Defense Verdict in New Jersey Cosmetic Talc Case Under New Jersey’s Product Liability Act November 2, 2015

In a case of first impression under New Jersey’s Product Liability Act, a Middlesex County, New Jersey jury returned a defense verdict in a mesothelioma case involving a 60-year-old plaintiff who claimed exposure to cosmetic talcum powder products in the 1950s-1970s that were allegedly contaminated with trace amounts of asbestos. The jury found that Shulton, Inc., the supplier of some of the products to which the plaintiff claimed exposure, and Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., the supplier of some of the raw talc used to…
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Illinois Supreme Court Rules Workers’ Compensation Is Employees’ Exclusive Remedy for Asbestos Claims Against Employers, Even if Workers’ Compensation Claim is Time-Barred Illinois Supreme Court, November 4, 2015

The plaintiff was employed by Ferro Engineering for four years, and alleged that during this time he was exposed to products containing asbestos. Forty-one years after this employment he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and sued Ferro under several theories including negligence. Ferro filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/5(a), 11 (West 2010)) and the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act (820 ILCS 310/5(a), 11 (West 2010)).  The plaintiff replied that…
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California Court Holds Refractory Contractor Established Insufficient Evidence of Exposure and Grants Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, November 2, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death claim alleging the decedent was exposed to asbestos while J.T. Thorpe & Sons was performing refractory work around boilers. Thorpe moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was insufficient evidence decedent was actually in the vicinity of Thorpe employees working with refractory materials. The court concluded that the plaintiff has some threshold burden of establishing some factual basis for exposure and that Thorpe met it initial burden that there was insufficient evidence of exposure: “Thorpe has satisfied…
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Chunk of Rulings From MDL Allow Previously Dismissed Asbestos Claims to Proceed Even Though Not Listed As Assets In Bankruptcy United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Six cases were decided in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; all started in the Northern District of Ohio, and were transferred to the MDL 875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In all six cases, the plaintiffs brought claims against various shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP, and all alleged asbestos exposure while working on ships. All cases were administratively dismissed; after dismissal, the plaintiffs filed for bankruptcy, and did not list their asbestos claims as assets. After bankruptcy…
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Toyota Australia Hunting for Suppliers of Counterfeit Brake Pads Containing Asbestos

On Monday, November 2, 2015, Toyota Australia brought suit in the Australian Federal Court against several distributors of counterfeit brake pads that contain asbestos.  According to reports, thousands of fake brake pads have been imported into Australia illegally.  Currently, Toyota is taking steps in an effort to prevent these suppliers from selling more of these counterfeit parts. Furthermore, Toyota is attempting to track down those distributors who may have sold imitation brake pads and plans to force them to either replace the fake items…
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$6.6 Million Verdict Reinstated by Florida’s Highest Court After Analysis of Arguments on Alternative Design, Causation, and Jury Instruction on Failure to Warn Supreme Court of Florida, October 29, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff, William Aubin, claimed he was exposed to asbestos from SG-210, an asbestos product used in items such as joint compound and texture sprays that was manufactured by Union Carbide Corporation. Following trial, a jury returned a verdict of $6.6 million finding Union Carbide was liable, in part, under the plaintiff’s claims of negligence and strict liability. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the jury verdict on three grounds: “(1) the trial court erred in failing to apply the Restatement…
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California Appellate Court Examines Entire Record, Not Just Expert Testimony, To Affirm Denial of Motions for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, October 28, 2015

The plaintiff in this case was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed claims for negligence, strict liability, and loss of consortium against, among others, Union Carbide and Elementis Chemicals, as successor-in-interest of Harrison & Crosfield, Pacific, Inc., and certain related entities.  The plaintiff submitted three theories of liability: strict liability (design defect under the consumer expectations test); strict liability (failure to warn); and negligence (failure to warn). The jury returned special verdicts in favor of the plaintiff on the strict liability claim in that Union Carbide…
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Summary Judgment Affirmed for Two Defendants – One Based on Government Contractor Defense and One Due to No Exposure United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, October 27, 2015

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the granting of summary judgment to two defendants – Lockheed and UTC, as successor-in-interest to Pratt & Whitney. Summary judgment was affirmed as to Lockheed based on the government contractor defense. Lockheed introduced two affidavits establishing that the Untied States approved specifications requiring the use of asbestos in government aircraft. This equipment conformed to the government’s specifications because Lockheed complied with all its directives for constructing this aircraft, including the use of specific warnings. Further, the United States knew about asbestos…
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Bacon is the New Asbestos! Really?

So, this is a perfect example of the realities of this world and how state of the art can be distorted. The World Health Organization has indicated that processed foods, such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs are in the same category as smoking and asbestos in terms of their potential to cause cancer. The news reports that have come out in the last few days barely touch upon the science and medical aspects, yet here come the sound “bites” that processed food is deadly.…
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In Severing Late Third-Party Claims Against Defendant with Federal Defenses, Court Remands Case That had Been Litigated in State Court for Almost Two Years U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Louisville, October 26, 2015

In this case, an action was brought in Jefferson Circuit Court asserting state-law claims for the asbestos exposure and death of the decedent, Glen Brown. Defendant General Electric Company (GE) was granted leave to assert a third-party claim against Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who then removed the matter to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1), the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved to remand the matter and to sever GE’s claims against TVA. The court first looked at the severance of GE’s claims…
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