Denial of Premise Owner’s Motion for Summary Judgment Affirmed in Part and Remanded in Part on Interlocutory Appeal

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division, June 30, 2021

The plaintiff, Colen Campbell, alleged asbestos exposure from his work removing and installing insulation at a nuclear power plant owned by Georgia Power in the 1970s. The plaintiff was employed as an independent contractor by North Brothers. The defendant, Georgia Power, filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that (1) there was no duty owed to the plaintiff because it had ceded possession and control of the plant to North Brothers, (2) the testimony of …

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Ceramic Manufacturer’s MSJ Granted Because Plaintiff Failed to Establish Defendant’s Duty to Warn

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, June 25, 2021

Plaintiff Deborah Johnson alleges that her late husband, Bruce Johnson, contracted mesothelioma due to his exposure to asbestos. The defendant, Edward Orton, Jr. Ceramic Foundation, moved for summary judgment, which the court granted.

The plaintiff alleges that Orton was negligent for failing to warn or protect the decedent from the risk of asbestos in its product. Because the plaintiff failed to raise any questions of fact regarding the existence of a …

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Appeals Court Affirms Estate Plaintiff’s Right to Refile Loss of Consortium and Wrongful Death Claims

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division, June 25, 2021

Alleging that he contracted malignant pleural mesothelioma due to his workplace exposure to asbestos, Charles Brannan and his wife, Louise Brannan, filed a complaint for damages against several defendants in 2015. The plaintiffs asserted claims for negligence, product liability, and loss of consortium. Later that year, Charles Brannan passed away, and one of the defendants filed a notice of suggestion of death. Two months later, his wife, Louise, was appointed as the executor of the …

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Plaintiff’s Verdict Reversed as Trial Court Gave Erroneous Causation Instruction

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One

Defendant The Marley-Wylain Company successfully argued that Michigan law should apply in this California action as all of the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos manufactured or supplied in connection with Weil-McLain boilers occurred in Michigan. Marley-Wylain was the only remaining defendant at trial, where the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and entered a judgment against Marley-Wylain for $5,489,688.68. The trial court subsequently denied Marley-Wylain’s motions for a new trial and for judgment notwithstanding the …

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Court Grants New Trial to Boiler Defendant Based on Improper Jury Instruction Regarding Causation

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One, June 4, 2021

The decedent worked as a plumber in Michigan from 1969 to 1976. The plaintiff contends the decedent was exposed to asbestos during this time when working with boilers manufactured by Weil-McLain Company, Inc. (now a division of The Marley-Wylain Company (MW)). The decedent’s exposure to asbestos by MW products occurred entirely in Michigan. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014 and subsequently filed suit, under California law, against a number of …

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Steam Trap Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment; No Liability for Third-Party Component Parts

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, May 20, 2021

In this asbestos action, the plaintiffs allege that Mr. Toy (the decedent) worked with asbestos-containing steam traps and strainers manufactured by Armstrong from 1974 until 1980. Defendant Armstrong moved for summary judgment on the causation issue, and the plaintiffs opposed the motion. Of relevance to this motion, the decedent testified that he did not open the steam traps to perform maintenance on the internal components. Instead, he removed flange gasket material from between …

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Naval Defendant Denied Summary Judgment as Causation Issues of Fact Remain

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, May 13, 2021

In this asbestos action, the decedent alleged asbestos exposure from pumps manufactured by defendant Warren at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard from 1962 until 1973, as well as at the Treasure Island Naval Base from 1974 until 1980. Warren moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff cannot show that the decedent was exposed to an asbestos-containing products attributable to Warren.

As a threshold matter, the parties did not agree as to whether maritime …

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Plaintiff’s Punitive Damages Claim Withstands Summary Judgment Against Brake Manufacturer

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, May 10, 2021

In this asbestos action, Mr. Toy (the plaintiff) alleged that he worked with asbestos-containing brakes manufactured by Bendix in the 1950s and 1970s. Defendant Honeywell as successor-in-interest to Bendix moved for summary judgment on several grounds. The plaintiff only opposed the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the punitive damages claim.

Under California Civil Code § 3294(a), “a plaintiff may recover punitive damages “where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that …

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Court Denies Motion for Summary Judgment in Part Finding Defendant Manufacturers had Duty to Warn

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, May 7, 2021

The plaintiff alleges exposure to asbestos-containing equipment during his service in the United States Navy. The plaintiff and his wife sued several equipment manufacturers alleging their products caused the plaintiff to develop mesothelioma.

The defendants filed an omnibus motion for summary judgment arguing (1) they had no duty to warn of product hazards, (2) there is no proof of causation, (3) the government contractor defense immunizes them from liability, and (4) punitive damages …

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Two Navy Defendants Dismissed on Personal Jurisdiction Grounds Under U.S. Supreme Court Ford Decision

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, April 28, 2021

The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos during his 22-year career as a Machinist’s Mate in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1980. He filed suit against numerous defendants, including Alfa Laval, Inc. and Viad Corp. in Florida. Only one of the ships on which the plaintiff served while in the Navy was stationed in Florida during the time that he was onboard—the U.S.S. Pawcatuck, which was docked …

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