BUFFALO, N.Y. — Any delay in a retired police officer’s notice of intent to file an asbestos tort action against the City of Buffalo was reasonable given the facts of the case, and no evidence suggests the municipality will suffer prejudice from the late notice, a New York appeals court held March 24 (In the Matter of James R. Diegelman, et al. v. City of Buffalo, et al., No. CA 14-01919, N.Y. App., 4th Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2279).
CHICAGO — Illinois federal court is the wrong jurisdiction for John Crane Inc.’s fraud and racketeering claims against two law firms and their founders, two federal judges held separately March 23 in dismissing the company’s lawsuits, but without prejudice to refile the actions in the proper courts (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 16-5913, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42758, John Crane Inc. v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, et al., No. 16-5918, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41840).
CHICAGO — Testimony regarding the frequent use of a company’s joint compound satisfies the frequency, regularity and proximity standard for asbestos exposure, even where the witness could not place the products at certain job sites, an Illinois appeals court held March 14 (Jo Ann Startley, et al. v. Welco Manufacturing Co., No. 1-15-3649, Ill. App., 1st Dist.).
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa became the first state to legislatively bar asbestos claims arising from third-party parts on March 23 after its governor signed legislation codifying the bare-metal and component parts doctrine. The law also requires additional transparency in asbestos-related trust filings, imposes medical criteria from bringing asbestos- and silica-related claims, restricts trial consolidation and negates certain forms of successor liability.
NEW YORK — Rejecting both plaintiffs’ larger proposed trial groups and concern of prejudice by defendants, a New York justice in an opinion posted March 21 found that 11 cases’ similarities warranted four trial groups and two separate trials (Walter Cunningham, et al. v. Aerco Intl., et al., No. 190136/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah sued four asbestos trusts March 7 in state court seeking to force the trusts to cooperate with an investigation into whether the trusts are engaged in mismanagement and abuse of the asbestos trust system (State of Utah v. Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 170901496, Utah 3rd Dist., Salt Lake Co.).
NEW YORK — An asbestos action filed outside Wisconsin’s two-year window for suing Special Electric Co. Inc. after its dissolution is untimely, and an earlier motion to reopen and enforce its bankruptcy plan does not save the case, a New York justice held in an opinion posted March 21 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Thomas McGlynn v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190219/2016, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 900, In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Bertle Stromholm, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190177/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
LOS ANGELES — A man’s inability to recall a brand name or even if he repeatedly used the same roof product dooms his asbestos claim against the alleged manufacturer, a California appeals court held March 2 (John DeLoof, et al. v. Ace Hardware Corp., et al., No. B265886, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1503).
BALTIMORE — Dismissal of all claims against the lone defendant claiming a federal officer defense to asbestos claims does not strip a court of jurisdiction, but remand is nonetheless warranted, a federal judge in Maryland held March 7 (Esther Rhodes, et al. v. MCIC Inc., et al., No. 16-2459, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31852).
NEW YORK — A New York justice refused to impose a heeding presumption in an asbestos trial in an opinion posted March 20, saying that absent evidence that a cigarette user who ignored tobacco warnings would have acted differently in the asbestos context, she would not impose such a standard (Donna Castorina, et al. v. A.C.&S., et al., No. 123077/01, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — A decades-old marketing and advertising campaign for an asbestos-containing product allegedly similar to one a man bought in Missouri does not create jurisdiction in New York, a justice held in an opinion posted March 13 (Richard S. Trumbal and Margaret Trumbal v. Adience Inc., f/k/a BMI Inc., et al., No. 190084/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
DALLAS — Two asbestos defendants have not shown that a traditional appeal could not remedy their complaints about a judge’s ruling regarding the admissibility and sufficiency of experts, a Texas appeals court held March 2 in denying a petition for writ of mandamus (In re Exxon Mobil Corp., f/k/a Exxon Corp., SeaRiver Maritime Inc. and SeaRiver Maritime Financial Holdings Inc., et al., No. 14-17-00133-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.).
ST. LOUIS — An unopposed summary judgment motion involved the same parties and allegations, despite longer alleged exposures to asbestos and the original plaintiff’s death, a federal judge in Missouri held March 8 in finding that collateral estoppel precluded the action (Diane MacCormack, Nancy Broudy, and Karen Loftus, as personal representatives of Berj Hovsepian v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. 16-414, E.D. Mo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32652).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida court ignored the “featherweight” causation standard applied in Jones Act cases while reversing a $10.3 million asbestos verdict against cruise line, plaintiffs told the U.S. Supreme Court March 3 (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 16-1074, U.S. Sup.).
AUSTIN, Texas — Having enjoyed the benefits of a settlement resolving all of the firm’s asbestos suits, Union Carbide Corp. now seeks to rewrite its contract to block individuals with late-forming diseases from receiving their side of the bargain, plaintiffs told the Texas Supreme Court on March 13 (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A judge properly admitted expert testimony that every identifiable exposure to asbestos contributes to mesothelioma, a California appeals court held March 17, while also rejecting challenges involving tobacco use and an award of punitive damages (Charity Faith Phillips, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. F070761, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on March 16 found that an English insurer's removal of a former machinist's asbestos-related claims from a state court was appropriate, finding that the dispute could relate to an underlying arbitration agreement contained in an insurance policy (James Edward O'Connor v. Maritime Management Corp., et al., No. 16-16201, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37798).
MIAMI — A retail grocery was not fraudulently joined in an asbestos case because allegations regarding what it should have known sufficiently support a negligence action, a federal judge in Florida held in remanding the case on March 10 (Andrienne Fransas v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 17-80058, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35545).
BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge on March 10 granted motions for partial summary judgment filed by a number of insurers involved in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that the insured’s claims regarding the exhaustion of the insurers’ policies were not timely filed (General Insurance Company of America v. The Walter E. Campbell Co. Inc., et al., No. 12-3307, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34348).
By Peggy Ableman