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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Lack of Personal Jurisdiction over Talc Defendant Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Part

FLORIDA — The plaintiff Susan Stevenson maintained suit against several defendants including Imerys Tac America Inc. (Imerys) alleging that her decedent, Judith Minneci, had developed peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos contaminated talc and talcum powder. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the plaintiff used Johnson and Johnson baby powder from 1942-1985.

Imerys moved for summary judgment arguing that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over it. The plaintiff responded that two contacts between Florida and the defendant established jurisdiction. First, its predecessor was …

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$8.5 Million Verdict Affirmed Against Premises Defendant

Plaintiffs Dennis Britt and Rosa-Maria Britt filed suit after Dennis Britt was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Britt ultimately passed away from the disease and Rosa-Marie Britt continued as personal representative of his estate and added a wrongful death claim.

Britt was an employee benefits advisor from 1978-1997 where he visited various commercial and industrial facilities to speak with, and enroll, employees of these facilities, some of which were owned and operated by the defendant. Prior to his death, Britt testified that during the course of his …

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Case Remanded to Florida State Court Because Defendant Not Fraudulently Joined to Defeat Diversity

In this case alleging asbestos exposure from talc, mesothelioma plaintiff filed a motion to remand back to Florida state court after defendant Johnson & Johnson removed to federal court based upon diversity jurisdiction. The defendant argued that the plaintiff fraudulently joined defendant Publix Super Markets, Inc. (Publix) to destroy diversity. The court determined Publix was not fraudulently joined and remanded.

In determining remand, the court must evaluate the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. If there is even a possibility that …

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Federal Court Denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss on Jurisdiction Without Prejudice

On September 26, 2016, Plaintiff Marc Killam filed suit in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Hilsborough County, Florida against various defendants after learning of his asbestosis diagnosis. Killam alleged he was exposed to asbestos through his Naval Service, from 1973-77 aboard the USS McCandless while at sea and in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Here, Killam claims a number of defendants manufactured, sold, distributed, installed, or promoted the asbestos products with which he came into contact. He also alleged, that from 1978-80, as an …

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Crane Asserted a Colorable Federal Defense to Establish Jurisdiction Under Federal Officer Removal Statute

The plaintiff sued various defendants for negligence, strict liability, and fraudulent inducement. Crane removed to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, and plaintiff moved to remand. The court denied this motion.

To remove under Section 1442(a)(1) the defendant must qualify as a “person” under the federal officer removal statute, must act under the direction of a federal officer at the time the defendant engaged in the allegedly tortious act, and must advance a “colorable federal defense.” Also, a causal connection must appear between …

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