Summary Judgment Reversed in Drywall/Joint Compound Matter

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Seven, June 24, 2020

In December 2011, the plaintiff, Jovana Collantes, and the decedent, Joel Hernandezcueva, filed a lawsuit against numerous defendants arising from the decedent’s alleged exposure to asbestos while employed as a janitor at a large complex occupied by Fluor Corporation (the Fluor Complex) from 1992 to 1995 (the December 2011 action). The plaintiff and the decedent alleged the decedent inhaled drywall debris containing asbestos. The December 2011 action went to trial in September 2013 against …

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Illinois Court Holds Plaintiff Failed to Prove Coverage Allocation

John Crane, Inc. used asbestos fibers in the manufacture of gaskets, mechanical sealing, and packing products. It was named a defendant in over 325,000 cases involving personal injury claims based on asbestos exposure, and as a result became involved in a dispute with its insurers regarding coverage for such lawsuits. This decision was an appeal of a trial court judgment that (a) one of John Crane’s multi-year primary policies had annualized $20 million per occurrence limits, which resulted in a finding that the policy had …

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Electrical Manufacturers Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Cigarette Warning Labels Denied as Speculative

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

Plaintiffs brought the instant action alleging the decedent, Thomas Fahey, was exposed to asbestos from his work in a variety of ways including his work with transformers and electric panels. Specifically, it is alleged that the defendants’ electrical panels and transformers were insulated with asbestos materials or contained asbestos wrapped rope from about 1980 through 2015 while the decedent was employed as an apprentice and union electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local #3 from …

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Loss of Valid Statute of Limitations Defense after Re-Filing Not a Bar to Dismissal Without Prejudice

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, June 12, 2020

Family members (plaintiffs) of the decedent Cynthia Cartwright alleged exposure to asbestos-containing talcum powder attributed to defendants Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Avon Products Inc., and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), which the plaintiffs claim resulted in the decedent’s fatal mesothelioma. The plaintiffs initially filed an action in Maryland, and JJCI moved to federal court.  Cyprus and Avon subsequently moved to dismiss based on personal jurisdiction, whereas JJCI moved for partial judgment on the …

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Remand Denied Based on Recent Decision on Federal Officer Removal Statute

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 10, 2020

Plaintiff William Hulin alleged he contracted lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were liable. Specifically, he believed he had been exposed to asbestos while working as a tacker welder at Avondale Industries from 1956 to 1973. Prior to filing the complaint, the plaintiff filed an ex parte petition to take his deposition.  The plaintiff’s deposition was taken on October 3, 2019 and was circulated …

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Ohio Appellate Court Applies “All Sums” and Vertical Exhaustion

William Powell Co. v. OneBeacon Ins. Co., 2020 Ohio App. LEXIS 2200 (Ohio Ct. At.. June 10, 2020)

The William Powell Company has been embroiled in a years-long dispute with its insurers regarding coverage for asbestos-related liabilities. In this decision, the court addressed whether the language of certain excess liability policies supported vertical exhaustion or horizontal exhaustion of coverage. Horizontal exhaustion means that all triggered primary policies must be exhausted before any excess policy can be triggered. Vertical exhaustion means that only the primary …

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Remand of Trailer Manufacturer’s Removal Granted Based on Lack of Diversity

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

The plaintiffs brought the instant action alleging that decedent John Brindell was exposed to asbestos-containing products during his employment for Puerto Rico Marine Management (PRMM) as a mechanic at the Port of New Orleans. The plaintiffs filed a petition in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans against several defendants including Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company, Taylor-Seidenbach, Inc., Eagle Inc., and Eagle’s insurers-First State Insurance Company, and United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company.

Defendant Utility …

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Court Holds Law Firm May Be Alter-Ego of Defunct Company

In October 2018, a jury in a federal district court in North Carolina granted a judgment in excess of $30 million against Covil Corporation, a company that formerly manufactured products containing asbestos but has been defunct since 1993. By the time the North Carolina litigation commenced, Covil had no officers, directors, agents, or employees. As a result, the litigation was directed by Covil’s insurers. After the jury verdict was handed down, a receiver for Covil was appointed in South Carolina.

In an effort to collect …

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New Jersey Supreme Court Affirms Manufacturer Liability for Third-Party Asbestos-Containing Component Parts

This case was initially filed in Middlesex County, NJ by the plaintiff in 2014. The plaintiff, Arthur Whelan, alleged he contracted mesothelioma from working on products manufactured by defendants, including original asbestos-containing components and asbestos-containing replacement components manufactured by other entities. At the summary judgment stage, the defendants argued the plaintiff could not establish that his exposure to asbestos was the result of any product they manufactured or distributed. Further, they denied any liability for the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos-containing replacement parts that they did …

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Motion for Summary Judgment Denied for Fireproofing Contractor at World Trade Center

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

The plaintiff alleged that Arthur Shanahan (the decedent) was exposed to asbestos while employed as a carpenter at various commercial, residential, and industrial sites in Manhattan from approximately 1982 to 2016. During this time, the decedent worked at the World Trade Center framing walls where it is alleged he removed asbestos-containing fireproofing spray that had been previously applied on the ceilings. He removed the fireproofing spray with a claw hammer and then swept the dust off the …

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