NYCAL Decisions Denying Summary Judgment to Floor Tile Manufacturer Reversed

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, July 19, 2022 

On July 19, 2022, the First Department reversed three New York City Asbestos Litigation (“NYCAL”) decisions that denied summary judgment to Defendant, American Biltrite, Inc. (“ABI”), finding that the plaintiffs could not prove specific causation, and thus summary judgment to ABI was in fact warranted. In other words, the plaintiffs were unable able to show that exposure to ABI’s floor tiles were the cause or a contributing factor to the Plaintiffs’ alleged diseases. …

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NYCAL Verdict Against Talc Product Manufacturer Reversed on Causation Grounds

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, July 19, 2022

In 2017, Plaintiff Donna Olson (“Plaintiff”) filed suit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), claiming that her lifelong use of J&J talcum powder exposed her to asbestos and caused her to develop mesothelioma. After a 12-week jury trial in 2019, a New York City jury found J&J liable and awarded damages to Plaintiff in the amount of $325 Million. In November 2020, the trial court reduced the award to $120 Million, but affirmed the …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion to Exclude Defense Expert’s Hearsay Statements Granted

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana; July 18, 2022

Plaintiffs filed an asbestos-related lawsuit on behalf of Decedent, Callan Cortez, alleging that Mr. Cortez contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos, and subsequently died. The relevant exposure claimed by Mr. Cortez was take-home exposure from his brother, Daniel, who lived with Mr. Cortez while he worked at Avondale Shipyards from 1967 until 1968.

Danny Joyce, an Avondale industrial hygienist and corporate witness, gave deposition testimony about conversations he had …

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Brake Supplier Permitted to Present Evidence of Fault Against Non-Parties for Apportionment Considerations

United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Owensboro Division, July 12, 2022

In this asbestos action, the plaintiff Jack Papineau sued various manufacturers alleging that these manufacturers produced asbestos-containing products, which caused plaintiff’s mesothelioma. One of the defendants, Brake Supply, sought indemnification or apportionment from an outside party, Frans-Le South America (“Fras-Le”), alleging that Frans-Le sold Brake Supply asbestos-containing brakes. The court dismissed Brake Supply’s indemnification claims against Frans-Le for a lack of personal jurisdiction. However, the court left the question of …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand Granted Due to Railroad Company Defendant’s Untimely Motion for Removal  

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin , July 13, 2022

Plaintiffs Trisha and David Babler filed a lawsuit to recover damages Trisha allegedly sustained as a result of “take-home” asbestos exposure from her father, who was employed at Soo Line Railroad Company (SLR).  Plaintiffs named Sprinkmann Sons Corporation as a defendant “based on inferences that Sprinkmann was either a contractor at the North Fond du Lac SLR facility and/or supplied asbestos-containing materials to SLR for use at that facility.”  

Discovery …

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Defendants Successful on Motion to Strike Plaintiff’s Expert’s Specific Causation Opinion 

United States District Court for the Northern District of California, July 11, 2022

Plaintiff, Frank Shelton, filed an asbestos-related lawsuit alleging his exposure to asbestos from various defendants’ products while he served in the Navy from approximately the mid-1960s to the early 1970s caused him to contract mesothelioma. During his service, plaintiff worked as a machinist mate while stationed aboard the USS Constellation, USS Repose, and USS Haleakala, where he regularly and routinely performed maintenance and repairs to various equipment in the …

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Turbine Defendant Not Liable For Failure to Warn as to Third-Party Insulation

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 8, 2022

In this asbestos matter, the defendant ViacomCBS Inc. (“Westinghouse”) moved for partial summary judgment as to Decedent Callen Cortez’s claims arising from alleged exposure to asbestos from Westinghouse’s turbines, arguing that the plaintiffs could not establish that Decedent was exposed to a Westinghouse turbine at the Monsanto plant at which he worked, that his exposures were not substantial factors in causing his mesothelioma, and that Westinghouse was not liable for any of …

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New Jersey Supreme Court Reverses Appellate Division and Reinstates Plaintiff’s Verdict

New Jersey Supreme Court, June 30, 2022

In this asbestos action, decedent Willis Edenfield (“Edenfield”) commenced a failure to warn product liability action against defendant Union Carbide. The Appellate Division vacated the jury’s verdict for Plaintiff and remanded for a new trial. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division’s  decision. The Supreme Court found that there were two important contentions at issue.

The Supreme Court explained that this matter is “governed by our common law jurisprudence on product liability.”  As per Whelan

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New York’s Grieving Families Act May See First Update In Over 100 Years

The current wrongful death statute in New York, which has been in place since 1847, may get a revamp in the coming months. Senate Bill S74A, also known as the Grieving Families Act (“the Act”) is currently awaiting Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature. Full language of the statute is available here.

If signed, the Act will expand compensable damages in wrongful death actions to include emotional losses such as grief and anguish to the types of damages that family members would be entitled to recover. …

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Plaintiff’s Motion to Reargue Trailer Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Motion Denied

Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, June 29, 2022

In this asbestos action, plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to reargue a motion for summary judgement filed by defendant Strick Trailers, LLC (“Strick”), which was granted on October 13, 2021.

By way of background, the plaintiff, James Martinez, alleged he was exposed to asbestos from replacing brakes on delivery trailers manufactured by Strick. Plaintiff was unable to testify as to the maintenance history of Strick trailers, nor did he …

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