KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Recognizing the difficulties posed by a state-by-state regulation of the rail industry, Congress imposed comprehensive regulations applying to asbestos-insulation used in rail cars, a manufacturer to those cars told the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 20 (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 19-2014, 10th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — In pretrial memorandums, two remaining defendants tell a federal judge in Pennsylvania that there is no evidence of exposure from their products and place the blame on the plaintiff’s cigarette use. But in his own brief filed June 17, the man says repeated asbestos exposures while serving in engines rooms led to his disease (Robert Hedrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 16-476, E.D. Pa.).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio appeals court on June 20 affirmed a $4,508,488 Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) asbestos verdict, saying that the evidence permitted the jury’s conclusion that the railroad’s negligence played at least a part in a man’s lung cancer and that nothing in expert witness rulings or closing argument required a new trial (Kevin E. Howell v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 107245, Ohio App., 8th Dist., 2019 Ohio App. LEXIS 2543).
LOS ANGELES — A trial improperly excluded expert testimony that a man’s 1966 bystander exposure to asbestos dust created by a floor tiling project could have caused his mesothelioma and in granting the manufacturer directed verdict, a California appeals panel held June 19 (Robert T. Friedman, et al. v. American Biltrite Inc., No. B291411, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4104).
NEW YORK — An expert’s opinion that exposure to “detectable” levels of asbestos in talc could result in mesothelioma fall short of New York’s causation standard, a state appeals court held June 20 (Claudine Discala, as administrator of the estate of Joan Robusto v. Charles B. Chrystal Company Inc., et al., No. 9676 190413/2013, N.Y. Sup., App. Div. 1st Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4991).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Sufficient evidence supports the conclusion that a teacher could have been exposed to asbestos at a school’s breakroom, the Kentucky’s Supreme Court said June 13 in a workers’ compensation case (Letcher County Board of Education v. Roger Hall, et al., No. 2018-SC-000638-WC, Ky. Sup.).
MIAMI — A Florida jury on June 17 awarded $70 million to a couple in an asbestos case alleging occupational exposure to separator equipment (Charles E. Thornton, et al. v. GEA Mechanical Equipment US Inc., et al., No. 17-006018 CA 42, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
Johnson & Johnson faced defeats in three separate federal courts in its battle to keep asbestos-talc cases in federal court after a flurry of rulings filed June 13, 14 and 17 (Olivia Garza, et al. v. Blixtex Inc., et al., No. 19-224, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100163; Barbara San Nicolas v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 19-1153, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100025; Dana Carrera v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 19-536, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101051).
NEW YORK — While sufficient evidence supports a record-setting New York asbestos verdict, the already once reduced award still deviates materially from what could be considered reasonable compensation and must be reduced further, a New York appellate court held June 18 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Murphy-Clagett v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 9634-, 9634A-, 9634B-, 9634C- 190311/15, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A plaintiff recently awarded $12 million in an asbestos-talc case asked a California judge on June 5 to sanction Johnson & Johnson’s counsel for contempt, saying he tried the case against plaintiff’s counsel and repeatedly violated court orders (Patricia Schmitz v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. RG18923615, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — A jury will hear nothing but speculation regarding a man’s exposure to asbestos and the resulting lung cancer from which he has recovered, an asbestos pump company told a federal judge in Pennsylvania in a June 14 pretrial memorandum (Robert Hedrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 16-476, E.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Any use of an abrasive saw on asbestos-containing pipe would have been unforeseeable to the manufacturer in 1981 as it would have contradicted standards, both industry and the public were well aware of the dangers by that time, and in any case, a household member falls outside the scope of the duty to warn, a company tells a California appeals court in a May 22 brief (Dawn Lamb, et al. v. CertainTeed Corp., No. A152691, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A workers’ compensation insurer on June 5 asked a Missouri appellate court to reconsider whether a 2005 law creating enhanced workers’ compensation insurance benefits for mesothelioma victims applies to a long-defunct company or transfer the case to the state’s high court (Vincent Hegger v. Valley Farm Dairy Co., No. ED106278, Mo. App., Eastern Dist., 2019 Mo. App. LEXIS 816).
NEW YORK — Saying he could neither admit nor exclude recently produced expert testimony on testing identifying asbestos in historic samples of talc without prejudicing one party or another, a New York justice in an opinion posted June 12 instead delayed the trial by four months (Beverley Alleyne v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190295/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2845).
NEW YORK — New York courts lack jurisdiction over talc suppliers because none of the exceptions to the state’s general rule that asset sales do not include liabilities applies, a justice in the state held in an asbestos opinion posted June 13 (Ana Angie Garrido, et al. v. Avon Products Inc., et al., No. 190358/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — A truck company’s pre-Daimler v. Bauman concession that registering to do business in New York provided jurisdiction in an asbestos case waived the defense, a New York appeals court held in affirming denial of the company’s motion to dismiss June 13 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, [Kristian Gibson, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., etc., et al.], No. 9664 190187/15, N.Y. Sup. App. Div., 1st Dept.).
NEW YORK — Contract language that would be rendered unnecessary if the purchaser were not assuming asbestos personal injury liabilities warrants denying a company’s motion for summary judgment, a New York justice held in an opinion posted June 12 (Anthony D. Leone, et al. v. Weinman Pump & Supply Co., et al., No. 190295/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
ALBANY, N.Y. — Despite their size and limited marketplace, coke ovens are products for product liability purposes because the manufacturer was largely responsible for them and was in the best position to issue warnings, a majority of New York’s top court held June 11 in reinstating a failure-to-warn case against Honeywell International Inc. (In the matter of the Eighth Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, [Donald J. Terwilliger, et al. v. Beazer East Inc., et al.], No. 36, N.Y. App., 2019 N.Y. LEXIS 1639).
WILMINGTON, Del. — If the asbestos product identification evidence was as strong as a plaintiff suggests, he would have cited to it, two companies told a federal judge in opposing objections to a Delaware magistrate judge’s recommendation (Richard Wayne Rogers v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-1570, D. Del.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California jury on June 12 held Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive Inc. liable for a retired teacher’s talc-related mesothelioma and awarded her nearly $12 million, sources told Mealey Publications (Schmitz v Johnson & Johnson, No. RG18923615, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).