Asbestos Firm Ordered to Turn Over Client Information in Garlock RICO Case

U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen affirmed a previous judge’s refusal to quash subpoenas issued by Garlock Sealing Technologies to 29 law firms, including Baron & Budd, Brayton Purcell, and Williams Kherker Hart Boundas. Garlock argued that the client records sought from these firms could help establish a pattern of racketeering by Belluck & Fox.  Though Judge Mullen agreed with Belluck & Fox’s assertion that the discovery requests were broad, he noted, “[y]et, so is the fraud in which Plaintiffs are alleged to have engaged.” In…
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Philadelphia Federal Judge Puts Hold on a Dozen Asbestos Claims by Formerly Bankrupt Plaintiffs U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, October 6, 2015

On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno ordered a stay on a dozen nearly-identical asbestos claims brought by plaintiffs who had previously sought bankruptcy protection. Judge Robreno stated in all of them that the plaintiffs’ trustees must be given the choice of either pursuing or abandoning the claims. In one such case, the plaintiff was a ship worker who had filed an asbestos claim in 2001, followed by a bankruptcy action in 2003. His claim, however, was not included as part of…
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Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Denies Constitutionality Appeal of Asbestos-Related Liability Regulatory Statute Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, September 29, 2015

On September 29, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied the appeal of the executor of the estate of James Markovsky.  Markovsky, who had argued that a statute regulating asbestos-related liability should be found unconstitutional, had petitioned for appeal after the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of Crown Cork & Seal Co. Originally, on October 6, 2011, Markovsky filed a complaint against Crown alleging that he contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to the asbestos products of…
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Pittsburgh Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Secondary Exposure Friction Case

Plaintiff Larry English commenced this wrongful death mesothelioma case by claiming that his wife, Sherry English, was exposed to asbestos on Mr. English’s clothing. Mr. English, who worked for a variety of Ford dealerships between 1968 and 2011, worked with gaskets, brakes, and clutches. His claim is that the asbestos from these products remained on his clothing when he went home, allegedly exposing Mrs. English to asbestos. The plaintiff also claimed exposure to joint compound in connection with work in the home. Mrs. English was…
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Federal Court Grants and Denies Various Summary Judgment Motions, Based on Maritime and Civil Law U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, September 30, 2015

Defendants Crown Cork & Seal, CBS Corporation, General Electric, Crane Co., Gardner Denver, John Crane, Link-Belt Construction Equipment, and Riley Power filed motions for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The case had been removed to federal court pursuant to the Federal Officer Removal Statue. The plaintiff alleged he developed pleural mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure during Naval service and while employed by Louisville Gas & Electric. Many other defendants moved for summary judgment on other grounds; this case addressed those…
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Court Applies Admiralty Jurisdiction to Grant Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, September 30, 2015

The plaintiff brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) alleging asbestos exposure while a crew member on two tugboats the Navy leased to his employer, General Dynamics Corporation. The plaintiff also brought a products liability claim under Connecticut law, and his wife brought a loss of consortium claim. The defendant moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under the FTCA, because the lawsuit sounds in admiralty, for which a suit under the Suits in Admiralty Act (SIAA) or the Public Vessels Act…
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NYCAL Court Rules a Plumber Dismantling a Sectional Boiler Was a Foreseeable User of That Product Supreme Court of New York, New York County, September 25, 2015

In this NYCAL mesothelioma case, the plaintiff worked as a plumber from 1984-1996, disassembling plumbing equipment including Cleaver Brooks cast iron sectional boilers.  Cleaver Brooks initially moved for summary judgment on the grounds that a plumber such as the plaintiff was not a foreseeable user of the product, which the lower court denied. The Appellate Division then issued a decision in Hockler v William Powell Co., 129 AD3d 463 (1st Dept. 2015), holding that a salvaging and dismantling valve was not a foreseeable use of…
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Court Denies Certification of Interlocutory Appeals on Personal Jurisdictional Grounds in Two Delaware Cases Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle, September 24, 2015

In these two cases from Delaware, the defendants’ motions to dismiss based on personal jurisdiction were denied. Defendants subsequently sought certification of their interlocutory appeals pursuant to Del. Sup. Ct. 42. The court denied defendants’ applications in both cases, pointing to the “substantial issue of material importance” prong of the Rule 42 requirements.  The court stated that the Delaware Supreme Court has repeatedly held that denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction does not determine a “substantial issue.” In both cases,…
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Applying Maritime Law, Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Refusing to Speculate on Decedent’s Exposure to Pump Defendant’s Products While in the Navy U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, September 29, 2015

Plaintiff Josephine Fuoco, as executrix of the estate of Joseph Fuoco, alleged that Mr. Fuoco contracted mesothelioma while serving in the U.S. Navy as a machinists’ mate and as a construction worker. Defendant Warren Pumps moved for summary judgment, which the court granted. Warren did not dispute that its circulating pumps were on the USS Ammen, the ship on which Mr. Fuoco served. However, no fact witness offered testimony regarding Mr. Fuoco’s alleged asbestos exposure on board this shop. Warren was added to the…
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Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Summary Judgment In Favor of Talc Defendant Based on Product Identification, Not Asbestos Content, of Talc Supreme Court of Alabama, September 30, 2015

In this case, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed and remanded the order granting summary judgment to defendant Vanderbilt Minerals. The Supreme Court included a large summary of facts in its opinion. The decedent, Dansby W. Sanders, died from mesothelioma; prior to his passing, he sued numerous defendants alleging he was exposed to asbestos while working for Mobile Paint Company. Vanderbilt supplied industrial talc under the brand name Nytal to Mobile Paint. Various witnesses testified as to the presence of Nytal supplied by Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt responded…
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