Premises Defendants Liable for Take-Home Asbestos Exposure

Supreme Court of Utah, August 5, 2021

Larry Boynton brought this suit on behalf of his deceased wife, Barbara Boynton, alleging that her indirect exposure to asbestos from Larry’s job sites in the 1960s and 1970s, through asbestos dust left in the family car and Barbara’s laundering of Larry’s work clothes, caused her mesothelioma and resulting death. The three job site operator defendants each moved for summary judgment, arguing that they did not owe a duty of care to Barbara. The district court denied the …

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Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Against Artificial Snow Manufacturer Leads to Dismissal on Appeal

UTAH – The plaintiff, Michele Felix, filed suit in 2015 on behalf of her brother, who died of mesothelioma in 2014. In 2017, she amended the complaint to join Novelis, whose predecessor in interest, Metal Goods, allegedly exposed Raymond Felix to asbestos through its manufacture of an artificial snow product. Novelis subsequently moved for dismissal based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court found there was no general jurisdiction over Novelis but that specific jurisdiction had been established upon evidence that the artificial …

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Utah Passes Asbestos Litigation Transparency Act

In an effort to halt asbestos fraud, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a bill to prevent plaintiffs’ lawyers from, on behalf of a single client, seeking money from multiple asbestos trusts while additionally bringing a lawsuit. As stated by Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, this law “will ensure that companies and bankruptcy trusts both pay their fair share of recoveries to claimants. It will also help Utah manufacturing companies and protect jobs by ensuring that no more …

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Wrongful Death Damages Limited, Riggs v. Georgia-Pacific, LLC

The Supreme Court of Utah ruled that a recovery by an asbestos plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit does not bar a subsequent wrongful death claim brought by his heirs, but there cannot be any double recovery. The plaintiff, who had peritoneal mesothelioma, went to trial against Georgia-Pacific and Union Carbide and was awarded a substantial recovery. Following his death, the plaintiff’s heirs brought a wrongful death and survival claim against Georgia-Pacific, Union Carbide, and others seeking recovery under Utah’s wrongful death statute, which specifically …

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