Brake Manufacturer Obtains Dismissal of Claims of Willful and Wanton Conduct

In this federal court case, the plaintiffs alleged exposure to asbestos from a variety of automotive parts while working as mechanics’ helper, maintenance laborer, inspector, construction worker, and salesman, in addition to automotive maintenance work performed on his own personal vehicles and those of his family. The defendant, brake manufacturer Genuine Parts, moved for summary judgment to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims that it committed false representation and fraud regarding the dangers of asbestos exposure. The plaintiffs opposed, offering among other things historical documents, an expert …

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Crane Co. Granted Summary Judgment in Two California Federal Court Cases

In two separate decisions, Crane Co. was granted summary judgment on different grounds in two federal court cases. In the first, a Southern District case, Crane moved on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not show that the decedent, Michael Walashek, was exposed to asbestos from any of its products. In support of its motion, Crane relied on the plaintiffs’ interrogatory responses where they failed to identify any specific documents supporting the claimed exposure against Crane.

In granting the motion, the court held that Crane …

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Georgia Court Dismisses Negligent Failure to Warn Claim Against Local Vendor, But Not Manufacturer

In this case, the plaintiff claimed she was exposed to asbestos through laundering her father’s clothing. There was testimony that her father worked with insulated piping manufactured by CertainTeed Corp. and supplied by a local vendor, Davis Meter and Supply Company. The lower court granted summary judgment to CertainTeed and Water Applications Distribution Group, the successor to Davis Meter and Supply, claiming that there was no duty to warn. On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Georgia held that there were factual issues regarding CertainTeed’s …

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California Court Rejects Plaintiffs’ Expert Opinion and Grants Railroad Summary Judgment Under FELA on Lack of Causation

In this California case, the decedent was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working for a railroad as a switchman, conductor, and brakeman, later developing mesothelioma. Specifically, the decedent claimed exposure was from changing railcar brake shoes, being in the vicinity of insulation removal from refrigerator cars, and staying in a boarding house run by the railroad that had insulation-covered pipes in the room where he slept. The defendant railroad moved for summary judgment, arguing “that plaintiffs were required but failed to prove negligence under FELA, …

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General Electric Granted Summary Judgment on the Bare Metal Defense Under Maritime Law

The plaintiff commenced this action by claiming he was exposed to insulation on General Electric products while in the U.S. Navy. GE moved for summary judgment on three grounds: the government contractor defense, the bare metal defense under maritime law, and on no evidence of GE actually furnishing the component parts. The court ruled that maritime law — rather than New Jersey law — governed the case.

The court only addressed the bare metal defense, ruling that GE was entitled to summary judgment: “The Court …

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Valve Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Appeal Because Salvage/Demolition Not Foreseeable Use of Product

In this NYCAL case, the plaintiff alleged that his development of peritoneal mesothelioma was a result of his exposure to asbestos in the 1980s from dismantling and salvaging scrap metal from steam systems in vacant buildings. The lower court denied the motion for summary judgment by the defendant, valve manufacturer Powell Company. On appeal, the appellate division addressed whether dismantling constitutes a reasonably foreseeable use of a product and reversed the lower court’s decision.

In its ruling, the court looked at rulings in other jurisdictions …

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Turbine Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied on Statute of Repose; Gasket Manufacturer’s Motion Granted for Lack of Product ID

In this federal court case, the decedent, Charles Nuutinen, is alleged to have been exposed to asbestos while working as a pipefitter from 1959 through 1996 at various jobsites in Wisconsin, including the Point Beach Nuclear Power Station. The defendant, CBS, the entity responsible for turbine manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Corporation, moved for summary judgment on the Wisconsin statute of repose and gasket manufacturer John Crane moved for lack of product ID. The court denied CBS’ motion, but granted Crane’s motion.

CBS argued, and the plaintiff …

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Several Automotive Parts Manufacturers and Tractor Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Various Grounds

The plaintiffs in this federal court case alleged that the decedent, Douglas Hayes, died from mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos “while living on the family farm in the following ways: (1) secondary exposure from father’s clothing from birth to the late 1960s, (2) while working on three Case [CNH] tractors, (3) and by being exposed to asbestos containing products such as gaskets, packing, valves and pumps. Mr. Hayes also alleges that he was exposed to asbestos from other products either manufactured …

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Federal Procedural Law Applied Over State Law in Summary Judgment Motions Brought by Manufacturers of Safety Mask and Aircraft Component Parts in Naval Exposure Case

In this federal court case that was removed from Florida state court, the plaintiff, Darryl Dugas, and his wife filed a second amended complaint alleging four causes of action regarding their claim that Mr. Dugas developed mesothelioma from his work as an aircraft structural mechanic with the U.S. Navy between 1967 and 1971. The four causes of action were: negligence, strict liability, fraudulent concealment, and loss of consortium. Several defendants moved to dismiss all or a portion of the amended complaint, arguing it failed to …

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Premises Defendant Granted Conditional Mandamus Relief in Finding the Lower Court Abused its Discretion in Ordering a New Trial Following a No Liability Jury Verdict

The plaintiff’s decedent, Willis Whisnant, Jr., worked as a pipefitter at various plants from 1947 through 1986. He worked off and on at DuPont from 1966 through 1975, where he was allegedly exposed to airborne asbestos fibers. The decedent, who had a 40-year smoking history, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1997. He commenced his personal injury action in 1998 and died, prior to trial, in 1999. Nine years after the original suit was commenced, the plaintiff’s attorneys engaged additional experts who opined that decedent’s …

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