judge's gavel and books

Railway Employer Obtains Summary Judgment Due to Exclusion of Plaintiff’s Experts

Court: Court of Appeals of Tennessee, At Jackson

Plaintiff Annie Dowdy is a former employee of defendant BNSF Railway Company. She filed suit against BNSF under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”), alleging that BNSF negligently failed to provide a reasonably safe work place, and claiming that occupational exposure to diesel exhaust and asbestos caused or contributed to her renal cancer. Plaintiff relief on the testimony of two expert witnesses: Dr. Hernando Perez, who was retained to testify regarding negligence and liability, and Dr. Ernest …

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Court Holds Bare Metal Defense Consistent with Tennessee Products Liability Act

Supreme Court of Tennessee at Knoxville, January 4, 2021

On January 4, 2021, the Supreme Court of Tennessee handed down its long-awaited decision in the Coffman matter, and on an issue of first impression, adopted the bare metal defense under Tennessee law. By way of background, the trial court in Coffman granted summary judgment to several pump, valve, and steam trap defendants (Equipment Defendants), finding that they had affirmatively negated their alleged duty to warn on the plaintiffs’ claims that arose from the post-sale integration …

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Defendant’s Interpretation of Statutory Damages Cap Upheld on Appeal

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville, June 30, 2020

A jury trial was conducted on behalf of the plaintiff, Lois Irene Davis, who sued multiple companies alleging her husband, James William Davis (the decedent), was exposed to asbestos-containing materials at his workplace which caused him to develop mesothelioma and die. Prior to the start of trial, the plaintiff resolved her claims against all defendants except Ameron International Corporation.

At the end of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the paintiff, finding total …

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Johnson and Johnson Prevails at Motion to Transfer Venue

TENNESSEE –The plaintiff, Shawnee D. Douglas, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Hamilton County, Tennessee against Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., f/k/a McNeil-PPC, Inc. and Imerys Talc America, Inc., f/k/a Luzenac America, Inc., alleging she was exposed to the defendants’ asbestos-containing or asbestos-contaminated talc. On September 26, 2017, Johnson & Johnson removed the case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The plaintiff then filed suit in Missouri state court based on information connecting a Missouri entity, PTI …

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Numerous Entries of Summary Judgment Reversed in Consolidated Appeal

TENNESSEE – The plaintiff Donald Coffman worked at the Tennessee Eastman chemical plant from 1968 until 1997, mostly as a mechanic. In that capacity, he was responsible for repairing and replacing pumps, valves, steam traps and piping. Repairs were quite frequent due to the corrosive nature of the acid being used at the plant. The plaintiff developed mesothelioma and sued an insulation contractor, Daniel International Corp., along with a number of equipment and product manufacturers, claiming exposure to asbestos from insulation, gaskets and packing.

All …

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Failure to Establish Admissible Exposure Evidence Leads to Summary Judgment for Railroad Defendant

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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Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdict Against Ford Vacated Based on Defective Jury Verdict Form

In this secondary exposure case alleging mesothelioma, defendant Ford Motor Company appealed after the jury rendered a verdict against it for $3.4 million. The appellate court vacated the trial court’s judgment on the jury verdict and remanded the case because the jury verdict form was defective, in that it omitted two necessary questions in product liability cases — that the product at issue was unreasonably dangerous or defective and that the plaintiff’s injuries were reasonably foreseeable.

Plaintiff Ronnie Stockton was an automobile mechanic since 1971. …

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Another Jurisdictional Battle Results in Transfer of Venue from Tennessee to Louisiana In Asbestos Case

In this case, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, based on his residence. Seven of the defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, which caused the plaintiff to move for a transfer of venue to Louisiana. The court found that Louisiana had a sufficient connection to the claimed exposure: “The Western District of Louisiana is the judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to …

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Defendants Successfully Argue to Apply More Favorable Tennessee Laws Limiting Damages in Rhode Island Asbestos Case

In this case, the plaintiff worked and lived in the state of Tennessee for his entire life, with the exception of one year living in Maryland while working at Bethlehem Steel. The majority of his asbestos exposure occurred in Tennessee, which is also where he was diagnosed and treated for mesothelioma. The court had previously granted the motions of various defendants to apply Tennessee law. In the instant motion, defendants asked the court to take judicial notice of four areas of the law where that …

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