Ford Gets Defense Verdict Since Plaintiff’s Expert Could Not Proximately Link Disease to Chrysotile Exposure in Light of Previous Amphibole Exposure United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma, October 1, 2015

In this federal court case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Gregory Cannard, was exposed to asbestos insulation while serving in the Navy from 1965 to 1967, and while working for Lomac Motors from 1975 to 1978, where he allegedly ground asbestos head gaskets from Ford Motor Co. (Ford). At the time of trial, Ford was the only remaining defendant. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that the Navy and automotive exposures were indivisible and no single product could be identified as the cause of Mr.…
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After Supplier Defaulted Through Nonappearance, Court Awarded Damages In Unopposed Proceeding Supreme Court of New York, Erie County, Eighth Judicial District, October 9, 2015

An Erie County, New York court has issued a decision on damages in a default action where damages and liability were uncontested following a two-day bench trial in an asbestos case involving Joseph Muir, a 58-year-old man living with mesothelioma.  Defendant Hedman Resources, Ltd. was the only remaining defendant. Hedman had been served with  the summons and complaint pursuant to alternative service granted by the court two years earlier. Hedman never appeared in the action and was in default at the time of the trial.…
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Valve Manufacturer Denied Summary Judgment on Bare Metal Defense Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 5, 2015

In this NYCAL case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Mark Ricci, was exposed secondhand to asbestos from his father’s air conditioning and ventilation work. Aldo Ricci (Aldo), Mark Ricci’s father, testified that he was exposed to asbestos from working near others working on Crane Co. valves. Crane moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove he was exposed to asbestos from any asbestos-containing product manufactured or supplied by Crane. It was Crane’s position that it should be entitled to summary judgment…
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Motion to Consolidate Trials Granted Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 2, 2015

The plaintiffs brought a motion to consolidate separate actions into three separate groups for joint trial.  The court noted that as to the three groups, all of the plaintiffs are represented by the same law firm, are in the same phase of discovery, and the plaintiffs allege the same type of cancer. The court granted the motion, finding “…that the trials in each of the groups involve common questions of law and fact and that consolidation of these cases into the three groups will not…
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Clutch Manufacturer Makes Prima Facie Showing of Entitlement to Summary Judgment Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County, October 8, 2015

In this New York case out of Nassau County, the plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure to various products while working as a truck mechanic from the late 1950s to the mid 1990s.  The plaintiff testified at his deposition that he removed and installed Eaton clutches on trucks from 1961 to 1970. Eaton moved for summary judgment and attached the affidavit of Roger Hobbie, who was employed in various capacities at Eaton from 1959 to 1997. In his affidavit, Mr. Hobbie stated that between 1959 until the…
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Defendants Fail to Make Prima Facie Entitlement to Summary Judgment Since They Failed to Show Their Products Could Not Have Contributed to Decedent’s illness or Death Supreme Court of New York, Erie County, Eighth Judicial District, September 21, 2015

In this case, the decedent alleged exposure to asbestos while working at Republic Steel from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. It is claimed he was exposed to insulation materials that were removed and installed in his vicinity while he was a laborer and to materials used to make “hot tops” while a crane operator. Defendants Insulation Distributors, Inc. (IDI), Beazer East, and Ferro Corporation all moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove that the decedent, who died prior to…
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Insurer Claims that Firm Overbilled by $3M in Asbestos Lawsuits

On Monday, October 5, 2015 a Swiss Re insurer filed suit in a California federal court claiming that a law firm billed $3 million extra in several asbestos lawsuits.  Initially, Westport Insurance Corp. launched an investigation into Vasquez Estrada & Conway LLP’s billing practices after it became suspicious of a firm partner’s estimates for defending Hill Brothers Chemical Co. In the complaint, the insurer alleges that Vasquez Estrada attorneys billed insurers more than $9 million for two years of work defending Hill Brothers, $6 million…
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Pre-Judgment Interest Above Policy Limits Recoverable Under Pennsylvania Law

General Refractories Company (GRC) has been named as a defendant in over 30,000 asbestos lawsuits since 1978. In 2002, GRC tendered to it excess carriers, including Travelers Casualty (Travelers) and Surety Company (formerly The Aetna Casualty and Surety Company) under a 1985-86 policy. Travelers denied coverage under an asbestos exclusion.  GRC proceeded to settle many of the underlying claims and pursued coverage from Travelers.  In March 2015, the United States District Court ruled that the asbestos exclusion was unenforceable, leaving only a calculation of damages…
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Wife’s Testimony on Decedent’s Use of Brake Product and Expert Causation Testimony Held Sufficient to Defeat Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, October 2, 2015

In this federal court case, decedent Richard Bell alleged exposure to asbestos while performing car maintenance from 1964 through the late 1970s. Defendant Honeywell, as successor of Bendix, moved for summary judgment, arguing that the decedent’s wife’s deposition testimony that the decedent used Bendix brakes with the word “asbestos” on the packaging was hearsay; that the testimony could not be used against it to oppose summary judgment since it was taken prior to Honeywell becoming a party; and that the plaintiff failed to show the…
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Asbestos Firm Ordered to Turn Over Client Information in Garlock RICO Case

U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen affirmed a previous judge’s refusal to quash subpoenas issued by Garlock Sealing Technologies to 29 law firms, including Baron & Budd, Brayton Purcell, and Williams Kherker Hart Boundas. Garlock argued that the client records sought from these firms could help establish a pattern of racketeering by Belluck & Fox.  Though Judge Mullen agreed with Belluck & Fox’s assertion that the discovery requests were broad, he noted, “[y]et, so is the fraud in which Plaintiffs are alleged to have engaged.” In…
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