Trial Subpoenas to Settling Parties Allowed to Issue For Liability Apportionment Supreme Court, State of New York, County of Erie, Eighth Judicial District, September 5, 2018

NEW YORK — In a currently pending asbestos matter, defendant Jenkins Bros. issued trial subpoenas to three settling defendants – Crane Co., Flowserve, Inc., and Warren Pumps. These three defendants filed motions to quash the subpoenas, which the court denied. The court ruled that the trial subpoenas were served properly on counsel in a timely manner, as no orders or stipulations of discontinuance had been filed by the three parties, and that the information sought in the subpoenas was relevant to establish apportionment of liability…
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Defense Strategies For Alternative Causation Mealey's Litigation Report

Goldberg Segalla asbestos team members, Tom Bernier, Oded Burger, Joseph Cagnoli Jr., and Susan Van Gelder have recently published a practical guide for defense attorneys raising alternative causation defenses in Mealey’s Asbestos Litigation Report. (See article link below.) In the paper, the authors reviewed recent scientific advances to provide the defense practitioner the tools to challenge the plaintiffs’ experts’ one-size-fits-all causation model. One of the most significant recent developments in asbestos litigation has come from the field of genomics. Since 2011, over…
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Notice of Claim Provisions Bar Jurist’s Asbestos Claims Against Municipality Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.), August 31, 2018

TEXAS — Judge James Farris spent almost his entire legal career, until retiring in December of 1996, in the Jefferson County courthouse, which included a period of asbestos remediation at the courthouse, during which he was allegedly exposed to asbestos. Judge Farris developed mesothelioma in October of 2004 and tragically passed away just nine days after he first sought medical treatment. Judge Farris’s widow, Ellarene Farris, asserted wrongful death and survival causes of action against numerous entities, including Jefferson County, in its capacities as premises…
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Proper Removal Based Upon Diversity Jurisdiction When Clearly No Case Against Non-Diverse Defendant United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, August 28, 2018

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel filed a personal injury suit in Louisiana state court alleging that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos during his work as a parts delivery driver, truck mechanic, and generator service technician. The defendant Cummins, Inc. removed the matter to federal court after receiving a deposition transcript of plaintiff that arguably demonstrated that defendant and Louisiana resident, Taylor-Seidenbach, Inc. (TSI), was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff moved to remand asserting a lack of diversity jurisdiction,…
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Superseding Cause/State of Art as to Navy’s Negligence and Knowledge of Asbestos Barred Against Sealing Technology Defendant United States District Court, E.D. Virginia. August 24, 2018

VIRGINIA –The plaintiff brought this suit against John Crane Inc. (JCI) alleging Mr. Goodrich developed an asbestos related disease for which Defendant was liable. The plaintiff moved in limine to preclude JCI from presenting evidence of the alleged “knowledge or negligence of the Navy.” JCI argued that any failure to warn was not a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury based on the Navy’s negligent control of the plaintiff’s work space. Also, JCI took the position that the Navy’s intervening negligence superseded that of…
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Novel Motion to Remand Denied in California Talc Case U.S.District Court for the Central District of California, August 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA — A group of women filed suit against Johnson & Johnson in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles raising claims that the company violated various California codes by failing to warn consumers of exposure to asbestos and talc containing asbestiform fibers in Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. On May 31, 2018, Johnson & Johnson removed to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiffs moved to remand by arguing that the court lacked subject matter…
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California Appellate Court Defines Scope of Damages Recoverable in Survival Action California Court of Appeal, First District, August 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The First District of the California Court of Appeal addressed numerous issues in a case involving exposure to friction products used during personal automotive repair. The family of decedent, J.D. Williams, filed suit in January 2011 after his July 2010 death from mesothelioma. The plaintiffs asserted claims for wrongful death, strict liability and negligence. The defendant, Pep Boys, was not named in the lawsuit until an amended complaint was filed on December 6, 2012. The trial court granted Pep Boys’ motion for judgment…
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Failure to Certify Involuntary Dismissals Under Rule 54(b) Leads to No Federal Appellate Jurisdiction United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit August 24, 2018

LOUISIANA –The decedent Frank Williams allegedly contracted mesothelioma through asbestos exposure while working at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF). Lockheed Martin removed to federal court under the federal officer removal statute. The case was transferred to the Asbestos MDL, after which decedent’s children were substituted as the plaintiffs. The Asbestos MDL court issued various orders, including granting motions for summary judgment, and ultimately remanded the entire case back to Louisiana state court; plaintiffs then voluntarily dismissed their claims against the four remaining defendants. One…
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Appeals Court Confirms Dismissal Based on Asbestos Supplier’s Lack of Contacts With Florida United States Courts of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, August 23, 2018

FLORIDA — The plaintiff James Waite was allegedly exposed to asbestos while living in Massachusetts. He filed suit against multiple defendants, including Union Carbide, alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop mesothelioma. Mr. Waite was diagnosed in Florida, and he and his wife filed suit in Florida state court. Union Carbide removed the case to federal district court where the court determined that it lacked personal jurisdiction over UC. The Waites appealed, arguing that the district court erred in dismissing UC for…
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Bankruptcy Court Vigilant of Attempts to Divert Insurance Proceeds to Legal Fees United States District Court, W.D. Washington, August 20, 2018

WASHINGTON — On appeal from bankruptcy court, a federal district court denied Travelers’ motion to convert a debtor’s Chapter 11 reorganization into a Chapter 7 liquidation. In Travelers Indemnity Company v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc. BHS (W.D. Wash. Aug. 20, 2018), the debtor, Fraser Boiler Service, Inc., was a former boiler repair company that operated for decades installing and maintaining equipment.  Fraser permanently ceased all operations and sold all of its business assets, leaving behind only insurance policies to pay the claims of asbestos…
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