Zoom Trial Ends With Defense Verdict

Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, September 3, 2020

In one of the first asbestos-related Zoom trials in the country, Honeywell International, Inc., successor in interest to Bendix Corp., won a defense verdict. The plaintiff, Ricardo Ocampo, alleged that he was exposed to asbestos from working as a janitor at various auto dealerships and manufacturing businesses between 1991-1997 and that his exposure caused him to develop mesothelioma.

The jury deliberated for two days before returning the defense verdict.…

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Opposite Outcomes in Recent Removals Based on Diversity Hone in on Status of Remaining Defendants

A string of recent decisions on remand motions illustrates that diversity challenges are alive and well in asbestos litigation. As the landscape of defendants changes as trial approaches, so do the defenses. Whether by settlement or dismissal, the remaining defendant or defendants have taken advantage of diversity issues to remove cases to more favorable federal jurisdictions with stark contrast in results. That contrast should give defendants cause for pause prior to removal.

Recently, in Wieland v. Arvinmeritor, Inc., a brake defendant removed the case …

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New York Federal Court Orders Trial in Asbestos Coverage Dispute

NEW YORK – Utica Mutual Insurance Company and Clearwater Insurance Company, which entered into reinsurance agreements regarding umbrella policies that Utica issued to Goulds Pumps, will go to trial over whether Utica can recover from Clearwater certain defense costs it paid to Goulds in underlying personal injury actions by asbestos claimants.

Utica will be able to recover the costs from Clearwater only if the umbrella policies obligated Utica to pay defense costs to Goulds. Clearwater argued that the umbrella policies provided no such obligation. Specifically, …

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Motion to Remand Denied Despite Disclaimer Regarding Federal Officer Jurisdiction

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Terry Bondurant, alleged that his mesothelioma was caused in part by his service as a welder for the United States Navy aboard the USS Ticonderoga, and by his work as an electrician in civilian refineries and chemical plants. The plaintiff brought strict liability failure to warn and design defect claims against defendants GE and Westinghouse and others in Louisiana State Court, but specifically disclaimed “any cause of action for injury caused by exposure on a federal enclave and by any act …

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Asbestos Trust Transparency Update

Asbestos litigation has been consistently active throughout the United States since the first asbestos lawsuit was filed in the 1970s. As the population of asbestos plaintiffs has grown over the last 40 years, so have the funds paid by various asbestos defendants. This growing financial burden has caused numerous asbestos defendants to file for bankruptcy. In doing so, the insolvent defendants are required to create asbestos trust funds for the protection of future asbestos plaintiffs. To date, there are over 50 active asbestos bankruptcy trusts …

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List of Asbestos Products Used at Trial to Refresh Plaintiff’s Recollection in Multi-Million Dollar Verdict

NEW YORK – A New York Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s finding that the plaintiff Pietro Macaluso’s use of a list of products to refresh his recollection of alleged exposure to asbestos was proper in a recent multi-million dollar verdict. The verdict was stipulated down to $10 million for pain and suffering, $9 million for Macaluso’s son’s loss of parental guidance, and $10 million for his daughter’s loss of parental guidance. The court also ordered a new trial on damages to $4 million for …

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Lack of Specific Personal Jurisdiction Leads to Dismissal of Alleged Successor to Joiner Contractor

NEW JERSEY – The plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants alleging her decedent developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos containing products used or installed by the defendants including, RBC Sonic. It was alleged that Robert Fish was exposed to asbestos panels installed by a joiner contractor while working at the New York Shipbuilding and Drydock located in New Jersey in 1960. Sonic Industries, Inc. (Sonic) moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of specific personal jurisdiction.

The court stated that a plaintiff must “present a …

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Court Calls For Supplemental Briefing For Summary Judgment Motion Following DeVries Decision

WASHINGTON — A federal court in Washington state called for supplemental briefing prior to ruling on summary judgment motions in two similarly situated cases involving maritime exposures. Donald Yaw worked as a shipfitter, structural planner, and estimator at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton, Washington from 1964 to 2001. Thomas Deem worked as an outside machinist at PSNS from 1974 to 1981. The plaintiffs alleged that Mr. Yaw and Mr. Deem’s fatal mesotheliomas were caused by both the use of asbestos-containing products and …

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Meteorologist’s Opinion Insufficient to Support Environmental Claim to Asbestos; Summary Judgment Granted Superior Court of Delaware

DELAWARE — In Werner Rath v. 3M Company, et al., the court ruled on a defendant Oyj Partek Ab’s (Partek) motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff alleged occupational exposure to asbestos while working as a union carpenter at a number of industrial sites in Delaware and New Jersey. One week before the plaintiff’s deposition was scheduled to take place, the plaintiff’s counsel filed a motion for leave to amend to file an amended complaint joining additional defendants, including Partek. Partek was one, non-exclusive supplier …

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Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference

On Friday, September 23, 2016, Paul L. Knobbe, partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Toxic Torts Practice Group, will be among the faculty at HarrisMartin’s 8th Annual Midwest Asbestos Conference in St. Louis. Paul will be speaking on the topic “Naval Vessels and Liability for Asbestos Components.”

Other topics that will be discussed at the conference include:

  • Secondary Exposure – Recent Decisions in Key Jurisdictions
  • Pointers on Appellate Practice in Illinois and Missouri – An Appellate Primer
  • Bankruptcy Trust Updates
  • Special Issues in Asbestos Depositions and
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