Railroad Case Remanded to Lower Court to Determine “Other Activities”

Supreme Court of Montana, March 11, 2020

MONTANA – The defendant BNSF Railway Company’s (BNSF) appealed the lower court’s decision arguing that the court erred in granting partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on the issues of preemption, strict liability, and non-party affirmative defenses.

As an overview, W. R. Grace acquired the assets of Zonolite Company, formerly known as Mineral Carbon and Insulating Company. W.R. Grace mined vermiculite seven miles outside of Libby, Montana. W.R. Grace’s operations produced approximately 80 percent of the …

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Remand Granted After Finding that Removal Period was Triggered by Plaintiffs’ Discovery Responses

NEW YORK – The plaintiffs sued dozens of defendants, including Cleaver-Brooks, alleging that Frederick Brown developed an asbestos-related injury as a result of exposure to the defendant’s products. The complaint was filed in July 2017. The plaintiff served answers to interrogatories in October 2017. The responses stated in pertinent part “…While performing my sheet metal worker duties, I was exposed to asbestos from the work I did as well as from the work of tradesmen around and in close proximity to me who were cleaning, …

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New York County Jury Renders Defense Verdict in World Trade Center Case

NEW YORK – On Friday, March 6, 2020, a New York County jury rendered a defense verdict in the matter of Sharon Epstein, Individually and as Independent Administrator of the Estate of Ira Epstein v. Atlas Turner, Inc., et al., an asbestos personal injury and wrongful death action involving the decedent, Ira Epstein, and his alleged bystander exposures to asbestos-containing products while working at the World Trade Center. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that for approximately two months in 1970, Ira Epstein worked for an …

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Defendant’s Collateral Estoppel Argument Fails in Motion For JMOL

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division, March 5, 2020

NORTH CAROLINA – On June 9, 2015, Wade Miller Gore (decedent) and Faye Gore (plaintiff) filed an asbestos-related lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The complaint alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos products while working at the DuPont plant in Leland, NC. 

Trial began on Sept. 16, 2019 with the plaintiff’s case-in-chief concluding on Sept. 20, 2019.  At that time, the defendant, John Crane, …

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Court Grants Plaintiff’s Motion for Jurisdictional Discovery for Turbine Manufacturer

United States District Court, S.D. New York, March 3, 2020

NEW YORK – Eugene Paroni, the plaintiff’s spouse, was diagnosed with and died of mesothelioma. The plaintiff alleges that the decedent’s mesothelioma was a result of his asbestos exposure from his work with a turbine manufactured by Ruston Gas Turbines, Ltd. The plaintiff brought suit against Alstom SA, successor-in-interest to Ruston. The plaintiff originally filed suit in California where he resided. Shortly thereafter, service of the summons on Alstom was quashed for lack of personal …

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Louisiana District Court Issues Remittitur Decision in Asbestos Case

U.S. District Court E.D. of Louisiana, March 4, 2020

LOUISIANA – The decedent, James Leoma Gaddy, filed a petition for damages against various defendants on Sept. 21, 2018 in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. It is alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while working at International Paper from 1948 to 1950 and 1952, and while working as a chemical engineer at Ethyl Corporation’s facility from 1955 to 1960. The decedent filed suit against a number of defendants, including Taylor-Seidenbach, …

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Asbestos Claims Against Bankrupt Entities Barred Under Confirmation Order

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Maryland. March 02, 2020

The plaintiffs were various entities who filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in 2001. Their bankruptcy confirmation order set a bar date for the filing of claims by creditors against the entities. Nearly 16 years later, asbestos claimants filed claims for exposure to asbestos in Pennsylvania.  The plaintiffs then filed suit against the asbestos claimants as an adversarial bankruptcy proceeding. Motions for summary judgment were filed by both sides.

The court first set out to …

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Opposite Outcomes in Recent Removals Based on Diversity Hone in on Status of Remaining Defendants

A string of recent decisions on remand motions illustrates that diversity challenges are alive and well in asbestos litigation. As the landscape of defendants changes as trial approaches, so do the defenses. Whether by settlement or dismissal, the remaining defendant or defendants have taken advantage of diversity issues to remove cases to more favorable federal jurisdictions with stark contrast in results. That contrast should give defendants cause for pause prior to removal.

Recently, in Wieland v. Arvinmeritor, Inc., a brake defendant removed the case …

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Dryer Felt Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Personal Jurisdiction Denied

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina, February 28, 2020

United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina recently denied a dryer felt defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit after William Brock was employed as an electrician and maintenance worker at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem for over 30 years, and developed mesothelioma after exposure to various asbestos-containing materials. The dryer felt defendant moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). …

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NC District Court Denies Defendants’ Request to Stay Proceedings Pending Outcome in North Carolina Industrial Commission Action

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, February 25, 2020

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiff, Belinda Foushee filed a claim with North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) against Appalachian State University (ASU) alleging her daughter, Anneka Foushee or the decedent, contracted and died from mesothelioma as a result of her exposure to asbestos-containing products she used as a student at ASU. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 143-291, NCIC adjudicates tort claims against the institutions and agencies of the State of North Carolina that arise as a …

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