California Court Rejects Plaintiffs’ Expert Opinion and Grants Railroad Summary Judgment Under FELA on Lack of Causation

In this California case, the decedent was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working for a railroad as a switchman, conductor, and brakeman, later developing mesothelioma. Specifically, the decedent claimed exposure was from changing railcar brake shoes, being in the vicinity of insulation removal from refrigerator cars, and staying in a boarding house run by the railroad that had insulation-covered pipes in the room where he slept. The defendant railroad moved for summary judgment, arguing “that plaintiffs were required but failed to prove negligence under FELA, …

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General Electric Granted Summary Judgment on the Bare Metal Defense Under Maritime Law

The plaintiff commenced this action by claiming he was exposed to insulation on General Electric products while in the U.S. Navy. GE moved for summary judgment on three grounds: the government contractor defense, the bare metal defense under maritime law, and on no evidence of GE actually furnishing the component parts. The court ruled that maritime law — rather than New Jersey law — governed the case.

The court only addressed the bare metal defense, ruling that GE was entitled to summary judgment: “The Court …

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California Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal of Two Cases Where Equipment Was Used in Connection With Asbestos Brake Linings

In the first California case, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014. He had previously worked as an auto mechanic in New York City and Los Angeles, during which he purchased an AMMCO machine equipped with a dust collection system. This machine was “an ‘arcing’ machine designed to grind drum brake linings for cars and light passenger trucks with standard sized brake shoes. From the early 1950’s to the 1980’s, the great majority of such drum brake linings contained asbestos. Because the AMMCO machines …

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Valve Manufacturer’s Appeal on Summary Judgment Denied on Foreseeable Use of Asbestos-Containing Component Parts

In this case, it is alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos gaskets and packing in valves manufactured by Crane Co., while working at an industrial plant from 1956 to 1982. Crane appealed from the lower court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment and the Fourth Department affirmed the decision.

In its appeal, Crane alleged that it could not be liable for failure to warn of the dangers associated with asbestos, since it did not produce or sell the asbestos-containing component parts. The …

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Federal Court Exercises Supplemental Jurisdiction in Denying Plaintiff’s Request to Remand

In this federal court case, the plaintiffs sought to remand the case back to state court after settling with federal defendants GE and CBS Corporation, who originally removed the case pursuant to the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C 1442(a)(1). The plaintiffs sought removal, asking the court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining claims against John Crane. The plaintiffs also reasserted their challenges to the court’s original jurisdiction, but since those issues had already been addressed, only the new argument was …

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Plaintiff Granted Remand of Shipyard’s Removal to Federal Court

In this federal court case, the plaintiff alleged that he had been exposed to asbestos while he was an employee of Huntington Ingalls, Inc. (previously known as Avondale shipyards) in various positions from 1948 through 1996. The defendants removed the case, claiming the federal court had jurisdiction pursuant to the Federal Officer Removal Statute, 28 U.S.C. 1442. The defendants specifically claimed that federal inspectors from military agencies maintained a constant presence at the shipyard during the construction of vessels for the Navy and Coast Guard …

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Valve Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Appeal Because Salvage/Demolition Not Foreseeable Use of Product

In this NYCAL case, the plaintiff alleged that his development of peritoneal mesothelioma was a result of his exposure to asbestos in the 1980s from dismantling and salvaging scrap metal from steam systems in vacant buildings. The lower court denied the motion for summary judgment by the defendant, valve manufacturer Powell Company. On appeal, the appellate division addressed whether dismantling constitutes a reasonably foreseeable use of a product and reversed the lower court’s decision.

In its ruling, the court looked at rulings in other jurisdictions …

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Turbine Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied on Statute of Repose; Gasket Manufacturer’s Motion Granted for Lack of Product ID

In this federal court case, the decedent, Charles Nuutinen, is alleged to have been exposed to asbestos while working as a pipefitter from 1959 through 1996 at various jobsites in Wisconsin, including the Point Beach Nuclear Power Station. The defendant, CBS, the entity responsible for turbine manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Corporation, moved for summary judgment on the Wisconsin statute of repose and gasket manufacturer John Crane moved for lack of product ID. The court denied CBS’ motion, but granted Crane’s motion.

CBS argued, and the plaintiff …

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Mixed Ruling on Brake Manufacturers’ Motions to Preclude Case Reports

In this federal court action, it is alleged that the plaintiff, Graham Yates, was exposed to asbestos brake products while working in various employment positions and from working on his own vehicles. The defendants, Ford Motor Company and Honeywell International, Inc. moved in limine on several different grounds to preclude case reports. The court ruled as follows:

The defendants challenged the case reports on the grounds of relevancy and reliability. In a lengthy analysis, the court denied the motion. Regarding relevance, the court looked at …

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Mixed Ruling on Brake Defendant’s Motion in Limine on Expert Testimony Regarding Corporate Conduct

In this federal court action, it is alleged that the plaintiff, Graham Yates, was exposed to asbestos brake products while working as a gas station attendant from 1956-1957, as a parts salesman and delivery driver for a Ford dealership in the 1960s, as a clerk in an automobile parts warehouse from 1961-1962, and from working on his own vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s. The defendant, Ford, brought a motion in limine to exclude expert testimony regarding corporate conduct. The court provided a lengthy analysis …

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