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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Summary Judgment to American Oil Company Defendants Upheld on Appeal Pursuant to Sabetian

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate Division, April 20, 2021

The plaintiff appealed from an entry of summary judgment to defendants Chevron Corporation, Chevron U.S.A., Inc., and Texaco, Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corporation and ExxonMobil Corporation. The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while an Iranian citizen working for the National Iranian Oil Company from the late 1950s to 1980, in facilities controlled by the defendants. On the defendants motions for summary judgment, the trial court found that they did not owe …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion to Sever Brake Defendant’s Third-Party Complaint Denied

U.S. District the court for the Western District of Kentucky, April 2, 2021

Plaintiff Jack Papineau and his wife sued manufacturers of products that allegedly contained asbestos following Mr. Papineau’s mesothelioma diagnosis. Remaining defendant Brake Supply sued three other manufacturers of products that Brake Supply claims are liable for some or all damages that the court may award the plaintiffs on theories of common-law indemnification and statutory apportionment. The plaintiffs, fearing that the third-party defendants will complicate and slow the plaintiffs’ case against Brake Supply, …

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Plaintiff Expert Opinion on “Every Exposure” Testimony Precluded under Daubert

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Plaintiffs Thomas Toy, Jr. and Agnes Toy allege that Mr. Toy developed malignant mesothelioma and later died from exposure to asbestos-containing products or equipment that Defendants manufactured or supplied. Pending before the court are motions to strike or exclude the anticipated testimony of the plaintiffs’ causation expert Dr. Arnold Brody and motions to exclude evidence or testimony that “every exposure” to asbestos causes mesothelioma, as well as the plaintiffs’ motion to strike two defense experts.

The …

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Plaintiff’s Naval Expert Excluded Based on Lack of Qualifications

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 31, 2021

In this asbestos action, Mr. Toy (the plaintiff) alleges that his work with or around Warren pumps and Armstrong steam traps while serving in the United States Navy exposed him to asbestos. In support of his allegations, the plaintiff served an expert report of Captain Francis Burger, who opined as to asbestos-containing products and materials on Navy ships and in Naval shipyards. Captain Burger based his opinions on his extensive experience gained throughout …

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Partial Summary Judgment Denied to Shipbuilding Company and Auto Parts Retailer

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 30, 2021

Before the court are motions for summary judgment filed by defendant National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) and Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack of California.

Defendant NASSCO moves for summary judgment on the theory that, as a government contractor, it enjoys derivative immunity from asbestos- related liability. In the alternative, should material facts regarding its overhaul of the USS Bristol County remain in dispute, NASSCO moves for partial summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ premises …

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