Summary Judgment Granted for Insurer Where Plaintiff Failed to Establish Injury Occurred in Policy Period

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, August 3, 2022

Originally filed by Decedent prior to his passing related to mesothelioma, Plaintiffs were substituted as the parties in a wrongful death claim brought against Travelers Indemnity Co. (“Travelers”), among other defendants, under Louisiana’s direct actions statute, La. R.S. § 22:1269. Decedent was a vessel inspector for American Bureau of Shipping (“ABS”) who inspected vessels to determine if they met classification requirements at various shipyards from 1970 to 2006. Defendants removed the action pursuant to federal officer …

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Partial Summary Judgment Granted to Insurer Under Professional Vendor Analysis

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 28, 2022

As previously reported in the Asbestos Case Tracker, decedent Callen Cortez alleged direct occupational exposure to asbestos, as well as take-home exposure from his father’s and brother’s work. As pertinent to this motion, the decedent’s father was an insulator for B&B Engineering and Supply Company from 1966 until 1968. The insurer of B&B moved for summary judgment on four grounds.

The insurer first argued that it had no duty of care to …

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Multiple Defendants Successful on Motions for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs’ Intentional Tort and Fraud Claims

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 25, 2022

As previously reported on the Asbestos Case Tracker, this matter stems from decedent Callan Cortez’s take-home exposure to asbestos, from his brother, Daniel, who lived with the decedent while he worked at Avondale Shipyards in 1967-68. Most recently, defendants ViacomCBS Inc. (Westinghouse), General Electric Company, and Foster Wheeler, LLC filed motions for partial summary judgment, seeking to dismiss the plaintiffs’ intentional-tort and fraud claims.

Summary judgment is warranted when “the movant shows that …

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NYCAL Decisions Denying Summary Judgment to Floor Tile Manufacturer Reversed

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, July 19, 2022 

On July 19, 2022, the First Department reversed three New York City Asbestos Litigation (“NYCAL”) decisions that denied summary judgment to Defendant, American Biltrite, Inc. (“ABI”), finding that the plaintiffs could not prove specific causation, and thus summary judgment to ABI was in fact warranted. In other words, the plaintiffs were unable able to show that exposure to ABI’s floor tiles were the cause or a contributing factor to the Plaintiffs’ alleged diseases. …

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Turbine Defendant Not Liable For Failure to Warn as to Third-Party Insulation

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 8, 2022

In this asbestos matter, the defendant ViacomCBS Inc. (“Westinghouse”) moved for partial summary judgment as to Decedent Callen Cortez’s claims arising from alleged exposure to asbestos from Westinghouse’s turbines, arguing that the plaintiffs could not establish that Decedent was exposed to a Westinghouse turbine at the Monsanto plant at which he worked, that his exposures were not substantial factors in causing his mesothelioma, and that Westinghouse was not liable for any of …

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Plaintiff’s Motion to Reargue Trailer Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Motion Denied

Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, June 29, 2022

In this asbestos action, plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to reargue a motion for summary judgement filed by defendant Strick Trailers, LLC (“Strick”), which was granted on October 13, 2021.

By way of background, the plaintiff, James Martinez, alleged he was exposed to asbestos from replacing brakes on delivery trailers manufactured by Strick. Plaintiff was unable to testify as to the maintenance history of Strick trailers, nor did he …

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Pump Manufacturer Successful on Summary Judgment

Supreme Court of New York, Suffolk County, June 6, 2022

Plaintiffs Lisa and Edward Gavin filed a lawsuit to recover damages for the injuries Lisa allegedly sustained as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured or sold by defendants during her employment with Courter and Company from 1978 to 1980.

Defendant Sterling Fluid Systems LLC (USA), moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint against it, arguing that the plaintiff did not allege asbestos exposure from its pumps, and that there was no evidence that …

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Grant of Summary Judgment to Premises/Employer Defendant Upheld on Appeal

Superior Court of Pennsylvania, June 23, 2022

In this asbestos action, decedent John Wheeler alleged asbestos exposure from his work as a millwright at a U.S. Steel (USX) plant. Wheeler’s co-workers testified in this matter as Wheeler passed away before he could be deposed. The trial court granted USX’s motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff subsequently appealed the trial court’s decision.

The plaintiff first appealed the trial court’s determination that an employee was not a business invitee. The appellate court first established that the …

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Plaintiffs’ State Law Tort Claims against Employer and Insurers Preempted by LHWCA

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 16, 2022

In this asbestos matter, the plaintiffs allege that James Becnel was exposed to asbestos at the Avondale Shipyards in 1965. Recently, several defendants filed summary judgment motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ state law tort claims, including Becnel’s employer and its insurers. The defendants alleged that the plaintiffs’ state law tort claims were preempted by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Ultimately, the court agreed as “the LHWCA preempts a plaintiff’s occupational …

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Court Dismisses Plaintiffs’ International Tort Claim Against Outside Contractor; Finds Issues of Fact For Jury on Outside Contractor’s Alter Ego Liability

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 8, 2022

In April 2022, Hopeman filed the instant motion for partial summary judgment arguing that the plaintiffs’ intentional tort claim must be dismissed because they cannot provide evidentiary support that it consciously desired to afflict the decedent with primary lung cancer or knew that his cancer was substantially certain to follow from its actions. The plaintiffs opposed, arguing that Hopeman knew of the hazards of asbestos and that the decedent’s disease was substantially …

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