Court Dismisses Constructive Fraud Claim Against Insurer United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, October 29, 2019

VIRGINIA – Newport News Shipbuilding Division (NNS) has built ships and submarines for the United States Navy since the late 1800s. Through several transactions, the company came to be owned first by Tenneco, Inc., and later by Huntington Ingalls, Inc. Between 2001 and 2015, NNS was sued in a number of asbestos-related personal injury actions. As part of its response to those actions, NNS sought coverage under policies issued by one of its insurers. The insurer offered coverage under several policies, but represented that no…
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Sugar Refinery Defendant’s Appeal of Trial Verdict Denied Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California, October 30, 2019

CALIFORNIA – Mark Lopez’s widow, plaintiff Lannette Lopez, brought suit against the defendant, The Hillshire Brands Company, arguing that Mark was exposed to asbestos as a child from his father and grandfather’s work at a sugar refinery owned by Hillshire, causing his fatal epithelioid mesothelioma. A jury awarded the plaintiff $1.9 million dollars in economic damages and $11 million dollars in noneconomic damages. Hillshire appealed, and raised challenges to the jury’s failure to apportion fault; to the jury instructions given; and to the sufficiency of…
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Summary Judgment Reversed for Gasket Manufacturer, But Affirmed for Pump Manufacturer Court of Appeals of Georgia, October 29, 2019

GEORGIA – Leisa Davis filed suit against the defendants John Crane (JCI) and FMC Corporation (for Peerless pumps hereinafter FMC), alleging her husband developed and passed away from mesothelioma as a result of his asbestos exposure to products for which the defendants were liable. Davis worked at the Louisiana Pacific Corporation fiberboard mill from 1984 to 1988 as a laborer and boiler operator. As a laborer, he swept up dust in the mill and removed gaskets and packing from the boilers, pumps, and valves. Davis…
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Improper Exclusion of Plaintiff’s Affidavit and Testimony Leads to Reversal of Summary Judgment Pennsylvania Superior Court, October 28, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff, Nicholas Kardos, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2016, and he filed suit against numerous defendants in March of that year. On September 12, 2016, he submitted an affidavit regarding his work at Gulf Research and exposure to asbestos while employed there. He was deposed and cross-examined by numerous defendants over three days in October 2016, and passed away eight days after the last day of testimony. Numerous defendants filed motions for summary judgment. All of the defendants were present at…
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Delaware District Court Rules on Pre-trial Motions in Maritime Law Case United States District Court, D. Delaware, October 25, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff filed this asbestos-related wrongful death action in Delaware on June 11, 2015. While the court does not explain the underlying case facts, motion practice regarding admiralty law and expert exclusion indicates that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while a member of the United States Navy. As trial is approaching for this case, the plaintiff and the defendant, John Crane, Inc. (JCI), both filed motions in limine. The plaintiff’s motion sought to exclude discussion or reference to collateral sources, including…
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Court Nullifies Insurer’s Agreement with Insured to Allow Plaintiff to Proceed Directly Against Insurer Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, October 21, 2019

LOUISIANA – Nelcome Courville contracted and later died of mesothelioma. Before his death, he filed a lawsuit against a variety of parties based on his exposure to asbestos, and his wife and children were substituted as plaintiffs after Courville’s death. One of those parties, Reilly-Benton Company, Inc., filed for bankruptcy in 2017. Thereafter, the plaintiffs named Reilly-Benton’s insurer as a direct defendant pursuant to Louisiana’s direct action statute. The insurer moved for summary judgment, arguing that a 2013 settlement agreement it had entered into with…
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Two Discovery Disputes Resolved in Favor of Plaintiff; One Resolved in Favor of Toyota U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 18, 2019

WASHINGTON – The court recently ruled on a motion for protective order filed by the defendants, Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (collectively, Toyota), regarding second amended notices of deposition directed to their corporate representatives, pursuant to F.R.C.P. 30(b)(6). Toyota objected to a series of inquiries, which were distilled down to three primary areas:
  1. Overbreadth and disproportionality as to time frame
  2. Overbreadth and disproportionality as to products at issue
  3. Invasion of attorney-client privilege and/or work product protections.
Toyota provided red-lined versions of…
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Unclear Corporate Representative Topics Leads to Grant of Protective Order for Brake Manufacturer United States District Court, W.D. Washington, October 16, 2019

WASHINGTON – In a case extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the defendant Pneumo Abex  filed a motion for protective order in reply to the plaintiff’s Third Amended Notice of 30(b)(6) deposition of Abex. The first 30(b)(6) notice identified 71 topics, and after a meet and confer, was whittled down to 34. Abex agreed to tender the witness for 32 of the 34 topics, and filed the instant motion. The two disputed topics were:
  1. Abex’s corporate values and codes of conduct regarding the

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Pump Defendant Granted Summary Judgment Based on Lack of Proximate Exposure United States District Court, W.D. Washington, October 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – In a case extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the court granted the summary judgment motion of pump defendant Ingersoll-Rand. Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, the decedent, alleged that he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos through his work on equipment while he served in the Merchant Marines. As proof of exposure, the plaintiff had produced documents indicating the presence of Ingersoll-Rand pumps and compressors aboard ships on which the decedent served, as well as expert reports opining that he would have…
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Aircraft Manufacturer’s Opposition to Plaintiff’s Attempt to Apply English Law Granted United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division, October 15, 2019

MARYLAND – The plaintiff, Richard Fullen, alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos during his work as an aircraft mechanic in the United States Air Force from 1994 to 2016. The court ruled on three motions:
  1. Defendant Velan Valves’ unopposed motion for summary judgment
  2. The plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant Lockheed Martin’s fact witness designation
  3. Defendant Lockheed Martin’s motion for a determination of governing law
Both defense motions were granted but the plaintiff’s motion was denied. Regarding the motion to strike, Lockheed had…
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