Alleged Product Successor Obtains Summary Judgment on Causation and Successor Liability Grounds

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, November 4, 2021

In this asbestos action, the plaintiff alleges that the decedent, John Sullivan, was exposed to asbestos from products manufactured by Griscom Russell (Viad’s alleged predecessor) while serving in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1980. Viad moved for summary judgment on two grounds. First, Viad argued that the plaintiff has not shown that any product for which Viad is allegedly responsible caused Sullivan’s injuries. The court analyzed this argument pursuant to maritime law, …

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Plaintiff Cannot Sustain Loss of Consortium Claim Related to Own Alleged Injuries

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, November 2, 2021

Plaintiff Ethel Sampey alleged that she was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of take-home exposure to asbestos from her uncle’s work at Avondale Shipyard from 1957 to 1965, and from her employment as a bartender at bars frequented by Avondale workers after their work in the shipyard from 1966 to 1979.

In her complaint she sought damages for, inter alia, loss of consortium, which includes “elements of loss of service, loss …

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Similar Summary Judgment Standards Yield Different Results Based on Jurisdiction

Over the past six months, the Asbestos Case Tracker has reported on numerous summary judgment decisions throughout the country. The most active jurisdictions included New York, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Illinois, Delaware, Mississippi and Washington. On review of the decisions we have discussed, Texas, Illinois, Mississippi, Washington and Pennsylvania appear to be the most defendant-friendly jurisdictions, with the courts granting all the summary judgment motions coming before them. New York continues to be the least defendant-friendly jurisdiction when it comes to summary judgment. Of the eight …

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Court Finds Plaintiff’s Affidavit Establishes Specific Jurisdiction

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, September 9, 2021

Plaintiff Dennis A. Rockwell filed an asbestos action alleging he was exposed to asbestos from his work on two U.S. Navy ships and during his employment at Camp Pendleton, located in California.He alleged that such asbestos exposure ultimately resulted in his February 2021 diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Defendant Akron Brass Company moved to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction citing the plaintiff’s failure to provide facts connecting Akron Bass to California. …

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Floor Tile Manufacturer Dismissed for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

Supreme Court of New York, Suffolk County, October 28, 2021

Plaintiff Kathleen DiFranco brought this matter as a result of alleged injuries to the decedent, Anthony J. DiFranco, stemming from asbestos exposure throughout his career as a carpenter. Along with other products, the plaintiff alleges asbestos exposure due to Amtico floor tiles manufactured by the defendant, American Biltrite, Inc. Before the court is American Biltrite’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims based on lack of personal jurisdiction and motion for summary judgment.

The court reviewed …

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Remand Denied as Plaintiff’s Fraudulent Joinder Fails to Defeat Diversity Jurisdiction

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, October 22, 2021

Plaintiff Kris Lindsey was diagnosed with mesothelioma which he alleges resulted from asbestos exposure attributable to several defendants. The plaintiff initially filed suit alleging that he had been exposed to asbestos dust as a child by his father. The plaintiff then filed an amended petition that removed those allegations and instead alleged that he was exposed to asbestos by Johnson & Johnson baby powder.

Defendant Johnson & Johnson removed this case to federal …

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Manufacturer Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Failure to Warn Claim Denied

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, October 21, 2021

In this asbestos action, Dale Spurlin served in the U.S. Navy from 1963 until 1969. During this time, he alleged asbestos exposure while maintaining the boilers and other equipment in the fire rooms on the USS McGinty and the USS Rowan. After this matter was more than two years into its pendency and the filing of summary judgment motions, the defendants argued that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction by way of a …

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$26.54 Million Verdict in Wrongful Death Case against Brewing Company

Milwaukee County Circuit Court

The decedent, Gerald “Jerry” Lorbiecki, was a steamfitter who worked at a number of job sites over the better part of four decades prior to his death from mesothelioma. Attorneys for the decedent argued that two of these locations—Pabst Brewing Co. and Wisconsin Electric—were “negligent in protecting employees from asbestos exposure and violated Wisconsin’s Safe Place Act.” Wisconsin Electric settled with Mr. Lorbiecki’s estate prior to trial.

In closing arguments, lawyers for Pabst argued that company safety officials were unaware of …

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$4.4 Million Verdict Affirmed in Asbestos Bowling Ball Trial

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 8

The decedent, Donald Vanni, and his brother co-owned and operated Arcata Bowl bowling alley in California from 1957 to 1986. During this time, one of the decedent’s duties was to drill custom-fit finger holes in asbestos-containing bowling balls sold by Arcata Bowl. A press release issued by the Vanni family’s legal team stated, in part: “Asbestos, used as a filler in plastic Ebonite bowling balls, was supplied by Honeywell [International Inc.] in the form of discarded brake …

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Federal Officer Removal Upheld in Secondary Exposure Case

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, October 18, 2021

The plaintiff, Reginald A. Hamilton, Jr., alleged that as a child in the 1960s and 1970s he frequented his grandmother’s restaurant, the Rail Restaurant, which was walking distance from Avondale’s Main Yard, and thus was often patronized by Avondale Shipyard workers, contractors, and employees, and by military personnel. Mr. Hamilton alleged that throughout this time, he was exposed daily (or near daily) to asbestos dust brought into the restaurant by these patrons, and …

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