New York’s Highest Court Upholds Defense Judgment as a Matter of Law Based on Lack of Sufficient Scientific Evidence

NEW YORK — New York’s highest Court issued its first decision addressing causation standards in an asbestos case, and upheld the trial and intermediate appellate court decisions granting Ford Motor Company judgment as a matter of law in Juni v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co. et al.. ACT has previously reported on the Juni matter here and here.

The majority found that “[v]iewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to establish …

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NYCAL Judge Rejects Causation Challenge; Reduces $75 Million Verdict to $17,250,000

NEW YORK — Late Thursday night, NYCAL Justice Joan Madden issued a long awaited post-trial motion decision in Robaey v. Air and Liquid Systems, et al, NYCAL Index No. 190276/13, previously reported by ACT here. In January of 2017, a New York City jury returned a record setting $75 Million verdict, comprising $50 Million for plaintiff, Ms. Marlena F. Robaey ($40 Million in Past Pain and Suffering and $10 Million in Future Pain and Suffering), and $25 Million for derivative plaintiff, Mr. Edward …

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New York’s Highest Court Set to Hear First Asbestos Causation Challenge

NEW YORK — The New York Court of Appeals has set oral argument for October 16th, 2018 in Matter of NYC Asbestos Litig. (Juni v A.O. Smith). Since 2006, the Court of Appeals has weighed in three times[i] on the applicable causation standards in toxic tort cases, but Juni is the first asbestos related appeal to reach the high court. In this article, we provide a primer on the case and share a few thoughts about what to look for when …

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Valve Manufacturer’s Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Granted Based on Preclusion of Plaintiff’s Expert Witness

SOUTH CAROLINA — In this mesothelioma case, the plaintiff, James Chesher, sued alleging asbestos exposure while serving as a machinist mate and commissioned officer in the Navy from 1965 to 1989. Defendant Crane had moved for and was denied summary judgment. However, Crane’s motion to preclude the plaintiff’s causation expert, Dr. Carlos Bedrossian, was granted. The plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the preclusion of his expert and Crane moved to renew its motion for summary judgment.

The parties agreed that maritime law applied. The court …

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Cumulative-Exposure Theory Inconsistent with Test for Causation; Not a Sufficient Basis for Finding Substantial Factor

OHIO — The decedent  Kathleen Schwartz’s husband, Mark Schwartz, filed suit against numerous manufacturers of asbestos-containing products, alleging that asbestos exposure caused her to develop mesothelioma, leading to her death. By the time of trial, Honeywell International, Inc., the successor-in-interest to Bendix Corporation, was the only defendant who remained.

The issue at trial — and on appeal — was whether the decedent’s exposure to asbestos from Bendix brake products was a substantial factor in causing the decedent’s mesothelioma. The decedent’s father changed the brakes in …

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Superior Court Affirms Five Post-Trial Rulings, Remands to Trial Court for Apportionment Under Pennsylvania Fair Share Act

PENNSYLVANIA — Appellee William Roverano initially filed suit in 2014 against multiple defendants, alleging that his lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos while employed by PECO between 1971-81. Appellee Jacqueline Roverano also made a claim for loss of consortium. More than a dozen of the named defendants had filed for bankruptcy, and only John Crane, Inc. and Brand Insulations, Inc. had not settled before the jury’s verdict. Prior to the trial, the court held that the Fair Share Act, 42 Pa.C.S. Section 7102, …

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Friction Defendants Granted Summary Judgment on the Issue of Causation

On August, 2, 2017, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Julianne Capetola granted various defendants’ motion to renew and re-argue the court’s prior denial of the defendants’ combined Frye/summary judgment motions as to the issue of causation. Upon renewal, the court granted summary judgment to the defendants.

By way of background, plaintiffs Giulio Novello and Rosaria Novello brought suit in the Nassau County Supreme Court seeking damages for personal injuries against various automotive-related defendants. The plaintiffs contended that Novello’s lung cancer diagnosis was causally related …

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reaffirms Betz Decision Rejecting Each and Every Exposure

In December of 2010, a Philadelphia jury awarded a verdict in the amount of $14.5 million to the widow, and executrix of the estate, of James Nelson. Nelson had previously developed mesothelioma and passed away at age 54 in 2009.

The defendants appealed the verdict, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet the sufficient standard of causation under Pennsylvania law. The defendants specifically argued that the trial court improperly allowed plaintiff’s expert to testify that each and every exposure must be considered a substantially contributing …

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Kentucky Appellate Court Rejects “Any Exposure” Causation Theory

In September of 2012, William Stallings filed suit in Kentucky state court against Georgia Pacific and other manufacturers of the asbestos containing products he had been exposed to decades earlier, seeking punitive damages under theories of strict liability and negligence. Specifically, Stallings was diagnosed with mesothelioma allegedly caused by his four years of Naval Service, where he helped operate and maintain boilers aboard the USS Waller. After leaving the Navy, Stallings worked as a drywall finisher, where he alleged exposure from mixing and installing drywall. …

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Court of Appeals of Ohio Finds Reversible Error in Refusal of Daubert Hearing On Basis of Opinions of Drs. Strauchen and Frank

In this case it is alleged that the decedent, Glenn Watkins, was exposed to chrysotile asbestos dust from the sanding of Bendix brakes while working as a manager at various Auto Shack and AutoZone retail stores between 1985 and 2006 and that this exposure was a substantial cause of his pleural mesothelioma and death. Prior to trial, all defendants other than Honeywell International Inc. settled or were dismissed. The issue at trial was whether Watkins’ handling of Bendix brakes was a cause-in-fact of his mesothelioma, …

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