Defendants’ Joint Motion for Summary Judgment Failed Due to Unresolved Issues of Material Fact United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana, January 7, 2019

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel filed suit in state court against multiple defendants, alleging that his exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanic and generator service technician caused him to contract peritoneal mesothelioma. The defendants removed the action to the Eastern District of Louisiana, and Ford and Cummins Inc. filed a joint motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not show that their products substantially contributed to Michel’s mesothelioma.  Plaintiff opposed the motion. The defendants argued jointly that they were entitled…
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Plant Walkthroughs Insufficient to Establish Causation against Construction and Insulation Defendants United States District Court M.D. North Carolina, December 11, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — In granting summary judgment for Daniel International Corporation and Covil Corporation, a district court judge in North Carolina determined that the plaintiff’s causation evidence was insufficient to meet the frequency, regularity, and proximity standards of the jurisdiction. In 1965, Daniel constructed a polyester production facility for Fiber Industries, a/k/a Hoechst Celanese, in Salisbury North Carolina, and kept workers on site for maintenance following completion of the construction.  Covil supplied asbestos-containing insulation for the facility. Decedent Charles Connor worked at the site from…
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Manufacturer’s Argument that Asbestos Not Present in Its Baby Powder Fails Due to Conflicting Expert Reports Supreme Court of New York, New York County, November 30, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiff Anna Zoas sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) alleging that her mesothelioma was caused by asbestos  present in J&J Baby Powder. She allegedly used the product daily from 1945 to 1948 and regularly from 1948 to 1956. The plaintiff’s complaint was filed on May 12, 2017, and was amended on July 4, 2017. J&J then moved for summary judgment to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. To prevail on a summary judgment motion in New York, a defendant must make a prima facie
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Prescriptive Statute of Limitation Period Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Favor of Shipyard Defendant

LOUISIANA –The plaintiff filed suit against several defendants including Huntington Ingalls (Avondale) and Kaiser Gypsum (Kaiser) alleging her mother, Dolores Punch, developed and passed from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos for which the defendants were liable. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that her decedent was exposed to asbestos fibers from washing the laundry of her husband who had worked as a pipe fitter at Avondale from 1948-1960. The plaintiff later amended her complaint to include exposure from the work clothes of her son…
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Summary Judgment in Favor of Bankrupt Wisconsin Company Affirmed on Statute of Limitations Grounds California Court of Appeal, First District, November 26, 2018

CALIFORNIA — Plaintiff David Hart appealed the entry of summary judgment in favor of Special Electric Company on the basis that the claims against the company were time-barred under Wisconsin law. The plaintiff sued Special Electric alleging that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos from products supplied by the company. Special Electric, a Wisconsin corporation, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in 2004, and by 2006, a plan of reorganization had been entered. By then, all of the company’s assets had been sold…
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South Carolina Workers Compensation Statute of Repose Bars Claims for Latent Asbestos Diseases United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division. November 13, 2018

SOUTH CAROLINA — A federal court in South Carolina granted the summary judgment motion of defendant E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) on the theory that DuPont was a statutory employer, and South Carolina Workers Compensation law provided the exclusive remedy for the plaintiff.  For at least two years in the 1960s, decedent Jerry Matthews worked as an insulator for Armstrong Contracting & Supply Company at DuPont facilities in South Carolina, where he alleged he was exposed to asbestos insulation that caused his…
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Submission of Conflicting Expert Reports Leads to Denial of Summary Judgment in Talcum Powder Case Supreme Court of New York, New York County, November 24, 2018

The plaintiff Donna Olson filed suit against the defendants Johnson and Johnson and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. (defendants) alleging she developed pleural mesothelioma as a result of exposure to cosmetic talcum powder, including baby powder and Shower to Shower from 1953-2015. Additionally, the plaintiff claimed exposure from her mother’s application of the same. Ms. Olson stated in deposition testimony that there were no warnings. However, she conceded that she heard about a “possible link to ovarian cancer” in 2015. The defendants moved for summary…
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Apparent Manufacturer Theory of Liability Upheld for Subsidiary Insulation Cement Manufacturer Washington Supreme Court, November 1, 2018

WASHINGTON – In a case of first impression, the Washington Supreme Court adopted Section 400 of the Restatement (Second) Torts, recognizing a manufacturer’s liability for claims arising prior to the 1981 Product Liability and Tort Reform Act, and assessing such liability by applying the objective reliance test, which requires viewing all of a defendant’s relevant representations from the perspective of the ordinary, reasonable consumer, finding that a Court of Appeals Panel had erred in holding that objective reliance be judged only from the perspective of…
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Lack of Successor Liability Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment for Shipping Defendant United States District Court, W.D. Washington. October 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — The plaintiffs filed suit against Maersk Line alleging their decedent, Mr. Klopman-Baerselman, was exposed to asbestos from 1955-1959 while working as a merchant marine onboard the Rotterdam Lloyd. The plaintiffs named Maersk as a successor in interest to the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd. The defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that it had no connection to the Rotterdam Lloyd. The plaintiff sought discovery including the deposition of Defendant’s corporate representative Steven Hadder. In the meantime, The defendants removed the case and Maersk moved for…
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Applying Washington Law to Summary Judgment Based on Government Contractor Defense for Pump Manufacturer Results in Denial of Motion United States District Court, Western District of Washington, October 9, 2018

WASHINGTON –The court ruled on competing motions for summary judgment from the plaintiff Alice Mikelsen and the defendant Warren Pumps in this case involving allegations that Arthur Mikelsen developed mesothelioma from working around Warren Pumps in the machine shop at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1942 to 1980.  The plaintiff challenged six of Warren Pumps’ affirmative defenses; the court granted five of the six, eliminating the defenses of failure to mitigate, contributory negligence, assumption of risk, sophisticated purchaser, and intervening/superseding cause.  The court denied summary…
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