WASHINGTON, D.C. — No confusion exists among the courts on the standard for evaluating punitive damages awards, and the one Crane Co. seeks in attempting to overturn a $10 million asbestos award is both self-serving and short-sighted, a woman told the U.S. Supreme Court Feb. 20 (Crane Co. v. Jeanette G. Poage, No. 17-900, U.S. Sup.).
JACKSON, Miss. — Nothing in the state’s precedent or the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) precludes setting off an asbestos verdict with amounts recovered from asbestos trusts, a divided Mississippi Supreme Court held Feb. 15 (Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Bennie Oakes, et al., No. 2015-TS-00644, Miss. Sup., 2018 Miss. LEXIS 67).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York’s top court on Feb. 15 agreed to hear a dispute over whether a contract involving coke oven batteries are products for the purposes of an asbestos products liability action or whether the construction project constituted services (In the matter of the Eighth Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, Donald J. Terwilliger, et al. v. Beazer East Inc., et al., No. APL-2018-00023, N.Y. App., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 187).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court on Feb. 20 vacated a ruling finding jurisdiction in Oklahoma over a Texas-based asbestos defendant and the resulting $6 million verdict and remanded the case for further consideration in light of recent precedent on the issue. In its petition, the drywall materials company had portrayed the Oklahoma court’s ruling as “indefensible” and argued that it evidenced the state’s continuing disregard for Supreme Court precedent (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A New York appeals court on Feb. 6 denied a motion to stay proceedings in an asbestos case so that one of the defendants could appeal consolidation of the cases (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Murphy-Clagett v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190311/15, Kelly O’Connor v. A.O. Smith, et al., No. 190147/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to wade into an asbestos action on Feb. 14, accepting a case in which the lower court found that a man’s failure to recall specific worksites was not fatal to his action (Russell Robertson, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks Inc., et al., No. 2015AP2486, Wis. Sup.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Recent Third Circuit precedent muddies the bare-metal defense, but ultimately does not save a man’s case alleging exposure to third-party asbestos parts added to Crane Co. valves, the company argues in a supplemental brief filed with a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on Feb. 15 (Dwight Kenneth Gaston v. Aurora Pump Co., et al., No. 16-579, D. Del.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A rail car company provided no justification for why it could not have identified an expert asbestos state-of-the-art witness prior to the passage of an already extended deadline, a federal judge in Kansas held Feb. 13 in denying a motion to extend discovery and disclosure periods (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23230).
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on Feb. 7 granted a joint motion by a reinsurer and insurer to withdraw a motion to dismiss and a motion to enjoin and instead to litigate a $1.25 million breach of contract dispute over settlement of underlying asbestos claims (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 17-02144, D. Conn.).
HOUSTON — Texas law requires that claimants give notice of a workers’ compensation claim within six months of the incident, rendering untimely a woman’s asbestos action filed years after her husband retired as a judge, the county told a Texas appellate court on Feb. 12 (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
NEW YORK — In a coverage dispute over asbestos litigation costs, a reinsurer and insurer submitted letters on Feb. 9 to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concerning how a New York high court ruling applies to a reinsurance contract’s per-occurrence liability cap (Global Reinsurance Corporation of America v. Century Indemnity Co., No. 15-2164, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An asbestos case never involved exposures in the U.S. Navy, a conclusion the turbine defendants’ own evidence supports, and a judge properly relied on a post-removal explanation of the claim in remanding the case, a woman tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal in a Jan. 31 brief (Melissa Coury, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-35492, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A veterans affairs appeals board improperly discounted a man’s lay testimony regarding his diagnosis while accepting a largely irrelevant and “difficult to decipher” medical opinion, a U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims judge held Jan. 29 (Arthur M. Bernal v. David J. Shulkin, et al., No. 16-3524, U.S. App. Vet. Clms., 2018 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 89).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California state judge will hear arguments Feb. 16 on whether a company’s compliance with federal regulations precluded a jury’s finding that it negligently exposed a man to asbestos, leading to his lung cancer (Saipele Faiaipau v. J&H Marine Industrial & Engineering Inc., et al., No. RG1364938, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — An appellate court erred in concluding that Pennsylvania’s Fair Share Act overrode the existing per capita equal share basis for dividing liability in asbestos cases and in allowing a jury to consider bankrupt defendants as well, a couple told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Jan. 26 (William Roverano, et al. v. John Crane Inc., et al., Nos. 58 EAL 2018, Pa. Sup.).
NEW YORK — In a dispute over an alleged profit arrangement between insurers and reinsurers, an estate’s executor established sufficient allegations to move forward with his tortious interference claim against a claims handler for its denial of payment of an underlying $7.1 million asbestos judgment, a New York justice ruled Jan. 24 (Ruby Konstantin v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, et al., No. 652897/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — Three maritime plaintiffs’ challenge of a federal asbestos multidistrict litigation judge’s order dismissing their cases for lack of personal jurisdiction will proceed after the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 found that jurisdictional defects did not prevent the appeal (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [VI], No. 17-3471, 3rd Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Defendants’ postponement of a deposition did not waive their right to cross-examine the witness, who died two weeks after he gave truncated testimony, a Delaware judge held Feb. 7 in finding the testimony inadmissible (William Derek Sykes, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. N14C-03-028 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on Jan 31 declined to review a ruling finding that triable issues were created by an expert’s testimony regarding asbestos contamination of talc a woman regularly used for more than 20 years (Mary Lyons v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., No. S245665, Calif. Sup.).
CLEVELAND — Testimony that cumulative asbestos exposures all contribute to mesothelioma does not meet the standard for causation in Ohio, the state’s supreme court held Feb. 8 in reversing a ruling that affirmed a more than $1 million judgment against Honeywell International Inc. (Mark Schwartz, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 2016-1372, Ohio Sup.).