Raw Asbestos Supplier to Transite Pipe Manufacturer Not Subject to Personal Jurisdiction

Plaintiff Donald Noll sued a number of manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, including Special Electric. Noll alleged that he developed malignant mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos when he worked construction in Washington between 1977 and 1979 cutting asbestos-cement pipes. Those asbestos-cement pipes were manufactured by CertainTeed Corporation, and CertainTeed received most of its asbestos from Special Electric.

Special Electric moved to dismiss on the basis that the trial court lacked specific personal jurisdiction over it because its contacts were limited to …

Continue Reading

Automotive Parts Manufacturer Granted Dismissal due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

In another decision out of the Hodjera suit in the Western District of Washington, the motions to dismiss of Dana Companies, LLC and Dana Canada Corporation (the defendants), were granted based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

Dana Companies is a Virginia corporation with its principal place of business in Ohio. Dana Canada is a Canadian corporation with its principal place of business in Ontario. The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos in Toronto, Ontario, between 1986 and 1994. Neither company is registered to …

Continue Reading

Action Dismissed Against Canadian Automotive Defendant Based on Lack of Specific Jurisdiction

The plaintiffs filed suit against multiple defendants alleging Mr. Hodjera’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to the defendants’ products from 1986-94. Volkswagen of Canada (VWGC) moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction.

The court started its analysis by stating that due process requires the court to have personal jurisdiction over the defendant before it can adjudicate a claim. General jurisdiction is available when the defendant’s “contacts are so constant and pervasive as to render it essentially at home.” The court …

Continue Reading

Required Use of Asbestos Products for Proper Functioning of Steam Turbines Created Genuine Issue of Material Fact Regarding Duty to Warn

The decedent served in the Navy from 1943-46 and served as a machinist on the USS George K. MacKenzie during World War II. After the war, he joined the Military Sea Transportation Service and worked as an engineer until 1952. His representatives filed a wrongful death lawsuit after he died from mesothelioma, suing, among others, General Electric. The trial court granted GE’s motion for summary judgment, and the appellate court reversed.

GE designed, manufactured, and supplied the steam turbines that were on board the decedent’s …

Continue Reading

Verdict Against Brand Insulation Upheld on Various Grounds, Including that General Negligence Duty of Care Recognized for Take Home Exposure

The trial court found in favor of the plaintiff, finding Brand Insulation, Inc. liable for the mesothelioma suffered by Barbara Brandes due to secondary asbestos exposure from her husband’s work at ARCO. Brand appealed, and the plaintiff appealed the remittitur reducing the damages award from $3.5 million to $2.5 million. The court affirmed the verdict and reversed the remittitur.

Brand was an insulation subcontractor during construction of the ARCO Cherry Point Refinery. At first Brand installed asbestos-free insulation, but later switched to asbestos insulation due …

Continue Reading

Appeals Court finds No Conflict of Laws and Reverses Dismissal Based on Alaska Statute of Repose

Plaintiff Larry Hoffman filed suit in the Superior Court of Washington, Pierce County against numerous defendants alleging he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos. Specifically, Hoffman is alleging take-home exposure from his father working as a welder for Ketchikan in Alaska in the 1950s and 1960s. Hoffman also alleges exposure from his own work at Ketchikan pulp mills in the 1960s and 1970s. Each mill featured steam turbines manufactured by General Electric (GE). Although it operated solely in Alaska, Ketchikan is a Washington corporation, having …

Continue Reading

Decedent’s Failure to Bring Personal Injury Claims for Known Asbestos Injuries Within Statute of Limitations Period During His Lifetime Barred Wrongful Death Suit

The decedent died of several asbestos related diseases in 2011; he was diagnosed with these diseases in 2003. The plaintiff brought a wrongful death claim against manufacturers and distributors of asbestos containing products, and the defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not bring a wrongful death claim because the decedent failed to bring a personal injury claim within three years of discovering his asbestos-related diseases. The trial court granted summary judgment, and the appellate court affirmed.

The plaintiff argued that a …

Continue Reading

Washington Appellate Court Applies New Case Law to Bar Wrongful Death Suits if Statute of Limitations Expires on Personal Injury Claim During Decedent’s Lifetime

In 2006, the plaintiff successfully sued two defendants for injuries related to the plaintiff’s workplace asbestos exposure. This judgment was vacated and remanded to federal district court, where it remained pending. The plaintiff passed away in 2012; two years later, his widow filed a wrongful death claim against new defendants.  The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the statute of limitations on a personal injury action during the decedent’s lifetime precludes a wrongful death action based on this underlying personal injury claim. The trial …

Continue Reading

Maritime Law Applied to Plaintiffs’ Claims and State Court Filing Retained Plaintiffs’ Right to a Jury Trial

In this federal court case, defendant Crane asserted that state law should apply to some aspects of plaintiffs’ claims, while the parties appeared to agree that maritime law applied generally to the matter.  The court examined this case sua sponte on the issue of whether maritime or state law governed the remaining claims of the plaintiffs, and whether the plaintiffs have a right to a jury trial.  The court found that maritime law applied and trial would be before a jury.

In applying the locality …

Continue Reading

Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Holding a Shipbuilder is a Service Provider, Not a Seller of a Product

The plaintiffs alleged that Glenn Hassebrock was exposed to asbestos while working as a union pipefitter at various shipyards.  The defendant shipbuilding company moved for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the products liability claims on the grounds that the company acted predominantly as a service provider, rather than a distributor of asbestos-containing products.  The court agreed, finding that the shipbuilding company “was not in the chain of manufacturing and selling asbestos related products, rather it was providing the service of producing Navy vessels.  The …

Continue Reading