposed to “Cranite” sheet gaskets containing chrysotile asbestos fibers and Kent cigarettes; the cigarettes were produced by Lorillard’s predecessor, and the filters were supplied by a former subsidiary of H&V. The filters contained crocidolite …

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Plaintiffs’ Causation Experts Stricken Under Daubert; Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment Granted

FLORIDA — The plaintiff’s Decedent Richard Doolin was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June of 2013 and passed away as a result on June 22, 2014. The plaintiff Stacey Doolin filed suit against multiple companies, alleging that Richard was exposed to asbestos when visiting his father’s automotive workshop as a child. The plaintiff further alleged that Richard did shadetree automotive work throughout his life that also exposed him to asbestos.  The last remaining defendants were Ford Motor Company (Ford) and Pneumo Abex LLC (Abex).

Ford and …

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Appeals Court Confirms Dismissal Based on Asbestos Supplier’s Lack of Contacts With Florida

FLORIDA — The plaintiff James Waite was allegedly exposed to asbestos while living in Massachusetts. He filed suit against multiple defendants, including Union Carbide, alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop mesothelioma. Mr. Waite was diagnosed in Florida, and he and his wife filed suit in Florida state court. Union Carbide removed the case to federal district court where the court determined that it lacked personal jurisdiction over UC.

The Waites appealed, arguing that the district court erred in dismissing UC for …

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Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Minimum Contacts Leads to Dismissal for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

FLORIDA — The plaintiff alleged he was exposed to products manufactured by the defendant or its predecessor from 1975-1977 in Florida. The defendant submitted an affidavit confirming it had no contacts in Florida before 1994. However, its predecessor ran an operations plant in Florida in the early 1980’s, after the alleged exposure. The plaintiff put forth no evidence of minimum contacts other than the allegation of use of defendant’s products in the 1970’s according to the Court. Relying on Southern Wall Products, the Court …

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Joint Compound Defendant Dismissed for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction on Appeal

FLORIDA — The plaintiff Steven Bolin alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from his work with various products in Florida from 1969 to 1981. Specific to the appellant, Bolin’s amended complaint alleged that he used Southern Wall Products’ (SWP) joint compound while working as a laborer and/or construction worker in Florida in 1975-1977. SWP moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, and in support, supplied an affidavit averring that SWP and its predecessor Ruco never had an office in …

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