Floor Tile Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Both General and Specific Causation

Supreme Court of New York, New York County, June 25, 2020

The plaintiff, Carletto Lamenta (the decedent), was diagnosed with lung cancer in October of 2017 and subsequently filed this lawsuit alleging his injuries were a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos.  The decedent’s deposition took place over the course of seven days, during which he testified that he was exposed to asbestos in a variety of ways, including from his work with ABI’s Amtico vinyl asbestos floor tiles from the 1970s through the mid-1980s.

ABI filed a …

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Cooling Tower Defendant Granted Summary Judgment Due to Lack of Product ID

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

In the instant complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Ronald Viale used, handled, or was otherwise exposed to asbestos and asbestos containing products provided by or manufactured by the defendants, that he contracted the terminal cancer, mesothelioma as a result of such exposure, and that, in July 2018, he died. Based on these allegations, plaintiffs, who are, respectively, the decedent’s wife and daughter, asserted against defendant SPX the following four Causes of Action: “Negligence,” “Strict Liability,” “False Representation,” …

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Premises Owner Obtains Summary Judgment Based on Lack of Vicarious, Strict, and Direct Liability

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, July 6, 2020

In Lopez v. McDermott, Inc., pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Exxon Mobil moved for summary judgment. In the operative complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Mr. Lopez (the plaintiff) was exposed to asbestos-containing products while employed as a welder/pipefitter at Kellogg Brown & Root between 1973 and 1986, which caused him to develop malignant mesothelioma. With regard to Exxon, the plaintiffs’ claims against them sounded in …

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Iowa Breaks Ground with Asbestos Litigation Over-Naming Law—The First of its Kind in the U.S.

Over the past year, an increasing number of state legislatures are considering bills or have passed legislation intended to promote fairness, clarity, and efficiency in asbestos litigation throughout the country. (For example, New York is currently considering a bill that would promote transparency in plaintiffs’ asbestos bankruptcy trust proof of claim submissions, a development ACT previously covered). Iowa, which has recently successfully passed various types of tort reform, is particularly notable despite not being an asbestos litigation national hot spot. Following codification of …

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Delaware Superior Court: Decedent’s Exposure Affidavit Admissible

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle, July 1, 2020

A Delaware lower court has determined that an affidavit signed by a deceased plaintiff is admissible under that state’s “residual exception” to hearsay rules. Specifically, in Ogg, the plaintiff signed an affidavit regarding his work history prior to being hospitalized for end stage pulmonary fibrosis. After being discharged from the hospital, and about two weeks prior to his deposition, the plaintiff signed a second affidavit. The plaintiff passed away two days prior to a scheduled deposition. …

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Summary Judgment Upheld for Brake Manufacturer Based on Statute of Limitations

Supreme Court of Minnesota, July 1, 2020

In 2009, Gary Palmer’s (the decedent) pulmonologist informed him that he had calcium deposits on his lungs due to asbestos exposure. On December 24, 2011, the decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma and in January 2012, he learned that asbestos exposure had caused his mesothelioma. The decedent passed away on March 1, 2015.

On February 23, 2018, Appellant, Deborah Palmer, filed this action against Honeywell International (the manufacturer of Bendix brakes) (Bendix) under Minn. Stat. § 573.02, subd. 3 (2018).

The appellant alleged the decedent …

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Defendant’s Interpretation of Statutory Damages Cap Upheld on Appeal

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville, June 30, 2020

A jury trial was conducted on behalf of the plaintiff, Lois Irene Davis, who sued multiple companies alleging her husband, James William Davis (the decedent), was exposed to asbestos-containing materials at his workplace which caused him to develop mesothelioma and die. Prior to the start of trial, the plaintiff resolved her claims against all defendants except Ameron International Corporation.

At the end of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the paintiff, finding total …

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Motion for Reconsideration on Removal in Shipyard Case Granted

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

The plaintiff, Patricia Jackson, alleges asbestos exposure while employed by Avondale Shipyard between 1970 and 1977. She further alleged asbestos exposure from father’s work clothing while he was employed by Avondale between 1962 and 1975. The plaintiff filed suit against numerous defendants including Huntington Ingalls Incorporated, Albert L. Bossier, Jr., and Lamorak Insurance Company (collectively, the Avondale defendants), Taylor Seidenbach, International Paper, Eagle, Inc., Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, and Hopeman Brothers, Inc. in state court. The case …

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Court Reverses Grant of New Trial, Affirms Defense Verdict for Electrical Product Manufacturer

Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, June 29, 2020

In Estes v. Eaton Corp., 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 594, the Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District reversed an order granting a new trial, and affirmed a defense verdict for Eaton Corporation. In this case, the jury heard the trial court case, and returned a defense verdict. However, the trial court granted the plaintiff a new trial on the ground of insufficient evidence. Eaton appealed the new trial order on multiple …

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New York Court Allows Allocation Based on General Date of First Exposure

In a 2018 decision, the court determined that “all sums” allocation and vertical exhaustion applied to the plaintiffs’ claims regarding coverage for amounts expended in the defense and resolution of lawsuits related to exposure to asbestos-containing products. The matter then proceeded to trial, where the parties presented evidence regarding dates of first exposure for underlying claims and expert opinion regarding allocation.

The court adopted the plaintiffs’ factual contentions and allocation methodology. Included in their allocation methodology was allocation of claims based on a general date …

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