California Jury Awards Twelve Million Dollars to Plaintiff in Talc Case Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California. June 11, 2019

CALIFORNIA – A California jury found that asbestos in talcum powder products sold by two companies was the likely cause of the plaintiff Patricia Schmitz’s mesothelioma, awarding her two million dollars in economic damages and ten million dollars in noneconomic damages. The jury did not reach a conclusion as to whether to award punitive damages or on an intentional misrepresentation claim against one of the companies. Read the case decision here.…
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Summary Judgment Granted Based on Prior Order United States District Court, W.D. Washington, June 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff, Sherri Deem, filed suit on behalf of herself and the estate of her husband, Thomas Deem, alleging that his exposure to asbestos as a machinist at the Puget Sound Naval Yard caused him to develop mesothelioma. Thomas Deem passed away on July 2, 2015 and Sherri Deem filed suit on November 20, 2017 against certain defendants, not including Cleaver-Brooks, and filed a nearly identical suit on June 28, 2018 against 23 other companies, including Cleaver-Brooks. The cases were consolidated for the…
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Shipyard Defendant Obtains Summary Judgment as to Whether Certain Prior Asbestosis Releases Apply to Future Mesothelioma Claim U.S. District Court, E.D. Louisiana, June 10, 2019

LOUISIANA – The family of Joseph Savoie, Jr. filed suit against multiple defendants alleging he passed away from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working at Avondale Shipyards from 1948-1995. Savoie was originally diagnosed with asbestosis in 1990 and settled with several defendants. Years later, he developed mesothelioma. Avondale sought summary judgment on the issue of whether the plaintiff released his future claim for mesothelioma with respect to eight entities with whom he previously settled in his asbestosis action. Avondale’s reasoning for…
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Court of Appeals of New York Rejects Argument that Coke Ovens Are not Products For Purposes of Strict Liability Court of Appeals of New York, June 11, 2019

NEW YORK – The plaintiff, Donald Terwilliger, brought an asbestos suit against multiple defendants. The complaint included a count that Honeywell, as successor in interest to the Wilputte Coke Oven Division of the Allied Chemical Corporation (Honeywell), was strictly liable for emissions coming from its coke ovens at Bethlehem Steel’s Lackawanna Plant in New York. Specifically, Terwilliger alleged that he was exposed to the coke oven emissions while working as a lid man from 1966-1993. He passed away from lung cancer in 2012. At the…
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Federal District Court Declines to Guess at Ohio Law, Applies Continuous Trigger United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, June 6, 2019

WISCONSIN – The Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled this week that a continuous trigger and all-sums allocation applied in a dispute between an Eaton Corporation — sued in a large number of personal injury cases based on exposure to asbestos through products manufactured by Cutler-Hammer, Inc., which Eaton acquired by merger in 1979 — and its excess insurers. The parties recognized that Wisconsin has adopted both continuous trigger and all-sums allocation in asbestos cases. However, the defendants contended that their policies were governed by Ohio…
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Johnson & Johnson’s Motion to Stay Denied U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, June 7, 2019

FLORIDA – The plaintiff, Patricia Matthey, filed suit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Imerys Talc and Publix Super Markets in Florida State Court, alleging that asbestos in J&J baby powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Imerys was dismissed due to a lack of personal jurisdiction and subsequently declared bankruptcy. As it did in thousands of other cases, J&J recently removed the matter to federal court based on federal court jurisdiction over pending bankruptcy actions. J&J filed a motion to stay while its motion to…
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Asbestos Multidistrict Litigation Judge Rejects Pre-Daimler Third Circuit Authority Finding Personal Jurisdiction Based on Registration as a Foreign Corporation U.S. District Court E.D. of Pennsylvania, June 6, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – In Re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Jackie Sullivan, Executrix of the Estate of John L. Sullivan v. A.W. Chesterton, Inc., et al., the Asbestos multidistrict litigation court recently ruled on a motion to dismiss filed by a defendant. The court granted the motion as it concluded that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The court analyzed the 2014 Daimler AG v. Bauman, decision, which brought about a sea change in the jurisprudence of exercising general personal jurisdiction over a foreign…
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Steam Trap Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Exclude Evidence Denied United States District Court, W.D. Washington, June 7, 2019

WASHINGTON – As recently reported on the Asbestos Case Tracker on May 22 and May 28, 2019, in Varney v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., the court ruled on several of the defendants’ motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff, Donald Varney, filed suit against numerous defendants alleging exposure to asbestos while working as a marine machinist at multiple shipyards in Washington as well as personal and secondary exposure from automotive work caused his mesothelioma. The complaint was removed to federal court. The court…
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Auto Parts Supplier’s Personal Jurisdiction Motion Denied U.S. District Court, W.D. Washington, June 4, 2019

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff’s decedent, Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, was a merchant mariner, serving aboard several vessels while allegedly working with and around asbestos-containing products. The plaintiff additionally alleged that Klopman-Baerselman performed all maintenance and friction work on his vehicles for 30 years, and that he purchased asbestos-containing gaskets, brakes, and clutches from the Defendant, NAPA, contributing to his fatal mesothelioma. NAPA filed a motion to dismiss, and alleged that the court had no jurisdiction as NAPA lacked sufficient contacts with the State of Washington, since it…
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More Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Court U.S. District Court, D. Maryland (Kerkhof), June 3, 2019; U.S. District Court, D. Massachusetts (O'Riorden), June 5, 2019

Consistent with the recent decisions of federal courts in Pennsylvania and California, district courts in Maryland and Massachusetts this week remanded the mesothelioma cases of Plaintiffs Carol Kerkhof and Lorraine O’Riorden to their respective state courts. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court, asserting that the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., made the cases “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in Delaware. J&J filed an accompanying motion to transfer the venue…
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