Federal Procedural Law Applied Over State Law in Summary Judgment Motions Brought by Manufacturers of Safety Mask and Aircraft Component Parts in Naval Exposure Case

In this federal court case that was removed from Florida state court, the plaintiff, Darryl Dugas, and his wife filed a second amended complaint alleging four causes of action regarding their claim that Mr. Dugas developed mesothelioma from his work as an aircraft structural mechanic with the U.S. Navy between 1967 and 1971. The four causes of action were: negligence, strict liability, fraudulent concealment, and loss of consortium. Several defendants moved to dismiss all or a portion of the amended complaint, arguing it failed to …

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Southern District of Illinois Denies Motion to Remand Alleged Aircraft Engine Asbestos Exposure Based on Federal Contractor Defense

After the plaintiff commenced an action alleging asbestos exposure in connection with Air Force aircraft engines, the defendants removed the action to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1), which permits removal “by federal officers or any persons acting under a federal officer for any act under color of such office where such person asserts a colorable defense.” The plaintiff moved to remand the case, claiming the defendants could not establish a colorable defense in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Boyle, which …

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Federal Court Precludes Plaintiff Aircraft Expert Under Daubert and Grants Summary Judgment

In this case, the plaintiffs pursued an action claiming that the  decedent, while working as an aircraft electrician for the U.S. Air Force between 1952 and 1961, was exposed to various electrical component parts. Several electrical component part defendants moved for summary judgment claiming that the plaintiffs did not meet the threshold exposure standard under California law. In opposing the motion, the plaintiffs relied on the expert testimony of Mark Thomson, an experienced pilot and civilian aviation mechanic and custodian of one of the world’s …

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Under Georgia Law, Appellate Court Rejects Defendant’s Daubert Challenge to Dr. Abraham and Allows Punitive Damage Claim

In this case, the plaintiff and his wife, Roy and Milva Knight, sued Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc., alleging that Roy’s mesothelioma was caused from exposure to asbestos while he was working as an independent sheet metal contractor at Scapa’s facility. It was alleged that Scapa used asbestos fibers in its manufacturing process and there was asbestos insulation on pipes and boilers. The plaintiffs also sued Union Carbide Corp., claiming that it supplied asbestos to non-party Georgia Pacific, which made joint compound that Roy used on …

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FELA Asbestos Verdict Upheld on Appeal, Rejecting Defendant’s Challenge to Lack of Evidence of Negligence and Charge on Preexisting Injury

The plaintiff brought this action claiming that the decedent’s work as a laborer and machinist for Illinois Central and its predecessor caused him to be exposed to asbestos and to develop lung cancer. After the jury awarded $2.6 million, with a 45 percent reduction for smoking, the defendant, Illinois Central, appealed, arguing it was not negligent and that the trial court should not have charged the jury on aggravation of a preexisting condition related to the decedent’s smoking.

On appeal, the court rejected the argument …

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Challenges to Sufficiency of Asbestos Plaintiffs’ Pleadings Continue in Illinois and Missouri Federal Courts

In two decisions issued Thursday out of the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois, the courts reached different conclusions as to whether the respective plaintiffs sufficiently pleaded causes of action against the defendants under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). In Campbell v. ABB  Inc., the defendant Raypack moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint or to compel a more definitive statement on the ground that the “Plaintiffs’ First Amended Petition fails to plead with sufficient particularity which of Raypack’s product(s) …

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Plaintiffs’ Complaint Dismissed for Failure to Plead Circumstances of Asbestos Exposure That Justify Defendants’ Potential Liability

In this California federal court case, plaintiffs Billy and Diana Jeffrey commenced an action generally claiming Mr. Jeffrey had asbestos exposure at numerous worksites spanning from 1962 to 1976. Several defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action on the grounds that the plaintiffs’ complaint merely listed jobsites and dates and generally alleged that the defendants supplied, installed, or maintained asbestos-containing products where Mr. Jeffrey worked.

The court granted the motions to dismiss, with leave to amend, holding: “Mr. …

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Dismissal of Asbestos Claims for Lack of Causation Under Connecticut and Maritime Law

In this case, the plaintiff presented an affidavit of decedent attesting to asbestos exposure, a death certificate confirming the mesothelioma, and co-worker depositions showing that the decedent was generally exposed to asbestos at the Groton Connecticut shipyard while overhauling nuclear submarines. Several defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that while the plaintiff established the decedent’s exposure to asbestos during his career, there was no evidence that causally connected any of that exposure to any of the particular defendants. The court initially ruled that …

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California Applies Higher Texas Standard on Causation and Dismisses Asbestos Case

In this California state case, the plaintiff, a Texas resident, claimed asbestos exposure in both California and Texas, although the particular claimed exposure against certain defendants was in Texas. These defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming that under Texas law, the plaintiff was unable to meet the legal standard of causation. Both the lower and appellate courts in California, under choice of law principles, ruled that Texas law applied and, under the higher causation standard in Texas, granted summary judgment. With respect to Texas law …

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