TRENTON, N.J. — The federal judge overseeing the talc multidistrict litigation in New Jersey severed the claims of 744 plaintiffs involved in 12 cases and remanded some the cases while finding jurisdiction lacking in others June 29 (Dawn Hannah v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 18-14637, Amy Johnson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-1423, Maureen Kassimali, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-5534, Darren Cartwright, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-5535, Sherron Gavin, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-10319, Amanda Reising, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-10320, Cynthia Gibson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-14637, Eleanor Barsh, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 17-17103, Lisa Hittler, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-17106, Tashay Benford, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-5590, Laura McConnell, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-9365, Cynthia Kannady, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-13476, D. N.J.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The statute of limitations begins in Minnesota when the plaintiff causally links mesothelioma to asbestos exposure, the state’s Supreme Court said July 1 in finding an action time-barred (Deborah J. Palmer, et al. v. Walker Jamar Co., et al., No. A18-2124, A19-0155, Minn. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A trial judge’s single-paragraph awarding a new trial in an arc chute asbestos case is vague, frustrates review and falls short of the standard for granting a new trial, a California appeals court said in reversing the ruling on June 29 (Norman Estes, et al. v. Eaton Corp., No. A152847, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
NEW ORLEANS — Plaintiffs need not have an expert testify regarding a decedent’s lost earnings for them to be recoverable, and earnings the plaintiffs lost providing care for their decedent are also recoverable under Louisiana law, a federal judge in Louisiana said June 26 in partially denying summary judgments (Callen Dempster, et al. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-6158, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112185).
RALEIGH, N.C. — Two friction companies are entitled to summary judgment in an asbestos case after showing that while a man may have worked with their products, insufficient evidence links the work to exposure for which they are liable, a federal judge in North Carolina said June 25 (Jack Howard Cox Sr., et al. v. AGCO Corp., et al., No. 16-84, E.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111948).
NEW ORLEANS — Removing an asbestos negligence case prior to a recent en banc ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals would have been the very type of hasty and unnecessary removal frowned upon by the court, a federal judge in Louisiana said June 26 in denying remand (Booker W. Holmes, et al. v. Albert L. Bossier Jr., et al., No. 20-880, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112180).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Evidence that a jury included a strong-willed individual who previously viewed publicly available information about a case is not evidence that the jury was prejudiced against an asbestos plaintiff and does not warrant granting a new trial, a federal magistrate judge held June 24 (Johanna Elaine Evans, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 15-681, D. Del.).
LOS ANGELES — Two defendants cannot overcome their admission that a drywall company used their asbestos in constructing walls at a building where a man who developed mesothelioma later worked, a California appeals court held June 24 in reversing summary judgment (Jovana Collantes, et al. v. Elementis Chemicals Inc., et al., No. B295278, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri appeals largely affirmed an asbestos-talc verdict against two Johnson & Johnson entities June 23, turning away expert and causation challenges and concluding that the companies’ “significant reprehensibility” warranted a $2.2 billion judgment (Gail Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. ED 107476, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.).
HOUSTON — A trial judge properly applied maritime law to an asbestos case involving ship-based exposures, but erred in concluding that the plaintiffs could not recover nonpecuniary damages, a Texas appeals court held June 18 (Robin Blaine Andrews, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 14-18-00573-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4535).
LOS ANGELES — Lockheed Martin Corp. showed that it followed specifications the military issued governing the aircraft design and construction and that the resulting use of asbestos caused plaintiffs’ injuries, satisfying all prongs of the federal removal standard, a federal judge in California said June 18 in denying remand (George Kruse, et al. v. Actuant Corp., et al., No. 19-9540, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107109).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ en banc decision in Latiolais provided grounds for removing a case involving similar allegations and the same defendant, a federal judge in Louisiana said June 10 (William Hulin v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 20-924, E.D. La.).
By Kevin McKie
SEATTLE — A covenant judgment improperly included the likely future cost of pursuing an insurer, permitting a double recovery by asbestos plaintiffs, the insurer told the Washington Supreme Court April 17. But in a June 1 opposition to the petition, the plaintiff argues that there is no pressing legal issue or conflict warranting review outside the insurer’s “factual fiction” (United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co. v. Robert T. Ulbricht, et al., No. 98434-4, Wash. Sup.).
GRETNA, La. — Louisiana law does not permit a man who already filed a 30-party asbestos action in one parish to maintain a second lawsuit against a different parish involving the same allegations, a Louisiana appeals court panel held June 10 (Thomas Handy Jr., et al. v. The Parish of Jefferson, No. 20-C-122, La. App., 5th Cir., 2020 La. App. LEXIS 851)
BATON ROUGE, La. — An en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion dictating the removal standard started the clock for removal, and the fact that the defendant removed some cases prior to the opinion but not others does not change the outcome, a federal judge in Louisiana said June 1 in denying remand (Melvin H. Francis v. ITG Brands LLC, et al., No. 20-887, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95116).
NEW YORK — Evidence that tobacco products a man used would have included warnings and whether he saw or regarded them creates questions for a jury and does not entitle two defendants to summary judgment, a New York justice held June 16 (Anne Marie Fahey, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 190231/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2671).
NEW YORK — Burnham LLC did not eliminate the possibility that its greenhouse products caused a man’s mesothelioma, and even if it successfully shifted the burden, the plaintiffs satisfied it, a New York appellate court said June 11 in reversing a summary judgment ruling (Dona Fischer, et al. v. American Biltrite Inc., et al., No. 190271/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3377).
BALTIMORE — Though it’s possible that voluntary dismissal of a consumer talc asbestos case for refiling in a different jurisdiction may prejudice a defendant by depriving it of a statute of limitations defense, that result is neither assured nor reason to deny the motion, a federal judge in Maryland said June 12 in granting the motion (Andrew C. Curtin, et al. v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Co., et al., No. 20-921, D. Md., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103224).
CHICAGO — The majority of a First District Illinois Appellate Court panel on June 12 affirmed a trial court’s ruling in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that the insured’s primary policies are not annualized and are each subject to a per-occurrence limit of $20 million (John Crane Inc. v. Allianz Underwriters Insurance Co., et al., No. 1-18-0223, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 6th Div., 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 369).