Statute of Limitation in Wrongful Death Action Held to Have Commenced at Time of Decedent’s Diagnosis Superior Court of Pennsylvania, March 19, 2015

The administratrix of the decedent’s estate appealed the lower court’s time-barred dismissal of the wrongful death action she commenced on behalf of the decedent, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma on June 17, 2011 and died on July 9, 2012. The action was commenced on January 9, 2014, which was more than two years after the mesothelioma diagnosis, but less than two years after the decedent’s death. The court, in its analysis of the subject Pennsylvania statute of limitations, found that the time to file an…
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FELA Asbestos Verdict Upheld on Appeal, Rejecting Defendant’s Challenge to Lack of Evidence of Negligence and Charge on Preexisting Injury Appellate Court of Illinois, March 17, 2015

The plaintiff brought this action claiming that the decedent’s work as a laborer and machinist for Illinois Central and its predecessor caused him to be exposed to asbestos and to develop lung cancer. After the jury awarded $2.6 million, with a 45 percent reduction for smoking, the defendant, Illinois Central, appealed, arguing it was not negligent and that the trial court should not have charged the jury on aggravation of a preexisting condition related to the decedent’s smoking. On appeal, the court rejected the argument…
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Appellate Court Reverses and Certifies an Asbestos Class Action for Medical Monitoring Costs Court of Appeals of Missouri, March 17, 2015

In 1983-84, it was alleged that during a retrofit project of the Jackson County courthouse, the contractors did not turn off the ventilation system, which allegedly caused asbestos to be circulated throughout the courthouse. “Dust containing asbestos fibers was blown and tracked throughout the Courthouse resulting in layers of dust accumulated throughout the Courthouse and described by one witness as an asbestos powder coating ‘that you could run your hands through,’ it covered ‘everything in various offices,’ and ‘it would be on the floors and…
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Post-Trial Dismissal of Plaintiff’s Claims Adhered to Upon Motion for Rehearing and Reargument Supreme Court, New York County, March 12, 2015

In this NYCAL case, a New York City jury found that Con Edison, as the premises owner, was 30 percent responsible for the plaintiff’s asbestos-related injuries under New York’s Labor Law § 200(1). On a post-trial motion, the trial court ruled that “absent legally sufficient evidence demonstrating, as a matter of law, that Con Edison supervised or controlled Brown’s work at Ravenwood, defendant sustained its burden of proving that the jury could not have reached its verdict on the issue of Con Edison’s liability pursuant…
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Challenges to Sufficiency of Asbestos Plaintiffs’ Pleadings Continue in Illinois and Missouri Federal Courts Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois

In two decisions issued Thursday out of the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois, the courts reached different conclusions as to whether the respective plaintiffs sufficiently pleaded causes of action against the defendants under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). In Campbell v. ABB  Inc., the defendant Raypack moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint or to compel a more definitive statement on the ground that the “Plaintiffs’ First Amended Petition fails to plead with sufficient particularity which of Raypack’s product(s)…
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Plaintiffs’ Complaint Dismissed for Failure to Plead Circumstances of Asbestos Exposure That Justify Defendants’ Potential Liability U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, March 5, 2015

In this California federal court case, plaintiffs Billy and Diana Jeffrey commenced an action generally claiming Mr. Jeffrey had asbestos exposure at numerous worksites spanning from 1962 to 1976. Several defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action on the grounds that the plaintiffs’ complaint merely listed jobsites and dates and generally alleged that the defendants supplied, installed, or maintained asbestos-containing products where Mr. Jeffrey worked. The court granted the motions to dismiss, with leave to amend, holding: “Mr.…
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Defendants Successfully Argue to Apply More Favorable Tennessee Laws Limiting Damages in Rhode Island Asbestos Case Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence, March 5, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff worked and lived in the state of Tennessee for his entire life, with the exception of one year living in Maryland while working at Bethlehem Steel. The majority of his asbestos exposure occurred in Tennessee, which is also where he was diagnosed and treated for mesothelioma. The court had previously granted the motions of various defendants to apply Tennessee law. In the instant motion, defendants asked the court to take judicial notice of four areas of the law where that…
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Applying Admiralty Law, Court Grants Summary Judgment for Lack of Proof That Product Contained Asbestos U.S. District of Washington, Western District of Washington, March 3, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff claimed that the decedent, Alan McMann, was exposed to asbestos-containing non-skid materials as a bystander that were applied to the deck of the USS Firedrake. Defendant SB Decking, the alleged manufacturer of the non-skid material, moved for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff did not prove that the non-skid material applied in the decedent’s presence actually contained asbestos. The court initially analyzed the locality and connections tests, concluding that Admiralty Law applied. On the causation issue, the court concluded…
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Grant of Summary Judgment to Defendant Reversed Under the Jones Act and Maritime Law Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, March 3, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff claimed that the decedent was exposed to asbestos-containing insulation and winch brakes aboard various dredges and commercial vessels on which he worked over the years. “[P]laintiff asserted a Jones Act negligence claim under 46 U.S.C.A. § 30104 and a general maritime unseaworthiness claim under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1333.” The defendants, Weeks Marine, Inc. and American Atlantic Company, moved for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff did not establish that he was exposed to asbestos aboard these vessels. The…
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Under Maritime Law, Expert Opinion on Likelihood of Exposure to Original Asbestos Alone Still Insufficient to Establish Causal Connection U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, March 2, 2015

In this case, the defendant, Lockheed, moved for reconsideration of the prior decision from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington that there was sufficient evidence establishing a causal link between original asbestos allegedly installed by Lockheed and decedent John McCrossin’s asbestos exposure. In accordance with five decisions out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the court recognized that under maritime law an expert affidavit alone of likely exposure to original asbestos is insufficient to establish a causal connection. However, the court…
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