Set Aside of Default Judgment Against Insurer Affirmed on Grounds of Equity Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California, December 11, 2018

CALIFORNIA — Several plaintiffs consolidated suit against multiple defendants including Associated Insulation of California (Associated) alleging exposure to asbestos for which the defendants were liable. Associated did not file a response to the complaint. Accordingly, the plaintiffs moved for default judgments in 2013 and again in 2015. The default judgments varied in amounts from $350,000 to $1,960,458. A notice of default had been served upon Associated but not its insurer, Fireman’s Fund (Fireman). Fireman shortly thereafter located policies indicating potential coverage and moved to set…
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Manufacturer’s Argument that Asbestos Not Present in Its Baby Powder Fails Due to Conflicting Expert Reports Supreme Court of New York, New York County, November 30, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiff Anna Zoas sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) alleging that her mesothelioma was caused by asbestos  present in J&J Baby Powder. She allegedly used the product daily from 1945 to 1948 and regularly from 1948 to 1956. The plaintiff’s complaint was filed on May 12, 2017, and was amended on July 4, 2017. J&J then moved for summary judgment to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. To prevail on a summary judgment motion in New York, a defendant must make a prima facie
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Ninth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Decision to Remand Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, December 10, 2018

CALIFORNIA — Westinghouse appealed the decision of the District Court for the Central District of California, which remanded the matter due to the lack of a colorable federal defense.The district court concluded that the asbestos insulation in a nuclear propulsion system was not military equipment and therefore Westinghouse failed to present a colorable military contractor defense. The district court found that Westinghouse had met the other elements required for federal officer removal. The Ninth Circuit noted that several of its cases framed the issue more…
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New Behrens Article Proposes Legislation to Promote Bankruptcy Trust Transparency & Fairness to All Parties

In most cases asserting asbestos-related injuries resulting from alleged exposure, the plaintiffs will also file proof of claims (POCs) with asbestos bankruptcy trusts. These trusts are set up when companies that mined or supplied asbestos or manufactured asbestos-containing products can no longer afford to defend a barrage of costly asbestos-exposure lawsuits and, accordingly, file for bankruptcy. The primary goals of the trusts are to compensate plaintiffs for exposure to products for which insolvent entitles are liable in a less costly and more efficient manner and…
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Market-Share Cause of Action Against Automotive Parts Manufacturer Dismissed Without Prejudice to Amend Complaint United States District Court, For the Northern District of California. December 6, 2018

The laintiff Gary Farris, brought suit against multiple product manufacturers and distributors alleging that his diagnoses of lung cancer and asbestosis were causally related to asbestos exposure he sustained while 1) working on brakes and clutches in an automotive shop during the summers from 1960 to 1964 and shadetree automotive repairs from the 1960s to 1980s; 2) serving in the United States Navy from 1964 to 1967; and 3) servicing photocopiers from 1967 to 1989. In support of his claims, Farris raised a fifth cause…
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Prescriptive Statute of Limitation Period Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment in Favor of Shipyard Defendant

LOUISIANA –The plaintiff filed suit against several defendants including Huntington Ingalls (Avondale) and Kaiser Gypsum (Kaiser) alleging her mother, Dolores Punch, developed and passed from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos for which the defendants were liable. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that her decedent was exposed to asbestos fibers from washing the laundry of her husband who had worked as a pipe fitter at Avondale from 1948-1960. The plaintiff later amended her complaint to include exposure from the work clothes of her son…
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New York’s Highest Court Upholds Defense Judgment as a Matter of Law Based on Lack of Sufficient Scientific Evidence New York State Court of Appeals, November 27, 2018

NEW YORK — New York’s highest Court issued its first decision addressing causation standards in an asbestos case, and upheld the trial and intermediate appellate court decisions granting Ford Motor Company judgment as a matter of law in Juni v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co. et al.. ACT has previously reported on the Juni matter here and here. The majority found that “[v]iewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to establish…
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Summary Judgment in Favor of Bankrupt Wisconsin Company Affirmed on Statute of Limitations Grounds California Court of Appeal, First District, November 26, 2018

CALIFORNIA — Plaintiff David Hart appealed the entry of summary judgment in favor of Special Electric Company on the basis that the claims against the company were time-barred under Wisconsin law. The plaintiff sued Special Electric alleging that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos from products supplied by the company. Special Electric, a Wisconsin corporation, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in 2004, and by 2006, a plan of reorganization had been entered. By then, all of the company’s assets had been sold…
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In-State Product Distribution Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-Of-State Asbestos Product Manufacturer Florida Third District Court of Appeal, November 21, 2018

The plaintiffs, Silverio and Faye Onorato, brought suit against numerous asbestos manufacturers and distributors alleging that Mr. Onorato developed mesothelioma from his exposure to asbestos, which occurred entirely in the State of Florida. The defendant, Highland Stucco and Lime Products, Inc.,(Highland) moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims by arguing that there was no personal jurisdiction over it, as its manufacturing business operations were confined to Southern California.  In support of its motion, Highland annexed an affidavit of its president who alleged a complete lack of…
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Defendant’s Motions in Limine to Exclude Common Plaintiff’s Experts Denied and Granted in Part in Railroad Case United States District Court, D. Kansas, October 21, 2018

KANSAS — Asbestos Case Tracker brings you the following development in the previously reported Robert Rabe case. Click to read the factual background. The defendant, The Budd Company (Budd) moved in limine to exclude the plaintiff’s experts, Drs. Brody, Castleman and Frank. The court began its analysis with the standard for expert challenges: A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if: a) the expert’s scientific, technical…
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