California Court Relies on Absence of Evidence in Plaintiff’s Discovery Responses to Affirm Summary Judgment for Defendant Fluor

A husband and wife sued numerous defendants after the husband was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2011. Defendant Fluor moved for summary judgment, which the court granted, on the basis that the plaintiffs failed to establish a triable issue of fact that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos from Fluor products. The appellate court affirmed.

The plaintiffs alleged the husband was exposed to a variety of asbestos-containing products during his work with Southern California Gas Company from the 1950s-90s. In response to discovery from Fluor, the …

Continue Reading

Railroad Company Obtains Summary Judgment on Appeal Based on Inadmissible Expert Report

The plaintiff in this case brought a wrongful death action against the Illinois Central Railroad Company pursuant to the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) for the death of her husband, Charles Jackson, Jr., who had worked on the railroad. Illinois Central’s motions for summary judgment, to strike the plaintiff’s expert, Michael J. Ellenbecker, were denied. Illinois Central’s petition for an interlocutory appeal was granted.

In its review, the court found that Ellenbecker’s opinions submitted in opposition of the motion for summary judgment was inadmissible since …

Continue Reading

Applying Maritime Law, Plaintiff Unable to Provide Sufficient Evidence Linking Decedent to Any John Crane Product

In this federal court case it was alleged that the decedent, Richard Bell, was exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1960-64.  Defendant John Crane Inc. moved for summary judgment, arguing that maritime law applies and the plaintiff’s evidence fails to prove that decedent was exposed to any of its asbestos-containing products or that the products were a substantial factor in decedent’s lung cancer.

The plaintiff did not oppose the application of maritime law.  The court spelled out that for …

Continue Reading

Federal Court Grants Remand to Madison County Based on Plaintiff’s Waiver of Any Claims Related to His Military Service

In this case, the plaintiff originally filed the action in the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois alleging exposure to asbestos as an aircraft mechanic, helicopter mechanic, and laborer at various locations throughout the United States between 1958 and 2006. The plaintiff’s work on helicopters was while he served in the U.S. Army.  Defendant Boeing removed the case to federal court based on the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved for a remand based on his previously filed waiver of all claims related to …

Continue Reading

Four Summary Judgments Granted Because Equipment Manufacturers Not Responsible for Asbestos Contained in Equipment Made by Another Manufacturer

The plaintiffs sued various defendants for negligence, strict liability, and loss of consortium after the plaintiff developed mesothelioma; his widow continued the suit after he passed. The case was removed to federal court based on 28 U.S.C. Section 1442, the federal officer statute. The remaining defendants – Georgia Pacific, IMO Industries, Crane Company, John Crane, and CBS Corporation – moved for summary judgment, which were granted by the court.

The plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure while in the Navy, and testified that asbestos insulation covered the …

Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Workers’ Compensation Is Employees’ Exclusive Remedy for Asbestos Claims Against Employers, Even if Workers’ Compensation Claim is Time-Barred

The plaintiff was employed by Ferro Engineering for four years, and alleged that during this time he was exposed to products containing asbestos. Forty-one years after this employment he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and sued Ferro under several theories including negligence. Ferro filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/5(a), 11 (West 2010)) and the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act (820 ILCS 310/5(a), 11 (West 2010)).  The plaintiff replied that …

Continue Reading

California Court Holds Refractory Contractor Established Insufficient Evidence of Exposure and Grants Summary Judgment

The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death claim alleging the decedent was exposed to asbestos while J.T. Thorpe & Sons was performing refractory work around boilers. Thorpe moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was insufficient evidence decedent was actually in the vicinity of Thorpe employees working with refractory materials. The court concluded that the plaintiff has some threshold burden of establishing some factual basis for exposure and that Thorpe met it initial burden that there was insufficient evidence of exposure: “Thorpe has satisfied …

Continue Reading

$6.6 Million Verdict Reinstated by Florida’s Highest Court After Analysis of Arguments on Alternative Design, Causation, and Jury Instruction on Failure to Warn

In this case, the plaintiff, William Aubin, claimed he was exposed to asbestos from SG-210, an asbestos product used in items such as joint compound and texture sprays that was manufactured by Union Carbide Corporation. Following trial, a jury returned a verdict of $6.6 million finding Union Carbide was liable, in part, under the plaintiff’s claims of negligence and strict liability. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the jury verdict on three grounds: “(1) the trial court erred in failing to apply the Restatement …

Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Examines Entire Record, Not Just Expert Testimony, To Affirm Denial of Motions for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict

The plaintiff in this case was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed claims for negligence, strict liability, and loss of consortium against, among others, Union Carbide and Elementis Chemicals, as successor-in-interest of Harrison & Crosfield, Pacific, Inc., and certain related entities.  The plaintiff submitted three theories of liability: strict liability (design defect under the consumer expectations test); strict liability (failure to warn); and negligence (failure to warn). The jury returned special verdicts in favor of the plaintiff on the strict liability claim in that Union Carbide …

Continue Reading

In Severing Late Third-Party Claims Against Defendant with Federal Defenses, Court Remands Case That had Been Litigated in State Court for Almost Two Years

In this case, an action was brought in Jefferson Circuit Court asserting state-law claims for the asbestos exposure and death of the decedent, Glen Brown. Defendant General Electric Company (GE) was granted leave to assert a third-party claim against Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who then removed the matter to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1), the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved to remand the matter and to sever GE’s claims against TVA.

The court first looked at the severance of GE’s claims …

Continue Reading