Plaintiff’s Failure to Connect Replacement Parts to Pump Manufacturer Key To Upholding Summary Judgment on Appeal United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, October 14, 2015

Plaintiffs Jeffrey Lannes and Kristi Johnson appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Flowserve, Jerguson Gage & Valve, and Warren Pumps. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment. Decedent Vernon Lannes was allegedly exposed to asbestos gaskets, packing, and insulation while serving in the Navy. The court noted that “…the defendants shifted the burden of demonstrating a material issue of fact by ‘pointing out … that there is an absence of evidence to support the [plaintiffs’] case.’” Regarding insulation on Warren Pumps, the…
Continue reading...

Court Applied Pennsylvania Law in Asbestos Coverage Case Based on Insured’s Residence U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, October 13, 2015

York Int’l Corp. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., No. 1:10-CV-0692 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 13, 2015) This decision involves a dispute over whether Pennsylvania or New York law would apply to an insurer’s duty to defend and indemnify an insured for asbestos-related claims. Due to the passage of more than 50 years between the period covered by the relevant policies and the initiation of the lawsuit, no party with firsthand knowledge of the negotiation and consummation of the policies could be identified, and complete copies of…
Continue reading...

Distinction Between Gloves and Mittens Crucial In Granting Defendant’s Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, October 9, 2015

Plaintiff Janice Herr alleged that Richard Herr died of mesothelioma due to his use of Airco-distributed, asbestos-containing gloves/mittens. Herr was a sculptor and art instructor who used insulated mittens to handle heated molds. He also used raw asbestos to make molds for his sculptures. Airco never manufactured insulated gloves or mittens, but distributed welding gloves and mittens with its logo. This case was remanded for further proceedings by the MDL 875 Court, after the MDL denied the summary judgment filed by Airco, the sole remaining…
Continue reading...

Legislative Reform for Timely Disclosure of Settlements: What Do You Think?

Much has been made about the injustice of plaintiffs being able to game the system by potentially seeking excess recovery through a combination of claims asserted against bankruptcy trusts and in civil litigation. This has led to bankruptcy transparency legislation at the state and federal level, because defendants in asbestos litigation were being denied a full and fair opportunity to assess a plaintiff’s claim of asbestos exposure and to identify all the companies, both viable and bankrupt, that are allegedly responsible.  The fundamental principles are…
Continue reading...

Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Holding a Shipbuilder is a Service Provider, Not a Seller of a Product U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 8, 2015

The plaintiffs alleged that Glenn Hassebrock was exposed to asbestos while working as a union pipefitter at various shipyards.  The defendant shipbuilding company moved for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the products liability claims on the grounds that the company acted predominantly as a service provider, rather than a distributor of asbestos-containing products.  The court agreed, finding that the shipbuilding company “was not in the chain of manufacturing and selling asbestos related products, rather it was providing the service of producing Navy vessels.  The…
Continue reading...

Ford Gets Defense Verdict Since Plaintiff’s Expert Could Not Proximately Link Disease to Chrysotile Exposure in Light of Previous Amphibole Exposure United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma, October 1, 2015

In this federal court case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Gregory Cannard, was exposed to asbestos insulation while serving in the Navy from 1965 to 1967, and while working for Lomac Motors from 1975 to 1978, where he allegedly ground asbestos head gaskets from Ford Motor Co. (Ford). At the time of trial, Ford was the only remaining defendant. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that the Navy and automotive exposures were indivisible and no single product could be identified as the cause of Mr.…
Continue reading...

After Supplier Defaulted Through Nonappearance, Court Awarded Damages In Unopposed Proceeding Supreme Court of New York, Erie County, Eighth Judicial District, October 9, 2015

An Erie County, New York court has issued a decision on damages in a default action where damages and liability were uncontested following a two-day bench trial in an asbestos case involving Joseph Muir, a 58-year-old man living with mesothelioma.  Defendant Hedman Resources, Ltd. was the only remaining defendant. Hedman had been served with  the summons and complaint pursuant to alternative service granted by the court two years earlier. Hedman never appeared in the action and was in default at the time of the trial.…
Continue reading...

Valve Manufacturer Denied Summary Judgment on Bare Metal Defense Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 5, 2015

In this NYCAL case, it was alleged that the plaintiff, Mark Ricci, was exposed secondhand to asbestos from his father’s air conditioning and ventilation work. Aldo Ricci (Aldo), Mark Ricci’s father, testified that he was exposed to asbestos from working near others working on Crane Co. valves. Crane moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove he was exposed to asbestos from any asbestos-containing product manufactured or supplied by Crane. It was Crane’s position that it should be entitled to summary judgment…
Continue reading...

Motion to Consolidate Trials Granted Supreme Court of New York, New York County, October 2, 2015

The plaintiffs brought a motion to consolidate separate actions into three separate groups for joint trial.  The court noted that as to the three groups, all of the plaintiffs are represented by the same law firm, are in the same phase of discovery, and the plaintiffs allege the same type of cancer. The court granted the motion, finding “…that the trials in each of the groups involve common questions of law and fact and that consolidation of these cases into the three groups will not…
Continue reading...

Clutch Manufacturer Makes Prima Facie Showing of Entitlement to Summary Judgment Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County, October 8, 2015

In this New York case out of Nassau County, the plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure to various products while working as a truck mechanic from the late 1950s to the mid 1990s.  The plaintiff testified at his deposition that he removed and installed Eaton clutches on trucks from 1961 to 1970. Eaton moved for summary judgment and attached the affidavit of Roger Hobbie, who was employed in various capacities at Eaton from 1959 to 1997. In his affidavit, Mr. Hobbie stated that between 1959 until the…
Continue reading...