Court Applies Admiralty Jurisdiction to Grant Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

The plaintiff brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) alleging asbestos exposure while a crew member on two tugboats the Navy leased to his employer, General Dynamics Corporation. The plaintiff also brought a products liability claim under Connecticut law, and his wife brought a loss of consortium claim. The defendant moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under the FTCA, because the lawsuit sounds in admiralty, for which a suit under the Suits in Admiralty Act (SIAA) or the Public Vessels Act …

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NYCAL Court Rules a Plumber Dismantling a Sectional Boiler Was a Foreseeable User of That Product

In this NYCAL mesothelioma case, the plaintiff worked as a plumber from 1984-1996, disassembling plumbing equipment including Cleaver Brooks cast iron sectional boilers.  Cleaver Brooks initially moved for summary judgment on the grounds that a plumber such as the plaintiff was not a foreseeable user of the product, which the lower court denied. The Appellate Division then issued a decision in Hockler v William Powell Co., 129 AD3d 463 (1st Dept. 2015), holding that a salvaging and dismantling valve was not a foreseeable use of …

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Court Denies Certification of Interlocutory Appeals on Personal Jurisdictional Grounds in Two Delaware Cases

In these two cases from Delaware, the defendants’ motions to dismiss based on personal jurisdiction were denied. Defendants subsequently sought certification of their interlocutory appeals pursuant to Del. Sup. Ct. 42. The court denied defendants’ applications in both cases, pointing to the “substantial issue of material importance” prong of the Rule 42 requirements.  The court stated that the Delaware Supreme Court has repeatedly held that denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction does not determine a “substantial issue.” In both cases, …

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Applying Maritime Law, Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Refusing to Speculate on Decedent’s Exposure to Pump Defendant’s Products While in the Navy

Plaintiff Josephine Fuoco, as executrix of the estate of Joseph Fuoco, alleged that Mr. Fuoco contracted mesothelioma while serving in the U.S. Navy as a machinists’ mate and as a construction worker. Defendant Warren Pumps moved for summary judgment, which the court granted. Warren did not dispute that its circulating pumps were on the USS Ammen, the ship on which Mr. Fuoco served. However, no fact witness offered testimony regarding Mr. Fuoco’s alleged asbestos exposure on board this shop. Warren was added to the …

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Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Summary Judgment In Favor of Talc Defendant Based on Product Identification, Not Asbestos Content, of Talc

In this case, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed and remanded the order granting summary judgment to defendant Vanderbilt Minerals. The Supreme Court included a large summary of facts in its opinion. The decedent, Dansby W. Sanders, died from mesothelioma; prior to his passing, he sued numerous defendants alleging he was exposed to asbestos while working for Mobile Paint Company. Vanderbilt supplied industrial talc under the brand name Nytal to Mobile Paint. Various witnesses testified as to the presence of Nytal supplied by Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt responded …

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New Jersey Legislation Proposing to Change Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Cases

On September 24, 2015, legislation was introduced in New Jersey that would create new Statute of Limitations for civil actions for personal injury and wrongful death caused by mesothelioma.

First, the bill would amend New Jersey statute § 2A:14-2, actions for injury caused by wrongful act, appointment of guardian ad litem.  It would add a subsection stating that an action for damages for damages for personal injury from mesothelioma related to exposure to asbestos may be commenced at any time, and that such action shall …

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NYCAL Jury Returns $25 Million Verdict in Mesothelioma Case

A NYCAL jury returned a $25 million verdict in a living mesothelioma case in favor of a 64-year-old mechanic, who worked at a variety of dealerships and gas stations in Colorado and Virginia, among other places, over the years. Defendant Ammco was a manufacturer of brake grinders and was found liable on a failure to warn theory. While the jury also apportioned responsibility to nine of the 10 other companies on the verdict sheet, it found Ammco 86 percent responsible, which in New York makes …

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Federal Court Bench Trial Renders Verdict in Favor of Plaintiff in Take-Home Exposure Case and Awards Full Medical Expenses

In this federal court case, it was alleged that the decedent, Barbara Bobo, had secondary take-home exposure to asbestos from laundering her husband’s work clothes. Her husband worked at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, operated by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from 1975-1997. Following denial of TVA’s motion for summary judgment, the case went to bench trial, where the court’s findings of fact supported that Mr. Bobo was exposed to asbestos at the plant from items such as insulation, roofing cement, gaskets, and pump packing. In …

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Defendant Establishes Colorable Defense Under Federal Law, Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied

The plaintiff filed this action in Madison County, Illinois, alleging injury due to asbestos exposure. The defendants, CBS and General Electric, removed the action to federal court under federal officer removal statute 28 U.S.C. 1442. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, which the court denied. The court cited the United States Supreme Court in listing the three elements required to establish a colorable defense to the use-of-asbestos claim: (1) the United States approved reasonably precise specifications; (2) the equipment conformed to those specifications; (3) …

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The Science Will Drive the Future of Asbestos Litigation. What Do You Think?

What do you think is the single most important factor that will dictate the direction of asbestos litigation across the country, now and in the future? Intelligent minds may differ and we welcome your views. Having practiced in this area for over twenty years, for me the single most important area that will drive this litigation into the future is the science. As the nature of asbestos exposure and diseases continues to evolve after 35-plus years of litigation, the science is more interesting today than …

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