Shipyard Defendant’s Removal Deemed Timely Following Receipt of Discovery

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, December 7, 2020

Plaintiff Ethel Sampey was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which she alleged was caused by secondhand exposure to asbestos from her uncle, Huey Levron, who worked at the Avondale Shipyard from 1957 to 1965, and also from working as a bartender and serving Avondale workers. The plaintiff filed suit against Avondale, among other defendants, in July 2020. On August 1, 2020, the plaintiff served her fact witness list, which identified numerous witnesses, including two individuals, …

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Medical Expert Reports Deemed Sufficient to Overcome Dismissal in Maritime Action

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, Cuyahoga County

This matter arises from the decedent’s allegation that his work as a merchant marine on ships, including repair and cleaning of asbestos-insulated steam lines, exposed him to asbestos and contributed to his development of lung cancer. After conducting discovery, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss contending that the plaintiff failed to meet the requirements of Ohio Revised Code Ann. 2307.92 (“Minimum medical requirements for tort action alleging asbestos claim”), including that the plaintiff failed …

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Four Daubert Challenges Denied in Shipyard Case

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, November 30, 2020

Defendant Puget Sound Commerce Center, Inc. filed Daubert motions seeking to exclude the testimony of four of the plaintiffs’ experts: Captain Arnold Moore, Steven Paskal, Dr. David Zhang, and Charles Ay. On each motion, the court was charged with determining whether the expert’s testimony was reliable and helpful, and based on principles, techniques, or theories that were generally accepted in the expert’s profession; and whether the testimony would be helpful, in that it …

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Denial of Daubert Motions in Navy Yard Case Leads to Denial of Summary Judgment for Valve Manufacturer

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, November 30, 2020

The plaintiffs filed two lawsuits in New York state court alleging that the decedent, John Grimes, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos while working as a coppersmith apprentice at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1961 to 1963. During his discovery deposition, Mr. Grimes testified that he believed he was exposed to asbestos while working in the shop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and aboard warships. He …

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Defendant’s Unopposed Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Granted

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

In this asbestos action, defendant Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR Section 3211(a)(8), arguing that it is a New Jersey company with no connection to New York. No opposition was filed.

Based on the defendant’s motion, the court held the defendant had established that it is a New Jersey corporation that conducts business solely in New Jersey, does not conduct business in New York, and does not employ personnel in New York. …

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Prior Release of FELA Claims Based on Asbestos Exposure Does Not Bar New Toxic Claims Based on Language in Past Release

U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska

The plaintiff brings claims under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) and the Federal Locomotive Inspection Act. The plaintiff, who was employed as a brakeman and conductor by defendant Union Pacific Railroad Company, alleges that while employed by Union Pacific from 1963 to 2000, he was negligently exposed to various toxic tort substances and carcinogens that caused or contributed to his development of colorectal cancer.

Defendant Union Pacific filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that the …

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Longshoreman Plaintiff Exposed to Raw Asbestos Awarded $10.3 Million in Mesothelioma Case

An in-person jury trial was recently held in Louisiana on the plaintiff’s negligence claims. After graduating high school, the plaintiff worked as a longshoreman from 1964 to 1968 at the Port of New Orleans. As part of his job, he unloaded burlap bags of raw asbestos. The plaintiff testified that the bags would frequently tear, releasing asbestos dust into the ship’s hold. At trial, the plaintiff testified that each of the defendants knew of the dangers the asbestos posed but took no steps to warn …

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Floor Tile Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied Due to Conflicting Expert Reports

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

In this action, defendant American Biltrite Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff has failed to establish general or specific causation for the plaintiff’s lung cancer in relation to American Biltrite’s products. The deceased plaintiff had alleged that his fatal lung cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos over the course of his career as an electrician at three worksites, and the plaintiff had testified that floor tile made by American Biltrite …

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“Credibility Issue” of Experts Leads to Denial of Sheet Flooring Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment

The plaintiff alleges that the lung cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos over the course of his career at various locations in New York between 1975 and 1983. Defendant Mannington Mills, Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff had not established general or specific causation of his lung cancer related to the defendant’s products (sheet flooring).

A defendant seeking summary judgment in a products liability case involving asbestos must make a prima facie case that its product …

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Various Defendants Summary Judgment Motions Upheld on Appeal Due to Statute of Repose

Court of Appeals of Washington

Cindy Maxwell, the personal representative of the Estate of Edmond Brown, and Marilou Brown (collectively the Browns) appeal the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Parsons Government Services, Inc. (Parsons) and Brand Insulations, Inc. (Brand). This action arises from Edmond’s alleged exposure to asbestos between 1971 and 1972 during the construction of Atlantic Richfield Corporation’s (ARCO) petroleum refinery at Cherry Point in Ferndale. Parsons was the general contractor who constructed the Cherry Point refinery and Brand was …

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