California Court Relies on Absence of Evidence in Plaintiff’s Discovery Responses to Affirm Summary Judgment for Defendant Fluor California Court of Appeal, December 15, 2015

A husband and wife sued numerous defendants after the husband was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2011. Defendant Fluor moved for summary judgment, which the court granted, on the basis that the plaintiffs failed to establish a triable issue of fact that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos from Fluor products. The appellate court affirmed. The plaintiffs alleged the husband was exposed to a variety of asbestos-containing products during his work with Southern California Gas Company from the 1950s-90s. In response to discovery from Fluor, the…
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Railroad Company Obtains Summary Judgment on Appeal Based on Inadmissible Expert Report Supreme Court of Mississippi, December 10, 2015

The plaintiff in this case brought a wrongful death action against the Illinois Central Railroad Company pursuant to the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) for the death of her husband, Charles Jackson, Jr., who had worked on the railroad. Illinois Central’s motions for summary judgment, to strike the plaintiff’s expert, Michael J. Ellenbecker, were denied. Illinois Central’s petition for an interlocutory appeal was granted. In its review, the court found that Ellenbecker’s opinions submitted in opposition of the motion for summary judgment was inadmissible since…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Accurately Identify Brand Name of Insulation Product During Deposition Results in Summary Judgment for Manufacturer U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, December 3, 2015

The plaintiff alleges he contracted mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing products while working as a cleaner at New York Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Camden, New Jersey, and as a rigger at Sun Ship Yard in Chester, Pennsylvania. The plaintiff testified that he was exposed to asbestos-containing insulation and the only insulation manufacturers identified by the plaintiff were Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation and Johns-Manville. During his deposition, the plaintiff was shown the Owens-Illinois “Kaylo” insulation label and testified that he did not…
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Applying Maritime Law, Plaintiff Unable to Provide Sufficient Evidence Linking Decedent to Any John Crane Product U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, November 24, 2015

In this federal court case it was alleged that the decedent, Richard Bell, was exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1960-64.  Defendant John Crane Inc. moved for summary judgment, arguing that maritime law applies and the plaintiff’s evidence fails to prove that decedent was exposed to any of its asbestos-containing products or that the products were a substantial factor in decedent’s lung cancer. The plaintiff did not oppose the application of maritime law.  The court spelled out that for…
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New York Court Addresses Jurisdiction, Product Identification, and Duty to Warn Issues in Denying Valve Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Supreme Court of New York, November 23, 2015

The plaintiff developed mesothelioma and asserted asbestos exposure to valves from Fisher Controls International LLC through his work in various states, including New York.  Fisher moved for summary judgment and dismissal of various counts if its summary judgment was denied. The court denied the summary judgment, but granted dismissal of certain counts because these were unopposed. First, Fisher argued that the New York court lacked both general and specific jurisdiction, because it only learned of the plaintiff’s nine-month occupational history in New York when plaintiff…
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State Claims Against Railroad Defendants Preempted by Federal Law, Even If Operator of Locomotives Not Subject to Federal Regulation Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, November 19, 2015

The decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma and alleged take-home asbestos exposure from the work of her father with defendant Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) and also alleged exposure from her father’s personal automotive work. The decedent’s father repaired and maintained air brake systems on PATCO’s locomotives. Railroad defendants (Delaware River Port Authority, Railroad Friction Products Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Budd Company, Pneumo-Abex) moved for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiff’s claims were preempted by federal law. The district court granted this motion, ruling that federal legislation and precedent…
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Plaintiff’s Reliance on Precluded Expert Report Results in Dismissal of Action U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Newport News Division, November 19, 2015

The plaintiff brought this case alleging that his asbestosis and mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure during his employment with United States Navy. Several defendants were dismissed from the action, leaving electrical component manufacturer, Westinghouse as the sole remaining defendant, against whom plaintiff claimed exposure to asbestos from arc chutes contained in Westinghouse electrical products. Prior to the current motion for summary judgment, Westinghouse served several motions seeking to preclude certain portions of plaintiff’s proof, including the expert report and opinion of the plaintiff’s causation…
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Four Summary Judgments Granted Because Equipment Manufacturers Not Responsible for Asbestos Contained in Equipment Made by Another Manufacturer U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, November 17, 2015

The plaintiffs sued various defendants for negligence, strict liability, and loss of consortium after the plaintiff developed mesothelioma; his widow continued the suit after he passed. The case was removed to federal court based on 28 U.S.C. Section 1442, the federal officer statute. The remaining defendants – Georgia Pacific, IMO Industries, Crane Company, John Crane, and CBS Corporation – moved for summary judgment, which were granted by the court. The plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure while in the Navy, and testified that asbestos insulation covered the…
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Court of Appeals Vacates District Court’s Granting of Summary Judgment to Electrical Component Manufacturers Based on Decedent’s Testimony of Working With Products U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, November 13, 2015

In this federal court case, the plaintiff appealed the district court’s granting of summary judgment to defendants ABB, Schneider Electric, and Eaton. The court of appeals vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case. In it’s ruling, the court noted: “In order to prevail in products liability cases, a plaintiff must establish, at minimum, (1) the plaintiff was exposed to the defendant’s product, and (2) the product was a substantial factor in causing the injury suffered.”(Citation omitted). Regarding exposure, the court held: “Prior to…
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California Court Holds Refractory Contractor Established Insufficient Evidence of Exposure and Grants Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, November 2, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death claim alleging the decedent was exposed to asbestos while J.T. Thorpe & Sons was performing refractory work around boilers. Thorpe moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was insufficient evidence decedent was actually in the vicinity of Thorpe employees working with refractory materials. The court concluded that the plaintiff has some threshold burden of establishing some factual basis for exposure and that Thorpe met it initial burden that there was insufficient evidence of exposure: “Thorpe has satisfied…
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