Summary Judgment Motions Denied for Four Defendants in Two Maritime Cases Filed by Same Plaintiff U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, February 14, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA — Shortly before his death, Obediah Walker, Jr., filed an action in Pennsylvania state court alleging he was exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Plymouth Rock while enlisted in the Navy from 1969 to 1971. He served as an electrician onboard the Plymouth Rock and was later diagnosed with lung cancer. He was deposed six days after filing suit and was only cross-examined by one defendant before he passed. The defendants Ingersoll-Rand, Warren Pumps and Blackmer Pumps did not cross-examine Walker. Obediah…
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Failure to Establish Admissible Exposure Evidence Leads to Summary Judgment for Railroad Defendant Court of Appeals of Tennessee, February 12, 2019

TENNESSEE — The plaintiff filed suit against Norfolk Southern Railroad Company (Norfolk) under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) alleging he developed lung cancer as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos. Specifically, the plaintiff worked as a brakeman, trainman, and locomotive engineer from 1965-1999. The plaintiff passed from lung cancer in 2003 and his wife was substituted as the plaintiff. Of interest, the plaintiff’s decedent smoked beginning at age 13 and smoked up to one pack of cigarettes per day at times until 2000.…
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Summary Judgment Granted for Crane Co. in Maritime Action U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division February 12, 2019

OHIO — The plaintiff sued Crane Co. and other defendants based upon his alleged exposure to asbestos while serving in the Navy from 1960 to 1967. Crane filed for summary judgment on plaintiff’s maritime law strict liability negligence claims. The court applied the Lindstrom standard. Despite the plaintiff’s urging, the court did not adopt a fact-specific standard with regard to the bare metal defense, instead applying the Sixth Circuit’s bright line rule. The court found that the plaintiff failed to put forth any evidence of…
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Preclusion of Plaintiff Experts Leads to Defense Win in First Philly Talc Trial Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, February 8, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff Charles Brandt (plaintiff), on behalf of the decedent Sally Brandt (decedent), commenced an asbestos-related action against, among other defendants, Colgate-Palmolive Company (Colgate), alleging that the decedent’s use of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder exposed the decedent to asbestos, resulting in her mesothelioma diagnosis. Following a Frye hearing, the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas precluded the expert opinions of the plaintiff’s geologist and pathologist, finding numerous methodological flaws in their research claiming asbestos was found in Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder. Colgate…
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Trial Court Did Not Abuse Discretion in Granting Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss Without Prejudice Prior to Ruling on Defendant’s Summary Judgment Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, February 6, 2019

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff James Sizemore filed suit in Louisiana State Court against multiple defendants, alleging that his diagnosis of mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos while working as a welder, pipefitter, and boilermaker at numerous industrial facilities. The plaintiff’s alleged exposure to certain defendants products occurred exclusively in South Carolina, and those defendants moved for dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction or forum non conveniens. In response, The plaintiff dismissed those defendants and filed a companion suit in South Carolina.  Viking Pumps…
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Exclusion of the Plaintiff’s Causation Experts Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Merchant Marine Mesothelioma Matter U.S.District Court, E.D. Louisiana, February 05, 2019

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants alleging he developed mesothelioma while working for Radcliff Materials, a predecessor of Dravo Basic Materials Company (DBMC). Prior to filing suit in Louisiana, The plaintiff had filed a products liability suit against several defendants in California including DBMC. The plaintiff dismissed DBMC from the California suit based on jurisdictional issues. The plaintiff worked as an oiler onboard a dredge known as the Avocet in 1973 for approximately 6 weeks. His primary job duties included reading gauges,…
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New NYCAL Coordinating Judge Grants First Causation-Based Summary Judgement Supreme Court of New York, New York County, January 29, 2019

NEW YORK — New York City Asbestos Litigation Coordinating Judge Manuel J. Mendez has granted a causation based summary Judgment motion to defendant, American Biltrite, Inc. (ABI). With respect to ABI, the plaintiff, Thomas Mantovi, alleged exposure from Amtico from vinyl asbestos floor tile that he encountered as a bystander while performing inspections as an insurance agent from 1967 through 1979. Specifically, he testified that he was exposed to asbestos by breathing in dust during insurance inspections of commercial and residential sites where Amtico asbestos…
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Brake Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Basis of De Minimis Exposure U.S. District Court, D. Delaware. January 25, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff Elizabeth Alice Dove (Plaintiff) alleges that her father Gus Dove (Mr. Dove) developed lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases because of his exposure to a variety of asbestos-containing products manufactured, sold, or supplied by the defendants – among them, Honeywell – during the course of Mr. Dove’s career and through shade-tree mechanic work. Honeywell successfully moved for summary judgment under Rule 56(a) on multiple grounds, the primary one involving insufficient product identification under Delaware’s “Product Nexus Standard.” Mr. Dove gave discovery…
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Lack of Detail in Product Identification Leads to Grant of Fourteen Summary Judgment Motions United States District Court, D. Delaware, January 23, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff William Johansen alleged that he developed mesothelioma from his work with various pumps, valves, and other equipment aboard Naval vessels, at shipyards, and at a pulp mill. Fourteen defendants filed summary judgement motions arguing insufficient causation. The parties agreed that maritime law applied to all of the plaintiff’s Naval/sea-based claims and that Washington law applied to his land based claims. Under maritime law, a plaintiff must demonstrate exposure to the defendant’s product and proof that the product was a substantial factor…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Basic Product Identification Leads to Recommendation of Summary Judgment for Multiple Defendants U.S. District Court, D. Delaware. January 22, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff filed suit against several defendants alleging that, Mr. Harding, developed lung cancer as a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos while working in the U.S. Navy and during work in the civilian sector. The case was quickly removed to federal court. Specifically, the plaintiff worked as a plumber in New Canaan, CT from 1962-1963. He recalled working with several brands of residential and commercial boilers. The plaintiff believed that he had been exposed to asbestos from the powder associated with…
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