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Control Manufacturer’s Motion to Exclude Plaintiffs’ Psychiatrist Denied After Daubert Hearing

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division

In the present action, defendant Johnson Controls, filed a motion to exclude a psychiatrist’s opinions about three plaintiffs’ mental health. By way of background, the plaintiffs retained Dr. Zachary Torry to evaluate whether those three plaintiffs suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of being exposed to asbestos and chlorinated chemicals and, if so, whether a reasonable person under similar circumstances would experience a psychiatric injury. To form his opinions, Dr. Torry met …

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Remand Denied Upon Plaintiff’s Failure to Properly Disclaim Federal Officer Removal

ILLINOIS – The plaintiff Janice Reinbold filed suit against several defendants alleging her decedent, Gerald Reinbold, developed lung cancer from occupational exposure to asbestos while working as a shipfitter at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, amongst other sources. Defendant Crane Company (Crane) removed the case to federal court asserting Federal Officer Removal. The plaintiff moved to remand.

The court reminded the parties of the standard for Federal Officer Removal, and stated that the statute allows removal when “action is brought against the United States or …

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Third Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment for Switchgear Manufacturer and Remands

Carol J. Zellner, on behalf of the estate of Clifford R. Zellner, appealed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s order granting summary judgment in favor of CBS Corporation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, arguing that the district court erred in finding that she failed to establish a genuine dispute about whether Westinghouse Electric Corporation (predecessor to CBS Corporation) switchgear had deteriorated and exposed her now deceased husband to asbestos-containing dust. The Court of Appeals agreed, and …

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Due Precaution Exception to General Rule of Non-Liability for Independent Contractors Applied to Potentially Establish Liability Against Premises Owners

The plaintiff was an industrial and commercial electrician diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. He and his wife filed a complaint alleging negligence against various defendants. The plaintiffs argued defendants were vicariously liable for the acts of their independent contractor employees (non-delegable duty doctrine), those of their own employees (respondeat superior), and as premises owners. Defendants Bremen Casting and Mastic Home Exteriors moved for summary judgment, which was partially granted on the negligence of independent contractor and premises liability claims. All parties moved for interlocutory appeal. …

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Indiana Found to be Proper Venue in Federal Court Case that was Previously Transferred Based on Convenience and in the Interest of Justice

In this federal court case, the plaintiff, Clovis Aresnault, commenced an action in the Northern District of Indiana alleging exposure to asbestos while working in steel mills in Illinois and at a plant located both in Illinois and the Northern District of Indiana. The case was transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as part of the multi-district litigation. The case was remanded back to Indiana after an order granted part of defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff subsequently moved to transfer the case …

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Section 2 of the Indiana Product Liability Act Statute of Repose Found Unconstitutional

In this federal court case, three appeals regarding the constitutionality of the Indiana product liability act statute of repose were consolidated for review. Several defendants moved for summary judgment based on the statute of repose in each of the cases with various results. The plaintiffs now argue that section 2 of the statute draws a constitutional impermissible distinction between asbestos plaintiffs who have claims against defendants who both mined and sold raw asbestos and asbestos and those asbestos plaintiffs that have claims against defendants that …

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