Federal Court Refuses to Maintain Supplemental Jurisdiction After Plaintiff Amends Complaint

In this federal court case, the decedent, Thomas Maguire alleged exposure to asbestos while he served as a metalsmith in the Navy between 1958 and 1961, and then again while working as a steamfitter aboard Navy ships between 1962 and 1963. The defendant, Crane Co. removed the case to federal court based on the federal officer statute 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). The plaintiff’s original motion to remand was denied, but they were granted leave to amend the complaint to remove all federal claims and defenses. The …

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National Grid Successfully Opposes Co-Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Cross-Claims

In this NYCAL action, the plaintiff, Michael Koulermos claimed he developed mesothelioma from working near employees of Treadwell Corp. while he was employed at the Northport Power Station. The plaintiff subsequently agreed to a no-opposition summary judgment motion on behalf of Treadwell. However, the co-defendant, National Grid, opposed the motion’s requested dismissal of any cross-claims.

The court agreed with National Grid and held: “Treadwell has failed to establish a prima facie case that National Grid’s cross-claims have no merit. Treadwell makes no specific argument as …

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Court Grants Non-Party Expert’s Motion to Quash Subpoena Even Though Items Sought Deemed Relevant

In this federal court motion, Dr. Arthur Frank moved to quash the subpoena served on him by Honeywell International Inc. as a defendant in a pending Eastern District of North Carolina asbestos case, Yates v. Ford Motor Co., et al.  Honeywell subpoenaed Dr. Frank, a prolific plaintiff’s expert in asbestos cases and a non-party to the North Carolina action, concerning his successful lobby of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to change language on its website and in its “Fact Sheets” regarding cancer risks to …

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California Appellate Court Holds No Duty for Vessel Owner Based on No Active Control

In this mesothelioma case, the decedent worked for a vessel repair company and performed repair work on a vessel involving pipe insulation possibly containing asbestos. His estate sued the vessel owner under “both the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 United States Code section 905(b) (the Act, or section 905(b)) and state law.” The vessel owner moved for summary judgment on a number of  grounds, including that it did not actively control the area where the alleged exposure occurred. The lower court granted the …

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Plaintiffs’ Concession to Not Pursue Navy Exposure Results in Remand Under Federal Officer Removal Statute

In this case, the plaintiffs claimed that the decedent was exposed to asbestos in connection with force draft blowers manufactured by Carrier Corporation and another defendant while in the Navy on board the USS Edson. The plaintiffs moved to remand after Carrier removed the case based on federal officer jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). In granting the motion to remand, the court accepted the plaintiffs’ argument that despite the exposure, they expressly disclaimed any intention to pursue damages in connection with any Navy exposure: “In …

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Outside Contractor Granted Summary Judgment Under Frequency, Proximity, and Regularity Proximate Cause Analysis

In this Maryland case, the plaintiff’s decedent was exposed to asbestos while aboard various Naval vessels. He claimed to have walked by outside contractors installing bulkhead Marinite panels and insulation while heading to and from the engine rooms. Defendant Hopeman moved for summary judgment based on product identification grounds.  Applying Maryland law, the court denied Hopeman’s motion on product identification grounds, even though that portion of the motion was unopposed, finding that the defendant had failed to meet its burden of proof that the work …

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Another Jurisdictional Battle Results in Transfer of Venue from Tennessee to Louisiana In Asbestos Case

In this case, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, based on his residence. Seven of the defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, which caused the plaintiff to move for a transfer of venue to Louisiana. The court found that Louisiana had a sufficient connection to the claimed exposure: “The Western District of Louisiana is the judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to …

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Plaintiff’s Expert Found Qualified to Testify, But Not Allowed to Give “Every Exposure” Causation Testimony

In this federal case, the decedent, Sally Gros Vedros alleges exposure to asbestos from laundering her father’s work clothes during the time he worked as a welder at the Avondale shipyard, from 1943-1976, and while she worked in the Avondale purchasing department, from 1960-1963. The defendants moved to exclude the plaintiff’s expert’s causation opinions at trial, arguing the expert, radiation oncologist Dr. Stephen Kraus, was not qualified to testify as an expert and that his causation opinions were not reliable because they relied on the …

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Valve Manufacturer’s Bare Metal Motion for Summary Judgment Denied

It is alleged in this NYCAL case that the decedent, Russell Gonzales, was exposed to asbestos products, including insulation on valves manufactured by Crane Co., in the 1970s at various sites throughout New York City. The decedent died prior to testifying, but his co-worker, Joseph Zgombic testified that he and the decedent were responsible for insulating Crane valves and that they worked near others repacking Crane valves. Crane moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove the decedent had exposure to asbestos …

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Applying Alabama Law In Two Cases, Federal Court Grants One Motion and Denies Another to Engine Manufacturers Under Bare Metal Defense

In one case, the plaintiff claimed that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while working on Cummins engines in the Navy and Coast Guard. Defendant Cummins moved for summary judgment, arguing that the engines were 17 years old and were overhauled at least once. There was no proof the gasket materials were original to the engine. The plaintiff also argued that the decedent was exposed to asbestos blankets and lagging on the engines. The court recognized that Alabama would recognize the bare metal defense and, …

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