WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 agreed to decide whether a defendant can be subject to personal jurisdiction in a state even where none of its forum contacts caused the alleged injuries, an issue closely watched in the asbestos litigation context (Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, et al., No. 19-368, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana jury in October 2019 awarded $8,214,479.35 to the widow and four children of a man exposed to asbestos as an insulator, sources told Mealey Publications (Elray Lege,et al. v. Union Carbide, et al., No. 2016-5598, La. Dist., Orleans Parish).
LOS ANGELES — After giving itself until February to decide, the California Supreme Court on Jan. 15 declined to review a case in which the lower court found that a judge’s grant of a new trial corrected his error in entering judgment for a defendant (LAOSD Asbestos Cases, No. S259113, Calif. Sup.).
SEATTLE — The argument that Washington’s statute of repose becomes inapplicable because a contractor also sold asbestos-containing insulation would not apply to the general contractor and would produce an absurd result where almost no contractor fell under the statute’s protections, a company tells a Washington appeals court in an Oct. 29 response (Cindy Maxwell, et al. v. Brand Insulations Inc., et al., No. 53252-2 II, Wash. App., Div. II).
NEW YORK — Plaintiffs’ premature disclosure of the deposition testimony of Johnson & Johnson’s chief executive officer warrants an award of fees and costs, a New York justice held Jan. 17. But whether the plaintiffs are entitled to depose more company employees is a question for the special master, he said (Donald Minassian, et al. v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. 190399/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Having never previously suggested that producing records of pre-2002 asbestos litigation posed a burden, Honeywell International Inc. cannot reasonably rely on the argument in a motion for reconsideration, a federal magistrate judge in Kentucky said Jan. 6 (Jack Papineau, et al. v. Brake Supply Company Inc., et al., No. 18-168, W.D. Ky.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Jan. 22 declined to wade into the question of whether a man’s family presented sufficient evidence of exposure to asbestos in fire doors (Marc Lee Lamson, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific LLC, et al., No. 1459 EDA 2018, Pa. Sup.).
MILWAUKEE — The state’s statute of repose bars asbestos claims arising from the construction of two power plants, and nothing in its application constitutes retroactive application or violates constitutional remedy protections, a Wisconsin appellate panel said Jan. 22 (Jacqueline Nooyen, et al. v. Wisconsin Electric Power Co., et al., No. 2019AP289, Wis. App., Dist. 3).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A newly formed affiliate of frequent asbestos personal injury defendant CertainTeed LLC filed a Chapter 11 petition on Jan. 23 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court looking to permanently resolve CertainTeed’s asbestos liabilities through establishment of a settlement trust (In re DBMP LLC, No. 3:20-bk-30080, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — Evidence showing that a talc miner supplied three separate consumer talc manufacturers keeps it in an asbestos suit, even in light of what the defendant believes is contradictory evidence, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 17 (Sharon Rothlein, et al. v. American International Industries for Clubman, et al., No. 190374/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
ST. LOUIS — The 60-to-1 disparity between an asbestos-talc plaintiff’s time and exposure in Tennessee over her time in Missouri helps tip the balance in favor of transfer, a federal judge in the later state said Jan. 21 (Shawnee D. Douglas v. Imerys Talc America Inc., et al., No. 18-1141, E.D. Mo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9523).
LOS ANGELES — A trial court did not err in rejecting a couple’s challenges to expert testimony that talc was free of asbestos, and because they offered no competing expert testimony, the judge properly granted summary judgment, a California appeals court held Jan. 22 (Ann Patrice Gibbons, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., No. B288031, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK — A couple’s asbestos personal injury claims against Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. will be heard in New York state court; a federal judge on Jan. 15 remanded the case because the debtor removed it too late (Anna Nocelli, et al. v. Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-cv-1980, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9025).
NEW ORLEANS — Defendant Ford Motor Co. was in the best position to know who owned the land on which its dealership operated, and asbestos plaintiffs present believable explanations for their delayed attempt at naming the true owner, a federal magistrate judge in Louisiana said Jan. 21 in allowing an amended complaint (Keith Michel, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 18-4738, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9595).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Asbestos plaintiffs produced evidence of frequent, regular and proximate contact with window and door products and that the products could release asbestos, but not that they did under the specific use in question, an Illinois court held Jan. 21 in reversing a more than $5 million verdict (Jeff Krumwiede, et al. v. Tremco Inc., No. 4-28-0434, Ill. App., 4th Dist., 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 27).
NEW YORK — A man’s testimony that he believed that he and his father worked with Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. joint compound came from contemporaneous statements and matches company interrogatories, placing it within the present-sense impression exception to hearsay, a New York justice held Jan. 16 in denying summary judgment to the company (Frank M. Salzano, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 190446/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — Jury instructions failed to convey that an alleged bribery scheme involving asbestos case referrals must include an understanding of the specific topic on which the quid pro quo is to take place, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Jan. 21 in partially reversing the conviction of former New York Speaker Sheldon Silver (United States, et al. v. Sheldon Silver, No. 18-2380, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1737).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson and four plaintiffs focused on testing in the opening rounds of the punitive damages phase of a New Jersey asbestos-talc case on Jan. 15. A jury hit the company with a $37.3 million verdict in September 2019 (Douglas Barden, et al. v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. MID-L-1809-17, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
PHILADELPHIA — The viability of a 1980 asbestos case docketed in Michigan federal court, litigated before an Ohio federal judge and eventually transferred and dismissed by a federal judge in Pennsylvania came before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 13 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI), Creighton Miller v. Sea-Land Service Inc., et al., No. 18-2165, 3rd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS — Despite recent Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals developments, precedent still calls for remanding cases involving allegations that a shipyard failed to warn about the dangers of asbestos or provide a safe workplace, federal judge in Louisiana said Jan. 10 (Denis Schexnayder Jr. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 19-11773, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5907).