Case Remanded Based on Dismissal and Settlement of Defendants with Federal Defenses

This case was originally filed in the Third Judicial Circuit in Madison County. The defendant, Crane Co., removed based on the Federal Officer Removal Statute 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1) and defendant General Electric Company (GE) joined in. The plaintiff moved to remand the case and GE was the only defendant to oppose. Prior to the court rendering a decision, GE was dismissed from the case and Crane settled. CBS Corporation then filed a notice of joinder or removal, which the court found untimely.

The court granted …

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Federal Court Remands Action Based on Equity Even Though Removal Was Proper on Bankruptcy Issue

In this federal court case, the plaintiffs commenced an action against various defendants for the alleged asbestos exposure and development of mesothelioma for decedent, George Fenicle.  Following decedent’s death, plaintiffs amended their complaint to name Boise Cascade Company and OfficeMax (“Defendants”). The defendants subsequently removed the matter to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1441, for putative federal question jurisdiction, and 28 U.S.C. 1452, as a bankruptcy-related action. The plaintiffs moved to remand, arguing removal was improper since the defendants did not seek approval from all …

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Wife’s Testimony on Decedent’s Use of Brake Product and Expert Causation Testimony Held Sufficient to Defeat Summary Judgment

In this federal court case, decedent Richard Bell alleged exposure to asbestos while performing car maintenance from 1964 through the late 1970s. Defendant Honeywell, as successor of Bendix, moved for summary judgment, arguing that the decedent’s wife’s deposition testimony that the decedent used Bendix brakes with the word “asbestos” on the packaging was hearsay; that the testimony could not be used against it to oppose summary judgment since it was taken prior to Honeywell becoming a party; and that the plaintiff failed to show the …

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Court Applies Admiralty Jurisdiction to Grant Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

The plaintiff brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) alleging asbestos exposure while a crew member on two tugboats the Navy leased to his employer, General Dynamics Corporation. The plaintiff also brought a products liability claim under Connecticut law, and his wife brought a loss of consortium claim. The defendant moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under the FTCA, because the lawsuit sounds in admiralty, for which a suit under the Suits in Admiralty Act (SIAA) or the Public Vessels Act …

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Court Denies Certification of Interlocutory Appeals on Personal Jurisdictional Grounds in Two Delaware Cases

In these two cases from Delaware, the defendants’ motions to dismiss based on personal jurisdiction were denied. Defendants subsequently sought certification of their interlocutory appeals pursuant to Del. Sup. Ct. 42. The court denied defendants’ applications in both cases, pointing to the “substantial issue of material importance” prong of the Rule 42 requirements.  The court stated that the Delaware Supreme Court has repeatedly held that denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction does not determine a “substantial issue.” In both cases, …

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Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Summary Judgment In Favor of Talc Defendant Based on Product Identification, Not Asbestos Content, of Talc

In this case, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed and remanded the order granting summary judgment to defendant Vanderbilt Minerals. The Supreme Court included a large summary of facts in its opinion. The decedent, Dansby W. Sanders, died from mesothelioma; prior to his passing, he sued numerous defendants alleging he was exposed to asbestos while working for Mobile Paint Company. Vanderbilt supplied industrial talc under the brand name Nytal to Mobile Paint. Various witnesses testified as to the presence of Nytal supplied by Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt responded …

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Federal Court Bench Trial Renders Verdict in Favor of Plaintiff in Take-Home Exposure Case and Awards Full Medical Expenses

In this federal court case, it was alleged that the decedent, Barbara Bobo, had secondary take-home exposure to asbestos from laundering her husband’s work clothes. Her husband worked at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, operated by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from 1975-1997. Following denial of TVA’s motion for summary judgment, the case went to bench trial, where the court’s findings of fact supported that Mr. Bobo was exposed to asbestos at the plant from items such as insulation, roofing cement, gaskets, and pump packing. In …

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Defendant Establishes Colorable Defense Under Federal Law, Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied

The plaintiff filed this action in Madison County, Illinois, alleging injury due to asbestos exposure. The defendants, CBS and General Electric, removed the action to federal court under federal officer removal statute 28 U.S.C. 1442. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, which the court denied. The court cited the United States Supreme Court in listing the three elements required to establish a colorable defense to the use-of-asbestos claim: (1) the United States approved reasonably precise specifications; (2) the equipment conformed to those specifications; (3) …

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Applying Maritime Law, Defendants’ Summary Judgment Motions Denied in Case Alleging U.S. Navy Exposure

The plaintiff alleged he developed severe asbestosis as a result of inhaling asbestos while serving in the United States Navy. Three defendants — John Crane, General Electric, and Ingersoll-Rand — moved for summary judgment. In deciding the motion, the court determined whether maritime or Illinois law applied. A plaintiff’s exposure in a products liability claim must meet both a locality test and a connection test in order to apply maritime law. The locality test analyzes whether the tort occurred on navigable water, or, if the …

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Defendants’ Motion in Limine To Exclude Expert Testimony on “Each and Every Exposure” Opinion Denied Based on Federal and Illinois Law

Various defendants filed a motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Matthew A. Vuskovich, M.D., M.S.P.H., arguing that he does not satisfy the requirements for expert testimony outlined in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Specifically, defendants sought to exclude his opinions based on the “every exposure” theory, because it is not accepted by the scientific community or the courts. The court denied the motion, as Federal Rule of Evidence 702 allowed for the theoretical basis for Dr. Vuskovich’s …

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