Virginia District Court Affirms Magistrate Decision on Admissibility of Naval Expert Testimony

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, April 27, 2020

Plaintiffs Herbert H. Mullinex and Patricia E. Mullinex alleged that Mr. Mullinex was exposed to asbestos from working with sheet gaskets and valve and pump packing manufactured by John Crane, Inc. during his service in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1978. John Crane, as part of its defense, intended to rely on the opinion of retired Rear Admiral David P. Sargent, Jr., in an attempt to refute some of Mr. Mullinex’s allegations …

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Federal Court Declines to Find Improper Joinder of Non-Diverse Defendant

VIRGINIA – The plaintiffs, Raegena Boggs and Paul Boggs, residents of Colorado, filed their asbestos personal injury action in Kanawha County, West Virginia against numerous defendants, including Greyhound Lines, a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Texas; ArvinMeritor, Inc., an Indiana corporation with a principal place of business in Michigan; Carlisle Companies, Inc., a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Arizona; and Vimasco, a West Virginia corporation. The plaintiffs had resolved their claims with all of the defendants, except …

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Court Dismisses Constructive Fraud Claim Against Insurer

VIRGINIA – Newport News Shipbuilding Division (NNS) has built ships and submarines for the United States Navy since the late 1800s. Through several transactions, the company came to be owned first by Tenneco, Inc., and later by Huntington Ingalls, Inc. Between 2001 and 2015, NNS was sued in a number of asbestos-related personal injury actions.

As part of its response to those actions, NNS sought coverage under policies issued by one of its insurers. The insurer offered coverage under several policies, but represented that no …

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Expansion of Employer Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Duty Reaches Nine States

VIRGINIA — The State of Virginia recently expanded the potential duty to warn owed for take-home asbestos exposures in the Quisenberry case.

The plaintiff Wesley Quisenberry filed suit on behalf of his decedent mother, alleging that her exposure to asbestos while laundering her father’s clothes caused her mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s decedent’s father worked at a shipyard for 35 years, and the plaintiffs allege that asbestos dust adhered to his clothing, contaminated his car, and came home with him.

The defendant removed the case to federal …

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Jury Returns Verdict for Decedent, Finding Asbestosis Resulted from Railroad Brake Work

VIRGINIA – A jury in Norfolk Circuit Court issued a $5 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff Danielle Caraco (plaintiff) on behalf of the decedent Stephen Fowlkes (decedent), finding that the decedent had been diagnosed with asbestosis as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing railroad brakes during his employment at Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk).

The decedent had worked as a repair man who changed out asbestos-containing railroad car brake shoes for a decade during the 1980s. Once the decedent fell ill and …

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Court Precludes Some But Not All Testimony of Naval Expert

VIRGINIA — Following up with a prior ACT post on the Harry Goodrich matter pending in the United States District Court, E.D., Virginia, the Court has issued an omnibus opinion concerning motions in limine.

Among other issues decided, the court addressed the plaintiffs’ motion to limit the testimony of defendants’ naval expert, Margaret McCloskey (McCloskey). Pursuant to Rule 702, the plaintiffs sought to limit the testimony of McCloskey in four (4) respects: (i) as unqualified to opine about plaintiffs actual exposure to asbestos-containing thermal insulation …

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Superseding Cause/State of Art as to Navy’s Negligence and Knowledge of Asbestos Barred Against Sealing Technology Defendant

VIRGINIA –The plaintiff brought this suit against John Crane Inc. (JCI) alleging Mr. Goodrich developed an asbestos related disease for which Defendant was liable. The plaintiff moved in limine to preclude JCI from presenting evidence of the alleged “knowledge or negligence of the Navy.”

JCI argued that any failure to warn was not a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury based on the Navy’s negligent control of the plaintiff’s work space. Also, JCI took the position that the Navy’s intervening negligence superseded that of …

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After Defendant Files Second Asbestos-Injury Claim, Federal Court Grants Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff CSX’s Declaratory Judgment Action for Lack of Jurisdiction

Plaintiff CSX Transportation asserted a claim for declaratory relief, after the defendant filed an injury claim for lung cancer, which he claimed was asbestos-related. The defendant had settled a claim against CSX for an asbestos-related injury in 2003, and under the 2003 settlement agreement, he allegedly released CSX from future claims involving asbestos and cancer. The agreement included an indemnity provision, which CSX invoked in requesting defendant to indemnify it for the 2015 state court action. The agreement also released CSX from all claims which …

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Plaintiff’s Reliance on Precluded Expert Report Results in Dismissal of Action

The plaintiff brought this case alleging that his asbestosis and mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure during his employment with United States Navy. Several defendants were dismissed from the action, leaving electrical component manufacturer, Westinghouse as the sole remaining defendant, against whom plaintiff claimed exposure to asbestos from arc chutes contained in Westinghouse electrical products. Prior to the current motion for summary judgment, Westinghouse served several motions seeking to preclude certain portions of plaintiff’s proof, including the expert report and opinion of the plaintiff’s causation …

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