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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Summary Judgment Granted to Employer Under Washington Industrial Insurance Act

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, March 16, 2020

WASHINGTON – On March 16, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted summary judgment to defendant, Alcoa, holding that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the Washington Industrial Insurance Act (WIIA). The plaintiff, Clinton Casey, worked as a utility laborer and pot tender for Alcoa Wenatchee Works, an aluminum manufacturing facility, from 1973 to 2005. He alleged that during this time he was exposed to asbestos from other …

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Federal Court Declines to Exclude Testimony of Certified Industrial Hygienist

WASHINGTON – In the matter of Jill Diane Clayton v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington denied the plaintiff’s motion to exclude the expert testimony of Certified Industrial Hygienist, Kyle Dotson, finding that Dotson’s testimony was both relevant and reliable under Federal Rule of Evidence 702. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent, William Richard Clayton, was exposed to asbestos while serving aboard the United States Navy ship, the U.S.S. Badger, in …

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Covenant Judgment Found Reasonable Despite Challenge by Insurer

WASHINGTON – United States Fidelity & Guarantee (USF&G) intervened in a recent mesothelioma matter arguing that a covenant judgment entered at the trial level was unreasonable. By way of background, the plaintiffs, Robert and Karen Ulbricht, and their children sought damages from several defendants, including PM Northwest for Robert Ulbricht’s alleged development of mesothelioma. Ulbricht alleged exposure to asbestos while working at the Texaco Oil Refinery in Anacortes, Washington from 1973-1999. PM was alleged to have been the maintenance contractor at the site. However, PM …

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Multiple Defendants Granted Summary Judgment in Maritime Action on Lack of Causation

WASHINGTON – The plaintiffs filed suit against multiple defendants, including Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation, Warren Pumps, and Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, alleging that their decedent, Deem, developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products while working as a machinist at the Puget Naval Shipyard from 1974-1981. Two co-workers testified as to work performed at the shipyard. Work included repairs on lots of equipment including valves, pumps, catapults, distilling plants, turbines, compressors, and steam traps. Additional tasks included removal of old flange gaskets, …

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Summary Judgment Denied to Honeywell and Granted to Foster Wheeler under Washington Law

WASHINGTON – On December 12 and December 16, 2019, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued summary judgment decisions for defendants Honeywell International, Inc. Honeywell and Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation respectively, in the Estate of Rudie Klopman-Baerselman matter. In brief, the court denied summary judgment to Honeywell, and granted summary judgment to Foster Wheeler.

The plaintiff alleged that the decedent, Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of his alleged exposures to asbestos while performing automotive maintenance work …

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