Lack of Personal Jurisdiction over Successor-in-Interest Defendant Leads to Dismissal in Environmental Contamination Case Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, July 25, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiffs filed suit against the defendants alleging damages for environmental contamination within the City of Rochester. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the successors in interest to the defendants caused contamination to their property throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Defendant Valero Corporation (Valero) moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s second amended complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion finding that the plaintiffs had established facts that demonstrated justification to “exercise” personal jurisdiction over Valero because “it was…
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Shipyard Defendants Establish a Colorable Federal Defense in Mesothelioma Case; Remand Denied United States District Court, D. New Jersey. July 31, 2018

NEW JERSEY — The plaintiff filed suit on behalf of her decedent Robert Fish alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos products of the defendants. Specifically, the plaintiff believed Mr. Fish was exposed to joiner panels while working onboard the USS Savannah for New York Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. The dfendants removed the matter to federal court asserting the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved to remand. The court began its review by noting the standard for federal officer removal.…
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Denial of Worker’s Compensation Claim by employee of Scotts Miracle Grow Upheld on Appeal. Court of Appeals, Third District, Union County, July 30, 2018

OHIO — The plaintiff James Bennett filed a worker’s compensation claim for his development of “pleural plaque” disease he attributed to asbestos exposure while working for Scotts Miracle Grow (Scotts). Bennett began receiving benefits for his claim but then filed for additional payments for his recent “asbestosis” diagnosis. The hearing officer denied his claim for asbestosis finding that the plaintiff had not established the disease process. The plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the parties did not dispute that the plaintiff had been exposed to asbestos. Rather,…
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Claims Against Manville Insurer Permitted to Proceed For Violation of Due Process U.S.District Court for the Southern District of New York, July 27, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiff, Salvador Parra, developed asbestosis after working as an insulator in the 1960s and 1970s. He filed suit in 2009 in Mississippi against numerous Manville-related entities, including Marsh USA, Inc., a Manville insurer. In 1986, Marsh contributed $29.75M to the Manville Trust in exchange for a release of all claims “arising out of or relating to services” performed by Marsh for Manville or “in connection with insurance policies issued to” Manville, and an injunction funneling all future such claims into the…
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Remand Affirmed on Appeal Due to Lack of Causal Connection to Support Removal Under Federal Officer Statute U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, July 26, 2018

The family of Tyrone Melancon filed suit in Louisiana state court alleging that his development of mesothelioma and subsequent death were caused by his exposure to asbestos at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard where he was employed from 1965 to 1979. The plaintiffs alleged that Huntington Ingalls negligently failed to warn Tyrone Melancon of the dangers of asbestos and failed to implement safety procedures for handling asbestos. Huntington Ingalls removed the case to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, alleging that removal was permissible…
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Defendants’ Knowledge of Asbestos Not Required to Survive Motion to Dismiss U.S. District Court, District of Montana, July 27, 2018

The United States District Court, District of Montana, issued identical decisions in three with the following similarly situated plaintiffs (collectively as “plaintiffs” ) and defendant BNSF Railway Company (BNSF):
  • Lloyd E. Underwood (CV-17-83-GF-BMM-JTJ);
  • Carrie Sue Murphy-Fauth (CV-17-79-GF-BMM-JTJ);
  • Consuela Deason, as Personal Representative for the Estate of James E. Deason (CV-17-76-GF-BMM-JTJ).
In each case, BNSF filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (among other arguments).  Here, BNSF argued that the plaintiffs failed to allege that BNSF owed the plaintiffs a duty of…
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New Jersey Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss New York Case With Exposure In Virginia Granted Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, July 27, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), alleging that Mrs. Hammock’s exposure to asbestos-containing J&J baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. Mrs. Hammock was a Virginia resident her entire life, and all of her alleged exposure took place in Virginia.   JJCI is the sole entity responsible for manufacturing and distributing J&J baby powder during the subject time period. JJCI is a New Jersey Corporation  with its principal place of business in New Jersey. JJCI…
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Bankruptcy Status of Louisiana Defendant Does Not Provide Grounds For Removal United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, July 26, 2018

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants alleging that he contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos products at various worksites from 1960-1979. The plaintiff initially filed suit against 20 defendants in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. On July 23, 2018 Defendants Union Carbide Corporation and Bayer CropScience, Inc. filed a notice of removal, stating that the plaintiff had settled with all remaining parties and alleging that complete diversity existed. Concurrently, the plaintiffs filed a motion to…
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Joint Compound Defendant Dismissed for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction on Appeal District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, July 25, 2018

FLORIDA — The plaintiff Steven Bolin alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from his work with various products in Florida from 1969 to 1981. Specific to the appellant, Bolin’s amended complaint alleged that he used Southern Wall Products’ (SWP) joint compound while working as a laborer and/or construction worker in Florida in 1975-1977. SWP moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, and in support, supplied an affidavit averring that SWP and its predecessor Ruco never had an office in…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Assert Elements for Fraudulent Misrepresentation Leads to Dismissal for Friction Defendants U.S. District Court, M.D. North Carolina, July 23, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA — The plaintiff filed suit against 62 defendants including Ford Motor (Ford) and Hennessey Industries (Hennessey) alleging he was injured as a result of exposure to the defendant’s asbestos containing products or equipment. Ford and Hennessey moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims for fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim with respect to those allegations. The plaintiff sought leave to amend his complaint and amended the complaint after the court permitted a more definite statement. Ford and…
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