Military Contractor Defense Does Not Apply to Manufacturers of Commercial Insulation

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, July 22, 2021

Plaintiff George Kraemer alleges that he was exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing products manufactured and sold by defendant Lone Star Industries (Lone Star) that were used at locations where his father worked as an insulator between 1942 and 1945. He also alleges that he was exposed to asbestos through his own workplace. On October 1, 2020, the plaintiff and his wife initiated this action in King County Superior Court against Lone Star and …

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Purifier Defendant Granted Summary Judgment as Plaintiffs Failed to Establish Causation

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, July 19, 2021

Defendant Alfa Laval filed this present amended motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs allege the decedent, John Dale Wineland (decedent or Mr. Wineland), worked aboard a series of Navy ships including the USS Dynamic, USS Pledge, USS Loyalty, USS Tuscaloosa, and USS Esteem from 1963 to 1984, where he was exposed to asbestos from Alfa Laval products aboard these ships. The decedent worked in the engine room where he …

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$81.5 Million Verdict Reinstated Against Automotive Parts Distributor and Supplier

Supreme Court of Washington, July 8, 2021

The Asbestos Case Tracker previously reported on a significant verdict against Genuine Parts Company (GPC) and National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) (Defendants). The defendants appealed the verdict and argued that the trial court erred on several grounds. The Court of Appeals reversed the verdict in part and set aside the verdict. While the Court of Appeals disagreed with the defendants’ argument as to the plaintiff’s counsel’s alleged misconduct, the Court of Appeals agreed that the trial court erred …

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Railway Defendant’s MSJ Denied on Statute of Limitations Defense Due to Decedent’s Constructive Knowledge Relating Workplace Exposures to Cancer

Decedent Gene Sponcler worked for over 40 years for defendant BNSF Railway Company and its predecessor in interest as a laborer, brakeman, and conductor. The decedent was diagnosed with kidney cancer in late 2010 (the exact date is disputed by the parties) and passed away on January 25, 2016. The decedent’s wife filed this action on January 24, 2019, one day short of three years after the decedent’s passing.

BNSF seeks summary judgment and contends that the plaintiff’s claims brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability …

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Shipyard Defendant’s MSJ Granted as Plaintiffs Failed to Establish the Amount and Duration of Decedent’s Exposure

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, March 4, 2021

Defendant Puget Sound Commerce Center, Inc. formerly known as Todd Shipyards Corporation filed an amended motion for summary judgment/partial summary judgment. The plaintiffs allege the decedent John Dale Wineland worked at Todd Shipyards in 1974, where he was negligently exposed to asbestos, including asbestos-containing insulation supplied by Todd Shipyards, and that this exposure caused the decedent’s mesothelioma and death. Todd Shipyards seeks dismissal of both the negligence and strict liability claims asserted against …

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Railroad Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Granted Because Plaintiff’s Expert Failed to Address Negligence

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, January 22, 2021

James Jacobson, a long-time railroad worker, died of kidney cancer in 2015, and his widow brings this lawsuit pursuant to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) on behalf of his estate. She alleges that his cancer was caused by the negligent use of known carcinogens by defendant BNSF Railway Company. The plaintiff identified one expert witness, Dr. Ernest Chiodo, as both a medical expert and liability expert. The railway defendant filed two motions: …

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Four Daubert Challenges Denied in Shipyard Case

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, November 30, 2020

Defendant Puget Sound Commerce Center, Inc. filed Daubert motions seeking to exclude the testimony of four of the plaintiffs’ experts: Captain Arnold Moore, Steven Paskal, Dr. David Zhang, and Charles Ay. On each motion, the court was charged with determining whether the expert’s testimony was reliable and helpful, and based on principles, techniques, or theories that were generally accepted in the expert’s profession; and whether the testimony would be helpful, in that it …

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Various Defendants Summary Judgment Motions Upheld on Appeal Due to Statute of Repose

Court of Appeals of Washington

Cindy Maxwell, the personal representative of the Estate of Edmond Brown, and Marilou Brown (collectively the Browns) appeal the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Parsons Government Services, Inc. (Parsons) and Brand Insulations, Inc. (Brand). This action arises from Edmond’s alleged exposure to asbestos between 1971 and 1972 during the construction of Atlantic Richfield Corporation’s (ARCO) petroleum refinery at Cherry Point in Ferndale. Parsons was the general contractor who constructed the Cherry Point refinery and Brand was …

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Motion to Exclude Testimony of Witnesses Denied; No Duty to Remind of Witnesses Existence

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Defendant Auburn Technology Inc. filed a motion to exclude testimony of three witnesses who were shipmates of the plaintiff’s decedent. Several other defendants joined in on the motion. The defendants argued that the witnesses were not properly disclosed until the very end of discovery and should therefore be excluded under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. 

By way of background, in the summer of 2019, the plaintiffs made their initial disclosures, identifying the muster rolls for the …

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Court of Appeals Reverses Dismissal of Asbestos Manufacturer Based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division One, July 13, 2020

In Noll v. Special Electric Co., the Court of Appeals of Washington, Division One, recently opined on an order of remand regarding the trial court’s dismissal of an action because the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The trial court concluded that the plaintiff did not allege sufficient facts for Washington to exercise specific jurisdiction over the defendant. In granting the defendant’s original motion, the court held that the plaintiff failed to allege …

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