Johnson & Johnson Wins another Talc Trial The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, December 16, 2019

CALIFORNIA – On December 16, 2019, after a day-and-a-half of deliberations following a trial that had begun in October, a Los Angeles, California jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of defendant, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), finding that it was not liable for the plaintiff, Pui “Amy” Fong’s mesothelioma. Fong, a mother of two who immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong in 1984 at the age of 13, alleged that she had been exposed to asbestos from using J&J baby powder since 1971.…
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Court Grants Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Cross-Claims Based on Sovereign Immunity Doctrine United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana, December 13, 2019

In Carey Gomez v. Aardvark Contractors, Inc. et al., the court recently opined regarding a defendant’s motion to dismiss in an asbestos-related action. The plaintiff filed suit in March 2018, alleging asbestos exposure from multiple sources, including his own work as a plumber from 1988 through 2011, as well as secondarily through his father’s employment at the Avondale Shipyards in the 1960s. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which led to his petition of damages against multiple defendants. Two defendants filed their answers, affirmative…
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Application of Seven Lockwood Factors Creates Issues of Material Fact; Summary Judgment on Product Liability Claim Denied United States District Court, W.D. Washington, December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – The latest development in a case extensively covered by Asbestos Case Tracker finds the Western District of Washington denying defendant Pneumo Abex LLC’s motion for summary judgment. This matter was filed on behalf of the decedent, Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, in the Pierce County Superior Court on October 27, 2017 and removed to United States District Court. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos through his maintenance work on vehicles, including friction work, from approximately 1966 to 1997, as well as through…
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Reversal of Summary Judgment for U.S. Steel on Maritime Claims Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, December 9, 2019

OHIO – Edward Shaffer was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working in the boiler room of multiple vessels while serving as a merchant marine employed by the Pittsburgh Steamship Division of U.S. Steel, from 1960 to 1961. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 and subsequently filed suit against 23 defendants, including U.S. Steel. That defendant moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s third amended complaint addressing the Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims. The motion was granted, and the plaintiff appealed. The plaintiff asserted three…
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Court Grants Summary Judgment for Valve Manufacturer due to Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Causation United States District Court, W.D. Washington, December 5, 2019

WASHINGTON – In a case extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the court granted the summary judgment motion of defendant, Crosby Valve LLC. The decedent, Rudie Klopman- Baerselman, alleged that he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos through his work as a merchant mariner aboard several vessels. The defendant argued that there was no evidence that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from a Crosby valve and that there is no evidence that asbestos from a Crosby Valve product was…
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Insurer’s Settlement Allocation Entitled to Defense in Dispute with Reinsurer U.S. District Court, N.D. New York, December 3, 2019

NEW YORK — Reinsurer Century Indemnity Company filed a series of motions following an adverse jury verdict in its dispute with Insurer Utica Mutual Insurance Company regarding Utica’s handling of a settlement with Goulds Pumps related to a slew of asbestos claims against Goulds. Century first contended that the judgment should be amended to properly calculate prejudgment interest. According to Century, the jury calculated all prejudgment interest from the date of Utica’s initial billings to Century, when in fact only a fraction of the total…
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Board of Veterans’ Failure to Review Medical Evidence Leads to Remand For Former U.S. Marine United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, December 3, 2019

Martha Tallman appealed a decision from the Board of Veterans denying her husband’s claim for service related respiratory and heart disability. Her husband served with the United States Marine Corps from 1960-1965. He claimed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and ischemic heart disease for exposure to chemicals and asbestos while stationed in Okinawa and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. At the hearing level, Tallman testified regarding his exposure. The judge “underscored the importance of submitting other medical records” to support his claims. Subsequent to the…
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Motions to Dismiss Denied in Consolidated Cases Brought by Two Groups of Beneficiaries U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana December 2, 2019

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Federico Lopez, filed a lawsuit in June 2017 in Louisiana state court alleging his malignant mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to asbestos at unidentified facilities. He passed during the pendency of the lawsuit, and his surviving spouse and child maintained the case (the Lopez action), and asserted a wrongful death claim. On November 8, 2018, the plaintiffs, Jessica and Alfred Soliz, filed suit in Louisiana state court (the Soliz action), asserting strict liability and negligence claims on behalf of Lopez…
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Incorrect Rule Applied to Determine Whether Compensatory Damages Were Excessive; $40.6 Million Verdict Remanded Supreme Court of Delaware, December 2, 2019

DELAWARE – On June 8, 2018, a Delaware jury awarded $40.6 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiff, Paula Knecht, in a case previously reported by this blog. The defendant, Ford Motor Company (Ford), was assessed 20 percent liability, meaning the plaintiff was awarded $8.1 million against Ford. Subsequently, Ford filed two post-trial motions:
  1. for judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative, a new trial
  2. for a new trial, or in the alternative, remittitur.
The trial judge denied both motions and Ford…
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A Matter of Trust: Promoting Truth in New York Asbestos Trust Claims with Legislative Solutions

Previously on Asbestos Case Tracker, we took a look at the successful efforts of certain states to combat manipulation and abuse of the asbestos bankruptcy trust system. These states passed legislation that prevents claimants from being doubly compensated for alleged exposures to asbestos-containing products manufactured, used, or supplied by bankrupt and viable companies. The legislation enabled defendants in the tort system to obtain evidence of alternative exposures submitted only to bankruptcy trusts but not during the course of personal injury litigation. New York’s Solution New…
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