Chunk of Rulings From MDL Allow Previously Dismissed Asbestos Claims to Proceed Even Though Not Listed As Assets In Bankruptcy United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Six cases were decided in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; all started in the Northern District of Ohio, and were transferred to the MDL 875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In all six cases, the plaintiffs brought claims against various shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP, and all alleged asbestos exposure while working on ships. All cases were administratively dismissed; after dismissal, the plaintiffs filed for bankruptcy, and did not list their asbestos claims as assets. After bankruptcy…
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Summary Judgment Affirmed for Two Defendants – One Based on Government Contractor Defense and One Due to No Exposure United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, October 27, 2015

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the granting of summary judgment to two defendants – Lockheed and UTC, as successor-in-interest to Pratt & Whitney. Summary judgment was affirmed as to Lockheed based on the government contractor defense. Lockheed introduced two affidavits establishing that the Untied States approved specifications requiring the use of asbestos in government aircraft. This equipment conformed to the government’s specifications because Lockheed complied with all its directives for constructing this aircraft, including the use of specific warnings. Further, the United States knew about asbestos…
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Years After Bankruptcy Case Closed, Reopening of Asbestos Claims by MDL Not Judicially Estopped Due to Failure to List Claims in Bankruptcy Petition U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, October 23, 2015

In 1997, the decedent’s claims for asbestos exposure against shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP were administratively dismissed, with the option of pursuing at a later date. In 1999, the decedent brought claims against various defendants, including the shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP. In 2001, the decedent received a separate cancer diagnosis that he claimed was asbestos related; he died in 2002. In 2003, his widow, the plaintiff, filed for bankruptcy, which was closed four months later. In 2011, the MDL reinstated the action…
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Boiler Manufacturer Denied Summary Judgment Based on Plaintiff’s Contradictory Testimony on Product ID Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 14, 2015

In this NYCAL case, the plaintiff, Mark Ricci, claims secondhand exposure to asbestos from his father’s work with boilers, including boilers manufactured by defendant Cleaver-Brooks.  During the testimony of the plaintiff’s father, Aldo Ricci’s, he originally answered that he did not recall observing anyone working on a Cleaver-Brooks boiler. Later, during plaintiff’s counsel’s questioning, Aldo did identify Cleaver-Brooks. Based on the contradictory testimony, Cleaver-Brooks moved for summary judgment, arguing that Aldo’s identification of their product was prompted by the plaintiff’s counsel and should be disregarded.…
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Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Quash Granted Based on Lack of Specific Personal Jurisdiction Superior Court of California, County of Los Angles, October 16, 2015

In this California case, the plaintiffs allege that the decedent, Oscar Villanueva, was exposed to asbestos contaminated talc from the use of Old Spice Talcum powder.   Defendant Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc. (WCD) was one of the suppliers of talc to Shulton, Inc. (Shulton), the former manufacturer of the Old Spice product. WCD moved to quash for lack of personal jurisdiction and the court allowed plaintiffs the opportunity of jurisdictional discovery. Following the discovery, the court granted WCD’s motion to quash. In its analysis, the…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Connect Replacement Parts to Pump Manufacturer Key To Upholding Summary Judgment on Appeal United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, October 14, 2015

Plaintiffs Jeffrey Lannes and Kristi Johnson appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Flowserve, Jerguson Gage & Valve, and Warren Pumps. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment. Decedent Vernon Lannes was allegedly exposed to asbestos gaskets, packing, and insulation while serving in the Navy. The court noted that “…the defendants shifted the burden of demonstrating a material issue of fact by ‘pointing out … that there is an absence of evidence to support the [plaintiffs’] case.’” Regarding insulation on Warren Pumps, the…
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Distinction Between Gloves and Mittens Crucial In Granting Defendant’s Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, October 9, 2015

Plaintiff Janice Herr alleged that Richard Herr died of mesothelioma due to his use of Airco-distributed, asbestos-containing gloves/mittens. Herr was a sculptor and art instructor who used insulated mittens to handle heated molds. He also used raw asbestos to make molds for his sculptures. Airco never manufactured insulated gloves or mittens, but distributed welding gloves and mittens with its logo. This case was remanded for further proceedings by the MDL 875 Court, after the MDL denied the summary judgment filed by Airco, the sole remaining…
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Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Holding a Shipbuilder is a Service Provider, Not a Seller of a Product U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 8, 2015

The plaintiffs alleged that Glenn Hassebrock was exposed to asbestos while working as a union pipefitter at various shipyards.  The defendant shipbuilding company moved for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the products liability claims on the grounds that the company acted predominantly as a service provider, rather than a distributor of asbestos-containing products.  The court agreed, finding that the shipbuilding company “was not in the chain of manufacturing and selling asbestos related products, rather it was providing the service of producing Navy vessels.  The…
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Valve Manufacturer Denied Summary Judgment on Bare Metal Defense Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 5, 2015

In this NYCAL case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Mark Ricci, was exposed secondhand to asbestos from his father’s air conditioning and ventilation work. Aldo Ricci (Aldo), Mark Ricci’s father, testified that he was exposed to asbestos from working near others working on Crane Co. valves. Crane moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove he was exposed to asbestos from any asbestos-containing product manufactured or supplied by Crane. It was Crane’s position that it should be entitled to summary judgment…
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Clutch Manufacturer Makes Prima Facie Showing of Entitlement to Summary Judgment Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County, October 8, 2015

In this New York case out of Nassau County, the plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure to various products while working as a truck mechanic from the late 1950s to the mid 1990s.  The plaintiff testified at his deposition that he removed and installed Eaton clutches on trucks from 1961 to 1970. Eaton moved for summary judgment and attached the affidavit of Roger Hobbie, who was employed in various capacities at Eaton from 1959 to 1997. In his affidavit, Mr. Hobbie stated that between 1959 until the…
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