Missouri Court, Applying Maryland Law, Upholds $4 Million Verdict, Rejecting Arguments on Expert Challenges, Offsets, and Defective Damages Verdict

In this case, the plaintiff worked as a steamfitter between 1958 and 1983 at a variety of industrial and commercial sites. Of the original 57 defendants, only valve manufacturer Nibco, Inc. went to trial, which resulted in a $4 million plaintiff’s verdict with the trial court applying Maryland law. On appeal, Nibco raised four issues: it should have been granted a directed verdict; the plaintiff’s experts were allowed to offer opinions based on facts not in evidence; the lower court improperly denied setoff rights; and …

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Brake Defendant’s Motion to Preclude Causation Expert Under Daubert Denied

The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death action alleging that the decedent developed mesothelioma caused by prolonged exposure to brake dust from brake pads manufactured by Bendix while working as a part-time bookkeeper at an auto repair shop from 1984-1990.  Defendant moved in limine to preclude testimony from the plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Jill Ohar, with respect to any testimony that brake dust causes mesothelioma and any testimony based on the every exposure theory. The defendant also sought to preclude any testimony that asbestos or chrysotile causes …

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Joint Compound Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Overturned on Appeal Based on Issue of Fact of Plaintiff’s Contradictory Testimony

In this case, the plaintiff,  David Bergstrom, claimed exposure to asbestos while working as a contractor installing drywall for various companies between 1962 and 2011. The trial court granted the defendant, joint compound manufacturer Welco, summary judgment based on the plaintiff’s testimony that he did not have any exposure to joint compound after 1979 and was not exposed to Welco’s product, Welco, prior to 1979. In opposition to the motion, the plaintiff alleged that he did not make such a clear admission, that his testimony …

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Defendants’ Motion in Limine To Exclude Expert Testimony on “Each and Every Exposure” Opinion Denied Based on Federal and Illinois Law

Various defendants filed a motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Matthew A. Vuskovich, M.D., M.S.P.H., arguing that he does not satisfy the requirements for expert testimony outlined in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Specifically, defendants sought to exclude his opinions based on the “every exposure” theory, because it is not accepted by the scientific community or the courts. The court denied the motion, as Federal Rule of Evidence 702 allowed for the theoretical basis for Dr. Vuskovich’s …

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Release Agreement in Prior Claim Does Not Bar Future FELA Claim

Plaintiff Roger Lee Hindle was a railroad employee who developed lung cancer and brought a suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop the condition. The plaintiff had previously brought a claim against the same railroad defendants for hearing loss; in settling the previous claim, he signed a Release Agreement discharging them from any and all losses, known or unknown, including cancer. The railroad defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that this release barred the …

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Decedent’s At-Home Asbestos Exposure From Employer’s Products Does Not Bar the Application of California Workers’ Compensation Act

After working for defendant Ameron International for approximately 24 years, Lario Melendrez passed away from mesothelioma. The plaintiffs commenced a wrongful death action, alleging Mr. Melendrez was exposed to asbestos both during the manufacture of Ameron’s Bondstrand pipe products and in bringing scrap products home for use. Ameron moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs’ sole remedy against Ameron lies in the California Workers’ Compensation Act. The trial court granted summary judgment and the appellate court affirmed. While the issue of whether Mr. Melendrez’s …

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Granting of Summary Judgment to Radio Manufacturers Overturned Based on Circumstantial Evidence

In this case, the decedent, Kenneth Anderson, was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working as a radio and television repairman in the 1960s and 1970s. Prior to trial, radio manufacturers Zenith and Motorola moved for — and were granted — summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not “provide evidence regarding what radios Anderson actually repaired, whether those radios contained asbestos, and if so, who manufactured or distributed those asbestos-containing parts.”

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred, since the decedent had …

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Louisiana Federal Court Grants Three Defendants’ Summary Judgment Motions Due to Lack of Exposure

The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death mesothelioma case, alleging in part that his father was exposed to asbestos-containing products while in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the 1950s and 1960s. The defendants, GE, CBS, and Foster Wheeler, moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s evidence was insufficient to establish the decedent’s exposure to their products.

The plaintiff opposed the motion with an expert affidavit, described by the court as follows: “Plaintiff relies on the expert report of Laurence Durio, who opined that Mr. Laurent …

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Wisconsin Federal Court Refuses to Enforce Settlement and Ruled Defendant Waived Defenses of Standing, Mootness, and Issue Preclusion

The plaintiff sued the defendant, Owens-Illinois, for injuries caused to the decedent by asbestos exposure, which proceeded in multidistrict litigation for many years and was transferred back to the District Court of Wisconsin in 2014. A settlement agreement had apparently been reached, which the plaintiff’s estate representative claimed was not authorized. After the district court refused to enforce the settlement, Owens-Corning moved to dismiss the case on three grounds: the plaintiff lacked standing as the estate representative; the plaintiff’s action is moot because she failed …

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Court of Appeals Upholds Lower Court’s Rulings Denying Caterpillar’s Motions for Summary Judgment, a New Trial, and to Vacate Jury Award

In this case, it was alleged that the decedent, Edwin Estenson, was exposed to asbestos while in the Navy from 1948 to 1952 and while working on Caterpillar equipment for three contractors between 1955 and the late 1960s. Prior to trial, Caterpillar’s  motion for summary judgment was denied.  Following trial, where Caterpillar was the only defendant, the jury awarded the plaintiff a verdict of approximately $4.5 million. Caterpillar subsequently appealed the court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment, motion for a new trial, and …

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