Collateral Estoppel Did Not Bar Petition to Perpetuate Testimony in Federal Court Prior to Filing Suit Due to Key Distinctions Between Federal and Texas Rules of Civil Procedure

The petitioner filed suit against various entities after developing mesothelioma, alleging asbestos exposure while working for Square D in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1971-76. Due to her extremely bad and rapidly deteriorating health, the petitioner sought a court order authorizing her oral and videotaped deposition for use in her anticipated lawsuit for either personal injury or wrongful death. The court granted her request to perpetuate testimony.

The court analyzed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 27(a), which establishes the procedure for obtaining a pre-suit deposition to …

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Beware Drafters of Purchase Agreements — Unambiguous Terms in Stock Purchase Agreement Assigns Asbestos Liabilities to Purchasers

Plaintiff Cooper Industries brought a declaratory judgment against Precision Castparts Corp. and Wyman-Gordon Company, for defense and indemnification costs for personal injury asbestos lawsuits, pursuant to a stock purchase agreement between Cooper and Wyman. The plaintiff and defendants both filed summary judgments; the plaintiff’s summary judgment was granted in part, and the defendants’ summary judgment was denied.

Cooper acquired Cameron Iron Works in 1989; in 1994 Wyman purchased the Forged Products business unit from Cooper pursuant to a Stock Purchase Agreement (SPA). In 1995, Cooper …

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Plaintiff’s Claims Barred on Statute of Limitations Based on When She Learned of Her Injuries

Plaintiff Marci Jones filed suit claiming that, during the course of her employment, she suffered personal injuries from being exposed to asbestos, mold and dead animals. The plaintiff was employed by Noble Finance, who rented a commercial building from defendants Andy and Nancy Anderson. The plaintiff’s suit against defendants includes claims for her personal injuries as well as loss of earning capacity and the cost of medical treatment.

The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting among other arguments, that the plaintiff’s claims failed …

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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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California Applies Higher Texas Standard on Causation and Dismisses Asbestos Case

In this California state case, the plaintiff, a Texas resident, claimed asbestos exposure in both California and Texas, although the particular claimed exposure against certain defendants was in Texas. These defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming that under Texas law, the plaintiff was unable to meet the legal standard of causation. Both the lower and appellate courts in California, under choice of law principles, ruled that Texas law applied and, under the higher causation standard in Texas, granted summary judgment. With respect to Texas law …

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