Expert Testimony Insufficient to Create Issue of Fact in Take Home Exposure Case U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit August 28, 2019

The Ninth Circuit affirmed an Idaho district court’s order granting summary judgment for the defendant, Union Pacific, in a secondary exposure case filed by the plaintiff William Stephens. The plaintiff alleged that his father was exposed to asbestos at his job at a Union Pacific roundhouse in Weiser, Idaho, and carried asbestos home on his clothes, exposing his family and contributing to the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff had also worked for 20 years in lumber mills in Oregon, and brought suit against his former employers…
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Possibility of Exposure to Asbestos in Cosmetic Talc Not Sufficient to Survive Summary Judgment Courts of Appeals of Wisconsin, August 27, 2019

WISCONSIN – The plaintiff, Dale Chapp, filed suit against Colgate Palmolive arguing that his late wife, Ruth Chapp, developed mesothelioma from her use of Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder from approximately 1969-the mid-1980s. The plaintiff also alleged that Ruth Chapp was secondarily exposed to asbestos from laundering his work clothes. Colgate moved for summary judgment. The trial court found that Chapp had “not shown more than the mere possibility of causation” and granted summary judgment in factor of Colgate. The plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the court…
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Court Refuses to Dismiss Coverage Suit Even Where Insurers’ Time on Risk Does Not Overlap United States District Court, D. Maryland, Augusts 19, 2019

MARYLAND – Three alleged insurers of Tate Andale, Inc., a company that manufactured products containing asbestos and has been made defendant in related personal injury cases, disputed their coverage obligations to Tate Andale.  While Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company and Zurich American Insurance Company were defending Tate Andale in the underlying suits, Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company had not participated in Tate Andale’s defense.  Prior to the filing of this lawsuit, Penn National filed its own declaratory judgment action against Tate Andale, requesting the…
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Alaska’s Statute of Repose Upheld to Bar Claims Against Pulp Mill Defendant Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2 August 20, 2019

ALASKA – A Washington state appellate court upheld the trial court’s motion of summary judgment for the defendant Ketchikan Pulp Company (Ketchikan) in a matter involving the plaintiff Larry Hoffman, and concluded that Alaska’s statute of repose barred claims against Ketchikan. Hoffman’s father, Doyle, worked as a welder and pipefitter at the Ketchikan mill in Alaska from 1954 until 1956, and Larry worked at Ketchikan himself as a plumber and pipefitter from 1968 to 1970. The plaintiff alleged that his own work and his father’s…
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Third Circuit Denies Defendants’ Request for Unlimited Access to Exhibits Submitted to Bankruptcy Trusts U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, August 19, 2019

Defendants Honeywell and Ford Motor appealed the District Court’s decision affirming the denial of “unconditional access” to numerous exhibits submitted in connection with “administering nine asbestos bankruptcies.” The court had previously permitted review of the documents for three months with certain limitations. However, unfettered access was denied as doing so would “pose an undue risk of identity theft and exposure to private medical information.” The court concluded that the bankruptcy code permitted protection from disclosure of information that would “create an undue risk of identity…
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Three Defendants Granted Summary Judgment in Maritime Case Pending in Washington U.S.D.C. for the W.D. of Washington, August 19, 2019

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff, Donald Yaw, filed a lawsuit against numerous equipment manufacturers alleging that he suffered injuries as a result of asbestos exposure. The plaintiff experienced his exposure while working as a shipfitter at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1964 to 2001. The plaintiff was deposed before he passed away, but did not remember working on any particular product on any ship. The plaintiff’s expert, Captain Arnold Moore, opined that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos while others were removing insulation, packing, and gaskets…
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Plaintiff’s Failure to Show General and Specific Jurisdiction Results in Premises Defendant’s Dismissal U.S. District Court, E.D. of Louisiana, August 15, 2019

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Terry Bondurant, alleged exposure to asbestos while working as an electrician at various chemical plants in Texas and Louisiana, including a plant located in Texas that belonged to the defendant, Eastman Kodak. . Kodak, however, was incorporated in New Jersey and has its principal place of business in New York. Kodak moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2), on personal jurisdiction grounds, asserting that the court lacked general jurisdiction, as well as specific jurisdiction. Kodak claimed that because neither its state of…
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Delaware Court Uses Ohio Law to Grant Summary Judgment for Asbestos Supplier Superior Court of Delaware, August 15, 2019

DELAWARE – The plaintiff, Marianne Robinson, brought failure to warn and strict liability claims against Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). She alleged that UCC sold its Calidria asbestos to Georgia Pacific (GP) for use in their joint compound products for a period of time. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that her late husband, Jack Robinson, purchased and used GP’s Ready Mix products in Ohio between 1971 and 1982, which caused or contributed to his fatal lung cancer. UCC moved for summary judgment. Applying Ohio law,…
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California Case Removed During Jury Selection Sent Back to State Court U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, August 9, 2019

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff, Arthur Putt, filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on December 3, 2018, alleging he developed mesothelioma from his use of automobile brakes. Among the 16 defendants sued were Ford, Pneumo Abex and Pep Boys. On August 7, 2019, jury selection began with Ford and Pep Boys participating. Pneumo Abex did not participate in the process, but the superior court had not dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against it. On August 8, the plaintiff’s counsel informed the superior court that the claims…
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U.S. Supreme Court Decision Quells Disagreement Over Bare Metal Defense in Maritime Cases U.S. District Court for Western District of Washington, August 9, 2019

In the past few years, the bare metal defense has seen inconsistent and nebulous holdings around the nation. The bare metal defense vindicates an asbestos defendant that manufactured a product that was made of only metal without asbestos but later utilized asbestos components within its products. The defense is commonly seen amongst pump and valve manufacturers and also in United States Navy cases, thereby implicating maritime law. Examples of trial courts granting summary judgment for the defense only to be overturned on appeal are readily…
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