SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 15 indicated in a minute order that he would wait to enter judgment on a jury’s Oct. 12 asbestos verdict. In that verdict, the jury hung on the issue of negligence and found in favor of automotive product defendants on strict liability claims (Patrick Jack, et al. v. Asbestos Corp LTD, et al., No. 17-537, W.D. Wash.).
HOUSTON — Focusing on a single aspect of a statute led a Texas appeals court to the incorrect conclusion that a widow had to provide notice of her claim to the county she intended to sue before her husband even contracted mesothelioma, a trial lawyers group on Oct. 15 told the court in support of en banc rehearing (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
NEW YORK — In otherwise affirming a mesothelioma verdict, a New York justice said Oct. 12 that plaintiffs must retry the damages portion of their case unless they stipulate to a $17.25 million award rather than the $75 million the jury awarded (Marlena F. Robaey, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 190276/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — A trial judge applied a causation standard no one in the mainstream scientific community would adopt while setting aside an $11 million asbestos verdict, plaintiffs told the New York Appeals Court during Oct. 16 oral arguments; but in striking back, defendant Ford Motor Co. said the plaintiffs should have to produce more than simple evidence of dust to prove causation (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Juni, etc. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. APL-2017-00114, N.Y. App.).
HOUSTON — A Texas judge said Oct. 12 that he would adopt a $293 million arbitration award for Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Co. in its asbestos case against Dublin, Ireland-based Eaton Co.’s Cooper Industries, sources told Mealey Publications (Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Co v. Cooper Industries, No. 201177606, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal judge agreed with a magistrate judge on Oct. 15 and remanded to state court asbestos liability class claims against a railway that had been stayed by the bankruptcy case of W.R. Grace & Co. pursuant to the local controversy exception to federal jurisdiction (Korey L. Aarstad, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, et al., No. 4:17-cv-72, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176843).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Legislature’s adoption of the Daubert standard involved procedural rules properly within the scope of the court’s powers, and an appeals court improperly applied it to exclude expert testimony relied on in an $8 million judgment against asbestos and tobacco companies, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court said Oct. 15 (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
HOUSTON — Notice of a claim could not have been provided within six months of a judge’s last exposure to asbestos because no claim existed until eight years later when doctors diagnosed him mesothelioma, and a Texas appeals court erred in concluding otherwise, a woman argues in an Oct. 12 motion for en banc rehearing (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury hearing a rare trial involving both asbestos and tobacco defendants on Oct. 12 faulted one of the three defendants and hit that tobacco company with $13.1 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages for a man’s lung cancer (Louis Summerlin, et al. v. Philip Morris, USA, et al., No. 1581CV05255, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey jury returned a defense verdict Oct. 11 for Johnson & Johnson in the latest asbestos-talc case after nearly a month of trial (Rosalind & Frederick Henry v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. L-1748-17, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.) VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
RICHMOND, Va. — An employer who permitted asbestos to be carried home on employees’ clothing placed household members within its “zone of danger” and can be liable for failing to prevent the exposure and resulting injury, the Virginia Supreme Court said Oct. 11 in a 4-3 response to a certified question from a federal court (Wesley Quisenberry, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., No. 171494, Va. Sup.).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury began deliberations on Oct. 8 after it heard closing arguments about addiction, choice and the state of the art regarding friction brake products in a rare lung cancer case involving both tobacco and asbestos defendants (Louis Summerlin, et al. v. Philip Morris, USA, et al., No. 1581CV05255, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals court on Oct. 10 declined to revisit an asbestos case in which it concluded that Kansas law applied and required evidence that the specific exposure in question caused the plaintiff’s disease, which it said made proving causation a “near impossibility” (Gerald Hake v. Allied Fluid Products Corp., et al., No A150366, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Asbestos plaintiffs and suppliers of various products that were later outfitted with asbestos-containing parts on Oct. 10 argued before the U.S. Supreme Court about where the duty to warn stopped (Air and Liquid Systems Corp, et al. v. Roberta G. DeVries, et al., No. 17-1104, U.S. Sup.).
DALLAS — Health insurers and an asbestos litigation firm on Oct. 5 settled a Texas federal court case alleging that the firm withheld bankruptcy trust recoveries to which the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Medicare insurance plans were contractually entitled for costs associated with treating the firm’s plaintiffs (Humana Inc., et al. v. Shrader & Associates LLP, No. 16-354, S.D. Texas).
LOS ANGELES — An appeal of an asbestos personal injury verdict did not strip the court of jurisdiction to allow the plaintiffs’ children to add wrongful death claims, and the court properly declined to offset the children’s eventual award with settlement monies the parents received, a California appeals court held Oct. 5 (Bruce Marteney, et al. Elementis Chemicals Inc., No. B283411, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6820).
LOS ANGELES — Johnson & Johnson falsely and unfairly advertised its baby powder and Shower to Shower products as symbols of freshness, cleanliness and purity — and above all safe for everyday use — despite evidence of a talc-ovarian cancer link that began mounting in 1971, a woman claims in a California unfair competition law (UCL) action filed Oct. 8 (Evelyn Hampton v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 18-08618, C.D. Calif.).
ST. LOUIS — An asbestos-talc trial’s identical awards to a variety of 22 plaintiffs evidences the prejudice joinder caused, which was only heightened by plaintiffs’ counsel’s improper statements and the admission of unreliable expert testimony, two Johnson & Johnson entities told a Missouri judge on Sept. 20 (Gail Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1522-CC-10417, Mo. Cir., St. Louis Co.).
BOISE, Idaho — While a man is correct that a railroad untimely raised its preemption argument, he has not adequately pleaded his take-home exposure case, a federal judge in Idaho said Oct. 1 (Williams Stephens, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 17-385, D. Idaho, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171064).
NEW YORK — Evidence of shipments to a cosmetic talcum powder company over a handful of years are enough to keep a miner in an asbestos case, a New York justice held Oct. 5 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Ann Zoas, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 190162/17, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).