California Appellate Court Reverses $3.6M Punitive Damages Award

In November 2005, after William Saller was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the plaintiffs filed suit naming 22 defendants, including the manufacturers of various asbestos products. After Saller passed away in February 2006, his wife and daughters added a wrongful death claim and continued the lawsuit.

In 2007, the plaintiffs proceeded to trial against two remaining defendants: Crown Cork and Bondex International, Inc. The jury returned a defense verdict, rejecting the plaintiffs’ strict liability design defect claim and their negligent failure-to-warn claim. The plaintiffs appealed and the …

Continue Reading

NYCAL Court Sets Aside Portion of $22M Verdict and Recklessness Charge

As noted in a prior ACT post, a NYCAL jury awarded plaintiff Frank Gondar $22M ($12M for past pain and suffering and $10M for future pain and suffering) in a living mesothelioma claim. Here, the jury found defendant Burnham failed to provide adequate warnings, which was a substantial contributing factor to Mr. Gondar’s disease, and allocated Burnham with 25 percent liability. Most notably, the jury found Burnham to have acted with reckless disregard for the plaintiff’s safety after the court charged the jury on …

Continue Reading

Appellate Court Reverses Trial Court’s Directed Verdict in NYCAL

On August 29, 2014, Judge Barbara Jaffe entered an order granting defendant Consolidated Edison’s (Con Edison) post-trial motion to set aside a verdict against it and direct that judgment be entered in its favor. Upon appeal, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, issued an a decision on January 10, 2017. The crux of this case revolves around the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos while working for a subcontractor at Con Edison’s power plant.

The Appellate Division found the trial court improperly set …

Continue Reading

Court Affirms Judgment for Defendant Carnival Cruise Line That Set Aside a $3.6M Verdict

On October 19, 2016, the Third District Court of Appeal, State of Florida, affirmed a final judgment in favor of defendant Carnival Corporation, finding no merit.

In the original case at bar, the plaintiff, Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, individually and as personal representative of the estate of Benedetto Emanuele Caraffa, deceased, filed suit in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and For Miami-Dade County, Florida, alleged among other things, that the decedent was injured as a result of asbestos exposure while working and …

Continue Reading

Court Issues Significant Verdict Reduction Based in Part on Jury Error of Finding Intentional Misrepresentation and Fraudulent Concealment

In a case previously reported on in ACT, a California jury found for the plaintiffs, Louis Tyler and Elizabeth Tyler and against defendant American Optical Corporation (AOC), the lone defendant remaining at trial, with an award of $22.8 million. This award consisted of $1.8 million in economic damages (medical expenses, lost income, household services, etc.) and $21 million in non-economic damages. The jury also found that AOC acted with malice, oppression and fraud, and awarded $10 million in punitive damages. The overall verdict totaled …

Continue Reading

Appellate Court Grants New Trial Due to Lower Court’s Error on Jury Charge as to “Recklessness Standard”

In the matter of the Estate of Lee Holdsworth, in the Supreme Court of New York, Erie County (Lower Court), judgment was entered against the defendant Crane Co. upon a jury verdict finding that Crane Co. was 35 percent liable for the damages arising from injuries sustained by Lee Holdsworth (the plaintiff’s decedent) as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products used as component parts with the valves that defendant produced. The jury also determined the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the safety of …

Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Federal Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Mold Verdict and Grants Plaintiff’s Motion to Apply Delay Damages to Compensatory Damages

The plaintiff-decedent, Valent Rabovsky, and his wife Ann Rabovsky filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, claiming that the plaintiff-decedent, who had worked as a millwright in the 1950s, developed malignant mesothelioma from work-related exposure to asbestos and asbestos containing products, which were produced, manufactured, and/or distributed by various defendants (Case was removed to Federal Court three months later).

On February 2, 2016, a jury trial was held on the issue of whether defendant Crane Co. was negligent in failing to warn …

Continue Reading

New York Judge Vacates Award of Past and Future Pain and Suffering to Plaintiff Against Brake Grinder Manufacturer and Orders New Trial on Damages Unless Plaintiff Stipulates to Reduced Awards

The plaintiff, Walter Miller, filed suit against a number of defendants alleging that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos through his use of a brake grinding machine manufactured by Ammco. At trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the sole defendant remaining at trial, Hennessy Industries, Inc. (Ammco), in the amount of $25 million, consisting of $10 million for past pain and suffering and $15 million for future pain and suffering. A summary of that verdict can …

Continue Reading

$6.6 Million Verdict Reinstated by Florida’s Highest Court After Analysis of Arguments on Alternative Design, Causation, and Jury Instruction on Failure to Warn

In this case, the plaintiff, William Aubin, claimed he was exposed to asbestos from SG-210, an asbestos product used in items such as joint compound and texture sprays that was manufactured by Union Carbide Corporation. Following trial, a jury returned a verdict of $6.6 million finding Union Carbide was liable, in part, under the plaintiff’s claims of negligence and strict liability. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the jury verdict on three grounds: “(1) the trial court erred in failing to apply the Restatement …

Continue Reading

North Carolina Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment

In this case, “plaintiffs allege that his condition resulted from exposure to asbestos during his employment 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 court granted JMM’s motion for summary judgment to the extent that plaintiffs alleged exposure prior to 1983 but denied with respect to any claimed exposure after 1983. This was based on JMM’S acquisition of assets of one of the Johns Manville …

Continue Reading