New York Court Addresses Jurisdiction, Product Identification, and Duty to Warn Issues in Denying Valve Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment

The plaintiff developed mesothelioma and asserted asbestos exposure to valves from Fisher Controls International LLC through his work in various states, including New York.  Fisher moved for summary judgment and dismissal of various counts if its summary judgment was denied. The court denied the summary judgment, but granted dismissal of certain counts because these were unopposed.

First, Fisher argued that the New York court lacked both general and specific jurisdiction, because it only learned of the plaintiff’s nine-month occupational history in New York when plaintiff …

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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 …

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State Claims Against Railroad Defendants Preempted by Federal Law, Even If Operator of Locomotives Not Subject to Federal Regulation

The decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma and alleged take-home asbestos exposure from the work of her father with defendant Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) and also alleged exposure from her father’s personal automotive work. The decedent’s father repaired and maintained air brake systems on PATCO’s locomotives. Railroad defendants (Delaware River Port Authority, Railroad Friction Products Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Budd Company, Pneumo-Abex) moved for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiff’s claims were preempted by federal law. The district court granted this motion, ruling that federal legislation and precedent …

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Plaintiff’s Reliance on Precluded Expert Report Results in Dismissal of Action

The plaintiff brought this case alleging that his asbestosis and mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure during his employment with United States Navy. Several defendants were dismissed from the action, leaving electrical component manufacturer, Westinghouse as the sole remaining defendant, against whom plaintiff claimed exposure to asbestos from arc chutes contained in Westinghouse electrical products. Prior to the current motion for summary judgment, Westinghouse served several motions seeking to preclude certain portions of plaintiff’s proof, including the expert report and opinion of the plaintiff’s causation …

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NYCAL Court Grants Spoliation Motion Against Pipe Manufacturer for Lost and Destroyed Company Documents

In this NYCAL case, it was alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from work he and others in his vicinity performed with Johns Manville (JM) transite pipe. The plaintiff moved for a spoliation charge, alleging that in 1990 JM was grossly negligent in the disappearance of more than 10 banker boxes of business records when transferring headquarters and in 1997 intentionally destroyed another 27 boxes of business records. The documents destroyed in 1997 were done so by James Richert, a former JM employee …

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Asbestos Litigation: Did We Forget These Are Warnings Cases?

In the world of asbestos, the predominant claim against defendants is that they should have warned against the dangers of asbestos. Typically, plaintiffs prove exposure to a product, absence of any warning (or an adequate warning) and damages. The jury verdict sheet simply reads something like, “Was defendant negligent in manufacturing, selling or supplying a product without an adequate warning” and “was that negligence a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injury.” Unlike all other products liability warnings cases, a plaintiff seems to be held to …

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Four Summary Judgments Granted Because Equipment Manufacturers Not Responsible for Asbestos Contained in Equipment Made by Another Manufacturer

The plaintiffs sued various defendants for negligence, strict liability, and loss of consortium after the plaintiff developed mesothelioma; his widow continued the suit after he passed. The case was removed to federal court based on 28 U.S.C. Section 1442, the federal officer statute. The remaining defendants – Georgia Pacific, IMO Industries, Crane Company, John Crane, and CBS Corporation – moved for summary judgment, which were granted by the court.

The plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure while in the Navy, and testified that asbestos insulation covered the …

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Jury Awards a Near $7 Million Verdict in California FELA Case Against Railroad Company

On November 18, 2015,  a jury in California Superior Court for Alameda County awarded a near $7 million verdict against Union Pacific Railroad in a FELA case following a six week trial. The court had previously determined that $451,265.00 was the amount of economic damages. $6.5 million was awarded by the jury for non-economic loss and pain and suffering.

Read the verdict sheet here.…

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Court of Appeals Vacates District Court’s Granting of Summary Judgment to Electrical Component Manufacturers Based on Decedent’s Testimony of Working With Products

In this federal court case, the plaintiff appealed the district court’s granting of summary judgment to defendants ABB, Schneider Electric, and Eaton.

The court of appeals vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case. In it’s ruling, the court noted: “In order to prevail in products liability cases, a plaintiff must establish, at minimum, (1) the plaintiff was exposed to the defendant’s product, and (2) the product was a substantial factor in causing the injury suffered.”(Citation omitted).

Regarding exposure, the court held: “Prior to …

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Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial Ongoing with Testimony from Weitz & Luxenberg Attorneys

Jury selection has been completed and trial testimony is ongoing in the corruption trial against State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Prosecutors allege, among other things, that Silver, who had previously been on the payroll at Weitz & Luxenberg, funneled state funds to Dr. Robert Taub of Columbia University for cancer research in exchange for referrals of mesothelioma patients to Weitz & Luxenberg, which then paid Silver for the patient referrals. Jury selection started in early November and the panel originally consisted of nine women and …

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