Admission into Evidence of Testimony and Answers to Discovery of Settled Defendants Leads to New Trial Ordered on Issue of Apportionment Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, June 29, 2018

NEW JERSEY — Donna Rowe (plaintiff), individually and as executrix and executrix ad prosequendum of the estate of Ronald Rowe (Rowe), appealed an April 27, 2015 judgment of $304,152.70 plus prejudgment interest. The plaintiffs originally sued 27 defendants, alleging that exposure to asbestos from their products caused Rowe’s mesothelioma. Twelve defendants were granted summary judgment, four were dismissed, and two never appeared and the claims against them were abandoned. Additionally, eight parties settled their claims before trial, leaving only Hilco, Inc., the successor-in-interest to Universal…
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$117 Million Verdict Upheld in Talc Case Middlesex County, New Jersey, July 2, 2018

NEW JERSEY — Superior Court Judge Ana C. Viscomi denied motions from Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc. to set aside a $37 million verdict in compensatory damages and a combined $80 million verdict in punitive damages awarded earlier this year.  On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the court heard arguments on Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s motions to overturn the verdict. The court instead upheld the verdict. In rendering her decision, Judge Viscomi stated that the verdicts “do not shock the judicial conscience.”…
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In-State Business Activities Unrelated to Asbestos Personal Injury Claims Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Supreme Court of New York, June 16, 2018

NEW YORK – Newly appointed NYCAL Asbestos Coordinating Judge Manuel Mendez continued the recent trend of New York trial level decisions dismissing claims for lack of personal jurisdiction following  Bristol Myers Squibb Co. v. Supreme Court of California (2017) and Daimler AG v. Bauman (2014). In the matter of Irene Grabowski, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Alex Grabowski v. A.O. Smith Corporation, the plaintiff brought suit in New York State Court against The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts), alleging exposure from using Scotts…
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Unavailability Exception in Asbestos Coverage Dispute Affirmed by New Jersey Supreme Court New Jersey Supreme Court, June 27, 2018

NEW JERSEY — The decision involved questions about the insurance coverage available to defendant Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell), a New Jersey based corporation, for thousands of bodily-injury claims premised on exposure to brake and clutch pads (friction products) containing asbestos.  The court first considered whether the law of New Jersey or Michigan (the headquarters location of Honeywell’s predecessor when the disputed excess insurance policies were issued) should control in the allocation of insurance liability among insurers for nationwide products-liability claims. Second, the court addressed whether…
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Delaware Take-Home Summary Judgment Reversed for Paper Manufacturers Supreme Court of Delaware, June 27, 2018

DELAWARE — Decedent Dorothy Ramsey’s husband Robert Ramsey worked as a maintenance worker at Haveg Industries, Inc. from 1967 to 1992, and allegedly handled asbestos products manufactured by defendants Herty and Hollingsworth and Vose (together, the manufacturers) on a regular basis. The plaintiff alleged that Mrs. Ramsey developed her fatal lung cancer from regularly laundering Mr. Ramsey’s clothes which were contaminated with asbestos dust emanating from his use of the manufacturers’ products, among others. The trial court had granted the manufacturers’ summary judgment motions, finding…
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Defendant’s Joinder Denied; Parallel Suits Allowed in Federal and State Court United States District Court, S.D.N.Y, June 21, 2018

NEW YORK — On October 3, 2017, the plaintiffs filed two lawsuits in New York state court against two different groups of defendants. One lawsuit was filed against 83 defendants, not including Crane Co. (Crane), alleging that John Grimes developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to defendants’ asbestos-containing products. At present, that matter remains pending in state court. The second action—the instant action—was filed against four other defendants, including Crane. The plaintiffs similarly alleged that Mr. Grimes developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure…
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Recent NYCAL Trends in the 2017 & 2018 Accelerated Clusters

The current state of asbestos litigation in New York City (NYCAL) continues to evolve as both the plaintiffs’ bar and defense bar deal with a revised Case Management Order (CMO) and judicial turnover. For a better understanding of the types of claims that are actually being litigated in NYCAL, and what firms are filing these claims, we can look at the current filing trends under the “cluster” procedure that is used in this jurisdiction. The CMO explains there are three dockets used in NYCAL: (1)…
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Concrete Factual Information Starts the 30-Day Removal Clock United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division., June 22, 2018

ILLINOIS — In September 2016, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and in September 2017, he filed suit against a defendant, and a number of other parties, alleging his illness was caused by exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff claimed that his exposure occurred between 1970 and 2004 while he was serving in the United States Air Force, working as a commercial airline mechanic, and/or engaging in home remodeling and other activities. The defendant was served with the plaintiff’s complaint on September 21, 2017 and filed…
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Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment on Conspiracy Claims Appellate Court of Illinois, June 19, 2018

ILLINOIS — The plaintiff, James Johnson, was diagnosed with asbestosis after working with insulation products in the construction industry, beginning in 1965. He filed suit against numerous defendants, and included a claim that Pneumo Abex LLC, Owens-Illinois, Inc., Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Honeywell International, Inc. were involved in a civil conspiracy to conceal the dangers of asbestos. The trial court thoroughly reviewed the evidence obtained during discovery and presented at hearings, including the Saranac Study, and determined there was not clear and convincing evidence…
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Remand Denied Upon Plaintiff’s Failure to Properly Disclaim Federal Officer Removal United States District Court, S.D. Illinois. June 19, 2018

ILLINOIS – The plaintiff Janice Reinbold filed suit against several defendants alleging her decedent, Gerald Reinbold, developed lung cancer from occupational exposure to asbestos while working as a shipfitter at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, amongst other sources. Defendant Crane Company (Crane) removed the case to federal court asserting Federal Officer Removal. The plaintiff moved to remand. The court reminded the parties of the standard for Federal Officer Removal, and stated that the statute allows removal when “action is brought against the United States or…
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