$26.54 Million Verdict in Wrongful Death Case against Brewing Company

Milwaukee County Circuit Court

The decedent, Gerald “Jerry” Lorbiecki, was a steamfitter who worked at a number of job sites over the better part of four decades prior to his death from mesothelioma. Attorneys for the decedent argued that two of these locations—Pabst Brewing Co. and Wisconsin Electric—were “negligent in protecting employees from asbestos exposure and violated Wisconsin’s Safe Place Act.” Wisconsin Electric settled with Mr. Lorbiecki’s estate prior to trial.

In closing arguments, lawyers for Pabst argued that company safety officials were unaware of …

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Defendant’s Summary Judgment Upheld by Wisconsin Appellate Court Finding That the 10-Year Statute of Repose Barred Appellant’s Claims

WISCONSIN – In this appellate action, Jacqueline Nooyen, the plaintiff, sought to appeal the circuit court’s decision to grant summary judgment to the defendants, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Madison Gas and Electric Company, Wisconsin Power & Light Company, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation.

The plantiff’s husband, the decedent, was a career pipefitter who, between 1970 and 1973, was involved in the original construction of two nuclear power plants owned by the defendants. On December 2, 2016, the decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result …

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Indemnitor Cannot Replace Insurer as Party in Asbestos Coverage Suits, Court Rules

WISCONSIN – In an asbestos coverage suit brought by Eaton Corporation against its insurers, Eaton Corporation sought to substitute itself for First State Insurance Company in third-party indemnity and contribution claims brought against First State by other defendant insurers. Eaton and First State had entered into a settlement agreement in which Eaton agreed to defend and indemnify First State in such contribution claims, and First State granted Eaton the right to control First State’s defense in such claims. Eaton argued that because of the settlement …

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Possibility of Exposure to Asbestos in Cosmetic Talc Not Sufficient to Survive Summary Judgment

WISCONSIN – The plaintiff, Dale Chapp, filed suit against Colgate Palmolive arguing that his late wife, Ruth Chapp, developed mesothelioma from her use of Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder from approximately 1969-the mid-1980s. The plaintiff also alleged that Ruth Chapp was secondarily exposed to asbestos from laundering his work clothes. Colgate moved for summary judgment. The trial court found that Chapp had “not shown more than the mere possibility of causation” and granted summary judgment in factor of Colgate. The plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the court …

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Federal District Court Declines to Guess at Ohio Law, Applies Continuous Trigger

WISCONSIN – The Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled this week that a continuous trigger and all-sums allocation applied in a dispute between an Eaton Corporation — sued in a large number of personal injury cases based on exposure to asbestos through products manufactured by Cutler-Hammer, Inc., which Eaton acquired by merger in 1979 — and its excess insurers.

The parties recognized that Wisconsin has adopted both continuous trigger and all-sums allocation in asbestos cases. However, the defendants contended that their policies were governed by Ohio …

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Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Provision Leads to Dismissal of Construction Worker’s Complaint

WISCONSIN — Plaintiff Johnson Carter filed suit against Henry Carlson’s Construction Company (HCCC) alleging he suffered “a variety of severe medical symptoms” after exposure to asbestos while working for HCCC as a temporary construction worker. Specifically, he claimed that he was exposed to asbestos during a demolition of a hospital in the late 1980s. He could not recall the name of the temporary agency or hospital, but stated that he was provided a dust mask for the tear-out work. HCCC moved to dismiss the complaint …

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Application of Statute of Repose Upheld for Material Supplier

WISCONSIN — The plaintiff Thomas Mohn alleged that he developed lung cancer from exposure to asbestos while working with insulated turbine blankets supplied by defendant Sprinkmann during the construction of the Genoa power plant in the 1960s. Sprinkman filed a motion for summary judgment on statue of repose grounds, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff appealed, and the Wisconsin Appellate Court affirmed.

Wisconsin’s statute of repose imposed a time limit of ten years for bringing claims related to the improvement of real property. The …

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Mill Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motions Granted in Community Exposure/Take-Home Case

WISCONSIN –Weyerhauser operated a manufacturing facility in Marshfield, Wisconsin from 1960 to 2000. Among other wood products manufactured at the mill, Weyerhauser produced asbestos-core doors in Marshfield from 1971 to 1978. The plaintiffs’ decedents Elvira Kilty and Herbert Spatz each worked at the Marshfield Weyerhauser mill. Due to the Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation bar, they alleged that their mesothelioma was caused by community exposures and/or household exposures emanating from the clothing of their children and father, respectively, all of whom also worked for Weyerhauser. Weyerhauser moved …

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3M’s Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding Allegedly Defective Respirators Denied

WISCONSIN – In a consolidated case, two plaintiffs asserted strict liability and negligence claims against 3M regarding respirators they wore at a factory which manufactured fireproof doors containing asbestos cores. Both plaintiffs developed mesothelioma from alleged asbestos exposure.

The plaintiffs were employed by Weyerhauser for approximately 40 years each. In 1972, a company memo required all employees to wear respirators whenever mineral core was machined or sanded. Testimony provided that plaintiffs wore 3M masks. In that same year, 3M received the necessary certificate of approval …

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Wisconsin’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act Found Not Applicable in Successor Liability Case Against Refractory Manufacturer

WISCONSIN — In a follow up to Asbestos Case Tracker’s previous post, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision in a recent mesothelioma case involving allegations of fraudulent conveyance by a successor in interest entity.

The plaintiff originally filed suit against several defendants including Fire Brick Engineering and Powers Holding claiming they were responsible for her late husband’s development of mesothelioma. Mr. Springer was allegedly exposed to asbestos from 1963-69. The plaintiff filed her suit against Powers naming it as …

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